Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
DET +130 vs. MIN
NO +110 @ LAR
Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
DET +130 vs. MIN
NO +110 @ LAR
Chicago Bears (3-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
I picked the Eagles to get a first round bye before the season and I have picked them every week this season, including Picks of the Week against the Chiefs, Redskins, and Cowboys. That’s because I’ve consistently thought they were underrated. It’s worked for me this far, as they are 8-2 ATS on the season. However, I am actually going to go against them this week because I think the lines have finally caught up with how good they are. I’ve also consistently thought the Bears have been underrated this season, picking them in 6 of 10 games (4-1-1 ATS in those 6 games).
The Bears are banged up defensively, with middle linebacker Danny Trevathan and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee not practicing on Friday and defensive end Akiem Hicks being limited, but they still have a solid defense. They also have an underrated offense, with a good offensive line, a strong running game, an improving receiving corps with 2nd round rookie tight end Adam Shaheen emerging and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman coming over from the Chargers, and #2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky improving as a starting quarterback. I have this line calculated at -13, so we’re getting 1 point of line value with the Bears at +14. It’s not enough to bet on them with any sort of confidence, but for pick ‘em pool purposes, they are the smarter choice.
Philadelphia Eagles 30 Chicago Bears 17
Pick against the spread: Chicago +14
Denver Broncos (3-7) at Oakland Raiders (4-6)
This is one of my lowest confidence picks of the week. Both of these two teams are a little underrated and better than their record. Both of these teams are in relatively good spots with easy games against the Giants and Dolphins next on the schedule. I have this line calculated at -5, so we’re not getting any line value with either team. The reason I’m taking the Broncos is because they are starting a new quarterback. Paxton Lynch has the most upside of any quarterback on the Broncos’ roster, but he’s struggled in limited action, did not impress this off-season, and just started throwing a few weeks ago after a shoulder injury.
If he shows some of why he was drafted in the first round, the Broncos could keep this close or win this outright because the Raiders have defensive issues and the Broncos’ still have a top-5 defense. I’m not confident in Lynch at all, but, in a game that’s basically a coin flip, I’m willing to take the Broncos with Lynch under center and I would not be with Brock Osweiler or Trevor Siemian under center. He could be a disaster, which is why I don’t recommend betting on this one, but the Broncos make the most sense.
Oakland Raiders 20 Denver Broncos 16
Pick against the spread: Denver +5
Cleveland Browns (0-10) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)
The Bengals are in a terrible spot here, as they could look past the winless Browns with a huge home game against the Steelers on deck. Teams are just 36-67 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more, as big upcoming home games tend to present a major distraction for teams, and the Bengals are +7 currently on the early line. On top of that, favorites of 6+ like the Bengals are here are just 55-90 ATS since 2002 before being underdogs of 6 or more. Picking the Browns has been a pretty bad idea over the past couple years, as they’ve covered in just 4 of their last 20 games, but that’s pretty adequately priced into this line, as the Bengals as favored by 8 points, my exact calculated line. This is a no confidence pick, especially since the Browns have another tough game against the Chargers on deck, but this could be a major trap game for the Bengals, so Cleveland is my pick in pick ‘em pools. I can’t take them for any confidence though, as they could easily be down by 7 late and allow a return touchdown or screw up some other way.
Cincinnati Bengals 20 Cleveland Browns 13
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +8
Green Bay Packers (5-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)
The Packers are obviously not the same team with backup quarterback Brett Hundley under center instead of Aaron Rodgers, as that’s about as big of a dropoff from starting quarterback to backup quarterback in the NFL. That’s not the only injury the Packers are dealing with though. They remain without their top-2 running backs Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is out for the year. On defense, Morgan Burnett will miss his 5th game of the season this week and stud nose tackle Kenny Clark and talented edge rusher Clay Matthews will join him on the sideline this week for the first time this season. Given their injury situation, they are one of the least talented teams in the league.
