Last week overall: 12-4
Last week ATS: 10-6 (+1250/+26%)
Overall picks: 116-60 (.659)
ATS Picks: 92-78-6 (+$3200)
Lock picks: 8-4
Upset picks: 23-22
Week 13 Recap: My 10-6 Week 10 record wasn’t extremely impressive, but earning $1250 or 26% of my total bet, was my 2nd highest total of the year. The key, I nailed my two 5 unit selections. I bet Carolina +10 over Cleveland and St. Louis +4 over Denver and won both. Other than that, I was only 8-6 ATS, going 2-2 with my 4 unit picks, splitting a pair of 3 unit picks, going 3-1 with my 2 picks, and 2-2 with my 1 unit picks, but nailing both 5 unit picks was huge. Straight up, I was 12-4, bringing me to 25-7 in the last 2 weeks after going a season high 13-3 straight up week 12. I got my lock pick (New England) and went 3-1 with my upset picks, with my only loss being Carolina by 1. Through the Thanksgiving games and the early Sunday games, I was 8-1, with that Carolina loss by 1 my only early blemish. I took a hit going 2-3 with my mid-afternoon games before winning both my Sunday and Monday Night picks.
Side note #1: I went back and retotaled my upset pick record, and I am really 23-22 on the season.
Side note #2: I went back and calculated how much I would have earned had I bet one unit on the money line of each of my upset picks, $1304. This is going to be a new feature next year and it seems there is definitely money potential in this for my readers.
Philadelphia Eagles 37 Houston Texans 24
Spread: – 9.5 Philadelphia
Pick against spread: Philadelphia 2 units (+200)
Houston’s defense is being called one of the worst in NFL history. Michael Vick is a dual threat quarterback and just like the Redskins, the Texans can’t stop either of those threats, especially on a short travel week. I can’t see them possibly holding Vick and the Eagles under 30 points.
The spread is pretty big, but with how many points the Eagles are going to put up on the board at home on Thursday night, I don’t have any problem with putting multiple units on the Eagles. I also don’t think the Eagles defense will be as bad this week as it was against the Bears last week. Without Asante Samuel, the Eagles couldn’t cover anyone downfield. Samuel is back and should be able to nullify Andre Johnson to an extent and that’ll hurt the Texans’ offense.
Buffalo Bills 27 Minnesota Vikings 24 Upset Pick
Spread: -6 Minnesota
Pick against spread: Buffalo 4 units (-440)
This line doesn’t make any sense. The Bills were -6 against the Steelers last week. I know that game was in Buffalo and this one’s in Minnesota, but the Steelers are so much better than the Vikings. Plus, the Bills hardly did anything to make themselves look worse last week, almost beating the Steelers in overtime and losing by 3.
In their last 5, they’ve lost to Kansas City by 3 in overtime, Baltimore by 3 in overtime, Chicago by 3, beaten Detroit, beaten Cincinnati, and lost to Pittsburgh by 3. Now they’re supposed to lose by 7+ to the Vikings? I’m not buying it. I’m expecting a shoot out here as both team’s offenses are better than their defenses and I have the Bills pulling out a close win.
Miami Dolphins 27 Cleveland Browns 17
Spread: -4.5 Miami
Pick against spread: Miami 3 units (-330)
Jake Delhomme will start this one. Jake Delhomme barely beat the 1-10 Panthers by 1 and needed a missed field goal by Carolina and 3 rushing touchdowns by Peyton Hillis to do so. I do think this line is a little low. The Dolphins are more than 4.5 points better than the Jake Delhomme Browns especially at home.
The Dolphins are 1-4 at home, but 3 of those losses were to the Steelers, Patriots, and Jets, and the other one was to the Bears when Chad Henne was out. The Dolphins lose when the other team can stop their running game or has a quarterback that can force Henne to throw a lot to compensate. The Browns can’t do either of those things.
The Dolphins like to control the ball and dominate the field position game and with how many picks Delhomme throws, they’ll be able to do that easily. The only reason I only have 3 units on this is because the Dolphins do play a lot of close games.
Kansas City Chiefs 34 Denver Broncos 21
Spread: -9.5 Kansas City
Pick against spread: Kansas City 2 units (-220)
The Broncos won this game in Denver earlier by 20, 49-29. However, this one’s in Kansas City. The Chiefs are 5-0 at home this year and won 8 of their last 10 against Denver in Kansas City before losing last year. This matchup in general is dominated by the home team as Kansas City always seems to have trouble winning in Denver.
