Last week, I had a weird week picking against the spread. I missed some early games, but then my picks were hitting non-stop. I even picked the Philly moneyline in the New England/Philadelphia game. That kind of negated any early losses.
I went 10-5-1 last week against the spread. I’m on a four-straight ‘strong week’ streak. I want to thank the bookmakers for the lack of double-digit point spreads so far this season. It seemed like they were all double-digits by this time last season.
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season.
Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals (-9) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
This is quite a large spread for a Thursday night game. I would normally take the points, but I don’t expect Minnesota to bounce back after the drubbing they took at home against Seattle. Arizona has a stout run defense and Teddy Bridgewater will be forced to pass the ball. I don’t think Minnesota can score many points through the air. I’m taking Arizona to cover at home.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-10) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City just beat San Diego 33-3 not too long ago. This game is at Arrowhead with just about the same cast of players. Alex Smith was efficient with the ball and Spencer Ware was able to score two touchdowns on the ground. Philip Rivers didn’t play well and Melvin Gordon was atrocious. I expect a lot of the same this Sunday. I’m taking the Chiefs to cover at Arrowhead.
Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears (-3.5) – My pick is Chicago Bears
This is an odd match-up. Chicago isn’t great at home and Washington is winless on the road. Chicago has been much better and seemed to straighten out a lot of issues during a recent stretch of road games. The overtime loss to the Niners isn’t as bad as it looks on paper. Blaine Gabbert is much improved since his time in Jacksonville. The Redskins can’t win unless they get going on the ground. Chicago is up and down when it comes to run defense. Jay Cutler will take over late in the game and cover the spread.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-7.5) – My pick is Carolina Panthers
I would like to pick Atlanta here, since I’m a bit scared of the half-point, but Carolina is the most complete team in the league. Josh Norman will be draped on Julio Jones all game. Luke Kuechly will help corral Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Matt Ryan has been a turnover machine lately. Carolina will cover this spread at home.
Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles (+1) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are a much better team with Sam Bradford under center. They beat an injury-depleted Patriots team last week. They had some questionable plays late in the game, but were able to still win by a touchdown. The Bills dominated the Texans last week after losing four out of their previous five games. I worry about the Philly secondary’s ability to cover Sammy Watkins. Rex Ryan’s defense is meant to be powerful, but I’m not sure they have the stamina to handle the Eagles up-tempo offense. I think the Eagles will squeak by with the win on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns (-1.5) – My pick is Cleveland Browns
It’s officially ‘Johnny Football Time’ in Cleveland. Johnny Manziel was announced as the starter for this week’s game. I expect Cleveland to try to run the ball early. They haven’t had much success since Week 2 when they ran the ball 30 times against Tennessee for 116 yards. The yards per carry wasn’t pretty, but they haven’t had much success by only running a handful of times. As I said earlier, Blaine Gabbert isn’t bad…but he will be tested by Cleveland’s ball-hawking secondary. I’m taking Cleveland to cover a close game at home.
Detroit Lions at St. Louis Rams (+1) – My pick is Detroit Lions
I have zero faith in St. Louis being able to throw the ball. They fired their offensive coordinator this week, but I doubt they can straighten out their issues in only one week. Detroit was on a four-game winning streak before losing to Green Bay via a last-second hail mary on Thursday. Detroit is better than their record indicates. They will cover on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati has been great this year, but Pittsburgh is finally playing up to their potential at the perfect time. Big Ben is healthy and they destroyed Indy on Sunday night. He had all the time in the world to throw and his speedy receivers were open all night. Cincinnati will put up more of a fight than Indy. This game could end up in a shootout. I’m taking the points and possibly putting a few jellybeans on the Pittsburgh moneyline.
Tennessee Titans at New York Jets (-7) – My pick is Tennessee Titans
The Titans won their first game at home in over a year. Marcus Mariota was fantastic and made plays with his arm and legs. The Jets were dead in the first-half against the Giants and then woke up and forced overtime. They probably should have lost the game. The Giants dropped balls and gave the Jets too many late opportunities. The Titans will put up a fight. This line is probably two-to-three points too high. I’m taking the points all day.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans has one of the worst secondaries in the league. Tampa Bay has some huge beasts that line up at wide receiver and tight end. Jameis Winston should have one of his best pro games this Sunday. I’m taking Tampa Bay to cover at home.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-7.5) – My pick is Denver Broncos
The Broncos beat Oakland on the road by six points in mid-October. Peyton Manning started that game and the Broncos gave up running the ball by halftime. This is a different Denver team with Brock Osweiler under center. Manning loves to line up in shotgun, making it more difficult for the running game. Osweiler often lines up under center and gives the running back better vision. Oakland’s secondary gives up a lot of yards through the air, but they do intercept a good amount of passes. Once again, the half-point scares me a little, but I’m taking Denver to cover at home.
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
I loved Green Bay early in the season, but they’ve been unimpressive at home lately. They haven’t covered at home since Week 5. Dallas has a ton of injuries on both sides of the ball, but their defense played well lately (excluding the Carolina game). I’m taking the points in Lambeau.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans (+3.5) – My pick is Houston Texans
I haven’t been a huge fan of Houston this season. Their quarterback issues earlier in the year made me avoid picking them many times. I think their defense will be the key in this game. New England has a ton of injuries on offense, especially on offensive line and wide receiver. J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork will wreak havoc on Sunday night. Tom Brady won’t have much time to get rid of the ball. I think it will be close. I’m taking the points.
New York Giants at Miami Dolphins (+1.5) – My pick is New York Giants
This pick came down to the fact that I don’t trust Miami’s secondary. Their run defense isn’t much better. The Giants have flaws as well, but I worry Miami won’t be able to cover Odell Beckham Jr…at all. Eli Manning is always pretty good on Monday Night Football. I think they will cover on the road.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob