Week Five Totals
Straight Up Picks - 6-7
Picks vs Spread - 5-8
Over/Unders - 6-7
"Bankroll" - Down 5.5 Units
Season To Date Totals
Straight Up Picks - 45-32
Picks vs Spread - 36-38-3
Over/Unders - 38-38-1
"Bankroll" - Down 9.6 Units
Week five was not a good week for me. It looked like it might be catastrophic until some late game picks winning helped pull me out of a huge early game hole I had dug for myself. Luckily, I was a little over .500 prior to this week, and a slightly bad week just dragged me slightly below .500. The vigs are still killing me right now, but I'm one or two good weeks away from being profitable again.
Actually, I suspect one of those good weeks will be this week. There were plenty of games on last week's schedule that I was nervous about picking, but this week has many more games that I'm confidant in....
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers (-14.5) O/U 47.5
This line was set very well. We all know that the Packers are going to win this football game, but the real question is by how much. This line is just small enough that it is going to see plenty of action on the Packers, but is at just the right point that the Rams can cover the spread. The Packers have been amazing this season, but have only beat one team by more than this spread. They let teams hang around. This isn't quite a trap game, because this Packer team is just that much better than the Rams, but with the Vikings and then the bye week coming up for the Pack, they might be over looking St. Louis here. The Rams are coming off their bye and likely used that time to fix their receiver craziness on offense with Danny Amendola on IR. They should be able to put up enough points on a quietly shaky Packer pass defense to cover this spread. By the way, I don't like this spread much at 14, but am happy to take the 14.5.
Prediction - Packers 30 Rams 20
Picks - Packers Straight up but Rams +14.5 and Over
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-12) O/U 40.5
If you saw the Steelers beat up the Seahawks in Week Two, you really won't need to watch this game. The Steelers did a good job of shutting down Chris Johnson last week, and look to be back to form after being burned by the electric Arian Foster a few weeks back. Maurice Jones-Drew is great, but without a solid passing game to threaten the Pittsburgh defense, he probably won't have much room to run. On the other side of the ball, the Jacksonville defense just doesn't have any good pass rushers, which should give Ben Roethlisberger and company plenty of time to operate and put points on the board.
Prediction - Steelers 31 Jaguars 10
Picks - Steelers -12 and Over 40.5
Philadelphia Eagles (-2) at Washington Redskins O/U 47
I wrote yesterday that I think this is the Eagle team that finally gets Andy Reid fired. They shoot themselves in the foot week after week, and Michael Vick is becoming a turnover machine. That said, the Eagles absolutely manhandled the Redskins last season, and while I think the Eagles go something like 4-12 or 5-11, I think that they will win this game on Sunday. The Redskins are alright, but they are not really a 3-1 team. They need to fall back down to earth, and will with a loss here.
Prediction - Eagles 24 Redskins 20
Picks - Eagles -2 and Under 47
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions (-4) O/U 46
This number has slid some over the course of the week, from 5.5 down to 4, but that isn't going to sway me from taking the Lions here. The 49ers have played well on their way to 4-1 and I think that they could easily win the NFC West...But they haven't played a team yet with an offense like Detroit's. The Lions are firing on all cylinders on offense right now, and Calvin Johnson is literally uncoverable right now. You have to realize that the Lions are a team with top five offense and top ten defense, as long as Megatron and Matthew Stafford stay healthy. The 49ers are a borderline top ten defense themselves, but their offense isn't playing the same sport that Detroit's is.
Prediction - Lions 27 49ers 17
Picks - Lions -4 and Under
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-4) O/U 50.5
This is one of the few games on this slate that I'm not confidant in. Most of the value in this line has already been hammered out of it from the opening of -6. The Falcons haven't looked great in any game this season, but I'm still not convinced that the Panthers are anything more than a backdoor cover team, a team that can put up stats when the opponent doesn't care if they score, but can't produce through full games. I'm taking the Falcons here at home, but I could still see the backdoor cover even of the four point spread.
Prediction - Falcons 27 Panthers 20
Picks - Falcons -4 and Under
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-7) O/U 40.5
The Colts are clearly awful without Peyton Manning, but Vegas really wants me to take them here. That's why they have the Bengals giving seven points. The thing is, while the Colts are clearly an awful team, the Bengals seem to be at least above average. Cincinnati's defense has looked good early this season, and their offense has been putting up points with Andy Dalton proving him a more than capable game manager. I'm sticking with the home team here, and probably won't take the Colts again until Manning is back.
Prediction - Bengals 20 Colts 10
Picks - Bengals -7 and Under
Buffalo Bills at New York Giants (-3) O/U 50
The Giants lost to the Seahawks last week, but that was a game that was decided by the turf monster, as Victor Cruz slipped and turned what would have been a reception near the goal line into a tip ball pick six for Seattle. New York has had some trouble stopping the pass, but the Bills have had offensive line problems, which plays to the strength of the New York defense. Buffalo has won four games this season, but they have been a bit fluky, including multiple tipped ball interceptions of Tom Brady and Michael Vick. The Giants should clean up their turnovers and step it up running the ball on the way to a win at home on Sunday.
Prediction - Giants 28 Bills 24
Picks - Giants -3 and Over
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) O/U 45
The Texans still are contenders to win the AFC South, but right now they are too injured to go into Baltimore and compete with the Ravens. Without Mario Williams on Defense and Andre Johnson on offense, they really don't have the playmakers to go to war with the Ravens, especially with Baltimore coming off of a bye week. I expect plenty of Ray Rice and a big day from Anquan Boldin on the way to a Ravens victory Sunday.
Prediction - Ravens 30 Texans 17
Picks - Ravens -7.5 and Over
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (-6.5) O/U 44.5
This Oakland team is playing very good early this season, and played a great game last week fresh off the emotion from the loss of Al Davis. This is their first home game since his passing, and the emotions should be high once again for the Raiders. The Browns should come out off of the bye and play a good football game, but I don't think they have the talent on the defensive side of the football to slow down the powerful Raider running attack.
Prediction - Raiders 24 Browns 17
Picks - Raiders -6.5 and Under
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots (-6.5) O/U 55.5
The Cowboys are my upset pick of the week. They match-up very well with the Patriots. The Cowboys can pass the ball effectively up and down the field to their three big targets who are all now healthy. The Dallas defense can also rush the passer, and attack the weakness of the Patriot offense, their offensive line. Tom Brady has won 30 straight games at Gilette Stadium, but that streak looks like it might be coming to an end on Sunday afternoon.
Prediction - Cowboys 31 Patriots 24
Picks - Cowboys Straight up and +6.5 and Under
New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers O/U 49.5
I still believe in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don't have a good explanation for it, other than the fact that this team was operating at a much higher level than this last season, and hasn't shown the ability to play to that level yet this season. They'll need to step it up for this divisional game at home against the Bucs, especially with LeGarrette Blount expected to miss this game with his knee injury. I think they'll step up and win this game against the Saints at home.
Prediction - Buccaneers 30 Saints 27
Picks - Buccaneers Straight up and +4.5 and Over
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-3) O/U 41.5
The Vikings finally played a complete game on Sunday, and I expect them to show up again here this week in a big way on Sunday Night. They need to get another win to stay in the playoff hunt even this early in the season, and can't lose a game to the Bears here and expect to have any shot in the powerful NFC North division. It should be close, but the Vikings should pull out a tough game here over the Bears on Sunday night, as the Vikings defensive line beats up on Jay Cutler all night.
Prediction - Vikings 28 Bears 14
Picks - Vikings Straight up and +3 and Over
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-7) O/U 42.5
The Dolphins looked bad the first four weeks, but even with Matt Moore at quarterback, I think they'll put up a better fight than anyone expects against the New York Jets. The Dolphins aren't a bad team, they have just had a few bad games early, and this is a New York team that seems to be having problems at every turn. The quarterback, Mark Sanchez, has proven himself to be awful, and Santonio Holmes has been reportedly fracturing the locker room somewhat with his criticism of the offensive line. I'm taking the Dolphins in a huge upset on Monday night.
Prediction - Dolphins 24 Jets 20
Picks - Dolphins Straight up and +7 and Over
As always, any feedback is appreciated, either here in the comment section or reaching me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Fred "Big Derf" Tobin