The Steelers are not at full strength either, so they won’t be able to fully take advantage of the Packers’ injury situation. Top cornerback Joe Haden remains out. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert was just suspended for the next 4 games. And talented rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will miss this game with a hamstring injury. They should still win this game pretty easily, but this line is pretty high at -14. The Steelers are still my pick because they have an easy trip to Cincinnati on deck. Big favorites tend to take care of business before being big favorites again, as favorites of 7+ are 66-42 ATS before being favorites of 7+ again the following week. This is my lowest confidence pick of the week though.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Green Bay Packers 13
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh -14
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)
The Jaguars will be without cornerback All-Pro caliber cornerback Jalen Ramsey in this game, the first major injury they’ve dealt with on defense. That would be a huge blow to a lot of teams, but the Jaguars still have arguably the best defense in the league even without him and fellow cornerback AJ Bouye is more than capable of being a #1 cornerback. They don’t have a tough opponent either, as they head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. The Cardinals once had one of the best rosters in the NFL, but they’ve lost so much talent, even just in the last year and now they have arguably the worst roster in the NFL.
Quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson, left guard Mike Iupati, offensive tackle DJ Humphries, safety Tyvon Branch, and outside linebacker Markus Golden are on injured reserve. Defensive tackle Corey Peters and wide receiver John Brown are out for this game as well. Defensive end Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson, safety DJ Swearinger, middle linebacker Kevin Minter, wide receiver Michael Floyd, and cornerback Marcus Cooper left in free agency. Right guard Evan Mathis retired. Middle linebacker Deone Bucannon, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu are struggling and do not seem 100% back from their off-season injuries.
The Cardinals have made some nice additions like safety Antoine Bethea, cornerback Tramon Williams, defensive back Budda Baker, and running back Adrian Peterson, but that doesn’t come close to replacing what they’ve lost. They also have gotten next to nothing positive from their last 2 first round picks, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche and linebacker Haason Reddick. I wish Ramsey was playing, but I still have this line calculated at -6.5, so we’re still getting some line value with the Jaguars, as I don’t think this line truly takes into account how bad the Cardinals are without all of the players they’ve lost due to injury. Last week they lost by double digits to the Texans.
The Cardinals are also in a tough spot because they have to host the Rams next week, a game in which they are 6 point underdogs on the early line. Teams are just 36-67 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more, as big upcoming home games tend to present a major distraction for teams. On top of that, if the Cardinals get down big early, a strong possibility, they could just quit with another tough game on deck. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have a nice, easy home game against the Colts on deck and should play well with no real upcoming distraction. They have a good chance to win by a touchdown or more, so Jacksonville is worth a bet as long as the line is less than 6.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Arizona Cardinals 12
Pick against the spread: Jacksonville -5
Miami Dolphins (4-6) at New England Patriots (8-2)
The Patriots are dealing with a number of injuries to starters yet again this week. Right tackle Marcus Cannon, center David Andrews, and wide receiver Chris Hogan remain sidelined with injury for the third straight week, while defensive tackle Malcom Brown could miss his 4th straight game after once again not getting a full practice in all week. Fortunately, they don’t have a tough opponent this week, with the Dolphins coming to town. Despite 4 wins, the Dolphins are one of the worst teams in the league, as they rank 30th in both point differential (-97) and first down rate differential (-5.41%). They’ve been even worse since losing talented right tackle Ja’Wuan James for the season. He was their best offensive lineman and his loss is a huge blow to an otherwise weak offensive line.
The Patriots have been playing well even through injuries in recent weeks too, winning big in Denver against the Broncos and in Mexico City against the Raiders. They’ve been much improved on defense in recent weeks and their offense has remained the best in the league despite missing several starters because of their depth. In stark contrast to the Dolphins, the Patriots are one of the best teams in the NFL. They’re also in a great spot this week with only a trip to Buffalo on deck. Big favorites tend to take care of business before being big favorites again, as favorites of 7+ are 66-42 ATS before being favorites of 7+ again the following week and the Patriots are -10 in Buffalo on the early line. At -16.5, this line is too big to bet on confidently, but the Patriots are the pick for pick ‘em poll purposes. At the very least, I don’t want to bet against Tom Brady right now unless I have a clear reason to.
