NFL Picks Week 17

Week 15: 8-5-2

Season: 77-59-7

Apologies for my absence last week.  I know dozens upon dozens of you were upset not to have my picks in your stocking.  I made quite merry over the holiday weekend and was subsequently incapable of focusing my energy into lines-related wordsmithing.

So I hope your holidays were as enjoyable as mine, and let’s get 2012 off to a good start.

Washington  +8.5  @PhiladelphiaWashington.  I never like betting a team giving more than a touchdown with nothing to play for.  But better than that, consider this: since 2007, the visiting team is 8-1 against the spread in this match-up.  Since 2009, the visitor is 5-0 against the spread.  Divisional data can be so profitable.

Tampa Bay  +10  @Atlanta Atlanta.  The Falcons can jump into the 5th spot in the NFC with a win and a Detroit loss.  The Bucs can’t keep up with anyone right now.  I’ll take Atlanta but reserve the right to change my pick at 3:00 central in the event that Detroit wins and locks Atlanta into the 6 seed before they play.

San Francisco  -11  @St. LouisSan Francisco.  They’re 11-3 against the spread this year.  8-2 as the favorite.  Only 1-2 as the road favorite, but that includes last week, when they won by 2, narrowly missing the 2.5 point cover.  Frankly, in some books that number was 1.5, so you could call them 2-1 as the road/fave if you want.  Bottom line is that they need a win to hold on to the first round bye.  This could be ugly for the Rams.

Chicago  +2.5  @MinnesotaMinnesota.  Against the spread since 2008 in this match-up, the home team is 6-1, the favorite is 5-2, and the home/favorite is 4-0.  Again, I love divisional trends.

Detroit  -6.5  @Green BayDetroit.  No numbers matter here.  Detroit wants it bad, Green Bay can’t really care.  Detroit can score at will, Green Bay couldn’t stop my 11-month-old son and I by ourselves.  OK, so that’s over-stating it, but I think it would be silly to not expect the Lions to win this one decisively.

Dallas  +3  @NY GiantsNY Giants.  I’m going against my numbers here.  The road team, underdog, and road/underdog have an overwhelming edge in this match-up over the last couple years.  HOWEVER, the Giants have the same kind of upper-hand over all.  I just think the Giants are a much better team.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this line at 6.  I can’t shake the feeling that Dallas just isn’t that good.

Carolina  +7  @New OrleansNew Orleans.  Carolina is scary here, they’ve been okay against the spread on the road this season and have a very favorable record against the spread versus New Orleans in the last couple years.  But I’m not betting against the Saints.  They’re fighting for a wild-card bye.

Tennessee  -1  @HoustonTennessee.  Houston has the three seed locked up and can’t afford any more injuries.  A win keeps the Titans in the playoff hunt.  Pretty cut and dry.

Baltimore -2.5  @CincinnatiBaltimore.  This one should be fun to watch.  Baltimore needs a win to clinch the first round bye, Cincy wants a win to secure a playoff spot without having to back in.  Cincy(8-5 ATS) has been more trustworthy than Baltimore (7-7 ATS) this year, but not by much.  They also hold a 4-2 edge head-to-head ATS versus Baltimore since 2008.  However, this line is closer than it should be because of the playoff implications, and I believe Baltimore wins this game, so I don’t mind giving the 2.5 one bit.

Pittsburgh  -7  @ClevelandPittsburgh.  There’s still an outside chance for the Steelers to grab the number one seed, but more realistic than that is the shot at the number two seed and a bye if they win and Baltimore loses.  I think they lay the smack down in Cleveland this afternoon.

Indianapolis  +3  @JacksonvilleJacksonville.  Time to sell the Colts while the price is high.

NY Jets  +3  @MiamiNY Jets.  Not sure I understand this line.  Jets need a win to have a hope and are a better football team than Miami.

Buffalo  +10.5  @New EnglandNew England.  Playing at home for home field advantage.  I feel like I’m putting too much weight on the playoff picture here, but let’s face it:  it’s important to New England and doesn’t matter to Buffalo.  This could be ugly.

San Diego  +3  @OaklandOakland.  10-foot-pole award winner this week.  I don’t know who San Diego is and I’m not sure who Oakland is.  However, since 2009 Oakland is 5-0 ATS versus the Chargers.  They were the underdog in each of those games, but they’ve also still got a shot at the playoffs, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Kansas City  +2.5  @DenverKansas City.  The Chiefs are a better team right now.  The Tebow ‘magic’ ends today.  Wishful thinking?  Maybe, but I feel good about this one.  Need more?  Denver is 1-5 ATS this year at home, 1-3 ATS this year as the favorite, and 0-2 ATS this year as the home favorite.  Kansas City is 8-3 ATS this year as the dog and now they have a better QB than they’ve had most of the year.

