NFL Week #6 Picks
In the nearly century-long history of pro football, it’s hard to think of a more monarchial player name than Yelberton Abraham Tittle.
Better known as Y.A. Tittle, the former LSU college star and Most Valuable Player of the 1947 Cotton Bowl spent 16 years as a journeyman quarterback in the NFL. To this day, he still holds the record for the most touchdown passes in a single game (7). Tittle also played in three league championship games. However, he ended his career as a bloodied and battered castoff with the New York Giants. His team went 2-11-1 during that miserable final season.
Tittle’s career has pretty much faded from memory. However, one sliver of his legacy continues, and it’s because of an iconic image of him taken by photographer Morris Berman. The Pulitzer-prize winning photo was shot at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field in during a bitter 1964 loss to the Steelers. Snapped the instant Tittle collapses to his knees, with streams of blood and sweat pouring down his forehead, his facial expression reveals that sometimes defeat produces a rare moment of valor.
Y.A. Tittle died last week at the age of 90.
2017 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $11,890.
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 19 wins / 10 loses
Week #1 — 3 wins, 4 losses = net -$250
Week #2 — 1 win, 0 losses = net +$350
Week #3 — 7 wins, 2 losses = net +$1,070
Week #4 — 1 win, 1 loss = net -$20
Week #5 — 7 wins, 3 losses = net +740
Last week, I touted the angle to bet on all the winless teams (after Week #5), which has produced about 60 percent winners dating back nearly 30 seasons. The angle produced 2 wins and 2 losses, although one of the games (SD at NYG) pitted two winless teams against each other.
This leaves 3 winless teams heading into Week #6 — including San Francisco, NY Giants, and Cleveland. Typically, I would continue betting this angle blindly. However, two of these dogs appear to have way too many fleas and a few tics. NY Giants are an absolute wreck of a team, suffering multiple injuries, internal discord, and even a major suspension this week over discipline. Although the Giants are getting a whopping +12.5 at Denver (that line would have been +5 a month ago), I can’t pull the trigger on such a “Giant” mess.
Cleveland would be another “bet on” winless team. Sure, there are signs the Browns have some talent, particularly on the defense. But they’re starting yet another quarterback this week, on the road, which makes me think the Browns offense will continue to struggle. This becomes a no bet for that reason. Also, don’t like fading Houston here again at home with extra prep time coming off a loss. They might feast on the Browns.
That leaves San Francisco, which although they’re 0-5 has been a pointspread covering machine. 49ers are 4-1 against the spread this season. This week, they catch +10.5 at Washington. That’s way too many points. So, I’m going with the 49ers.
Otherwise, this looks like a tough card. Here are my wagers and thoughts on all the games this week (FOUR WAGERS):
San Francisco at Washington
San Francisco playing tough every week. Only blowout loss was a month ago to the Rams. I’m concerned by the coast-to-coast factor and the 49ers playing third straight game on the road. Niners have also lost 9 games in a row on the East Coast. That’s often a problem for teams, especially those that struggle. But these factors seem to be more than compensated in a game line that’s moved from +9 (opener) to +10.5 (current). Washington has some injuries. Their defense is vulnerable. Look for the road-weary visitors to have enough punch to keep this score within single digits and thus get the cover.
BETTING SAN FRANCISCO +10.5 RISKING $220 TO WIN $200
Green Bay at Minnesota
Vikings are 4-2 straight up against Packers with defensive guru Mike Zimmer in command. I expect the game plan will be solidly run-oriented and conservative with backup Keenum starting at QB. Last thing MIN wants here is a shootout, which probably kills off MIN chances for victory. Hence, I’m looking for MIN to run lots of clock here, which should help the UNDER. GB coming off a huge win last week plays another tough road game, this time against division rival. That spells trouble in my opinion. It’s tough to bet the UNDER in a Packers’ game, but this is the week points should be in short supply. Total hasn’t adjusted much to change at QB for MIN (Bradford out with injury), dropping from 47 to 46. I’m looking for a close game to be decided by a late field goal — 23-20 sounds about right.
