Stanford (-4.5) over USC: A lot has changed since these two teams met on September 19 in Week 3. Stanford entered the game 1-1 and beat USC straight up as a 10-point underdog. Since then Stanford flirted with a spot in the College Football Playoff but a loss to Oregon gives the Cardinal a slim chance to get a top four spot. USC has fired a coach and just permanently hired one since the Week 3 contest against Stanford. After beating UCLA, the Trojans took the interim label off Clay Helton’s title and he signed a five-year deal to be the school’s head coach. With Stanford having more to play for, I think they cover this number. Helton and USC will have one eye looking towards recruiting and might not be well prepared for this game.
Saints (+7) over Panthers: I made the point spread for this game Panthers -4. So I think there is some value in this line. New Orleans is a much better team at home and their defense has to be slightly better since Rob Ryan got fired. The Saints played the Panthers tough when the two teams met earlier this season and I think this will be another close one.
Rams (+6) over Cardinals: This is the classic take the Jeff Fisher team as an underdog in a division game. The Cardinals might be looking ahead to a Thursday night game at home against the Vikings. I think the Rams will be able to have success on the ground with Todd Gurley and cover this spread at home.
Giants (+2.5) over Jets: The Giants are technically the home team but you can throw out home field advantage here since the Jets play in the same stadium. I still don’t think the Jets are a better team than the Giants and not sure why they are favorites especially without Darrelle Revis. I think the Giants win straight up and put themselves in a strong position to win the NFC East.
Chiefs (-3) over Raiders: I usually don’t like taking away favorites but I think the red-hot Chiefs aren’t getting the respect they deserve in this line. Oakland has won five game but I don’t spot an impressive win on their schedule. The Chiefs are on a great winning and covering streak, and I’m going to take a shot at them doing it again.
Rams (+1) over Steelers: I think the wrong team is the favorite in this game. The Steelers are coming off a blowout victory against the 49ers but the result is misleading. The 49ers were coming off a Monday night game and had to make the long trip to Pittsburgh on a short week. The Rams had a letdown against the Redskins after beating the Seahawks in Week 1. I think the Rams bounce back and we are getting some value after their poor performance against the Redskins. The Steelers play the Ravens on Thursday night in Week 4 so this is a lookahead game for them.
Eagles (+1.5) over Jets: Another game where we can take advantage of overreaction. The Eagles are 0-2 and their offense is struggling. The Jets are coming off a big Monday win at the Colts. Coming back on a short week is a tough spot for New York. The Eagles would the favorite in this game if they won one of their first two games and I think now is the perfect time to buy low on Chip Kelly’s team.
Ravens (-2.5) over Bengals: This game is the season for the Ravens. They started 0-2 after falling to two AFC West opponents. Despite the two road defeats I think Baltimore still has a great chance of making the playoffs but they have to win this game. The Bengals might be a little better than the Ravens but considering home field and the situation, I think the Ravens cover.
Bills (+3) over Dolphins: The Bills were getting too much respect last week and closed as a favorite against the Patriots. They got in a shootout with the Patriots, and this Bills team won’t win games playing high-scoring games. They need to run the ball and play well on defense, which is what they did against the Colts in Week 1. There was a lot of preseason hype surrounding the Dolphins this preseason but they have not been impressive in games over the Redskins and Jaguars. I see this being a low-scoring game and the Bills winning straight up.
Lions (+3) over Broncos: Another situation where I will back a 0-2 team that needs to win. The Lions are a much better team at home and the building will be rocking on a Sunday night. Despite winning and covering in the first two games, I have not been impressed with Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. If Denver loses to Kansas City then this line is probably closer to a pick ’em. I’ll take my chances with the Lions.
The Colts host the Jets on Monday night and both teams started the season very differently. The Colts played a poor game against a Bills team that could be a playoff contender. I wouldn’t put too much stock into that result because Buffalo is a tough place to play. The Colts return home and Andrew Luck has a lot of success playing in Indianapolis.
The Jets cruised past the Browns 31-10 but only outgained Cleveland 333-321. New York forced five turnovers and had some short fields to work with on their touchdown drives. Now they take a step up in class and go on the road. I saw that the advanced line for this game last week was Colts (-9.5) so there is definitely some line value here. I think the Colts should be favorited by 7.5 points so I will take them to cover.
Pick: Colts (-6.5) over Jets
Not the best game in Week 1 of the NFL season but I see enough value here where I will make it my first pick of the season. I like the Jets at home giving a field goal. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start at quarterback and I think he is slightly better than Geno Smith. Fitzpatrick has been inconsistent in his career but he has been successful early in his stints with the teams he has played on. I really like the Jets defense with a solid front seven, and the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie at cornerback.
I think the Browns will struggle early this season with Josh McCown under center. They have very little talent in their backfield and at receiver. I see this being a low-scoring game early and then the Jets will pull away in the second half while playing tight defense.
Pick: Jets (-3) over Browns
Here are the rest of the picks for Week 9:
Chargers at Dolphins (-1)
My line: Pick em
Pick: Pass (Contest: Chargers)
Jaguars at Bengals (-11)
My line: Bengals -11
Pick: Pass (Jaguars)
Buccaneers at Browns (+7)
My line: Browns -6.5
Pick: Pass (Buccaneers)
Redskins at Vikings (-2.5)
My line: Vikings -1.5
The rest of my Week 6 NFL picks:
Broncos (-10) at Jets
My line: Broncos -7.5
Steelers at Browns (-1.5)
My line: Browns -1
Pick: Pass (Contest: Steelers)
Jaguars at Titans (-6)
My line: Titans -5.5
Pick: Pass (Jaguars)
Packers (-3.5) at Dolphins
My line: Packers -3.5
Pick: Packers Continue reading
Started the week 0-1 after picking the Redskins on Thursday. I thought the dominance of home teams on Thursday nigh would continue. Instead the road team grabbed an early lead and the Redskins never threatened. Here are the rest of my Week 4 picks and contest picks:
Dolphins (-4) vs. Raiders in London
My line: Dolphins -4.5
Analysis: The Raiders have already taken cross-country trips to New York and New England. Now they are in a different continent after a great effort against the Patriots. I don’t think the Raiders will repeat their Week 3 performance and the Dolphins will bounce back after two straight losses.
Packers (-2) at Bears
My line: Bears -1
Analysis: The Bears should be the favorite at home. The Packers are desperate for a victory and the Bears are coming off two primetime wins so not a great scheduling situation.
Pick: Pass (Contest: Bears)
Bills at Texans (-3)
My line: Texans -3.5
Analysis: This will be a low-scoring game. E.J. Manuel will struggle against the Texans defense.
Pick: Pass (Texans)