Seattle  +3  @ArizonaArizona.  The Seahawks are 4-2 ATS as the road dog this year and are playing some good ball.  The Cardinals are 2-1 ATS as the home fave this year and are playing some good ball.  I hate qualitative calls, but I’m taking the Cardinals because they just look a tiny bit better right now.

See you in the playoffs!


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NFL Picks Week 15

Last Week: 8-7-1

Season: 69-54-5 (

Not a bad week.  Quite acceptable actually, considering that four of my losses were in games that featured at least 8-and-a-half point lines (I hate picking those lines) AND that the odds-makers failed to account for Marion Barber‘s impact on a line as the starting RB.

Ok, so I typed this entire post and apparently got automatically signed out of WordPress, so I lost it all.  After some swearing and stomping around, I’ve decided to just post the picks under the banner of this one theme:

Since the beginning of the 2006 season, the home team is 69-46-1 against the spread when they are getting at least a touchdown.

Dallas  -7  @Tampa BayTampa Bay.

Washington  +6.5  @NY GiantsWashington.

Green Bay  -13.5  @Kansas City Kansas City.

New Orleans  -7.5  @Minnesota – New Orleans.

Seattle  +3.5  @ChicagoSeattle.

Miami  +2  @BuffaloBuffalo.

Carolina  +6  @Houston – Carolina.

Tennessee  -6.5  @Indianapolis – Tennessee.  I do remember this short-but-sweet reason.  Indy has not lost by less than a touchdown since week 5 when they lost to Kansas City 28-24.

Cincinnati  – 7  @St. Louis – St. Louis.  Rams are 2-12 against the spread this year.  Time for a regression to the mean.

Detroit  -1  @OaklandDetroit.

New England  -7.5  @DenverDenver.

NY Jets  +3  @Philadelphia – NY Jets.

Cleveland  +6.5  @Arizona – Arizona.

Baltimore  -2.5  @San DiegoSan Diego.

Pittsburgh  +3  @San FranciscoSan Francisco.

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NFL Week 14 Picks, part 2

Last week: 9-7

Season: 61-47-4

0-1 to start the week after Thursday.  If Big Ben doesn’t suffer the injury, I think we get a convincing cover and a more appetizing start to week 14.  But alas…here we go.


Indianapolis +16.5  @BaltimoreIndianapolis.  Not feeling comfortable here, but just can’t bring myself to give up this kind of point total.  Since 2006, Baltimore has never seen this high a line as a favorite.  They kept it close with the Patriots last week, let’s see if they can do it again.

Houston  +3  @CincinnatiHouston.  I feel very good about this one.  Houston is 9-3 against the spread, including 4-2 on the road this year.  They haven’t gotten enough credit at the window all year and people are even more afraid to bet them without Schaub.  I’d love to be getting even just 2 more points here but I still feel good about it.

Oakland  +12  @Green BayOakland.  Green bay is 4-1 against the spread as the home favorite this year.  Oakland is 5-1 as the road dog.  Something’s gotta give.  Oakland’s only miss on the road as the underdog this year was last week in Miami.  The Dolphins are a gambling outlier right now and shouldn’t be considered a bad loss.  The Raiders won outright 4 of the 5 ‘road/dog’ games they’ve covered this year, including 25-20 at Houston in week 5 and 24-17 in San Diego in week 10.  Green Bay’s 4 covers at home as the fave in 2011?  3 of them were actually double digit lines (DEN +12 in week 4, STL +14 in week 6, and MIN +13 in week 10).  None of those teams are as impressive as the Raiders.  In fact, the Raiders have covered against two of them.  Take the points.

Kansas City  +10.5  @NY JetsKansas City.  Kansas City is 7-2 as the dog this year.  Only 4-2 as the dog on the road, but I’d still consider that good.  The two misses were at New England (+17) in week 11 and in Detroit (+8) in week 2.  Translation: since week 2 they’ve been the underdog 8 times and only failed to cover once.  And there weren’t many big numbers thrown at them either.  +3 v. Minnesota, +1.5 @Indianapolis, +3.5 @Oakland, and +3 v. San Diego.  Those are confidence-inspiring covers for a team like the Chiefs.  Also, I’d consider the Jets squirrel-like with big numbers.

Minnesota  +9.5  @DetroitDetroit.  Ponder out, Peterson likely out.  Since 2005 in this match-up, the home team is 5-3 against the spread.  Home favorites in this match-up are 4-2 at the window in that time.  The Bears’ troubles have the Lions thinking playoffs for sure.  Could be a bad day for Vikings fans.

