2022 NFL Analysis and Picks (Week 11)
This week’s “Best Seat in the House” award belongs to my pal Chad Halloway, who went to the Dolphins-Bears game in Chicago a few weeks ago.
Here’s a little extra love for Chad, who had some great seats:
In previous weeks, Scott Byron (New York Giants-CLICK HERE), Bruce Kramer (Philadelphia Eagles-CLICK HERE), Noah Carbone (Miami Dolphins-CLICK HERE), Jason March (Las Vegas Raiders-CLICK HERE), Linda Kenney Baden/Dr. Michael Baden (New York Jets-CLICK HERE), Bob Jones (NFL London at Wembley Stadium-CLICK HERE), and Judd Greenagel (Minnesota Vikings-CLICK HERE) each shared their seat views. Photos were posted here in the weekly write-ups.
Note that anyone reading this can send a picture from their seats and I might use it in an upcoming report (email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a message via Facebook).
As for my analysis and picks, I hope you enjoy the weekly analysis and picks. They’re fun to write. It’s been a great run, so far. I have a few more comments about the release of games and my writings, which you can read below.
Here’s a recap of last week’s picks and results. It wasn’t pretty, but even on an off week, the final record ended up at 9-7 with a net win of +$230. If that’s a “bad” week, I’ll take it — 33 games over the .500 mark at midseason.
Atlanta / Carolina OVER 41.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
Seattle (First Half) + 1.5 at -115 — Laying $230 to win $200 ….. LOST
Tampa Bay (Game Line) -2.5 — Laying $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Jacksonville / Kansas City UNDER 51 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
PROP: S. Barkley (NYG) OVER 93 Rushing Yards — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Pittsburgh Steelers +1.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Detroit / Chicago OVER 48.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Detroit (Team Total) OVER 23.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Cleveland Browns +3.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
Denver / Tennessee OVER 37 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
Denver Team Total (First Half) OVER 8.5 (-125) — Risking $250 to win $200 ….. WON
Las Vegas Raiders -4.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
Indianapolis team Total UNDER 17.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200 ….. LOST
Dallas Cowboys -4 Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
Los Angeles Chargers +7.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Philadelphia Team Total (First Half) OVER 13.5 (-130) — Laying $290 to win $200 …. WON
Before discussing the NFL, first here’s part of my write-up (posted at Pointspreads.ca) on Sunday’s CFL championship game:
CFL 109th Grey Cup — Championship Game
Toronto vs. Winnipeg
Line: Blue Bombers -5.5
2022 Grey Cup Championship: The Game We All Expected — The Grey Cup championship game kicks off this Sunday at 4 pm local. Toronto Argonauts vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, seeking a 3rd straight CFL title and bragging rights to being a reigning dynasty. Many CFL fans and bettors expected these two teams to reach the final, so it’s no surprise to see both top seeds meet in the biggest game of the year. When the season began, the Blue Bombers were about 5-2 odds. The Argos went off at about 6-1. With just one game to play current odds now have Toronto at roughly 2-1 odds. So, what’s the best bet and prediction for what will happen this Sunday? My opinion is Winnipeg *should* win and cover and claim the CFL championship trifecta. But, I have a suspicion they won’t — they won’t cover the spread, that is. One reason why — the Grey Cup championship game has a history of being unpredictable. Underdogs have won half of the last ten games outright (five upsets). These two teams met just once during the regular season, way back in Week 4. Toronto took Winnipeg down to the final seconds, as the Bombers scored an unimpressive 23-22 win (but non-cover) over the Argos. With very cold temperatures, this could slow down both teams, and keep scoring lower than average. I like the underdog Argos to cover +5.5 points and the game to fall UNDER 47.5.
Now, it’s on to NFL Week 11.
NFL WAGERING RECORD (2022)
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $15,812.
Net Gain/Loss: + $5,812.
Last Week’s Results: 9 wins – 7 losses (+ $230.)