The Chiefs are playing with more of an edge since getting blown out by the Broncos. Todd Haley didn’t like how his team played against the Broncos, losing by 20, and was especially angry that the Broncos seemingly ran up the score. Haley even refused to shake McDaniels’ hand after the game.
In the past two games since that loss, they’ve beaten the Cards and the Seahawks by a combined 36 points. Granted, neither of those teams are that good, but are the Broncos any better? They’ve looked terrible in their past 2 and have seemingly given up on their season after losing in embarrassing fashion to the Chargers on Monday Night.
There’s no way the Broncos can stop Jamaal Charles and his 1021 yards on 163 carries this year with their 21st ranked run defense, as long as Haley doesn’t forget to use Charles again. The spread is big, but the Chiefs have the ability to run up the score in this one and they have all the motivation to do so.
Haley is pissed that the Broncos did the same to them a few weeks ago and this is the Chiefs’ chance to prove to everyone that they are still for real, even after that Broncos loss. They have to be pissed at all the coverage the Chargers are getting with a worse record and having lost to the Chiefs week 1. The Broncos, meanwhile, have nothing to play for at all.
Washington Redskins 28 New York Giants 26 Upset Pick
Spread: -7 NY Giants
Pick against spread: Washington 4 units (-440)
There will be no secrets here. Donovan McNabb knows the Giants. The Giants know Donovan McNabb. This is going to be a heated division rivalry. Heated division rivalries always seem to be close on the scoreboard, so I’m not getting the 7 point spread.
The Redskins are at least an average team, but Vegas still seems to be underrating them after what Vick did to them a few weeks ago. The Giants are not the Eagles. The Giants are actually really struggling now. They did beat the Jaguars, but then again the Jaguars aren’t very good as I’ve been saying all year. The Jaguars still dominated that game for a while and covered a 7 point spread. If David Garrard can do that, then so can Donovan McNabb who knows the Giants better.
Before the Jacksonville game, the Giants lost to the Eagles and Cowboys and shot themselves in the foot many times to those games. This team always has a second half swoon and we seem to be seeing that again this year. It doesn’t help that the Giants are missing both Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith. I like the Redskins to win this one and I love them to cover.
Green Bay Packers 35 San Francisco 49ers 20
Spread: -9.5 Green Bay
Pick against spread: Green Bay 2 units (+200)
The Packers may have 4 losses, but all 4 of them were by a field goal and all 4 of them were against teams that have 5 or more wins so they’re not losing to slouches. The 49ers are going to be considered slouches in my books until their quarterback situation gets resolved. The 49ers are going to have a really tough time beating a team like the Packers without a good passing game.
The Packers have a good run defense and can stack the box here against Brian Westbrook/Anthony Dixon. Aaron Rodgers can also exploit the 49ers poor pass defense. The 49ers can stop the run with the best of them, but the Packers rarely ever run so that won’t matter. If the Packers score a lot of points early, it’ll be impractical for the 49ers to run.
Before their loss against the Falcons, they outscored their previous 3 opponents 85-10. Those three wins were against the Cowboys, Vikings, and Jets. Yeah, the Cowboys and Vikings are terrible, but the Jets aren’t, and, as we’ve established, the 49ers aren’t very good either, especially on the road.
The 49ers have one road win, at Arizona last week, but I’m not sure we can even call the Cardinals a team. Other than the Arizona game, the only other road game where they looked decent was at Atlanta, where they covered and lost by 3. Their other 3 road games, a 25 point loss in Seattle, a 21 point loss in Kansas City, and a loss in Carolina. Ouch.
Tennessee Titans 31 Jacksonville Jaguars 21
Spread: -3 Tennessee
Pick against spread: Tennessee 3 units (-330)
Kerry Collins will start this game for the Titans. Collins was 11 for 16 for 110 yards after taking over for an injured Vince Young against the Jaguars a few weeks ago in a 30-3 Tennessee win in Jacksonville. The Titans also have Chris Johnson so we know the Titans will be able to put points on the board in this one.
The Titans have added Randy Moss since that last game with the Jaguars. Moss isn’t elite, but no one’s figured that out yet. He’s still getting doubled on every play. This is a terrible Jacksonville defense to begin with. They’ll have even more trouble if the double Moss and if they don’t, Moss can still beat them deep. They don’t have anyone who can cover him one-on-one and Kerry Collins has the arm strength to hit him deep unlike Rusty Smith.