New Orleans  -3.5  @TennesseeNew Orleans.  I’m very scared here.  The theme of this week is about to become road favorites.  New Orleans is just 1-3 this year against the spread as the road favorite, but NONE of those lines were less than 6.5.  I feel confident that they’ll win this game so I don’t even blink giving up 3 plus the hook.

Philadelphia  +3  @Miami  – Miami.  Vick is back, but Miami is flat destroying people at home.  Their last three home games have gone like this: 20-9 over Washington, 35-to-freakin-8 over Buffalo, and 34-14 over Oakland.  I’m not getting off the wagon yet.

New England  -8.5  @WashingtonNew England.  There aren’t really any great reasons here beyond the old “when in doubt, bet the Patriots.”  They’re just 3-2 as the road favorite this season, but the two misses were -7 @Buffalo in week 2 (when everybody still thought the Bills sucked) and -3 @Pittsburgh in week 8.

Atlanta  -3  @CarolinaAtlanta.  Another road fave making me nervous just because I made the pick so quickly.  I just feel confident Atlanta will win, and when I’m this confident about it, giving up three points doesn’t bother me a bit.

Tampa Bay  -3  @JacksonvilleJacksonville.  If Freeman plays I might change my mind.  But as of this evening it sounds 50-50.

San Francisco  -4  @ArizonaSan Francisco.  I feel like I’m stealing something here.  This can’t be right.

Chicago  +3  @DenverChicago.  10-foot-pole award winner for week 14.  Save your money…or place it on the UNDER.  This thing may end in a 0-0 tie.

Buffalo  +7  @San DiegoSan Diego.  Can you believe that Buffalo hasn’t traveled to the left coast for a game in the last 5 years?  I’ll take a chance here that that will be a problem for them.  Also that the real San Diego Chargers have finally stood up.

NY Giants  +4.5  @DallasNY Giants.  If you’ve been following me at all you know I don’t trust the Cowboys, especially at home.  And why should I?  In 2010 and 2011 combined, the ‘boys are 5-9 at home against the number, 3-AND-FREAKING-14 as the favorite, and 3-9 as both the home and the favorite.  The Giants are incredibly vanilla as the road dog during that time (5-5), but since 2006 they’re 7-4 at the window when playing the Cowboys.  That includes 4-2 as the dog at Cowboy stadium and 6-3 overall as the dog.

St. Louis  +10  @SeattleSeattle.  This is a perfect example of a game that I love to have trend and history numbers for.  My gut tells me to take the points.  But then I see that Seattle, since 2007, is 8-1 against the Rams at the window, including covers of lines set in their favor at -8.5 and -7.5 at home in ’08 and ’09, respectively.  You don’t ignore something like that.

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NFL Picks Week 14, part 1

Just so everything is on the up-and-up, I’ll post my Thursday night pick right meow.

Cleveland  +14  @PittsburghPittsburgh.  <The evil oddsmaker over my shoulder sports an evil grin and drums his finger tips together.>  When I saw this line I said to myself immediately: “Steelers.”  Reproach slapped me in the face and called me a dumb gambler.  “Rule number one,” I remind myself, “the book makes money on dummies over-betting big favorites.”  Then I looked at the numbers.  Since 2006, the Steelers have beaten the Browns in Pittsburgh by scores of 27-7, 31-28, 31-0, 27-14, and 28-10.  So the Steelers would have covered a 14 point spread in 3 of those 5 games, NARROWLY missing a 4th back in 2009.  Also, on Thursday night since 2006 there has been just one spread of 14 points or more which favored the home team.  It was last year…in Pittsburgh.  The Steelers beat Carolina 27-3 at home on Thursday night in week 16 to cover a 14 point spread.  Sold.  Though, I’m still a dummy.

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NFL Picks Week 13

Last Week: 7-8

Season: 52-40-4

Poor ending to week 12, solid start to week 13.  On Thursday night I picked Seattle to cover the +3 v. Philly.  Why?  Teams traveling 1500 miles or more on Thursday night are now 0-13 all time straight up AND against the spread.  Easy money.  On to Sunday’s games…

Tennessee  +2  @BuffaloTennessee.  Just not enamored with the Bills, especially given all the injuries.  Still, Tennessee has been giving me fits this year though, so this one makes me nervous.

Kansas City  +7  @Chicago Chicago.  What the hell is my problem?  Caleb, just please don’t throw 4 interceptions.

Oakland  +3.5  @Miami – Miami.  They’ve been REALLY good at home lately.  I’m not ignoring that.

Cincinnati  +6.5  @PittsburghPittsburgh.  The Bengals are 5-0 against the spread on the road, 4-1 as the dog, and 3-0 as the road dog this year.  But Pittsburgh has covered in all 3 of their last meetings with Cincy.  In the end I just think the Steelers are that much better.