Carolina at Baltimore
Line: Ravens -13
Analysis: Few things are as nerve-racking as betting money on the Carolina Panthers. I mean, we’re betting on a team quarterbacked by a guy named “P.J.” That alone is cringe-worthy. After last week’s Panthers’ 25-15 home win and upset of the Falcons, just 4-days after they got blown out by the Bengals (halftime score was 35-0), I can’t figure out which Carolina team will show up from week to week. Despite last week’s surprising win, Carolina is now switching back to QB Baker Mayfield, who gets the start this week in Baltimore. So, replace injured P.J. and cringeworthy with Baker and us getting burned. Mayfield has scorched more betting bankrolls than a crypto scammer. According to reports, the Carolina staff knows this season’s basically gone into the shitter, but here’s a great opportunity to see if Mayfield has any future with the team. Perhaps if he plays well and somehow manages a respectable record for the remainder of the season, the Panthers might feel more confident he fits into the team’s future. What’s also underdetermined is the future of the Cats’ coaching staff, which has gone through a major upheaval. The four primary assistants have been fired in recent weeks, which means each these remaining games become an audition for the replacements. Don’t underestimate this as motivation (recall the Colts’ situation last week). The Panthers are under no pressure to win, yet have covered the spread in 3 of their last 4 games under interim coach Steve Wilks. Put another way, Wilks is 2-3 SU as head coach (and a missed field goal away from being 3-2). Looking at the Panthers’ status alone, getting +13 seems very generous. / Meanwhile, 6-3 Baltimore sits atop the AFC North and comes off a bye week, and has won four of its last five games. But those wins weren’t impressive — five of the last six Ravens’ games were decided by 5 or fewer points. So, this is a heavy amount of chalk to lift. The Ravens’ pass defense has been terrible this season, ranking #28th in the NFL. So, Mayfield has a favorable situation in his return. Obviously, Baltimore’s success (and cover potential) rests on the arm and legs of QB Lamar Jackson, who can be a game-changer one week, and a disaster the next. The Ravens are mediocre offensively and rank near the bottom in passing offense. So, this doesn’t look to be the explosive team necessary to blow out opponents by two touchdowns. So long as we can grab +13 (not 12.5 or lower), I think the underdog Panthers are worth a bet.
The Pick: Carolina Panthers +13 (Game Line -110) — Risking $220 to win $200
Chicago at Atlanta
Line: Falcons -3
Analysis: If I was to lay out the stats on the Bears’ rushing performances over the last four games, how would you think this team performed both straight up and against the spread? Last four Chicago games, the Bears ran the ball for 238-243-240-252-258 yards. Those are staggering numbers. That’s reminiscent of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins (who rushed for 211 YPG, yes, I looked it up). So, the Bears statistically are BETTER than one of the greatest NFL teams of all time. How bizarre is that? Oh, but now let’s examine their record in those games: Chicago lost 6 of its last 7 games SU, and is only 2-5 ATS. I mean, what the fuck! In all my years of handicapping games, I’ve never seen such a disparity of statistical figures juxtaposed against W-L results. The reason for this is simple, and I’ve written about it during the last two weeks in the weekly report. Bears’ management decided to scrap the defense before the trade deadline and gutted the few remaining talented pieces, resulting in a disastrous starting unit that’s incapable of keeping offenses off the field. The Bears score 30, but then give up 31. The Bears score 32 but give up 35. The Bears score 29 but give up 49. That’s the Bears’ story lately. / Atlanta had a golden opportunity to move to .500 and take over first place in the woeful NFC South, but then fell asleep and shit the bed at Carolina in their last game. That effort was a fucking disgrace ( can you tell I’m still pissed?). I can’t pick a side here, though the OVER looks tempting. What really appeals to me in this game is a player prop: QB Justin Fields OVER 72.5 yards rushing (-115). I realize this is a public play, and I tend to go contrarian on most wagers of this kind. However, Fields has been a one-man machine lately with his legs, rushing alone for 325 yards in just his last two games. Now, he gets to face a really, really bad #31st-ranked defense on the fast track inside a domed stadium. With breakaway speed and talent, Fields could get this yardage in chunks (he’s averaging about 9 YPC) as the Bears seem comfortable using his feet in the game plan (most teams shy away from QB rushes fearing injury, but Fields is every bit as explosive as any running back). In the last five outings, Fields has averaged 12.5 carries per game and excelled 82 yards rushing in four of those contests (the one miss, at Dallas, he still rushed for 60). The Falcons let the boring ass Panthers run wild for 232 yards last week. I don’t know how they’ll be able to contain Fields. I have no idea who wins this game or covers the line, but I sure like the Bears’ QB to get his yards on the ground in this situation.
