NFL Week #13
Back in the black now, barely — after last week’s small win.
On to this week’s plays, which are listed below.
2018 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $10,064. [+ $64.]
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 42 wins / 41 loses / 3 pushes
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 4-3-0 (+$410)
BUFFALO + 3.5 vs. JACKSONVILLE — WON $300
NY GIANTS / PHILADELPHIA OVER 48.5 — LOST $330
CAROLINA -3 vs. SEATTLE — LOST $330
MIAMI +8.5 vs. INDIANAPOLIS — WON $300
SNF: GREEN BAY / MINNESOTA OVER 47.5 — LOST $330
MNF: HOUSTON -4 vs. TENNESSEE — WON $300
6-POINT TEASER: NEW ENGLAND -3.5 / BALTIMORE -4.5 — WON $500
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: (Note: All lines are taken from Westgate Las Vegas as of Saturday afternoon):
BUFFALO +4 vs. MIAMI — Risking $550 to win $500
FIRST HALF: BUFFALO +3 (-120) — Risking $360 to win $300
Bills were widely considered the NFL’s worst team in late September. Two months later, there’s some chance they could reach the .500 mark (four of their five final games are very winnable). Buffalo has played well its last two games, destroying NY Jets on the road, and defeating Jacksonville at home. Buffalo hasn’t been a favorite in any game this season, some indication that they’re still undervalued. I like what I’ve seen on both sides of the ball from the Bills, who field a decent defense. Buffalo has also scored 65 points the last two games. This week, they draw a deflated opponent, losers of 4 of their last 5, which should have won the previous week. Miami should obviously be favored at home, but laying -4 seems a bit high. Bills playing better at the moment and are certainly capable of an outright win. It appears Buffalo is still playing hard while I’m not so sure we’ll see a top effort from Dolphins this week. Playing the dog, which looks to have sharper teeth. Also taking the full +3 and laying -120 in the IH. Capturing the key number makes this worth a wager.
TAMPA BAY +3.5 vs. CAROLINA — Risking $330 to win $300
Carolina is falling apart, losers of three straight. What’s failing the Panthers is their defense, which has allowed 30 PPG average the last five contests. Given Carolina’s mounting troubles, I’m not sure why they’re laying more than a FG on the road to a division rival. Division home dogs are intrinsically attractive wagers anyway because these teams know each other well, which makes for (often) closer, somewhat unpredictable games. Obviously, this is a must win, desperation game for Carolina, but that doesn’t always translate into victory. Teams that “must” win are in that situation because they’re flawed. Last week, Buc’s QB Winston was probably down to his last start with this organization and rose to the occasion in a big way with one of his best career games. Back at home again (the Bucs play three straight home games), this should be another mission statement game for the home dog, which is in a big revenge spot against a rival. Carolina rolled up the score in the previous meeting, but that final was somewhat misleading. It was a one-score game until late. I’m glad to fade a team with a struggling defense which has lost three straight, laying points on the road against a team that still looks to have some fight based on their previous two efforts.
FIRST HALF: LA Chargers +2 vs. PITTSBURGH — Risking $330 to win $300
Steelers have been notoriously slow starters in the first half this season. Not sure what’s the issue with game preparation, but Pittsburgh isn’t building early leads characteristic of years past. Meanwhile, Chargers have won 7/8 (the sole loss a bizarre defeat at home to Denver, even though LAC led by double digits at one point). Chargers clearly come prepared to play and the later start (8 pm) also helps with the travel situation going West to East. Expecting this to be a close game, so lets bet the dog and take the points in the opening two frames.
TEASER: BALTIMORE +8.5 vs. ATLANTA / TENNESSEE -2 vs. NY JETS — Risking $360 to win $300
Playing the Wong teaser on one dog and one favorite over the key numbers. Baltimore might be a better team with QB Jackson starting. Ravens have a shot at solidifying a Wild Card bid with a win here, and fresh off a two-game winning streak, they should keep this within the margins. Meanwhile, Atlanta has looked awful recently, failing to crack the 20-point margin on offense for three straight weeks. Playing Baltimore probably isn’t the best opponent to solve those woes. ATL is also 0-10 ATS their last ten games versus AFC, which tells me the coaching staff might not be up to par on preparing against unfamiliar opponents. This game should be close. So, taking the dog at +8.5 on the teaser looks to have some added value.