Baltimore  -7  @Cleveland Baltimore.  Another tough one, and I don’t feel too great about it.  Baltimore has been terrible on the road as the favorite against the spread this year (1-3).  However, Baltimore has covered or pushed in 6 of 7 match-ups with Cleveland since 2007.  Also, against the spread in this match-up since 2007, the away team is 4-2, the favorite is 4-2, and the road favorite is 2-0.  Sold.

NY Jets  -3  @WashingtonNY Jets.  Nothing to be confident about in this match-up.  The Jets are 1-4 against the spread on the road, but I don’t see how the Redskins can win this game, so giving up the 3 points doesn’t bother me much.

Atlanta  -1.5  @Houston  Atlanta.  We’re about to find out how much Matt Schaub means to the Texans.  I think this will be a close game, but only one of these teams will be able to score at will in the fourth quarter.

Carolina  +2 -1.5 @Tampa BayTampa Bay. Carolina.  Not much to like here, and I’m going to regret this if Freeman doesn’t play.  But assuming he does, Tampa should cover.  Carolina has not been impressive lately and Tampa, despite losing 5 straight, actually looks like they’re on the up-swing.  Not sure if this is legal, but a last minute audible nonetheless.  Josh Freeman is not playing.  Advantage Panthers.

Detroit  +9  @New OrleansDetroit.  New Orleans has covered every single number they’ve seen at home this year, including -13.5(Ind), -8.5(TB), and -7(NYG).  This is too much though.  The absence of Suh will hurt, but they’ll stay in this game.

Denver  -1  @MinnesotaDenver.  The Broncos are 5-1 on the road against the number this season.  Without Adrian Peterson, Minnesota is powerless.  Denver wins 3-0.

St. Louis  +13.5  @San FranciscoSt. Louis.  SF is 9-1 against the spread this season, only missing the mark last Thursday in Baltimore.  They’re 5-0 at home, 6-0 as the favorite, and 5-0 as the home favorite.  The Rams, on the other hand, are 2-9 overall against the spread, 1-4 on the road, 2-7 as the dog, and 1-4 as the road dog.  So why pick the Rams?  Because nobody goes 15-1 or 2-14 at the window.  ‘Tis the season for regressions back to the mean.  Consider this: the undefeated 2007-2008 Patriots were 9-1 against the spread to start the season.  Starting in week 12, they finished the regular season 1-5 at the window AND failed to cover in all 3 playoff games.  I’m not saying the ‘9ers are that good, but clearly the same principle applies.  They’re good and to this point the line has not reflected just how good they are.  Now that it does it’s time to jump off the wagon.

Dallas  -4.5  @ArizonaDallas.  10-foot pole award winner.  I hate picking the Cowboys on the road but there’s no reason to trust Arizona either.  Watch and wince.

NY Giants  +6  @Green BayGreen Bay.  The Giants are the next victim and they’re not getting enough points.

Indianapolis  +20  @New EnglandIndianapolis.  I pick almost no underdogs and one of them is the Colts!?  Well here’s why.  Since 2006, only 4 games have featured point spreads of 19 or greater.  All of those games featured the 2007 Patriots.  All of them were covered by the underdog.  None of those dogs were quite as bad as this year’s Colts, but then again this NE team isn’t quite as good as that one was either.  The odds-makers are licking their chops at this one.  Take the points.

San Diego  -3  @JacksonvilleJacksonville.  Since 2006, the Chargers are 1-5 as the road favorite on the east coast.  That one cover came in 2006.  San Diego is still getting too much credit.  The books will make big money on this one.

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NFL Picks Week 12

Last Week: 8-4-2

Season: 45-32-4

A Happy Thanksgiving to all!  In this special holiday episode starring Caleb Hanie, bad quarterbacks continue to lose me money.

Green Bay  -6  @DetroitDetroit.  Tough call.  Both teams have been good against the number so something will have to give here.  As better than a 5 point favorite, Green Bay is 3-1 against the spread at home and 2-2 on the road.  Probably not statistically significant, but I’ll use it to support my pick.

San Francisco  +3.5  @BaltimoreBaltimore.  The ‘9ers are STILL undefeated against the spread and it’s time to jump off the wagon before it crashes.  Teams that travel over 1500 miles for a Thursday are now 0-11 against the spread all time (Denver’s cover last week was number 11).  San Francisco has proven they can win traveling long distances, but this is a trend I’m not sure they can overcome.  They’re finally getting the respect they deserve and it’s going to work against those taking the points tonight.

Arizona  +3  @St. LouisArizona.  They beat ’em at home without Kolb, now it sounds like he’ll be back.  Take the points.

Buffalo  +9  @NY JetsNY Jets.  Boy is this one scary.  But it never pays to be a late adapter and Buffalo is looking BAAAAAD.  The Jets tagged ’em 27-11 in week 9 and they’ve looked just as bad in the last two weeks.