The Pick: PROP BET: Justin Fields OVER 72.5 yards rushing (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200
Cleveland at Buffalo (game moved to Detroit)
Line: Bills -8
Analysis: Obviously, the big story here is the location move from Buffalo to Detroit, due to heavy snow. Nonetheless, the Lions’ stadium should still be packed with Bills fans, so it’s as close to a home game as possible. What concerns me is the possible interruption in preparation for both teams–especially Buffalo. I don’t have any insights into how practices may have been disrupted, especially when it comes to game planning. Things were normal at Cleveland’s practice facility this week, while Buffalo’s was shut down. The transfer of venues can’t be good for the Bills, in my opinion. They could use some work given recent performances. Buffalo flushed a victory down the toilet last week hosting Minnesota, losing by a FG in OT.QB Josh Allen took heat afterward for ill-timed turnovers, and the late fumble gift-wrapping a TD on the goalline was unforgivable. Buffalo has now lost two straight games, not what we expected from the team that was the Super Bowl favorite up through Week 8. I can’t lay more than a touchdown here, even though the indoor game in Detroit likely helps the Bills, who just have so many weapons on offense and are likely to enjoy advantages under ideal conditions. / But, I also can’t pull the trigger on the Browns after the pathetic display I saw in Miami last week (confession–I foolishly bet Cleveland plus the points). That effort was downright shameful, especially coming off a bye week. Now, the Browns face yet another high-octane offense, which really spells trouble for the defense. I don’t think Miami even punted until there were a few minutes left in the game. So, Buffalo could run wild given the situation. I really don’t know what to expect on picking a side. / The value that I see instead is in a prop, which is the interception total for Josh Allen. The O/U is .5, which means one interception hits the OVER. The vig is -130. Allen has struggled at times this season. He’s thrown 10 interceptions in 9 games, and 6 of those 9 games included at least 1 pick. So, laying -130 on the YES (or OVER) to the interception total appears to have good value. Buffalo also throws an above-average number of passes, so interceptions become more likely the more passes get thrown. Cleveland’s defense is nothing to brag about, ranking #18th in the NFL, and they don’t force many turnovers. Nonetheless, Allen has played somewhat erratically in-between moments of brilliance and I think there’s a better than 3:4 chance (-130) that he’ll toss a pick.
The Pick: PROP BET: Josh Allen Interception Total OVER .5 (-130) — Risking $260 to win $200
Detroit at NY Giants
Line: Giants -3
Analysis: I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about this matchup and am still left staring at the computer screen trying to figure out if I even want to touch this game, and where the value lies. Each spot that possibly tempts me, gets met with some equally compelling counterargument. Rather than play musical handicapping chairs, I’m probably going to pass on both the side and total. / Last week, I bet the RB Barkley rushing prop OVER, and he crushed it early in the 3rd quarter. Can I go back to the well once again, dip my wick in the wine, do a Jesus act, and pull out a bottle of Châteaux Margaux? Barkley is listed at 95 rushing yards this week, up just 2 yards from the previous game. What scares me is Barkley carried 35 times last week (35!) which is a real stress on the body. I can’t imagine Barkley could take another 30+ carries, unless the Giants want to turn their offensive star into a cube steak. But 20 carries might be enough to eclipse this rushing yardage total since the Lions are giving up 5.3 YPC, which ranks #30th in the NFL. Detroit is also the #31st-ranked rushing defense. They got steamrolled by Justin Fields (for 167) in Chicago last week, surrendering 258 yards overall on the ground. Now, headed for another road game, I’m not seeing where the Lions are going to plug the holes. So long as Barkley gets his usual 25 carries, I think we can go OVER this number with confidence. So, let’s head to the wishing well one more time.
