2022 NFL Analysis and Picks — Final Report (Week 7)
This week’s “Best Seat in the House” award goes to Linda Kenney Baden, Esq. and Dr. Michael Baden.
Not bad, counselor! [READ MORE ABOUT LINDA KENNEY BADEN AND DR. MICHAEL BADEN HERE]. These seats will be tough to beat going forward as I post seat views from my friends who attend NFL games.
In previous weeks, Scott Byron (New York Giants), Bruce Kramer (Philadelphia Eagles), Noah Carbone (Miami Dolphins), and Jason March (Las Vegas Raiders) each shared their own seat views, which were posted here in the weekly write-ups. Now, let’s see if anyone can top these box seats from the Jets-Dolphins game. Oh, and I’m on the Jets this Sunday with a bet. See the report below.
Somebody reading this can send a picture from their seats and I might use it in an upcoming report (email me directly at nolandalla.com, or send a message via Facebook).
As for my analysis and picks, I hope you enjoy the weekly analysis and picks. It’s been a great run, so far.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:
Tampa Bay/Pittsburgh UNDER 46 — Risking $220 to win $200 …. WON
TEASER: Tampa Bay -2.5 with Jacksonville +7.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200 ….. LOST
Cincinnati -1 — Risking $220 to win $200 …. WON
Jacksonville/Indianapolis UNDER 42 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
NY Jets TEAM TOTAL OVER 17.5 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200 ….. WON
NY Jets +7.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Baltimore/NY Giants UNDER 45 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Miami TEAM TOTAL UNDER 21.5 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200 ….. WON
Atlanta +3 (first half) — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Atlanta +6 (full game) — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Carolina/LA Rams UNDER 41.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ……WON
Arizona/Seattle OVER 50.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 …..LOST
Seattle +1.5 (first half) — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Denver/LA Chargers OVER 45.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
Now, it’s on to NFL Week 7.
2022 NFL WAGERING RECORD
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $14,440.
Net Gain/Loss: + $4,440.
Last Week’s Results: 10 wins – 4 losses (+1,100.)
[TNF] New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals
Line: Cardinals -2.5
Moneylines: Saints +125 / Cardinals -145
Analysis: Will Thursday Night Football tonight be another snoozefest? The Saints-Cardinals game may not seem like a thriller for casual fans, but it’s a terrific betting opportunity for gamblers. I keep on saying this over and over again — who really gives a shit if the game is exciting when we’re betting on it? Give me a boring game and a winner every time, and I’ll be thrilled. To me, that’s “exciting.” The past two TNF contests produced a grand total of just 40 points and the two offenses on display tonight could make for another low-scoring game. Indeed, a pair of disappointing teams with 2-4 records may not inspire much excitement. However, that doesn’t diminish what’s at stake here for both teams. The winner remains very much alive in the playoff conversation, while the loser could see the season basically be over as early as October. Tonight’s game probably means more to the Cardinals in many ways. Rumors are now swirling about head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s and his job security in Phoenix. The public perception of Arizona is far worse than the Saints, who can at least blame numerous offensive injuries for their shortcomings. Arizona has no excuses. A loss tonight could put Kingsbury much closer to the unemployment line. On the field, tonight’s big story will be the return of superstar DeAndre Hopkins for Arizona. Can one player make a difference? Will one of the game’s premier WRs jump-start an offense that’s been as exciting as a dead car battery? We shall see. I see WR Hopkins’s sparking the Cardinals but not in the manner one expects. He’ll draw added attention and extra coverage which likely opens up other targets for QB Kyler Murray (Look for TE Ertz to enjoy a big game). I’m also more motivated tonight by a “bet against” situation with New Orleans. The Saints come into this matchup on a short week off a crushing loss at home vs. Cincy, which can’t be an easy situation. New Orleans has played only 2/6 games on the road, and failed to cover in both. That includes an 8-point loss at Carolina which may be the NFL’s ultimate badge of shame right now. Doubters of Arizona as a favorite may correctly point out the Cards are 0-3 at home, but then look at their level of competition — losses to 4-2 Kansas City (a Top-5 team), the Super Bowl champion 3-3 LA Rams when they were healthier, and the undefeated 6-0 Phila. Eagles (who ARZ may have defeated had the kicker not blown a short FG in the final seconds). Here’s a severe step-down in the class of competition. The Saints are dealing with injuries at virtually all skill positions. Both QBs — Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton (average, at best given their career trajectories) — are both listed as questionable. The Saints’ top two wide receivers are also out of action. New Orleans scored points and played an inspired game last week under similar circumstances, but it’s tough for losing teams to repeat that performance, especially given the travel and less prep time. Arizona with the home advantage tonight, likely getting a boost in confidence with a new scoring threat on offense, laying less than a FG looks like a good bet. I’ll take Arizona at -2.5 points.