Cleveland  +7  @CincinnatiCleveland.  Cincinnati is 7-2 against the number this season, but both of those losses are at home.  And here’s a gem: since 2007 in this match-up,  The underdog is 8-0 against the number.  You don’t ignore something like that.  The oddsmakers make money on this match-up.  Take the points.

Houston  -3.5  @Jacksonville Houston.  10-foot pole award winner.  On the one hand, we have NO idea what Houston will be without Schaub.  On the other hand, with the defense and running game still intact, they may not miss him as much as you might think.  We’ll see.

Carolina  -3  @Indianapolis – Carolina.  DON’T BET ON INDIANAPOLIS.

Tampa Bay  +3  @Tennessee – Tampa Bay.  Not excited about this pick.  When in doubt, bet the road, bet the dog.  Now wince and watch.

Minnesota  +9.5  @Atlanta – Minnesota.  The more picks I make the worse I feel.

Chicago  +4  @Oakland Chicago.  The Bears offense just became one of the worst in the league and all of a sudden it’s 2006 again.  In the defense and special teams I trust.

Washington  +3.5  @SeattleSeattle.  This is Seattle’s first go as the favorite this year, but they’re 3-1 at home against the spread and I’m disinclined to trust the ‘skins.

New England  -3  @Philadelphia – New England.  It’s nice to see more logical lines associated with Eagles games, but it remains folly to bet against the Patriots.  I don’t see them losing this game, so giving the 3 points doesn’t bother me a bit.

Denver  +6  @San Diego – Denver.  Yet again I get that uneasy feeling in my stomach after making a pick this week.  San Diego just hasn’t proven that they deserve to be trusted giving that many points.  Especially against a team that continues to surprise.  Against the spread this year the Chargers are 1-4 at home, 2-5 as the favorite, and 1-3 as the favorite at home.  Denver, on the other hand, is 4-1 against the spread on the road, 4-3 as the dog, and 3-1 as the dog on the road.  Good enough for me.

Pittsburgh  -10.5  @Kansas CityPittsburgh.  Not making that mistake again…

NY Giants  +7  @New Orleans – NY Giants.  Another one I don’t feel great about, but both teams have been good in the positions they’re in here.  As the home favorite by at least a touchdown, the Saints are 2-0.  As the road dog by at least a touchdown, the Giants are 2-0.  I’ll take the points.

Enjoy the stuffing, see you next week.

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NFL Picks Week 11

Last Week: 9-6

Season: 37-28-2

NY Jets  -6  @Denver – Denver.  I know, every week I use the words bad, quarterback, and Tebow in the same sentence.  But here’s the deal: on Thursday nights, teams that travel at 1500 miles or more are 0-10 all time against the spread.  Also, while I don’t believe that Tebow’s glory in the NFL will last very long, it sure doesn’t seem like anyone has figured it out just yet.

Tennessee  +6  @Atlanta  – Tennessee.  Tough one.  Over the last 3 years, Atlanta is 3-1 against the spread as the home favorite with at least a 6 point spread.  But I can’t shake the feeling that the Titans just aren’t getting enough credit.  The only spread they haven’t covered as the dog this year was week 5 against the Steelers.  Gimme the points.

Buffalo  +2  @Miami  Buffalo.  Highway robbery.

Cincinnati  +7  @Baltimore – Cincinnati.  Baltimore is 3-1 at home against the number this year.  That’s where it ends for them.  Cincinnati covered in both games against Baltimore in 2009 AND 2010.  HELL, they won 3 of the 4 outright.  They’re also 7-2 at the window this year, including 5-0 on the road, 4-1 as the dog, and 3-0 as the road/dog.  And at 7 freakin’ points, this is a safe investment.

Jacksonville  +1  @Cleveland Jacksonville.  I don’t know if I’m missing something that the rest of the betting community seems to see in Cleveland or not see in Jacksonville, but this seems absurd to me.  Jacksonville has looked good lately.  3-1 against the spread in the last three weeks including covers against the Steelers and Ravens does not deserve a “plus 1″…even when visiting the vaunted Cleveland Browns.

Oakland  +1  @Minnesota Oakland.  OVERREACTION.  Oakland is back on track.  They’re also 4-0 against the spread as the road dog/this season, including trips to Buffalo and Houston.

Carolina  +7  @Detroit Carolina.  10-foot pole award winner for week 11.  I know not who either of these teams are.  Going to take the visitor and the points.

Tampa Bay  +14  @Green Bay Tampa Bay.  I’m getting the feeling that right now Green Bay would be two touchdown favorites against anyone.  I’ve trusted TB a little too much this year but I’m going to do it again.  They lose, but not by more than 14.

