Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
TB +120 vs. NYJ
WAS +105 vs. MIN
Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
TB +120 vs. NYJ
WAS +105 vs. MIN
New York Giants (1-7) at San Francisco 49ers (0-9)
The Giants lost 51-17 at home to the Rams last week, but they were missing a lot of guys with injury and they quit once they got down early. The Giants still have injury problems and will be without several key players for the rest of the season (center Weston Richburg, wide receivers Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall), but they should get defensive end Olivier Vernon, right tackle Justin Pugh, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins back this week, which should be a big help.
The 49ers also have a lot of injury problems and have the worst roster in the NFL right now as a result, so the Giants probably be favored by at least 3 here in San Francisco. At -2.5, they seem like a smart pick as they have a good chance to bounce back against a significantly inferior opponent. I can’t be confident in them though, given all of the locker room problems they are having right now. This is a veteran team whose season is basically over and the coaching staff may have lost control.
New York Giants 20 San Francisco 49ers 17
Pick against the spread: NY Giants -2.5
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Washington Redskins (4-4)
The Redskins are a solid 4-4 and just beat the Seahawks in Seattle without 4 starting offensive linemen, but they still aren’t getting a ton of respect from the oddsmakers as they are 1.5 point home underdogs against the Vikings. The Redskins could get all 4 offensive linemen back this week, while right tackle Mike Remmers is out for the Vikings, so I have this line calculated at -1.5 in favor of the Redskins. Games decided by less than 3 points are rare so the line value we’re getting isn’t worth that much, but this line suggests the Vikings are 4.5 points better and that they would be about 7 or 7.5 point favorites if this game was in Minnesota. I like the Vikings, as they rank 10th in my roster rankings, but I think that’s a little off. The Redskins are only a low confidence pick, but the money line at +105 makes some sense for a small bet.
Washington Redskins 19 Minnesota Vikings 17 Upset Pick +105
Pick against the spread: Washington +1.5
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-5)
The Steelers are as healthy as they’ve been all season coming out of the bye, with right tackle Marcus Gilbert and defensive end Stephon Tuitt, a pair of key lineman, now healthy after missing 5 and 4 games respectively in the first 8 games of the season. At full strength, they are one of the best teams in the NFL and they are facing an Indianapolis team that is one of the worst in the NFL. However, this line is pretty high at 10 in favor of the visiting Steelers, so we’re actually getting a little bit of line value, as I have this line calculated at -8.5.
The Steelers are coming off of a bye and big road favorites tend to fare well after a bye, as road favorites of 3.5+ are 40-16 ATS since 1989 off of a regular season bye when their opponent is not coming off of a bye. However, the Steelers historically do not do well as big road favorites in the Ben Roethlisberger era, especially in non-divisional games like this one. They are 4-14 ATS since 2004 as non-divisional road favorites of 4.5 or more. The Steelers are also in a tough spot because they have to turn around and face the 5-3 Titans on Thursday Night Football next week. Favorites are 61-93 ATS since 2008 before Thursday Night Football and understandably so. The Steelers could easily look past the Colts a little bit with that game on deck. There isn’t enough for me to take the Colts confidently, but they should be the right side at +10.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Indianapolis Colts 16
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis +10
Cleveland Browns (0-8) at Detroit Lions (4-4)
The Browns are winless again at 0-8, but the good news is they come out of their bye as healthy as they’ve been all season defensively. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton, defensive end Myles Garrett, linebacker Jamie Collins, and cornerback Jason McCourty are arguably their best defensive players and all 4 of them have missed time so far this season, but all 4 are healthy this week. They still have injury issues on offense with left tackle Joe Thomas out for the season and wide receiver Corey Coleman out at least another week, but the Browns could conceivably play their best game of the season this week.
Given that, I think this line is a little high at 10.5. The Lions are 4-4 and made the playoffs last season, but they are a mediocre team. They finished last season 28th in first down rate and so far rank 23rd this season. They are 13-11 over the past 2 seasons, but their margin of victory has been just 7.00 points per game, with 9 of 13 wins decided by a touchdown or less. They get left tackle Taylor Decker back from injury this week, but he might not be 100% in his first game back and they are expected to be without right guard TJ Lang and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah this week, two key players on the offensive and defensive lines respectively. There’s not enough for me to bet money on the Browns, but I have this line calculated at -8.5, so we’re getting some line value with Cleveland.
Detroit Lions 24 Cleveland Browns 16
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +10.5
Miami Dolphins (4-4) at Carolina Panthers (6-3)
The Dolphins are 4-4, but they have been one of the worst teams in the league this season. Their wins have come against the Chargers, who missed 2 field goals, both of which would have won the Chargers the game, the Titans, who were starting backup quarterback Matt Cassel, the Jets, by a field goal, and the Falcons, in a game in which the Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 lead and then took their foot off the gas with a Super Bowl rematch on deck. Meanwhile, their 4 losses have come by a combined 77 points. They have a -63 point differential and rank 29th in first down rate differential at -4.57%.
The Panthers are not quite as good as their 6-3 record either, as they are 4-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less, including a home game against the Falcons last week that they likely would have lost if not for a Julio Jones drop. The Panthers are in a good spot though, heading into the bye week, at home, against an easy opponent. Home favorites of 7+ are 49-28 ATS since 1989 before a regular season bye week when their opponent does not have a bye week on deck. The only reason I wouldn’t put money on the Panthers is because I don’t think we’re getting much line value with them at -9. I have this line calculated at -7.5. It’s a low confidence pick, but the Panthers are the smarter choice for pick ‘em purposes.
