NFL Week #16: Picks and Analysis
2018 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $10,924. [+ $924.]
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 53 wins / 49 loses / 4 pushes
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 3-3-0 (+ $110)
MIAMI +7.5 vs. MINNESOTA — LOST $330
CINCINNATI -3 vs. OAKLAND — WON $300
CHICAGO -5 vs. GREEN BAY — WON $500
NY GIANTS +1 vs. TENNESSEE — LOST $330
NEW ENGLAND -2 vs. PITTSBURGH — LOST$330
TEASER: BALTIMORE -2 / DETROIT +8.5 — WON $300
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: (Note: All lines are taken from Westgate Las Vegas as of Saturday afternoon):
WASHINGTON +11 vs. TENNESSEE — Risking 330 to win $300
Redskins remain alive in the playoff race, which may provide just enough motivation to show up here and keep the margin within single digits. While Titans have played their best two games of the season over the previous two weeks, this isn’t a team exactly known for its consistency. Certainly, it’s uncharacteristic for Titans to lay anything close to -11 at home. Given QB Mariota’s erratic performances over the course of his career, I want no part of Tennessee laying this many points. Naturally, the Titans will rely heavily on RB Henry to carry the load and he’s been on a roll recently. But NFL running backs rarely post huge numbers with many carries week-to-week. While I’m rightly concerned about Washington’s weak QB situation, it should be noted the Redskins somehow managed a road win last week and with some time to prepare should be able to keep pace with Titans. I’m still reminded of Tennessee’s home abomination a month ago when they fell behind 16-0 to the awful Jets, in a non-cover. I’ll take the chance with a feisty Redskins team that’s still seemingly playing hard despite the longshot offs of advancing to playoffs.
LA CHARGERS -4 vs. BALTIMORE — Laying $220 to win $200
Chargers with extra rest and with a shot to win the division and home field should inspire a strong effort here. I’ve been bullish on Baltimore lately with Jackson at QB, 4-1 now as a starter, but Ravens weren’t in sync last week against a bad Tampa Bay defense. Several key plays were the result of Lamar Jackson running the ball, which isn’t a winning formula against top teams and certainly won’t get the Ravens far in the playoffs. While Baltimore’s defense is worthy of respect, I don’t think Ravens can keep up with Chargers here in a bad travel spot against rested and motivated team. I’ll lay the -4 and look for Chargers to continue playing solid against the league’s better teams.
TEASER: DALLAS -1 / MINNESOTA (PICK) — Risking $1,200 to win $1,000
This looks like one of the best teasers of the season. I’ll lay -120 on the prospect that both Dallas and Minnesota will get the job done and win critical games on Sunday:
Dallas has played well at home and coming off a humiliating shutout, I expect Cowboys will rebound strongly here against a weak opponent coming off a few losses with little to play for. Tampa Bay didn’t look good at Baltimore last week and faces another strong defense. Dallas gave up 23 at Indy last week, but that’s no shame given the way the Colts have been playing. Cowboys have certainly been a better offense since the acquisition of WR Cooper. With solid rushing attack, good defense, and legit deep threat, they should have enough weapons to win at home against a team that appears to be playing out the string of remaining games.
Minnesota doesn’t inspire confidence as a road favorite, but Vikings did look much better after the OC change last week. This is more a wager against Detroit which is struggling with injuries and looks to have few passing threats to assist a hobbled QB Stafford, who has not played well the last month. Lions struggled in a loss to Buffalo last week and face a better defense and what could be a rejuvenated Vikings team aiming for a wild card spot. In the first meeting, Vikings destroyed Lions up front, sacking Stafford 8 times. This doesn’t look like a favorable situation for Lions to pull off an upset. I won’t lay -6, but can be more confident that Minnesota will win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
BUFFALO +13.5 vs. NEW ENGLAND — Risking $330 to win $300
Call me crazy, but I’m taking the Josh Allen QB-ed team over Tom Brady. Bills defense has been quietly very good most of the season. In the first meeting, Buffalo didn’t allow Patriots to score an offensive TD until midway into the 4th quarter, so this staff and group of players are certainly capable of making things tougher than expected for New England. While the Patriots have played much better at home this season, the Patriots have also lost five games and have shown signs of age/injuries/weaknesses. I think it’s asking a bit too much for New England to flip a switch and cover two touchdowns, particularly versus a divisional opponent who has shown ability to be formidable on the defensive side of the ball.
ATLANTA -2.5 vs. CAROLINA — Risking $330 to win $300
It doesn’t make much sense to lay points with Falcons on the road, but this is a unique situation where Carolina has mailed it in for the season. Panthers had a shot to stay alive last week, but lost to New Orleans on MNF and now off a short week they must play another division rival, this time with a QB getting his first NFL start. Panthers offense looks to be a non threat and since Atlanta still appears to be playing with some pride as evidenced by a blowout of Arizona last week, I’ll lay the number here and expect Falcons to show enough offense to cover this number.