Dallas  -7  @WashingtonWashington.  Washington gives me no reason to trust them getting points at home this season (1-2), but it hasn’t been this big yet and, perhaps at my own peril, I’m going to be a late adapter to Cowboy road bets.

Arizona  +10  @San FranciscoSan Francisco.  The ‘9ers are now 8-0 against the number this year.  They’ve covered every number thrown at them, including 6, 9, and 4 points against the Seahawks, Browns, and Giants, respectively (all at home).  I’m not going to be the guy that jumps off the train too soon.

Seattle  +3  @  St. Louis Seattle.  Yeah…so I’ll take the team that beat the Ravens last week and are now GETTING points against the Rams.  Yeah.

San Diego  +3.5  @Chicago Chicago.  Philip rivers is a dead man.

Philadelphia  +5.5  @NY Giants – Philadelphia.  Well, it’s good to see that Philly’s not double-digit favorites this week.  I don’t have confidence in them winning this game, but this spread is big enough for me to take the points.  They’re 4-1 against the number against the Giants since (and including) 2009, including 2-0 on the road.  And, of course, the Giants are untrustworthy at home.

Kansas City  +15  @New EnglandKansas City.  Too many points for THIS Patriots team.  One good win against the Jets after a two-game losing streak and all the sudden we’re back in 2009.  It’s not been an impressive couple weeks for the Chiefs, but I don’t see the team that lost to Miami showing up tomorrow.  Bottom line is: do you trust NE and their defense to beat anyone  by more than 2 touchdowns?  Not me.

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NFL Picks Week 10

Last Week: 9-4

Season: 28-22-2

Well, after a very sobering week in the world of sports, it’s nice to be back at the window for another NFL Sunday.  It was a very profitable Sunday last week, let’s see if we can’t keep it up.  Lots of divisional games this week.  Before I begin, I’d like to offer up a very sarcastic thank you to the St. Louis Rams field goal unit for keeping me out of double digit wins last week.  And with that, LET’S DO THIS!!!

Pittsburgh  -4  @Cincinnati Pittsburgh.  I’m going to credit Cincy’s near-immaculate 7-1 record against the spread this season to a relatively week schedule and a better-than-expected defense.  They’re not world beaters though, and while I consider a 4 point spread appropriate given that the game is in Cincinnati, I can’t help but feel that by the end of this one, I’ll be confirming my suspicion that 4 points is not enough.  Since 2006, Pittsburgh is 4-1 against the spread in Cincinnati.

Denver  +3  @Kansas City Kansas City.  A Tim Tebow-helmed offense should never score 38 points.  How Oakland allowed a team that can’t pass to run like the Broncos did last week is beyond me.  The numbers are against me in this match-up, as the underdog has a commanding 7-3 record in this match-up since ’05, including 5-2 when the dog is on the road.  However, it’s more important to recognize that if these two teams played last week, the line would be much higher.  Both teams are coming off ‘outlier’ games in opposite directions.  When in doubt, buy low, sell high.

Jacksonville  -3  @IndianapolisJacksonville.  Gross.  Both teams bad.  This is just the 2nd time this season that EITHER of these teams have been a favorite.  First time for Jacksonville and I just trust them more.  I’ve got that feeling that I’ll regret this.

Buffalo  +5.5  @Dallas – Buffalo.  One of the non-divisional games this week.  Dallas has been the favorite each time they’ve played at home this season and they’re 1-3 against the number in those games.  Buffalo, on the other hand, is 4-0 as the underdog, 2-1 on the road, and 2-0 as the road dog this season (all of those numbers against the spread).  It makes it easier that I just don’t trust the Cowboys.

Houston  -4  @Tampa Bay – Houston.  I’ll keep riding the train.  I think weekly expectations for Tampa Bay continue to lag behind actual performance.  They haven’t done very well against the number this season (3-5, 2-3 at home), and while that makes it little worse than a 50-50 proposition, Houston, on the other hand, is 5-1 this season while giving the points and 6-3 overall.  They can score on anyone at any time, even without Andre.

Tennessee  +3.5  @CarolinaCarolina.  Time to find out how good a Ron Rivera team is coming out of the off-week.  It certainly won’t hurt them, and considering that Carolina is 4-1 at home against the line this season, this one’s a relatively easy pick.

Washington  +4  @Miami Washington.  Co-winner of the 10 foot pole award for week 10.  When in doubt, bet the dog, bet the road team, buy low, and sell high.  All of these point Redskins.  Now wince and watch.

New Orleans  PK  @Atlanta New Orleans.  Literally a coin toss.  With no line, I’ll cite the fact that NO is 3-1 (straight W-L record) in the last 2 years, including 2-0 in Atlanta.

Detroit  +3  @Chicago Chicago.