The Pick: PROP BET: S. Barkley OVER 95 yards rushing (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200
LA Rams at New Orleans
Line: Saints -2.5
NY Jets at New England
Line: Patriots -3.5
Analysis: The Jets seem like the obvious play here, especially since they’re getting the hook on the FG in a divisional game which is a revenge spot. The ass-whipping the Patriots put on the Jets in the Meadowlands just three weeks ago lingers as a big concern. New England won the first match 22-17 in a game that was nowhere as close as the final score indicated. That result could indicate either of two things: (1) Coach Belichick’s dominance in this rivalry will continue, as the Pats have won 14 straight games in the series; and the Pats simply match up well in personnel against the Jets, or (2) This becomes a huge “statement” game for the Jets, who have a chance to move to 7-3 and exercise some old demons. Both franchises have done a terrific job this season, excelling expectations. The Jets being competitive for the first time in years is a testament to coach Robert Saleh, and the Patriots standing at 5-4 and still very much in the AFC East picture despite QB injuries/inexperience is just another notch in the Belichick belt. One hint that taking points is probably the right side, is the low total. I love getting points, especially more than a FG, in a divisional game that’s one of the lowest-totaled games of the season. Let’s also credit the Jets who have won and covered in five of their last six games, and won/covered all four of their road games this season.
The Pick: New York Jets +3.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Philadelphia at Indianapolis
Line: Eagles -7
Analysis: This is an intriguing game, which is much harder to predict than first thought. It will be interesting to see how the wounded Eagles react coming off their first loss of the season. Despite their impressive 8-1 record, Philadelphia hasn’t played well in the last few games, struggling against awful Houston and trailing much of the game, and losing to Washington. Now, they lay a full TD on the road, which is typically a good fade situation. I suspect we’re seeing some major RTTM here with the Eagles (return to the mean), which has overperformed and enjoyed major turnover differentials in the first half of the season. We’re now seeing that maybe Philadelphia isn’t quite in the elite class of the NFL’s top-5 teams. I stress the word “maybe.” Philadelphia seems due for a blowout win, and if they don’t deliver it this week against the Colts, then I’d be concerned going forward with the Eagles, especially when they’re laying lots of points. It doesn’t help the Eagles that they come off a MNF game on a short week and now must travel. Let’s also note that while Philadelphia is a perfect 4-0 in road games, they’re just 1-3 ATS. / Meanwhile, the Colts’ win at Las Vegas last week was a magician’s act. The first game for new head coach Jeff Saturday, and basically led by a staff with no significant NFL experience, and all Indy did was give the Raiders a facial, dominating most of the game, even with oyster-legged 38-year-old-going-on-79 Matt Ryan taking snaps. Can Indy possibly replicate that performance again, or come anywhere close to it? / There are some props here worth considering. If you can find any props related to Eagles sacks (against Colts), bet the OVER. The Colts have surrendered a putrid 36 sacks this season, tied for worst/most in the NFL. The Eagles ranked #4th in the league in getting to the QB, and just signed N. Suh to boost the defensive line. I expect the Eagles to get to immobile Ryan, who is an easy target. So, look to bet OVER on any of those related props. I also like Philadelphia to exceed their team total in the first half. We hit this bet on MNF, and the line has not adjusted. It’s 13.5 points at -110. The Eagles tend to start games strongly and have hit the 1H Team Total OVER in 10 of their last 12 games dating back to last season.
The Pick: PROP BET: Philadelphia Team Total (First-Half) OVER 13.5 points (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
Washington at Houston
Line: Commanders -3
Analysis: What a gutsy game by the Commanderskins last week at Philadelphia. Winning by double digits at 13-point underdogs, the biggest upset of the season. Washington forced 4 Eagles’ turnovers and earned a well-deserved win to get back at the .500 mark and remain very much alive in the wild-card race. Now, the Commanderskins get an entirely different level of opponent, facing the 1-7-1 Houston Texans, and this time uncharacteristically laying points as the road favorite. / Meanwhile, Houston is winless at home this season. Credit the Houstonians for a better-than-expected effort at NYG last week, and a valiant effort a few weeks ago hosting the then-undefeated Eagles. Despite their lowly record, Houston hasn’t looked like a horrible team. The real problem is the punchless Texans’ offense, ranking near the bottom of nearly every statistical category. It’s hard to win games when the offense averages just 16.5 PPG. Worse for the Texans, the Washington defense ranked #9 in the NFL and has kept SIX STRAIGHT opponents to 21 points or less (and that includes some of the best teams in the league, including Phila. and Minn.). Washington won’t need to score many points to win and cover here, and I think that’s worth a bet. Games like this sometimes turn into a trap for the false favorite, which comes off the biggest win of the season, while the betting market overreacts to the previous game. But we’ve seen no signs of life from the Texans’ offense, at all. Houston also allows 183 YPG rushing, worst in the NFL. Laying points on the road isn’t something I typically recommend in the NFL, but this number at -3 seems reasonable. I’ll take Washington.