I think this line is a little low. The Titans looked bad last week, but they won’t be starting Rusty Smith this week. They’ll be starting Kerry Collins, whose already beaten this Jacksonville team easily. The Jaguars are overrated. They haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record, with the exception of the Colts and even that required an improbable late field goal from 59.
Finally, that 30-3 game is still burned in my mind. I can’t pick the Jaguars here after that. The Titans match up really well with them and the Titans are looking to break a bad 3 game losing streak. They’re better than that streak has made them look.
Chicago Bears 24 Detroit Lions 21
Spread: -4.5 Chicago
Pick against spread: Detroit 1 unit (+100)
The Bears beat the Eagles last week and that’s no minor feat. However, I can’t help thinking they would have lost if the Eagles’ best turnover forcer, Asante Samuel, had played. The Lions actually force a decent amount of turnovers, 21.
This is undoubtedly because of their amazing pass rush, 28 sacks, good for 9th in the league. They can force pressure on the Bears the way they did week 1 when they almost won (or should have won depending on who you’re talking to) in Chicago.
I just still don’t feel safe betting on Jay Cutler as a favorite of more than 3 points against a team that matches up well with him. Cutler struggles under pressure and turns over the ball a ton. Then again, Chicago is clearly the better team, so I’ll make this a one unit bet on the underdog.
Update: Drew Stanton will start for the Lions as Shaun Hill is hurt. My pick’s still the same. I don’t want to bet on Cutler as more than a 3 point favorite against a team that matches up well with him.
New Orleans Saints 36 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Spread: -6.5 New Orleans
Pick against spread: New Orleans 4 units (-440)
The Saints have scored 30 points in each of their last 3 games and I expect them to do the same again here against a Cincinnati defense that has one of the worst pass rushes in the league and is missing two starters in their secondary. I don’t think the Bengals can score the 23+ points necessary to cover if the Saints score 30.
The Bengals have only scored more than 24 points twice this year, both in losses. They scored 32 against the Falcons, most of which was in garbage time. They also scored 31 against the Bills, but still lost by 18.
Carson Palmer is playing terrible this season and the Saints defense is improved as they’ve gotten healthier in recent weeks. Let’s also not forget that the Bengals have mailed in it as they are unable to make the playoffs. They don’t have the high character players necessary to give close to 100% in meaningless games. They’ve been absolutely terrible since they lost to the Colts.
Atlanta Falcons 31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
Spread: Atlanta -2
Pick against spread: Atlanta 4 units (+400)
The Buccaneers covered a 7 point spread in Atlanta earlier this year, no small feat given how good the Falcons are at home. However, there’s no reason this line should only be 2 points. That’s essentially saying these two teams are equal in talent, which just isn’t true.
The Buccaneers might be at home in this one, but they actually have a worse record at home than on the road, getting destroyed by both the Steelers and Saints at home by a combined 50 points. I just can’t see the Bucs winning this one at home. They haven’t beaten anyone of note.
They’ve done a good job of beating the teams they’re supposed to, and hanging with good teams, but they haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record. In order to cover here, the Buccaneers don’t need to just hang with the Falcons. I think they can do that. They need to beat the Falcons and that’s just not something I can see them doing.
San Diego Chargers 31 Oakland Raiders 20
Spread: -13 San Diego
Pick against spread: Oakland 1 unit (+100)
Anyone else think this line is crazy? The Chargers might be playing better than anyone right now, but to be 13 point favorites over a team that is one game back of them in the standings and beat them earlier this year is kind of ridiculous.
I think this is going to be a double digit win for the Chargers given how they’ve played in recent weeks and how the Raiders have played in recent weeks as well, but I’m not laying 13 points with them right now. I’m taking the underdog +13 for 1.
St. Louis Rams 34 Arizona Cardinals 13 Lock Pick
Spread: -3 St. Louis
Pick against spread: St. Louis 5 units (+500)
I have a feeling I’m going to be making a lot of money off of the Cardinals in the next few weeks. They’re making their case to be the worst team in the league. They can’t do anything right on either side of the ball. They’ve lost 6 in a row and their last 3 by a combined 57 points. They have the 2nd worst point differential in the league; only the Panthers are worse.
They did beat the Rams in St. Louis earlier this year, but the Cardinals are playing so much worse now and Sam Bradford is getting better every game. He conquered his road woes winning in Denver, a tough place to win. The Cardinals just got stomped at home by the 49ers. Why can’t the Rams do the same?
Teams who just lost by 17 or more on MNF are 16-33 ATS in the next week since 1999. The Rams actually have a quarterback and they can run just as well as the 49ers with Steven Jackson, which is how the 49ers dominated that game. The 3 point line essentially is just telling me to pick a winner. I can’t see the Cardinals winning this game.
Seattle Seahawks 31 Carolina Panthers 16
Spread: -6 Seattle
Pick against spread: Seattle 3 units (+300)
I lost ATS with the Seahawks last year and won with the Jaguars so those two teams are tied for the teams I’m worst at judging. I’m 2-9 picking both of their games. However, I’m still going to put multiple units on this one. The Panthers have to travel 3 time zones and go into Seattle, where it’s very tough to win, especially as the Panthers have a rookie quarterback.
Oh, and let’s not forget, the Panthers are terrible. They almost won last week, but they were playing the Jake Delhomme Browns. Before that game, they had lost by double digits in 4 straight and 15+ in 3 straight. In fact, they have 8 losses by more than 10 points this year. I feel safe taking the Seahawks at home -6 even though I haven’t judged them well this year. I have, for the record, picked 9 of Carolina’s 11 games correctly. It’s not that hard. Just bet against them.
Indianapolis Colts 37 Dallas Cowboys 24
Spread: -5 Indianapolis
Pick against spread: Indianapolis 3 units (-330)
I feel like we’re getting line value here. The Colts have lost their last 2 and 3 of their last 4, but those losses were to the Patriots, Chargers, and Eagles, all very good teams. The Cowboys are going to be a much easier matchup for them. They’re also going to get Mike Hart back from injury so they’ll be able to run more, not like they’ll even need to run with how bad the Cowboys are against the pass.
The Colts have the better defense and the significantly better quarterback, yet are only 5 point favorites. I expect the Colts to win out from this point on until the playoffs, starting with a statement win here, a statement that says, we’re still the Colts.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Baltimore Ravens 20 Upset Pick
Spread: -3 Baltimore
Pick against spread: Pittsburgh 3 units (+300)
The Ravens won this game by 3 in Pittsburgh earlier this year, but that was with Charlie Batch at quarterback for the Steelers. They also beat the Steelers last year, but that was with Dennis Dixon at quarterback. Big Ben is going to play in this game. Joe Flacco has never beaten him and I’m not going to pick him do that here even at home.
The Steelers are battling injuries, but the Ravens have a knack for shooting themselves in the foot with penalty and turnovers. That’s why they were unable to beat the Charie Batch Steelers by more than 3. I simply trust the Steelers more to win a big game like this, especially with Big Ben at quarterback.
New England Patriots 24 New York Jets 20
Spread: -3.5 Patriots
Pick against spread: New England 1 unit
The Patriots lost to the Jets week 2, but that’s a long time ago. Since then, the Patriots have traded Randy Moss, beaten the Steelers, beaten the Ravens, beaten the Chargers, and beaten the Colts. The Patriots were leading that game in the first half, but in the second half, Tom Brady decided not to throw to anyone else, but Randy Moss deep. Moss was well covered by Antonio Cromartie.
Moss is gone and the Patriots’ offense looks a lot different now. They don’t have one great receiver. They have a lot of good receivers who can get open and Brady can find the open guy. The Jets are good at shutting down one or two receivers, depending on what kind of game Antonio Cromartie has, but the Patriots have more than one or two good receivers.
This is how the Jets lost to the Colts in the playoff last year. The Colts had too many weapons to be stopped. The Jets also don’t have a great pass rush with 24 sacks in 11 games, a decent number but nothing amazing. The only way to beat Tom Brady this year has been to pressure him. His line is playing as good as it ever has and if he gets time back there, he’s going to find someone open.
Those 24 sacks are also kind of misleading. The Jets blitz a ton. If they do that this week against the Patriots, Brady’s just going to kill the Jets with the screen game and throws over the middle to their tight ends. The Jets also have only won by double digits once since week 4. That was last week and that game against the lowly Bengals was a lot closer than it seemed. Considering they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record in that stretch since week 4, it’s tough to call the Jets an elite team because, quite frankly, they’re not playing like one.
The Patriots, however, are undoubtedly one. They’ve beaten the Colts, Ravens, Chargers, and Steelers. They’re the best team in the league right now and they haven’t lost at home with Tom Brady in 25 straight. I’m only putting one unit on this though because the Jets are a good team who has likely been preparing for this for weeks. This is their Super Bowl and they are a good balanced and complete team. It’s going to be a close one. I’m not denying that. But I’ve got the Pats winning and taking a commanding lead in the AFC.