St. Louis  +2.5  @ClevelandSt. Louis.  The other co-winner of the 10 foot pole award for week 10.  I don’t trust either team.  However, I’ll take the chance that Sam Bradford has a good second week back.

Arizona  +13  @Philadelphia – Arizona.  Too big.  I mean come on.  Since when is a 3-5 team a double digit favorite!?  Sure, they’ll win this game and maybe they’ll cover.  They’ve  surely got the stuff at the speed positions.  But it’s what’s blocking and tackling in front of those positions that has made them 3-5 this season.

Baltimore  -7  @SeattleBaltimore.  It’s always scary picking a team traveling across country, but I just don’t see Seattle staying in this one.

NYG  +4  @San Francisco San Francisco.  The Giants have been good on the road this year and better as the dog.  But SF remains without a loss against the number this season, and this number is not that big.  I wouldn’t fault anyone for going the other way on this one.  A field goal margin is as likely as anything.  There’s just no reason not to believe that SF is still not getting enough respect.

New England  +2  @ NY JetsNew England.  The home team usually does well against the spread in these match-ups, but so rarely are the Patriots dogs.  I just don’t think they’ll lose a 3rd in a row.

Minnesota  +13  @Green BayMinnesota.  Crazy, I know.  But Minnesota has surprised a couple times this season.  Divisional game, MNF.  Vikings show up.

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NFL Picks Week 9

Last Week: 6-7

Season: 19-18-2

Another sub-.500 week last week.  I was a couple of meaningless field goals away from being 4-9, too.  Thank you Houston and SF.  Let’s keep our heads above the flip of a coin this week.

Atlanta  -6.5  @Indianapolis Atlanta.  I’m done betting on the Colts.

Tampa Bay  +8.5  @New Orleans – Tampa Bay.  I struggled with this one.  New Orleans is 3-0 at home against the number this year, but only one of those lines was greater than 5 and that was 13.5 points against the Colts.  Sure, they’re probably ready to rip someone’s face off after that loss in St. Louis.  But is their defense really good enough to run away from Tampa with a healthy Legarrette Blount??  I’m not so sure.  I’ll take the points.

Cleveland  +10.5  @Houston – Houston.  My words last week: “Over the last season and a half, Houston is 2-0 at home while giving more than 8 points.  They proved last week that they don’t need Andre to score big.”  Nothing has changed.  Except that they’re now 3-0 giving big numbers at home since 2009.  Also, the Browns are like squirrels.  Untrustworthy.

NY Jets  +2.5  @Buffalo J-E-T-S.  I could use the numbers to tell whatever story I want.  Buffalo is 3-1 at home against the spread this year.  But they’re also 1-2 as the favorite, their only win in that position coming last week against a Redskins team that wouldn’t have scored on The University of Buffalo.  The Jets are 0-2 on the road as the underdog, but those were in Baltimore and Foxboro.  Jets win this game.

Miami  +4  @Kansas City Kansas City.  Easy as it gets.  KC 5-2 against the line and not looking like the steaming pile of cow dung they were after week 2.  Miami?  1-6 against the numbers and BAD.

San Francisco  -4.5  @Washington – San Francisco.  A smarter man sent me an e-mail this morning telling me that SF is a sure thing.  Now, that was for a 3.5 point spread, but the ‘9ers are still undefeated at the window this season and Washington is 1-2 at home.  I was a little apprehensive about the cross country travel…until I remembered week 6 and saw that SF is 3-1 against the spread when traveling 3 time zones since last year.

Seattle  +11.5  @Dallas Seattle.  Ten Foot Pole Award winner this week.  Both of these teams are untrustworthy.  If you must choose, take the road points.

Denver  +7  @Oakland – Denver.  I don’t like picking this game either, but it’s kind of hard to trust an Oakland team to cover a 7 point spread when they couldn’t score two weeks ago.  Even if they’re playing against the worst excuse for a QB this league has ever seen.

Cincinnati  +2.5  @Tennessee Cincinnati.  The Bengals are 6-1 at the window this year, including 4-0 on the road, 3-0 as the dog, and 2-0 as both.  Tennessee is 3-4, including 1-3 as the favorite and 1-2 as the favorite at home.  Neither of these teams are as good as their records show, and their schedules so far are very comparable.  Given 3 points for home field, this line is spot on.  I’ll take those points.

St. Louis  +3  @ArizonaSt. Louis.  This one is messy.  It sounds like Bradford is back and Kolb is out, but neither of those things are sure.  These two teams have met twice in since last season.  They split those games at the window.  Each time, the favorite has been the road team and has covered.  No help there.  Having said all that, assuming the QB situation plays out as described above, I really like the Rams here.  They looked good last week and I would bet that continues against Arizona.