The Pick: Washington Commanders -3 — Risking $220 to win $200
Las Vegas at Denver
Line: Broncos -3
Analysis: Where’s the GIF of the guy vomiting? Plug it in here. Man, what a shit game. I was wrong about both of these teams last week. I expected a bye week would potentially cure the Broncos’ offensive funk, but then they sleepwalked into Nashville last week and slumbered to a 10-point outburst against the Texans. After that debacle, I’ve now lost all faith in Denver’s offense, the clueless head coach Hackett, QB Russell Wilson (who seems painfully immobile and confused most of the time–even after 9 games), and any prospect of betting them to score points and exceed offensive expectations. They do get the perfect opponent this week, a bottom-of-the-shitpit of a franchise that’s coming off easily the most humiliating franchise defeat in many years, getting thumped by a high school team from Indianapolis at home. Las Vegas has allowed 20+ points in every game this season, including 25-27-24 versus Colts-Jaguars-Saints, which are three of the worst offensive units in the NFL. So, Denver has ZERO excuses to not put up at least in the mid-20s. NONE. What’s troubling is — the Broncos scored 16 or fewer points in seven of nine games. There’s so little trust in either team that it’s difficult to find a good betting angle. The only standout on the field is Denver’s terrific defense, which ranks #2nd in the NFL in YPG. That’s incredible, given how little support this unit gets from the offense, which loses the time of possession battles and gives the Denver defense essentially no help. Eight of nine Denver games went UNDER the total, but 41.5 is a low number, especially for a Raiders game. That’s the only thing that keeps me off making a play on Las Vegas +1.5 in the first half. The Raiders average 12 PP1H this season while Denver is just at 9 PP1H. Denver is just 3-6 this season vs. the 1H line. So, the edge clearly goes to the Raiders as a competitive team in most first halves, which has built leads and then let them slip away in the 2H (Raiders blew three 17-0+ leads this season). I’m weighing the value of the Raiders getting points in the 1H vs. an opponent with a weak offense, and a clear advantage in data points VS. the fact that the Broncos can be a suffocating defense that shuts down the opposition. I want to bet this, but will pass for now.
The Pick: No Action
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Line: Bengals -3.5
Analysis: My first question is — how many points is T.J. Watt worth to the Steelers? Based on the reigning NFL “Defensive Player of the Year”s return to the Steelers defense in last week’s game, I bet the Steelers as underdogs, who won outright. One metric measured Watt as being worth 7 points to the Steelers which is ridiculous, but let’s also don’t underestimate a player of this caliber lifting the rest of the team. I rarely start my analysis based on one player, unless is a star QB. However, Watt is that exception. With him on the field, the Steelers are a different (much better) team. / Pittsburgh upset Cincinnati in the first week of the season. The game went down to the final seconds, despite the Bengals committing five turnovers, and some horrid offensive line play. I don’t think that means much here. The Bengals come in well-rested off a bye, and a previous shellacking of their opponent by 3 TDs. / What’s problematic with betting on Pittsburgh is the Steelers’ offense, averaging just 13 PPG over their last five contests. They’ve failed to break the 20-point mark all season. Also, when they score, it’s not pretty. The longest Pittsburgh TD this season: 8 yards. Just wow. But the Steelers also have some impressive trends that are impossible to ignore: Coach Mike Tomlin is 16-4-2 ATS as a home dog, the best of any head coach over the past 20 seasons, and in his games as a home dog versus a division opponent, Tomlin has yet to suffer a loss ATS—a perfect 7-0. / There’s lots of love for the UNDER and it’s easy to see why, but I can’t pull the trigger. I have a slight lean toward Pittsburgh in the first half getting +1.5 points (-115). But I will pass on the wager, for now.