My Pick: Arizona -2.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
Spread: Cowboys -7
Moneyline: Lions +240 / Cowboys -300
Analysis: All the talk this week has been on the anticipated return of QB Dak Prescott coming back after an injury. I won’t bore everyone with the exhaustive details because most of us are already sick of it. What’s actually of interest to us bettors is — after missing five games will Prescott be rusty? Typically, that would be the main concern for any QB, which isn’t really as much of a concern in this situation because Dallas plays the woeful 1-4 Lions, who rank 30th in defense. Counting on Detroit’s defense to stop anybody is like giving Hershel Walker responsibility for birth control. Not smart. With Prescott back under center, it will be interesting to see how much more gets added to the playbook that produced the #1 offense in the league (yardage-wise) last season. Dallas has admittedly been running a downscaled offensive scheme the last 5 games, in part because of backup Rush and their WR injuries. Now that Prescott has returned and his receivers are back healthy again, we should expect them to test a very vulnerable Lions’ secondary. Meanwhile, Detroit comes into Texas off a bye. They’re 9-1 off byes in the last ten seasons, which might (not) be relevant. What’s relevant is the fact that Detroit loses games, yet often covers the spread. Under coach Dan Campbell, the Lions are 4-17-1 SU, and also 14-8 ATS, one of the best marks in the NFL during that span. The Lions played a horrible game at New England in their last effort, basically a no-show. I think they’ll do better this time around, especially since the Lions’ offense ranks #2 in the NFL. Before getting shutout 29-0 in that game, Detroit had averaged 35 PPG. Also of note–Detroit’s coach can be a loose canon, at times. Last week, he went for it on six 4th-down attempts – failing to convert even once, and four of those attempts were within FG range. This tells us the Lions are a gambling, go-for-it team that is likely to cash more OVERs than UNDERs, especially given a bad defense. For these reasons, I’d like to play the OVER in this game. However, the total went up from 47 to 49 once Prescott was announced as the starter. So, I’m going to pass on making any bets for now.
My Pick: No Action
New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars
Spread: Jags -2.5
Moneylines: Giants +125 / Jags -150
Analysis: Still no respect for the Giants, I see. A 5-1 team is an underdog to Jacksonville, which is sort of like clicking on Yelp and seeing an Italian restaurant with fewer stars than Olive Garden. I totally get the widespread lingering doubts about the “ugly winning” Giants, because I share them. What I do not get is the undeserved love from oddsmakers here for the Jaguars. Since whipping the Chargers a month ago, JAX has lost three straight games, including a dismal performance at home just two weeks ago vs. HOU that should go down as one of the most shameful displays of offense since, oh, just about every Iowa Hawkeyes game. Let’s also note the Jaguars have lost 18 (count’em — EIGHTEEN!) straight games versus NFC opponents. Since mid-2018, they’re 0-18 against NFC teams and 2-16 against the spread in those games. Ouch! Of course, these aren’t the same feral cats as in years past. No doubt, JAX is better now. But apparently, so too are the Giants. The G-Men have broken the 20-point mark in three straight, including a pair of shocking upsets versus the favored Packers and Ravens. Agreed, I’m not so sure the Giants won last week so much as the Ravens blew the lead and lost. Nonetheless, come-from-behind wins like that can impact a team and begin to spark actual improvement. As tempting as the Giants are as a dog, I’m skipping them as a pick and instead playing the total. Here’s why: NYG rely heavily on their running game, but this week they face one of the best teams in the NFL at stopping the run. The Jags surrender just 89 YPG, ranking third in the NFL. If the Jaguars stop the run, that places the game in Daniel Jones’ hands, and that’s not a place I want to be with my money. NYG ranks a horrid 30th in the league in passing offense. Hence, we should expect NYG to struggle at scoring points. As for defense, Giants’ opponents have stayed under the team total (points) in five of six games. The UNDER is also 4-1-1 in NYG games this season. The Jags’ offense is tougher to predict. However, the O/U of 43 does give us some margin for error, so I’ll play the UNDER. (Note: At 42.5, this is a no-bet — you must get 43).