In the Tennessee-NY Jets game, this is a play on a team that simply plays much better football at home than on the road. Titans are 3-1 at home, and close out the season with the most favorable spot of any time — with 4/5 games in Nashville. This should inspire a very solid effort this week against a team that’s become the AFC’s punching bag. After a promising early start, the Jets have been horrific, especially on offense where they have scored 17 points or less in five straight games. QB Sam Darnold is listed as questionable, but I don’t think that’s much a factor. This is one of the worst-coached team in football. Against a motivated team still with something to play for given the long homestretch, the Titans should show their superiority and cover the teased-down number.
OTHER GAMES / SOME THOUGHTS
I want no piece of Jacksonville, losers of 7 straight and now starting a garbage QB under a new OC, after letting the previous chump go last week. Even though Indy is hot at the moment, and the Colts are clearly primed to win, a few things keep me off this game — Colts not being in the characteristic role of a favorite and the Jags defense, which despite from problems this season can still make a long day for any QB. This is a pass.
Cleveland is a strong lean, which appears to be playing better after the coaching change and pressure off. Meanwhile, Houston is among the NFL’s hottest teams at the moment. I think this is a flat spot for the home favorites following a big MNF in last week. Look for dog Browns to make a game of this. Texans don’t roll up big scores and win by large margins very often.
It’s either Chicago -3 or nothing in the game at NY Giants. The G-men have to be deflated after seeing their season go down the drain last week, blowing a 16-point lead to rival Philadelphia. Bears defense is solid and should feast on a bad offensive line and QB who makes lots of mistakes. OVER 44 is also tempting.
Cincinnati is a clown show from the front office on down. They have 13 players listed as injured this week. QB Dalton is also out, probably a positive for the Bengals since they desperately need a spark from somewhere. There’s no way to play Cincy given how they’ve collapsed the last month. Moreover, the Cincy defense is horrendous — probably the worst in football. However, Denver doesn’t play well on the road and I sure as hell am not laying -5 with Case Keefer at QB, even though Broncos have looked much better their last four games. Game is a pass on the side and perhaps an UNDER on the total.
I won’t lay -10 in the NFL in most situations, even a presumed mismatch like this game. Something tells me Detroit might pull a major upset here. This team seems to play much better under Matt Stafford’s leadership when no one expects anything from them (recall their upset versus New England earlier). This is also the third straight home game for Lions, a big advantage. I’d be very careful about laying points with Rams here. It’s either Detroit +10, or no wager.
How’s it possible Green Bay is laying two TDs to anyone? Oh, they must be playing Arizona. Cardinals made a mistake drafting QB Rosen, who one can see simply isn’t ready to start, and might not ever be. Even worse, the Cardinals are letting OC Byron Leftwich call the plays, which has been baffling to witness. Wish I could lay -14 here, but I won’t. Better play might be UNDER 43, because Cardinals will have trouble scoring points in these conditions with no proven passing game. Look for Arizona to keep it on the ground, since they know they can’t win an offensive shootout against Aaron Rodgers.
As I’ve said earlier, I won’t lay large spreads on the road, especially in divisional games. Oakland might be worth a look at +14 if you have to make a play. But I think there are better places to invest money on this card rather than a team that has looked lost during most of the last two months.
I might play New England -5 versus Minnesota. Patriots have been on road 4/5 games and now return home. This looks to be a game they’ll be ready for.
What a dreadful spot for San Francisco, playing two straight on the road after getting smashed in Tampa Bay last week. I won’t lay -10 with Seahawks. But I’m giving UNDER 46.5 a really serious look. 49ers might have trouble scoring in the game. Seattle now very much alive for a playoff spot.
The MNF game is probably the Eagles -5.5 or nothing. Can’t wager on inconsistent Redskins at the moment. Probably a pass.
MY WAGERS ON NFL SEASON WIN TOTALS [UPDATED]:
Arizona Cardinals OVER 5.5 wins -180 — Wagering $450 to win $250 2-9
Buffalo Bills OVER 6 wins EVEN — Wagering $400 to win $400 4-6
Cincinnati Bengals OVER 6.5 wins -170 — Wagering $680 to win $400 5-6
Dallas Cowboys UNDER 8.5 wins +110 — Wagering $500 to win $550 7-5
Detroit Lions UNDER 7.5 wins EVEN — Risking $400 to win $400 4-7
Houston Texans UNDER 8.5 wins +120 — Risking $400 to win $480 7-3
Jacksonville Jaguars OVER 9 wins -145 — Risking $725 to win $500 3-7
Indianapolis Colts UNDER 6.5 wins +170 — Risking $400 to win $680 6-5
New Orleans Saints OVER 9.5 wins -145 — WON $500
Seattle Seahawks UNDER 8 wins (Best Bet) -150 — Risking $1,500 to win $750 6-5