NY Giants  +9  @New EnglandNY Giants.  The Giants can win this game.  9 points is a ton for a bad defense against a solid offense.

Green Bay  -5.5  @San Diego Green Bay.  No reason to bet against the Pack, and San Diego routinely gets more credit than they deserve at the window.

Baltimore  +3  @Pittsburgh Pittsburgh.  Start with the recent trends here.  Baltimore sell, Pittsburgh buy.  Add the fact that Pittsburgh probably hasn’t forgotten week 1 and I’ll emphatically take the Steelers.

Chicago  +7.5  @Philadelphia – Chicago.  One of those lines that illustrates how (over)reactive the betting community can be.  Philly is good, but this is way too big.  Should be 4 points at most.  The Bears are better than the Cowboys.  They’re more likely to punch the Eagles in the mouth than get run out of the building.

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NFL Picks Week 8

Last Week: 4-8-1

Season: 13-11-2

Last week I didn’t trust the numbers.  I trusted my stupid martini-filled gut.  Numbers is the theme of this week’s picks.  My season started in week 6, so this is week 3 for me.  Sweet redemption, salve my pocketbook.

Indianapolis +8.5 @Tennessee Indianapolis.  I think I trust Curtis Painter too much.  But trusting Tennessee with 8.5 points would be a bigger mistake.

Jacksonville +9.5 @Houston Houston.  Over the last season and a half, Houston is 2-0 at home while giving more than 8 points.  They proved last week that they don’t need Andre to score big.

Minnesota +3.5 @Carolina Carolina.  No matter what they do, the fighting Cams can’t seem to get the full confidence of the betting community.  Capitalize.  This is a bad bad bad Minnesota team.  Need more?  Okay, Carolina is 4-0 against the number at home this year.  2-0 as the home favorite.  Invest with confidence.

New Orleans -13.5 @St. LouisSt. Louis.  This is the biggest home dog so far this season.  StL is only the 5th home team to get double digit points this year.  ALL of the previous 4 have covered.  Since 2006, double digit home dogs are 25-14.  St. Louis hasn’t covered yet this year, and to me it seems like the time for a market correction.  Also, NO is 1-3 against the number on the road this year.

Arizona +12.5 @BaltimoreBaltimore.  I almost got scared of the big number and took Arizona.  The reality is that I have absolutely no reason to believe Arizona has a shot to stay in this game.  Baltimore is angry and 3-0 against the number at home this year.  Old fashioned Baltimore beatdown.

Miami +9.5 @NY GiantsMiami.  Ten foot pole award winner for the week.  I have no reason to trust either of these teams.  Two teams have a .500 record or better against the spread this year and a sub-.500 record at home against it.  One of them is the Giants.  Miami hasn’t beaten or tied the spread this year.  Just stay away.

Washington +4.5 @BuffaloWashington.  Buffalo is not handling the role of favorite well this year.  They’re 0-2, as opposed to 4-0 as the underdog.  They’ve been good at home…but then again, they’re not technically at home this week.  They’re in Toronto.  Many windows have this line at 6, but if 4.5 is all you can find, Washington is still the right choice.

Detroit -3 @Denver – Detroit.  The Lions are 2-0 on the road against the spread, Denver 0-3 at home.  Plus Tim Tebow is a bad quarterback.  I really don’t care that he sucked for 3.5 quarters and then pulled a win out of his holy arse against a putrid Miami team.

New England -2.5 @PittsburghNew England.  There is no future in betting against New England, especially after the bye.

Cleveland +9 @San FranciscoSan Francisco.  I feel like I’m going to get burned here.  But SF hasn’t lost against the number this year and Peyton Hillis is out again.

Cincinnati -1.5 @SeattleCincinnati.  Toss up.  Cincinnati is 5-1 against the spread this year, including 3-0 on the road.  Seattle, on the other hand, is 2-0 against the spread at home.  So take your pick here.  I think Cincy wins, so I feel confident placing a modest bet on them.

Dallas -3 @Philadelphia Dallas.  Runner-up for the 10-foot pole award this week.  I haven’t felt all year that I can trust my eyes with the Eagles.  They’re better than this, right???   But alas, remember this week’s theme and trust the numbers.  Philly is 0-2 vs. the numbers at home and 2-4 as the favorite.  Dallas is 2-0 both on the road and as the dog.  I’m still not touching it though.

San Diego -3 @Kansas CitySan Diego.  KC is 4-1 as the dog this year.  But the 4 match-ups that they covered were +14 @SD, +1.5 @Ind, +3 Min, and +3.5 @Oak.  Keeping in mind that the Oakland game was Carson Palmer’s 4th day on the Raiders’ roster, none of those are surprising covers.  San Diego wins this game by at least 3.

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