The Pick: No Action
Dallas at Minnesota
Line: Cowboys -1.5
Analysis: What the fuck? Dallas is favored in this game? Why? Aren’t the Vikings 8-1, and presumptively the NFC’s top seed? This is the Cowboys’ 4th straight NFC North opponent, and second straight road game. I don’t get it–why the Cowboys are favored. I also came across this remarkable stat in my research: This is the first time since 1976 that a team with at least an 8-1 record is a home underdog with its 1st-string quarterback starting. So, it makes no sense. I’ve never been a Cousin Kirk fan, and am not sold on the Vikings as a top-tier team. And my disdain for the Cowboys is well known. Despite all the bias, Minnesota seems like the obvious pick here. They just somehow find ways to make plays and win when things count. Moreover, no player other than a few star QBs changes a defensive scheme more than having to cover WR Jefferson, who is coming off a spectacular 10-catch nearly 200-yard game at Buffalo last week. He’s a game-changer. There could be some valid concerns that Minnesota comes in off a mentally and physically draining OT game last week in Buffalo (and before that in Washington) to face the explosive Cowboys. But Dallas went through a meat-grinder game last week, as well, blowing the game late against the Packers. I think the play here is to tease Minnesota, taking the +1.5 and moving that up to +7.5 with the extra points. I’ll play Minnesota to keep this within the TD, and combine it with the Sunday night game.
The Pick: TEASER: Minnesota +7.5 / LA Chargers +11.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200
[SNF] Kansas City at LA Chargers
Line: Chiefs -5.5
Analysis: Everything in this game from a handicapping standpoint depends on the injury situation for the Chargers. If healthy, the Chargers can stick with the Chiefs, especially as home dogs. But if this team is anywhere close to the MASH unit we saw in San Francisco last week, with their 2nd and 3rd stringers desperately trying to keep pace with a better team, then the Chargers will have zero chance. Even super-talented QB Justin Herbert can’t overcome getting no pass protection, receivers running wrong routes, and quick three-and-outs that place way too much pressure on the defense. The last reports I’ve seen say the LAC are getting a number of their starters back just in time to face the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. According to the team’s final injury report, every player except for one was a full participant in Friday’s practice, including both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. However, both remain listed as questionable. That’s probably why the line hasn’t moved much, and is still heavily in favor of the Chiefs. I’m counting on the Chargers to certainly be healthier, and at near full strength, which makes them an attractive bet both as a side wager and a teaser wager. Typically, I stay away from games with high totals on teasers (O/U 52), because more points creates far greater volatility 9and I hate high-scoring games, which are much tougher to handicap). Teasing teams is always preferable in games totaled up to around 42. Anything over 50 is (for me) usually an automatic pass on teasing. / Trends are strange in this matchup. Kansas City has absolutely dominated this AFC West rivalry series, but that has not translated into ATS covers of late. The Chiefs are 14-3 SU in their last 17 games vs. the Chargers. However, LAC are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games — including a nail-biting 27-24 loss (but easy cover) early in the season at Arrowhead. Wagering against Kansas City can sometimes end up looking like the dumbest bet of the day when Reid and Mahomes’ team is clicking. Despite those fears, a healthier Chargers team at home playing their rival and teased up to double digits is appealing. So, I’ll take the dog at +11.5.