New England Patriots 34 Miami Dolphins 17
Pick against the spread: New England -16.5
Seattle Seahawks (6-4) at San Francisco 49ers (1-9)
The Seahawks are 6-4 and in the thick of a tight NFC playoff race, but they are not the same team they’ve been in recent years. They rank 17th in first down rate differential and have just 3 more offensive touchdowns than their opponents. They also have just two wins by more than a touchdown and they came against the Colts and the Giants. They also have a ton of injuries. Defensive end Cliff Avril, cornerback Richard Sherman, and safety Kam Chancellor are out for the season and promising rookie cornerback Shaq Griffin joins them on the sideline. On top of that, offensive tackle Duane Brown and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, both listed as questionable, did not practice at all this week. They can’t run the ball or pass protect and their defense is not nearly what we’re used to from them.
The 49ers are not a great opponent. In fact, they are one of the worst teams in the league. However, they played the Seahawks close in Seattle early this year, losing by 3. The Seahawks also won by just 6 in Arizona a few weeks back. And those two games are before the injuries for the most part. This line isn’t huge at 7, but the 49ers could play the Seahawks tight, especially since the Seahawks have a huge home game on deck. They are projected to be 6 point home underdogs for the Eagles next week and teams are just 36-67 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more. On top of that, road favorites are 35-57 ATS since 2008 before being home underdogs. The Seahawks could look past the 49ers a little bit and let them hang around a little bit with sloppiness and penalties. I’m not confident enough in the 49ers to pick them at +7, but I might change my mind if we can get +7.5.
Seattle Seahawks 22 San Francisco 49ers 17
Pick against the spread: San Francisco +7
Houston Texans (4-6) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5)
After last week’s 23-0 win over the Brett Hundley led Packers in Green Bay, the Ravens have remarkably posted 3 shutouts this season in just 10 games. In fact, outside of that weird London game against the Jaguars where they didn’t have stud defensive tackle Brandon Williams, the Ravens have been statistically as good as any team in the league this season on defense. They’ve benefitted from an easy schedule of offenses, with their shutouts coming against the Bengals, Dolphins, and Packers, but that schedule doesn’t get any harder this week with the Houston Texans coming to town.
Without quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Will Fuller, the Texans offense is as bad as any offense in the league, while their defense isn’t much better without JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The Ravens have offensive issues as well, but they are as healthy as they’ve been in weeks on offense, with passing down back Danny Woodhead and left tackle Ronnie Stanley back to 100% and wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace rounding into form on the outside after early season injuries. They don’t nearly have the problems that the Texans do with immobile Tom Savage behind the league’s worst offensive line.
I have this line calculated at -10, so we’re getting significant line value with the Ravens at -7. The Texans are also in a tough spot with another tough game in Tennessee on deck after this one. Underdogs of 6+ are 56-93 ATS since 2012 before being underdogs of 6+ again, which the Texans likely will be next week (they are -7 on the early line). The Ravens are worth a bet at 7 and would become a high confidence pick if this line were to move to 6.5 before game time, as about 10% of games are decided by exactly a touchdown. They should win this game by double digits.
Baltimore Ravens 17 Houston Texans 6
Pick against the spread: Baltimore -7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4)
The Falcons have had an up and down season, but they have consistently ranked in the top-5 of my roster rankings all season. They are not as well coached as last season, when they were the best team in the NFC, but they still have essentially the same core as last season and they could be ready to go on a run, following back-to-back quality wins over the Cowboys and Seahawks. This week they have an easy home game against the Buccaneers, which they have a good chance to win by double digits. They have flopped as big home favorites against the Bills and Dolphins earlier this year, but they’ve also won big as small home favorites against the Packers and Cowboys this season, so they should be able to blow out Tampa Bay if they are focused.
The Buccaneers have won back-to-back games, but they have come against the Jets and Dolphins and neither was an easy win. Prior to those 2 games, they lost back-to-back games by double digits to the Panthers and Saints, comparable teams to the Falcons. Their offense took a big hit when Jameis Winston got hurt, but their defense is very banged up as well. They are missing starting cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and their top-3 defensive ends, including top edge rusher Robert Ayers, who will miss his first game of the season this week. They should have a very tough time with Atlanta’s passing attack this week. Given all that the Buccaneers are missing, I have this line calculated at -13, so we are getting significant line value with the Falcons at -9.5. As long as you can get lower than 10, the Falcons should be the pick this week.
Atlanta Falcons 34 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
Pick against the spread: Atlanta -9.5