I once again hit all the late games and went 1-0-1 ATS on Sunday and Monday nights. I just need to do better on my Thursday and early game picks. I would have hit the Thursday game, but
current former Tampa Bay kicker Nick Folk forgot how to use his feet.
This is the first week I have noticed a big uptick in double-digit point spreads. Those will become more rampant as the season goes on, but I didn’t find this week’s double-digit point spreads to be egregious.
Can the Chiefs keep winning and beat the Steelers Sunday afternoon?
Will my Thursday Night Football streak of futility snap this week?
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 6 of the 2017 NFL season.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3.5) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
Many people point to QB Carson Wentz when explaining why the Eagles are playing so well this season. I actually credit RB LeGarrette Blount. He’s such a punishing runner that he’s tiring out the defensive line. Opponents keep stacking the box and Wentz is able to get favorable match-ups in the secondary and out on the wings. The Panthers have had issues covering the middle of the field since safety Kurt Coleman suffered an injury. I have a feeling Philly TE Zach Ertz will have a great game. I’m not sold on the Panthers right now. I know they have covered back-to-back games, but they are only 1-3 ATS when favored this season. I’m taking the points on Thursday night.
Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
The Bears started rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky against the Vikings on Monday night. He had his moments, but he is still a bit too raw to be consistent. I’m sure he will be much better as the season moves along. Chicago could have came out of that game with a win if not for some troubling injuries at their middle linebacker position. It didn’t help that LB Danny Trevathan was serving his suspension due to an illegal hit. He will be back this weekend. Baltimore took advantage of a Derek Carr-less Raiders. They made Oakland QB EJ Manuel look like a rookie again. They were also able to move the ball on the ground with Javorius Allen and Alex Collins (who actually didn’t fumble). QB Joe Flacco was finally able to get WRs Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin involved in the game. This is the most balanced the Ravens have looked all season. Even though I would love if this line was closer to a field goal, I’ll take the Ravens to cover at home.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+3) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
I watched both of these teams play whistle-to-whistle last week. The Packers/Cowboys game was probably the most exciting games of the week. Both defenses got gassed late in the game and the Packers were able to score a touchdown in the final seconds of the game to beat the Cowboys 35-31. Packers RB Aaron Jones is the best running back they’ve had all season. I’m sure RB Ty Montgomery will take his job back when he’s healthy, but at the very least, Jones will eat into his carries. They will need a strong running game against Minnesota’s talented secondary. The Vikings nearly lost to the Bears, who needed some trickery to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Vikings QB Case Keenum appears to have the starting job for the time being while QB Sam Bradford heals his ailing knee. QB Teddy Bridgewater is also due to come off the PUP list soon, but it will be a miracle if he starts a game anytime soon. I have to take the Packers to cover since they are one of the best teams I’ve watched the last few weeks.
Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons (-11.5) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
I know the Dolphins are off to a slooooow start, but this line is a tad ridiculous. Their defense is still very good, so I have to think they will impede the Falcons. I have little faith Miami will come out of this game with the win, but this game will be close to this line. Miami RB Jay Ajayi needs a strong game. I support him airing out his frustrations. He’s a leader on the team and this teammates need to be called out. The Falcons are coming off a much needed bye week. WR Julio Jones and LB Vic Beasley are banged up and they needed the week of rest. Jones looks like he will be ready on Sunday, but Beasley is questionable. I like Atlanta, but they’ve given up too many points late in games. When you’re facing a spread this high, a team can’t give up late touchdowns. I have to take the points here.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints (-5.5) – My pick is Detroit Lions
This line is a little inflated due to Lions QB Matthew Stafford suffering an ankle injury. He’s day-to-day, but looks like it’s not very serious. He’s having a banner year this season. He has a 9/1 TD-to-INT ratio, which is by far the most efficient numbers of his career. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 1. He’s also doing everything himself in most games. The running game has been hot or cold. They’ve been trying to use short passes to RB Theo Riddick to help with the lack of yards on the ground. The Saints have similar issues on the ground, but their running backs have been racking up receiving yards. RBs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are weapons out of the backfield. QB Drew Brees has been using them as a security blanket on check-downs. He used to use tight ends in that way, but you just have to look at TE Coby Fleener’s stats to realize he doesn’t do that now. This game could be close, but I don’t think the Saints are any better than the Lions. I would have guessed this line would be anywhere between -2.5 to -3.5. That being said, I’m taking the points all day.
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (-10) – My pick is Houston Texans
Two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have put a single jellybean on double-digit point spread in Houston’s favor. Why have I changed my mind? QB Deshaun Watson and WR Will Fuller V. I know they will struggle without LBs J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus on defense, but their offense with some zero to sixty with Watson starting at quarterback and Fuller back from injury. The Browns are expected to start QB Kevin Hogan over rookie QB DeShone Kizer. Kizer struggled against the Jets and Hogan relieved him with some success. He’s at the very least much more accurate than the rookie. The Texans have scored at least 33 points in each of their last three games, a point total the Browns have yet to score in a game. Even if the Texans allow an extra touchdown since they will be without two starting linebackers, their offense is talented enough to deal with it. I’m taking the Texans to cover at home.
New England Patriots at New York Jets (+9.5) – My pick is New York Jets
I know the Jets aren’t lighting the world on fire, but they have outright won their last three games (and against the spread). Those games were against Miami, Jacksonville (who traveled from London w/o a recovery bye week) and Cleveland. They didn’t face much talent, but a win is a win. They’ve been malleable and go with the hot hand on offense. If the RBs Bilal Powell or Elijah McGuire are having success, they pound the rock. If QB Josh McCown is having success through the air, they stick with that. Other than that, the Jets defense has done the rest. The Patriots are only 2-3 ATS and all but one of those games have hit the OVER on points. Their defense is suspect at best. QB Tom Brady has had to pass his way out of jams. The Pats haven’t covered a point spread greater than 5.5 points this season. Also, in the last 10 Pats/Jets games, the Pats are 2-7-1 against the spread. New England always comes into Jersey with an inflated point spread. I’m taking the points.
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins (-10) – My pick is Washington Redskins
The Niners are 0-5 on the season, but 3-2 against the spread. They’ve actually lost their last four games by a total of eleven points! Their last two games were on the road and lost both of them in overtime. I worry about them playing in three-straight road games and traveling East to play in an early game. The Redskins are also coming off a bye week. They will be fresh and ready. The Niners have been in some battles the last month. As much as I think they are way better than their 0-5 record, it’s just a bad situation for them. They play Dallas at home next week. If the line is over +7.5, hit the Niners hard. I’m taking the Redskins to cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (+1.5) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals come into this game with a near-impossible record of 0-5 ATS. I can’t remember the last time a team started out this poor against the spread. I’m sure it has happened once in the last few years, but I doubt that team is as talented as the Cardinals. Arizona has been favored in three games and were underdogs in the other two contests. They’ve been struggling without RB David Johnson. They traded for RB Adrian Peterson this week, but it is unknown how many snaps he will see this week. Cardinals QB Carson Palmer needs a running game to survive the season. He is getting sacked at an historical rate. The Bucs should have won last Thursday’s game against the Patriots, but kicker Nick Folk couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with the ball. He was cut and the Bucs signed Patrick Murray, who hopes to get some paranormal help with his kicks this week. I hope to see more out of Carson Palmer and maybe even Peterson. I have to take the points in what could be a close game.
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
This actually might be my most-anticipated game of the week. Two teams with young stud running backs. Rams RB Todd Gurley didn’t have a very good week against the Seahawks, but has been a stud in nearly every game before last week. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette had an unbelievable fourth quarter to seal a victory in Pittsburgh. This point spread is exactly where it should be. Both teams have looked great at times this season and other times have fell flat. The Rams started out the year hot against the Colts, but then lost at home to Washington and Seattle. The Jags were smoked 37-16 by the Titans at home and also lost in overtime to the Jets. The Jaguars also have road wins over the Texans and Steelers. I wish there was a little more consistency from both teams. I’m thinking this is a coin flip game. The Rams have been soft on the road so far this season, so I have to take the Jags to cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs aren’t getting much love from Vegas, which is odd. They are a perfect 5-0 against the spread and have yet to beat an opponent by less than a touchdown. Their offense has been one of the most potent in the league. On paper their pass defense is the worst in the NFL, but that’s only because teams have abandoned the run against them early in games. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions against the Jaguars last week (two of them went from touchdowns). On top of that, Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell looks nothing like the stud he was down the stretch for Pittsburgh last season. He’s averaging around a yard and a half less per carry this season. I doubt he will have much success against the Chiefs, thus forcing Big Ben to throw against the Chiefs. I just don’t see the Steelers offense having a very good day. I’m taking the Chiefs to cover at home.
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders (-3.5) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
It looks like Raiders QB Derek Carr is set to start this game. He is still dealing with a back injury but if he’s able to move the ball, I think Oakland covers this game. Chargers QB Philip Rivers have been ‘off’ in the last few games, even in last week’s win. He will probably have an easier time this weekend against a bad Oakland Raiders secondary. This will be close to the spread, but I’m taking Oakland to cover at home.
New York Giants at Denver Broncos (-11.5) – My pick is Denver Broncos
The Giants are in the same boat as the Niners. They’ve played well enough the last three weeks to almost win, but they have yet to get their first win. I highly doubt they will get their first victory in Denver on Sunday night. Not only are most of the Giants wide receivers out with injuries, but they just suspended CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for undetermined reasons. They are imploding from the inside-out. I would normally hit this line hard due to all the issues facing the Giants, but I do have some pause. The Broncos have only beaten one team by more than a touchdown this season. They needed an unreal game from their defense in that game aganst the Cowboys. I worry their offense isn’t potent enough to win by more than twelve points. On the flipside, I worry the Giants may not even score twelve points. I’m going to take Denver to cover this large point spread at home.
*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