CINCINNATI +9 vs. CLEVELAND — Risking $330 to win $300
FIRST HALF: CINCINNATI +6 — Risking $220 to win $200
I’ll take the Bengals in a rivalry rematch game getting generous points. Bengals showed some life in home win last week and will certainly take this game seriously against cross-state Browns. While Cleveland has made tremendous progress, I don’t think they deserve to be laying this kind of number against anyone, not yet.
SAN FRANCISCO +4.5 vs. CHICAGO — Risking $330 to win $300
If 49ers can defeat Seattle in an upset (last week), I see no reason they won’t hang tough with Chicago, which comes into a bad spot after two huge home wins. San Francisco has shown some life in the role as underdog. Getting +4.5 is more than enough points to make a play on the home dog, forecasting a mild letdown for Bears. Chicago still doesn’t look quite right on offense, so getting points is usually the right play in such a situation.
PITTSBURGH/NEW ORLEANS OVER 53 — Risking $330 to win $300
I don’t often touch high totals in domes but with two Hall of Fame QBs and so much on the line for both teams, I’m expecting a game that should land well over this number. It’s hard to see how Steelers will slow down New Orleans, which returns home after three straight road games in which the offense struggled. Looks like an excellent spot for Saints to return to form against Steelers who have given up yards and points when facing top-caliber offenses (LAC and KC). Meanwhile, Pittsburgh should be able to produce in ideal conditions with a passing attack that’s one of the league’s best.
OAKLAND + 3 vs. DENVER — Risking $330 to win $300
FIRST HALF: OAKLAND +1 — Risking $220 to win $200
Could be the last game ever at Oakland Coluseum which combined with a rare MNF home game should inspire some effort from the underdog. Oakland has sporadically played very well, and QB Carr’s remarkable 8-game no-interception streak (which finally came to an end last week) shows me signs he’s not making mistakes and should have the Raiders offense somewhat in gear. Denver has no business laying points on the road, which has been dismal as an away team. Given the emotions of the night with the Raiders playing perhaps their final game in Oakland against a deflated opponent that doesn’t travel well, that’s more than enough for me to grab the +3 with the very live dog.
OTHER GAMES / THOUGHTS
JAX-MIA — I wish I could lay points against Jacksonville, but there’s no way I’m backing Miami after that gutless performance last week. Dolphins do play much better at home and are probably the right side. However, Jags defense is capable of keeping the dogs in the game and covering. Other better plays on the board so this is a pass.
NYG-IND — NYG have also surrendered for the season, evidenced by a horrible effort at home last week. Indy is on a roll, and probably worth laying the points. But -9 is a little too high for me to wager with confidence. Pass.
HOU-PHL — Eagles are worth a look laying -2.5. Shockingly good effort by Philadelphia last week. Eagles could be in first place were it not for some horrible officiating in Dallas. The QB change to Foles appears not to have affected Eagles offense. I’m leaning towards the favorite, but with Texans also playing well, I’ll skip this one. Reportedly, RB Miller will miss the game with injury for Houston, but I don’t think that’s as big a factor as the line may suggest.
GB-NYJ — Another game I want no part of. Odd to see Packers laying points in second consecutive road game, even if it is against Jets. Presumably, Green Bay is still forecasted to be playing with some pride since QB Rogers will get the start. There was some apparent discussion he’d rest the remainder of season in order to rest and groom the backup. I’m not sure what the Packers are thinking here.
LAR-ARZ — Lost all respect for the Rams as a serious contender for Super Bowl last week, which looked badly coached, inept, and really bad on defense. Team is clearly in a funk right now and while they should blow out a very bad Cardinals team, I won’t ever play two touchdowns on the road. So, this is a pass.
KC-SEA — No interest in this game.
MY WAGERS ON NFL SEASON WIN TOTALS [UPDATED]:
Arizona Cardinals OVER 5.5 wins -180 — LOST $450
Buffalo Bills OVER 6 wins EVEN — Wagering $400 to win $400 5-9
Cincinnati Bengals OVER 6.5 wins -170 — Wagering $680 to win $400 6-8
Dallas Cowboys UNDER 8.5 wins +110 — Wagering $500 to win $550 8-6
Detroit Lions UNDER 7.5 wins EVEN — WON $400
Houston Texans UNDER 8.5 wins +120 — LOST $400
Jacksonville Jaguars OVER 9 wins -145 — LOST $725
Indianapolis Colts UNDER 6.5 wins +170 — LOST $400
New Orleans Saints OVER 9.5 wins -145 — WON $500
Seattle Seahawks UNDER 8 wins (Best Bet) -150 — Risking $1,500 to win $750 8-6