The Pick: NY Giants/ Jacksonville UNDER 43 — Risking $220 to win $200
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Spread: Titans -2
Moneylines: Colts +120 / Titans -145
Analysis: The AFC South race has turned into the NFL’s equivalent of every Adam Sandler movie ever made. You just stare at what’s going on and wonder who’s responsible for this travesty. This week, we have the two unimpressive division leaders facing off in Nashville for the battle to be king of the shitpile. The Titans (3-2 SU, and coming off a bye) take on the Colts (3-2-1 SU, and coming off a razor-thin win vs. JAX). Let’s start with the little Titans. This might be the toughest team in the NFL to figure out right now. They’ve won three games so far, despite the fact they haven’t scored a single point in the 4th quarter all season long. In five games, Tennesse still has ZERO 4th-quarter points. How is this even possible? That’s like going through a whole month without brushing your teeth. I can’t even imagine it. Looking at the Titans’ wins makes you want to vomit. 2-point win versus the 1-4 Raiders. 4-point win versus the Commanders. 7-point win versus these same Colts in Week 4. Blllllaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhh. The Colts look just as bad, despite their winning record. After getting off to a dreadful start (tie at HOU, then shut out 24-0 by JAX), the Colts have quietly won 3 of 4, with the lone blemish on their previous month being the home loss to TEN. The Colts lost that first game for two reasons — because QB Matt Ryan turned the ball over three times and because they couldn’t stop RB Derrick Henry. I don’t see much that’s changed coming into Week 7, other than the Titans being a bit more rested and ready. Tennessee is built on a pounding running game and solid defense. Other than the wipeout against the Bills, Tennessee has done what they’ve needed to win. Even that opening game loss to the 5-1 Giants doesn’t look so bad anymore. So, the Titans appear to have a slight edge in overall consistency and are laying a reasonable number of points. As for the total, the UNDER looks compelling. The total has gone UNDER in each of the last five Indianapolis road games, and in 10 of Indianapolis’s last 11 games overall. Tennessee’s UNDER trend is also worth considering, as the O/U has gone UNDER in 6 of Tennessee’s last 7 home games. I won’t be playing the first half because I shy away from laying points, but for those so inclined, TEN has been a dominant team early while IND has been quite the opposite. The Colts have been outscored 113-60 in the first three quarters this season. Meanwhile, the Titans have outscored opponents 82-47 in the first half. It’s tempting to lay -1 here, but I’ll pass on that and simply wager on the full game line.
The Pick: Tennessee -2 — Risking $220 to win $200
Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals
Spread: Bengals -6.5
Moneylines: Falcons +230 / Bengals -285
Analysis: Wow. Another slap in the face to the Falcons who are a perfect 6-0 this season against the spread. I recall that we bet them in five of those games. Should we keep riding the wave? Both teams are 3-3, yet one of those .500 records is something of a disappointment (Cincy) while the other is a surprise (Atlanta). Most preseason predictions had the Falcons ranked as one of the worst teams in the league. Arthur Smith was listed among the coaches first expected to be fired. Yet, Atlanta has been fiercely competitive in every game and is coming off an ass-kicking versus SFO. My wager on the Falcons isn’t just based on the ATS records of these teams. Check out the offensive lines — CIN ranks among the worst in the NFL in sacks allowed, while dead last in sacks for the defense (just 1.5 per game). If QB Marcus Mariota is given time, this should be another respectable outing for the Falcons’ offense, which ranks as mediocre but also is opportunistic given their opportunities. The Falcons’ 25 PPG ranks 8th. As for Cincy’s defense let’s look at the QBs they’ve faced, so far: Mitch Trubisky, Cooper Rush, Joe Flacco, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton, and Lamar Jackson. Nonetheless, the Falcons may not need to rely on Mariota’s arm. Atlanta ranks as the third-best running team in the NFL, averaging 165 YPG. By contrast, the Bengals are pretty much an all-passing team, averaging a dreadful 89 YPG rushing, ranking #27th. It all comes down to if you believe QB Joe Burrow gets time to throw and delivers with a big day through the air. I’m wary of the danger Cincy’s offense poses when they’re hitting on all cylinders. But I do think the Falcons have enough of a rushing attack to keep the Bengals on the sidelines and stay within the margin of +6.5 points. I’ll also play OVER the Falcons team total, which is 20.5 points. Even if I’m wrong and the Bengals light up the scoreboard, that could help the Falcons backdoor some points and not only get a late cover but also push their scoring projection over the number.
The Pick: Atlanta +6.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 / Atlanta Team Total OVER 20.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Spread: Ravens -6.5
Moneylines: Browns +210 / Ravens -275
Analysis: Could Ravens QB Lamar Jackson have played a worse 2 minutes than the meltdown we saw last week? For all of his talents, Jackson sure does make some monumental blunders at the worst possible times. He’s got no excuses at this point in his career and needs to protect the ball better. Baltimore is just 3-3, but they’ve also played the NFL’s toughest schedule as measured by the W-L record of opponents, which stands at 20 wins and 10 losses. Now, the Ravens line up at home for a division game against the 2-4 Browns, which looks like the most outclassed opponent they’ve faced so far. Despite the Ravens’ pedestrian .500 record, they could very well be a perfect 6-0 if not for a few tough breaks. All three losses were in the last minute and featured brutal turnovers. On the other sideline, Cleveland has lost three straight. Credit the Browns for boasting the NFL’s #1 rushing attack, led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. However, the Ravens have an above-average run defense, ranking 7th in the NFL. If Cleveland can’t run the ball, they’ll lose. Normally, in a division rivalry with an inconsistent favorite, I’d be all over the underdog and take the points. But Baltimore is the better team and coming off a loss all the stars line up for a solid effort by the home favorite here. The Browns don’t rebound well — they’re just 9-15-2 ATS in the last 26 games coming off a loss. QB Jacoby Brissett won’t win any MVP awards either — he’s 16-27 as an NFL starter. Even with his turnovers, Lamar Jackson is 41-18 as an NFL starter. What keeps me off the Ravens is a couple of glaring stats — Ravens are 2-6 ATS last eight games as a home favorite and 5-11 ATS in the last 16 division home games. I want to bet on Baltimore but can’t do it. So, let’s compromise here and tease the Ravens down to minus a half point. While covering is uncertain, Baltimore should at least win the game.
The Pick: TEASER: Baltimore -.5 (half point) / New England -2 — Risking $240 to win $200
Green Bay Packers at Washington Commanders
Spread: Packers -4.5
Moneyline: Packers -225 / Commanders +180
Analysis: How far and deep the once mighty have fallen. Green Bay has looked like smelly garbage during much of this season, losing two straight games to both New York teams. In two other games, the offense was pathetic (MIN and TB). yet, they’re favored on the road this week, which just goes to show how low Washington is regarded by betting markets. The Commanders, who squeaked out an ugly 12-7 win vs. the lowly Bears last Thursday night, improved to 2-4 SU. Maybe the extra rest and prep time helps a little bit here. For the Packers to cover, the once-powerhouse offense simply must play better this week, yet I see little that suggests that will happen. It’s become obvious Aaron Rodgers isn’t the MVP-calibre QB of years past without a solid supporting cast around him. His OL is also not giving protection (#22nd in sacks allowed). WR Randall Cobb, Rodgers’ favorite target since the departure of D. Adams, is out for multiple weeks with an ankle injury, and high-draft pick Christian Watson is still in street clothes. The Packers’ defense has been equally mediocre, ranking 20th in yards allowed. Another intangible in this matchup could be Green Bay’s longtime struggles with special teams. It’s hard to weigh factors like punt blocking and returns, but the Packers have been dreadful for quite a while in this category. A game like this could come down to a missed block or return for a TD. As for Washington, this is a moldy bologna sandwich of a team to look at and a frightening spectacle to bet money on — often painfully uninspired, and perpetually underperforming. Failed trade acquisition Carson Wentz won’t start this week due to injury, which could actually be a good thing. Backup QB Taylor Heinecke gets the start, who has checkered results when called upon in the last two seasons. Still, he can’t be any worse or less effective than Wentz has been. So, let’s roll the dice with a bet on the Commanders getting just a few too many points this week. Green Bay probably should be laying some chalk, perhaps even 3 points or so. Not -4.5. We catch wins on a few key numbers (3 and 4), which is just enough as a tipping point compelling me to bet on Washington.
The Pick: Washington +4.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Spread: Buccaneers -13
Moneylines: Bucs -500 / Panthers +375
Analysis: Each NFL season, there’s always one team that becomes the league’s laughingstock. This year, that team is the Carolina Panthers. Their (former) head coach has already been shitcanned. The highly-acclaimed free agent QB signing (Mayfield) has tanked worse than a bad crypto deal. And the Panthers’ in-game sideline looks more confused than Kanye West speaking at a D.A.R. Convention. Carolina is surely an easy team to bash at the moment, with many valid reasons. Nonetheless, should the 3-3 Bucs really be favored by 13 points on the road? Helllllllooooooo? Did anyone see Brady’s Bunch turn into Cindy with pigtails at Pittsburgh last week? Hell, when mighty Mitch Trubisky is outplaying your offense, you shouldn’t be giving points to anybody. You outta’ be wearing a mask and begging for forgiveness. There’s no way I’d ever lay this many points with an inconsistent offense like the Bucs playing back-to-back roadies. That’s the sucker bet of the year. Tampa Bay has also lost three of its last four games and is 0-4 ATS. Nonetheless, I can’t bet Carolina for the game since they appear to be in such turmoil right now. What may have some value for the home dog is taking a full touchdown in the first half. Keep in mind the Panthers’ defense isn’t all that bad statistically. This unit scored a TD last week and was tied with the Super Bowl champion Rams 10-10 nearing the end of the 3rd quarter. Since the defense seems to pose some resistance, I like Carolina to keep it close for a while. Tampa Bay has shown me nothing in their ability to explode out of the locker room. Perhaps they end up running away with the game in a rout. My best guess is, the game will be close for a time, which leads me to take +7 in the first half. I’ll need some help and hope the Buc’s problems, especially on offense, will continue.
The Pick: Carolina +7 (first half) — Risking $220 to win $200
New York Jets at Denver Broncos
Spread: Jets -1.5
Moneylines: Jets -125 / Broncos +110
Analysis: This is one of those rare games where we can ignore most of the stats and ditch the power rankings and instead focus on the confidence levels and mental outlooks of both teams, and they couldn’t be more different right now. Other than the miserable Panthers, the Broncos look like the NFL’s most dysfunctional locker room. The Broncos have lost 3 straight games and average just 15 PPG. Denver has been the league’s absolute worst red zone team, scoring a touchdown just 20 percent of the time (by comparison, the 31st-ranked team -Seattle- has scored TDs in 33 percent of red zone opportunities). That’s an abomination. That said, let’s also give some mad credit to the Bronco’s defense which is the only reason this underachieving team with a moron for a head coach isn’t 0-6 right now. Denver ranks #3 in the NFL in yards allowed, less than 300 notches per game. This is a Super Bowl defense combined with a Div. 3 offense. These factors could play into yet another close and low-scoring game for the Broncos, which has become their forte in recent seasons. The 4-2 Jets are a totally different story. They’ve won three straight, each in impressive fashion by outscoring opponents 91-47. Beating the Packers, no wait — make that dominating the Packers in Green Bay — was a major statement game for the long-suffering Jets. I’m a little worried about another long road trip in a B2B spot, especially with a young team not quite used to this role as a winning team still in playoff contention in mid-season. That would typically keep me off the road team. But it’s also just been announced that QB Russell Wilson is definitely *out* for Denver this week with a hamstring injury. That leaves undrafted Brett Rypien under center for the Broncos, who hasn’t thrown an NFL pass in two years. Does anyone like the chances of Nathanial Hackett coming up with an offensive game plan with Rypien slinging the ball? Some Denver bettors will rightfully point out that a shakeup is needed, and actually could be a short-term upgrade for Denver considering how bad this offense has played the first third of the season. Nonetheless, laying -1.5 points with a well-coached team and a QB on the rise looks way too easy given the vast disparity of mind states of both of these teams at the moment.
The Pick: NY Jets -1.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Houston Texans at Las Vegas Raiders
Spread: Raiders -6.5
Moneylines: Texans +240 / Raiders -300
Analysis: Both teams have been struggling badly of late and come into this game following a bye week. So, which last-place team does that favor? I lean very slightly towards Houston, which is getting +6.5. The Texans have been a feisty team in the first three quarters but have faded badly late in games in their losses (and a tie). The big problem is — Houston’s offense is excruciatingly painful to watch, ranking #29 in the NFL. I’m not sure how they fix such ineptitude, even with the extra prep time. Moreover, the Raiders have been highly-competitive despite their 1-4 SU record and have lost all the heartbreakers. They lost to LAC by 5 points, ARZ in overtime, TEN by 2 points, and KC by 1 point in Kansas City, 30-29. That could be a recipe for a refocused effort against a weaker opponent and a breakout victory here. All these facts will keep me off Houston as a side wager, unless I can get the full +7. Instead of betting the side, I see a solid UNDER here. Houston’s passing game is almost non-existent. But let’s also credit the Texans’ defense for holding 4 of 5 opponents to 20 points or fewer. They face a Raiders offense that’s likely to be without WRs Darren Waller and Mack Hollins, starters who are both questionable. Inexplicably, star WR Devante Adams is suiting up this Sunday (why the fuck hasn’t the NFL suspended him already!?!?!?). Adams should be sitting in a Kansas City jail cell right now for his blatant assault on a defenseless cameraman as he trotted off the field in their previous game. What a piece of shit. Look for Las Vegas to use the run with RB Josh Jacobs more this week, and dominate the time of possession battle. Long drives will eat the clock and Houston lacks the weapons on offense to do the same. Texans have only 8 TDs on 53 drives this season, including 19 three-and-outs — that’s horrendous. I’d have this total around the 42-43 range, so we’re getting a nice cushion at 46.
My Pick: Houston/Las Vegas UNDER 46 — Risking $220 to win $200
Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers
Spread: Chiefs -1
Moneylines: Chiefs -160 / 49ers +135
Analysis: The big cloud over this game is San Francisco’s fragile injury situation. Six 49ers defensive starters were out by the time last week’s game ended at Atlanta. The Chiefs have way too much firepower on offense, while the 49ers have too many injuries on a banged-up defense to spur our betting confidence. Normally, the NFL’s best defense playing at home and getting points would be a wonderful live dog. They allow just 256 YPG, which is the best in the NFL. The Niners also pressure opposing QBs 34 percent of the time, which is among the tops in the league. But this is Patrick Mahomes we’re talking about, who has been effective under pressure. San Francisco’s stifling defense won’t get to feast on a mediocre immobile QB this week. Totally different challenge here. I do see the line has shifted on this game from KC -3 to KC -1, based (one presumes) on the RB Christian McCaffrey trade (yawn, wake me when he does something — he’s played just 10 games in the last two seasons, plagued by injury). It’s uncertain how much the former Panther will be on the field for this game, not to mention McCaffrey won’t have any practice time beforehand with his new team. Maybe the trade will work out, but it’s a complete non-factor in my estimation — and only gives Kansas City that much more line value laying a smaller number. San Francisco is coming off two long weeks on the East Coast, normally not something to mention. Yet, under coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are just 1-3 in games played at home after being in the Eastern time zone for two straight games, and that lone win was a struggle and non-cover. Meanwhile, Kansas City has won 13 straight games against NFC opponents. Coming off a home loss (which was no shame losing to Buffalo), the Chiefs should be even more motivated and won’t take this opponent lightly.
[Intangible Optional Wager if You Want to Get a Little Crazy: Betting SFO +1 in the first half and then KC -1 for the full game could be wise. Yes, that’s really the line for the first half, which (strangely) is also the game line. SFO is an excellent 1H team, outscoring opponents 79-33 in the opening two frames, then giving up more points in the 2H. It’s always good to get points in the 1H with a solid home team, but KC does often wear down the opposition as the game goes along. So, this is a rare spot for bettors when contradictory wagers can probably be justified.]
The Pick: Kansas City -1 — Risking $220 to win $200
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers
Line: Chargers -4.5
Moneylines: Seahawks +205 / Chargers -255
Analysis: At 3-3, Seattle has been one of the NFL’s surprise teams this season. No one expected this. Head coach Pete Caroll won a Super Bowl and has been a terrific coach for a very long time. But what he’s done with the Seahawks, who on paper look like a Golden Corral buffet at a truckstop at the end of the nightshift, might be his most impressive work. He’s turned shit into a Chateaubriand. I mean, look at the Seahawks and their personnel. Geno Smith? Name one star player. I dare you. Nonetheless, Seattle’s offense is scoring 35 PPG in its last four outings, and the defense is coming off its best game of the season, holding the punchless Cardinals to just 9 points. Still, Seattle’s defense remains pretty much horrible, ranking #31 in the NFL. Only Detroit’s defense is worse. Seahawks gave up 27+ points in four of last five games. Three of the Seahawks’ last four games went OVER. Three of the Bolts’ last four games went OVER. Yes, this is a high total. What makes me pull the trigger on the OVER is the Chargers’ love for the pass. QB Justin Herbert aired it out 57 times last week (in a subpar effort). LAC struggled against a Top-3 defense (DEN) and now gets to feast on a Bottom-3 defense (SEA). I think that probably spells points for the Chargers. However, they can’t seem to stop anybody, either, actually surrendering 152 points while scoring only 141, despite a 4-2 record. Both offenses do have some injury issues, which dropped the total by a point from 51.5 down to 50.
The Pick: Seattle/LA Chargers OVER 50 — Risking $220 to win $200
[SNF] Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins
Spread: Dolphins -7.5
Moneylines: Steelers +220 / Dolphins -275
Analysis: Both teams’ uncertain quarterbacking situations have been a revolving door of drama all season long. That only adds to the difficulties of handicapping this game. Miami was the NFL’s darling a month ago when they were 3-0 and coming off an epic upset of the Bills. Since then, the Dolphins have dropped three straight and looked like a really bad team. In that span, they’re -9 in turnovers. Tua Tagovailoa returns for the Dolphins, but I’m not convinced that’s the lightswitch that Dolphins’ fans and bettors are counting on. Miami’s problems go much deeper than that. Their QB problems have little to do with a defense that ranks #24th overall, and #26th versus the pass. Let’s just say it — this defense sucks. Fortunately for Miami though, Pittsburgh will start Kenny Pickett at QB, who played a low-risk, error-free game last week (11/18 for 67 yards) before being knocked silly in the second half and getting replaced by retread Mitch Trubisky. Even with the Dolphins fielding a vulnerable defense, the Steelers don’t have the type of offense to pose much of a threat. The Steelers are #25th in the league in passing ( just 205 YPG, despite being behind in most games and being forced to throw). Pittsburgh is also #28th in the league in rushing (just 87 yards YPG). Oh, and they’re #30th in scoring. Given all these factors, taking +7.5 with the dog is probably the right side. That half-point is key. The UNDER fits here nicely, too. And the half-point on 44.5 is a key, as well. One assumes that if Miami struggles on offense and the game is low-scoring, that helps the dog with the UNDER. It’s rare for me to bet a parlay, but there’s an obvious correlation here. As tempting as those bets are to make, I’ll pass on an official selection. That said, if you are in a gambling mood, I like that as a parlay, and I (almost never) bet parlays unless they’re correlated.
The Pick: No Action.
[MNF] Chicago Bears at New England Patriots (Mon.)
Spreads: Patriots -8
Moneylines: Bears +285 / Patriots -360
Analysis: I’m already invested in this game since I took and touted New England on a teaser. The first leg of the teaser (Baltimore) won on Sunday, leaving the Patriots as a live ticket at -2 (teased down from -8). / I don’t normally cheerlead NFL coaches and players and wave pompoms, but Bill Belichick could make NFL history in this game if the Patriots extend their winning streak. He’s on trek for the second-most career wins, which is noteworthy from a betting perspective because this is the perfect national stage for the celebration — at home on MNF and playing George Halas’ old team, the Chicago Bears. I do think that intangible must be factored in, and perhaps it’s even shaded the line a little upward a point or two for New England. I can’t argue with any of this. / The Bears have lost three in a row. The offense remains downright offensive. And the passing game stinks — just 869 yards overall in six games, which sounds like an Army-Navy game in the 1940s. To show you how bad this passing offense is, note that half the teams in the NFL have at least twice as many passing yards as the Bears. Chicago averages just 11 pass completions PER GAME! Let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs — not so much at QB Justin Fields, who is running for his life on just about every passing down — but mostly on an offensive line that gives up more sacks than any other team (24). / Also of note, look for Bears head coach Matt Eberflus to gamble in this game, and I don’t mean he’s betting the Patriots at -8. The frustrated Chicago coach promised the Bears would make “wholesale changes from top to bottom,” and everything, from play calling to personnel on both sides of the ball, was at stake this week. That tells me some weird shit might happen, and things like that often blow up in their faces — especially when they lack skilled players. / New England has won two straight games and done so in very impressive fashion despite starting a 3rd-string rookie QB. In fact, there’s some controversy now about Mac Jones starting again after Bailey Zappe played so well. For now, Jones is expected to get the nod. / As for adding to the picks (the teaser is already in action), I’m doing something unusual in this game, which is to bet a prop at plus-money. If you like NWE -8 and lay -110 the better value is probably to bet NWE to win both halves. This means NWE must win the first half and the second half, as though they were two separate games. If NWE ties, or loses either, the wager loses. Incredibly, this prop pays +135. The Bears are the perfect team to fade on a prop like this because they have such a lousy offense. Assuming NWE comes out and take the early lead, I don’t think they take their foot off the gas. Belichick is notorious (glorious, if you bet on him) for running up scores, at times. This looks like the game he might do exactly that. So, assuming the Patriots have the lead at halftime, I don’t think they’ll let up in the second half with Belichick’s moment of glory in celebration. So now, you see why I included this tidbit into the write-up. That’s my prop bet on this game.
The Pick: TEASER (New England -2) / PROP: New England to win both halves on the moneyline (+135) — Risking $200 to win $270