BETTING UNDER 46 RISKING $220 TO WIN $200
Chicago at Baltimore
I’ll lay what seems to be a low number with Ravens — giving just -5 to inept Bears. BALT has been a tough place to place for rookie QBs, as Harbaugh’s teams have gone 9-0 at home in this situation. CHI is dead last in turnover margin, and BALT defense creates turnovers. Looks like a terrible recipe for any possible Bears; road upset. I’ll lay the points in a game where I think the line should be closer to -7. Note: LIne moved because Ravens leading WR is late injury scratch, but I don’t think this will matter.
BETTING BALTIMORE -5 RISKING $220 TO WIN $200
Tampa Bay at Arizona
ARZ is a mess at the moment, impossible to bet on given their offensive ineptitude. QB Palmer is at the tail end of his career. The offensive line is injury-riddled (two linemen are returning this week, but one has to worry if they’re ready). The Cards have no running game (ranks dead last) and had to make a midseason trade for ancient Adrian Peterson, this week. Hard to see ARZ offense scoring many points. TB has been wildly inconsistent, although game line moved from ARZ -1 to TB -2.5. I think the better play is to wager on the UNDER. We get an added bonus with UNDER play since TB has been having some serious kicking issues.
BETTING UNDER 46 RISKING $220 TO WIN $200
THOUGHTS ON OTHER GAMES:
Houston would be a play to blow out Cleveland, but Browns defense is playing just well enough to keep me off this game.
NY Jets have won three straight and have the defense to slow down QB Brady and Patriots. However, NWE has won ten straight on the road and a staggering 23 straight with Brady as starter versus NYJ. To their credit, NYJ has split the last four games played in NJ against Patriots, even with some horrible teams. All four of those games were decided by a touchdown or less. I’d bet NYJ here in a heartbeat. What keeps me off the game is 10-day prep time for NWE and some fear the defense might improve and completely shut down NYJ based on their impressive performance last week at TB.
Many expect ATL to blow out MIA, and the reasons for this are obvious. But MIA defense has not allowed more than 20 points in any game this season (avg. 17 ppg), despite being on the field far more than offense and having to deal with what’s typically been bad field position from an inept Cutlet-led offense. MIA offense ranks dead last in the NFL. ATL isn’t the team you want to be playing in this situation, especially when Falcons are rested and coming off a bye.
I was going to bet DET at NOR, which is getting too many points (+5). NOR is no longer one of the league’s best home-field advantages, as Saints have struggled to cover in Superdome. I’m still not convinced NOR defense has improved that much, since last two games they played injury-plagued CAR and thoroughly incompetent MIA. QB Stafford’s injury is rumored to be worse than is reported, so this keeps me off the game.
MIN would be the play as a divisional home dog hosting GB coming off an epic road win at DAL. Trouble is, I’ve seen no evidence (backup) QB Keenum belongs in an NFL uniform.
JAX is probably the play if you have to pick a side versus LAR, who play cross-country. LAR could have a mental letdown after crushing home loss to rival SEA last week. I don’t think that bodes well for a team that now must travel to a non-conference opponent. JAX laying only -1 is tempting, but so far not a wager I’ve made. JAX is the NFL’s best rushing team — which is a stat I like when I make a bet. Any team that beats PIT on the road in a third-straight road situation is impressive. They should be laying -3. More I think of this, more I like JAX -1.
I keep wanting to fade unbeaten KC, but that got me in trouble last week when the Chiefs went on the road last week and spanked HOU. Now, they are laying slightly more than a field goal versus reeling PITT opponent where QB Roethlesberger is coming off his worst game as a pro. It’s KC or nothing here for me.
Is QB Carr being rushed in his return with OAK? Raiders have been a disaster last three weeks after the 2-0 start. I fear there’s panic here setting in. Also, not sure that local fires won’t impact OAK slightly in terms of prep and distraction. I like SDI here coming off the win at NYG last week, but wish they were getting at least +4. This line +3 to +3.5 isn’t quite enough to pull the trigger for me.
No way I would lay a whopping -12 points with DEN, even though they play the crumbling Giants. Low total here at 38 makes it tempting to go contrarian and play the OVER. But with NYG not able to score points dating back to last season, I can’t make this wager.
TEN plays IND which looks to be a game with way too many variables, especially with QB issues on both teams.
Good luck to all.
NOTE: I will post write-ups on late games shortly. Check back for updates and possible added plays.