Carolina Panthers 23 Miami Dolphins 13
Pick against the spread: Carolina -9
Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-3)
I’ve had the Titans as a top-10 team for most of the season, especially now with Marcus Mariota seemingly healthy again. Last week, I took the Titans as 3.5 point home favorites over the Ravens for a high confidence pick and lost it at the end when the Ravens led a garbage time touchdown drive down 10 points to cut the final score to 3, with 46 seconds left in the game. This week, the Titans are 4.5 point home favorites over the Bengals, who are a similar team to the Ravens. Like the Ravens, they have major offensive problems, but they have a top-10 defense that can cause problems for the opposing offense.
Unlike last week, I am not taking the Titans for anything more than a no confidence pick because they have to play again in Pittsburgh in 4 days on Thursday Night Football, a much bigger game. Favorites are 61-93 ATS since 2008 before Thursday Night Football and understandably so. The Titans could easily look past the Bengals a little bit and let them keep this one close, so I can’t be confident in the Titans this week, though they are my pick for pick ‘em purposes.
Tennessee Titans 19 Cincinnati Bengals 13
Pick against the spread: Tennessee -4.5
Houston Texans (3-5) at Los Angeles Rams (6-2)
The Rams are 6-2, but I am not quite sold on them as a top-10 team. Four of their six wins have come against the 49ers, Cardinals, Giants, and Colts, who are among the 6 or 7 worst teams in the league. They have also beaten the Jaguars and the Cowboys, but the Cowboys were without Sean Lee and the Jaguars allowed two special teams touchdowns in a 10-point loss. The Rams have won big in the past two weeks, but that was against an Arizona team that lost Carson Palmer midgame and a Giants team that quit when they got down big.
The Rams’ two losses came against the Redskins and the Seahawks, both at home. In fact, they are just 1-2 at home this year, as opposed to 5-0 away from Los Angeles (including a neutral site game in London). Their one home win came against the Colts, who were led by Scott Tolzien, arguably the worst quarterback in the NFL. The Rams don’t have quite the same trouble getting home fans as the Chargers, but Los Angeles has not proven to be much of a homefield advantage for them since they’ve moved, as they are 2-7-1 ATS in Los Angeles over the past two seasons.
This week they are at home for the Texans, favored by 12 points in what could easily be a trap game for the Texans, who head to Minnesota next week to face a Vikings team that is also 6-2. Favorites of 10+ points are just 57-78 ATS since 2002 before being underdogs. The Texans, meanwhile, should be completely focused with only a home game against the lowly Cardinals on deck. If I trusted the Texans at all, I’d make a bet on them here, but they are arguably a bottom-3 team without JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Deshaun Watson. I have this line at -10.5, so we aren’t getting much line value with the Texans, who could easily lose by two touchdowns if the Rams are focused.
Los Angeles Rams 20 Houston Texans 10
Pick against the spread: Houston +12
Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)
The Chargers are 3-5, but I think they are very underrated and borderline a top-10 team in terms of talent. They rank 7th in first down rate differential at +3.12% and are only 3-5 because they’ve lost 3 games by 3 points or less, including two games in which they missed makeable field goals. That’s pretty impressive considering they basically don’t have a homefield, as the recently relocated Chargers do not draw any home fans in Los Angeles.
With better luck in close games and a real home stadium, this team could easily be 5-3 or 6-2. They are 3-1 ATS on the road, as they are this week in Jacksonville, with their one loss coming by 8 points in New England as 7.5 point underdogs. That’s been the story for years with them, even dating back to their San Diego days. They are 13-7 ATS on the road since 2015 and 12 of their last 26 losses have come by 4 points or less.
The Jaguars are a borderline top-10 team too, as they have arguably the best defense in the league, which allows them to run the ball and hide Blake Bortles. However, I think this line is too high at 4.5, especially with the Chargers getting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman back from injury out of the bye. These two teams are more or less even, so I have this line at 3. The Chargers have a good chance to win outright and, if they lose, it could easily be another close loss. About 30% of games are decided by 4 points or less, even more so when the Chargers are involved, so getting 4.5 points gives us a decent sized cushion. The Chargers are worth a small bet.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Los Angeles Chargers 17
Pick against the spread: LA Chargers +4.5
Green Bay Packers (4-4) at Chicago Bears (3-5)
Since losing Aaron Rodgers with a broken collarbone in the first quarter against the Vikings, the Packers have lost 3 straight games against the Vikings, Saints, and Lions, by an average of 11.7 points per game. As a result, the public has soured on them in a big way. This line has shifted from 3 in favor of the hometown Bears on the early line last week to 6 this week. About 30% of games are decided by 3-6 points, so that’s a huge shift. I typically disagree with significant week-to-week line movements as they tend to be overreactions to a single week of play and this situation is no different.
The Bears have a solid running game and defense, but they rank 24th in first down rate differential and 23rd in my roster rankings, so they shouldn’t be favored by 6 over anyone except the worst few teams in the league, which I don’t think the Packers are. In fact, I have these two teams about even. The Packers have issues in the passing game without Rodgers, but they still have the advantage in that area over the Bears because they have much better pass catchers and better pass protection.
The Bears are better in the run game and on defense, but the Packers have an underrated front 7, with 2nd year players Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez having breakout seasons, and the Bears could be without top linebacker Danny Trevathan. I don’t love betting on Brett Hundley, but this line is too high to pass on. The Bears are too offensively challenged to be trusted as favorites of this many points. Outside of their win over Carolina in which they had two defensive touchdowns, the Bears haven’t won by more than 6 points since week 13 of last season against the 49ers, who are one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Packers are worth a small bet.
Chicago Bears 16 Green Bay Packers 13
Pick against the spread: Green Bay +6