The Pick: TEASER: LA Chargers +11.5 (with Minnesota +7.5) (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200
[MNF] San Francisco vs. Arizona (at Mexico City)
Line: 49ers -8
Analysis: Kyler Murray will reportedly be a game-time decision for the Cardinals. If he doesn’t play, that leaves Colt McCoy to start another road game. In my estimation, Murray is worth 4-5 points to the Cardinals. I’d make this line SFO -3 on a neutral site (Mexico City). McCoy played well at LA Rams last week, but his performance was muddled by the Rams also starting a backup QB, so the win is with an asterisk. Under these circumstances, I don’t see much need to go into lots of handicapping details about the teams, which have both been inconsistent all season. Throw out trends, as well, since the game is played in Mexico, only adding to the randomness. / Where I do see value is in the FG props. Most NFL games have the “Longest FG” prop at around 46, which is standard (barring inclement weather or really bad kickers). Here, the O/U on long FG is 46.5, which should be adjusted. Keep in mind, this is the highest altitude game you will ever see in the NFL, since Mexico, DF is at 7300 feet. Even “Mile High” Denver at 5200 feet is relatively a speed bump compared to this venue, and Denver games typically include more long-FG attempts and makes. So, I suspect both coaches might give their kickers a bit more free reign here to kick beyond the 50-yard mark. We could even see a few 60-yard attempts, let’s hope. / Four years ago, a game was scheduled in Mexico City, but the wimp-ass NFL moved the game at the last minute because of poor field conditions (what petty bullshit). I love natural grass, mud games, and real football. But the NFL wants rubber grass, domes, and cheap points. I think these factors make certain the field won’t be sloppy again, as Mexico City wants to make sure they keep the annual NFL hosting tradition. So, while field conditions would normally help the UNDER (harder to run on deeper grass), and also impede placekicking, I don’t think it factors here. So, that is another reason to like long FGs being kicked.
The Pick: PROP: Longest Field Goal OVER 46.5 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200
[TNF] Tennessee at Green Bay
Line: Packers -3.5
Analysis: We get our first taste of a winter-weather NFL game tonight when the Tennessee Titans (6-3) snowplow into frigid Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers (4-6). Snow is falling on game day, and kickoff temperatures will be in the 20s (note that the field is now covered, and conditions could change at kickoff). / This is an intriguing matchup for several reasons. Tennessee doesn’t impress anyone with their performances this season, yet all they do is win games and cover pointspreads. Tennessee is 7-2 ATS this season, one of the best marks in the NFL. The Titans, who were last year’s top seed in the AFC, are well on their way to yet another AFC South title, and barring unforeseen disaster, will get it. / Green Bay is quite another story. The Packers were crippled by a 5-game losing streak prior to their dramatic comeback 31-28 win in overtime against Dallas. That victory saved the Packers’ season, at least for another week. While Green Bay won’t win the NFC North this season, they still could factor into the Wild Card chase. Defeating Tennessee would be a huge step forward and a confidence builder for a team that’s been struggling all season. / It makes no sense that Tennessee is getting more than a field goal. This is a power-run team, and the weather conditions could actually work in their favor. / On the other hand, the Packers may have finally broken out of a funk. They put up their best offensive performance of the season against the Cowboys last Sunday. Green Bay eclipsed 22 points for the first time since Week 4. Contrast this with Tennessee’s offense which has struggled to score and hasn’t posted more than 21 points in each of its last five outings. Now back from injury. QB Ryan Tannehill is battling a bad ankle and the Titans’ lackluster passing game ranks #27th in the NFL. That places lots of pressure on superstar RB Derrick Henry, who has crushed the opposition for 731 yards rushing in the past six games. / While the Titans have a much better record than the Packers, betting markets aren’t respecting those wins or the team’s current victory streak. Tennessee has taken recent wins against Denver, Houston, Washington, Las Vegas, and Indianapolis (twice) — all of which are losing teams (sans Washington, at .500) with a combined 15-30-2 SU mark on the year. / Bottom line: This is a tough game to predict. If forced to make a pick, we probably take the Titans because of the value with the hook on the field goal. There’s also the fact underdogs of +3.5 or greater are crushing it this season Then, add a lower-than-average game total and less scoring expected, and getting points becomes even more valuable. Even if Green Bay wins, they haven’t shown any capability to blow away opponents, especially versus a team as good as the Titans. The Packers have also been slow starting most of the season, trailing at halftime in a majority of games this season. I lean towards Tennessee +3.5 for the game and will bet Tennessee in the first half +1.5.
The Pick: Tennessee Titans +1.5 (First Half) — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON