Archive for October, 2021

NFL 2021 Week Eight Picks

October 29th, 2021 Comments off

(Looks like I failed to post this on Thursday. But since I called the Thursday night game wrong — straight up, anyhow — I’m not gonna sweat it.)

Hey, I managed to avoid completely embarrassing myself in week seven. That’s pretty cool.

I managed to go 10-3 picking pure wins and losses last week. And 9-4 against the spread. For the season, that gets me to 65-42 (.607) straight up, 42-63-2 (.402) with the points.

I’m feeling pretty confident in my ability to mess things up this week.

Here’s what not to expect.

Green Bay (+6.5) at Arizona
Even considering Green Bay’s personnel issues, six and a half seems a bit much to me. I’ll be more than a little surprised if the Packers are able to travel on a short week, play shorthanded, and come away with an upset win. But I do think they’ll find a way to keep it close. Cardinals by a field goal.

Carolina (+3) at Atlanta
With each passing week it becomes harder to understand how the Panthers opened 3-0. The Falcons aren’t good, but they’re average enough win this one. Atlanta by four.

Miami (+13.5) at Buffalo
If the Bills aren’t the best team in the AFC, they’re certainly in the conversation. The Dolphins can’t really be considered as contenders for worst team in a conference that includes the Jets and Texans. But they’re pretty awful just the same. I typically shy away from bit spreads in divisional games, but not this time. Buffalo by 20.

San Francisco (-4) at Chicago
The Niners aren’t a good team. They’re not even close enough to average for me to believe they can win in Chicago by more than a field goal. But they move the ball on the ground well enough to pose a serious problem for a Bears team that can’t stop the run. San Fran by three.

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at Cleveland
If the Steelers had more offense, I’d pick them. But, you know. Browns by a point.

Philadelphia (-3.5) at Detroit
Yeah, uh, it looks like the Lions are the worse of these two bad teams. So let’s figure that’s about right. I mean, I don’t think anyone really wants to start examining the matchups closely, right? Philadelphia by three.

Tennessee (+1) at Indianapolis
The Titans are probably a better team now than the were when they beat the Colts in Nashville five weeks ago. The Colts are the same. Tennessee by six.

Cincinnati (-10.5) at NY Jets
The Jets are, um, well you know, terrible. Bengals by 13.

LA Rams (-14.5) at Houston
The Texans aren’t quite as terrible as the Jets. So they’ve got that going for them. Rams by 17.

New England (+5) at LA Chargers
Beating the stuffing out of bad opponents is nice. I mean, it’s what you’re supposed to do. But no one’s gonna take you seriously until you beat a few teams that aren’t terrible. The Patriots have an actual chance of doing that here. And if these teams were playing in Foxborough, I’d pick the Pats to take it. In Los Angeles, though, I’m gonna say Chargers by three.

Jacksonville (+3) at Seattle
You can lose to the Rams and Saints. You can even lose to the Steelers. But you can’t lose to the Jaguars. You just can’t. Seahawks by two.

Washington (+3) at Denver
I’m gonna take the home team that at least has a defense over the visiting team that doesn’t have an anything. Broncos by a touchdown.

Tampa Bay (-5.5) at New Orleans
Tom Brady may only throw a single TD pass in this game. And that might be enough. Buccaneers win a low-scoring game by three.

Dallas (-1.5) at Minnesota
It would be kind of helpful to know whether the Cowboys were going to have a quarterback. Let’s assume they will and say Dallas by three.

NY Giants (+9.5) at Kansas City
Oh, cool. An excuse in the waiting for the experts to declare Kansas City has righted the ship. Home team by nine.

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NFL 2021 Week Seven Picks

October 21st, 2021 Comments off

I’m not getting any better at this.

I went 10-4 straight up in week six. I can live with that. Against the spread? 2-12. That’s kind of horrifying.

I’m 55-39 (.585) straight up, 33-59-2 (.362) against the spread through the first six weeks of the season. I bet I can make it worse.

Here’s what not to expect in week seven.

Denver (+1.5) at Cleveland
I don’t know if one of these 3-3 is better than the other. I do know that neither of them is particularly good. And I know I’m taking the not good home team over the not good road team. Browns by three.

Washington (+7.5) at Green Bay
The worst defense in the league tries to stop Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. That story doesn’t end well for Brand X. Packers by 14.

Kansas City (-4.5) at Tennessee
Forget the outcome. Just bet the over. Titans by three.

Atlanta (-2.5) at Miami
I don’t know which team is awfuller. Miami probably. Falcons by a point.

NY Jets (+7) at New England
You can’t almost beat the Jets in your own building and walk away with any hope of salvaging your season. But, of course, you can’t not beat the Jets. Patriots by nine.

Carolina (-3) at NY Giants
Just finding enough semi-healthy guys to fill out the roster is a triumph for New Jersey at this point. Carolina by four.

Cincinnati (+6.5) at Baltimore
The Bengals could maybe beat the Ravens. In Cincinnati. Not here. Baltimore by three.

Philadelphia (+3) at Las Vegas
I guess distractions aren’t much of a detriment to the Raiders. Who knew? Las Vegas by a touchdown.

Detroit (+15) at LA Rams
Here we commence with the college football spreads section of the week seven schedule. I don’t know how to pick these games. The Rams are winning, obviously, but there’s no real guessing what the margin might be. Let’s just say it’s Los Angeles by 17.

Houston (+17.5) at Arizona
See above immediately above. Arizona by 16.

Chicago (+12.5) at Tampa Bay
Tom Brady has some demons to exorcise. Buccaneers by 27.

Indianapolis (+4) at San Francisco
These are not good football teams. 49ers by a field goal.

New Orleans (-4) at Seattle
The Seahawks are sunk. The Saints may be, too, before the season is over. But the Seahawks are there now. New Orleans by seven.

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NFL 2021 Week Six Picks

October 17th, 2021 Comments off

OK, well, I guess I can live with 11-5 straight up. I mean, I have to, because that’s how I did in week five. And that’s at least, you know, not quite as bad as I’d been doing through week four.

Of course, neither was 7-8-1 against the spread. So … yo soy fiesta, I suppose.

For the season, I now stand at 45-35 (.563) straight up, 31-47-2 (.400) with the points. Still not so much with the fiesta.

And I’m 1-0, 0-1 so far this week.

Here’s what not to expect on Sunday and Monday.

Miami (-3) vs. Jacksonville
I imagine 0-0 ties happen on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at least sometimes. But maybe that would be too delightful an outcome to hope for in this game. Dolphins by a point.

Green Bay (-6) at Chicago
The Bears are who we think they are. Solid enough against bad to average teams, not so solid against good ones. Still, division match and all. Let’s say Packers by four.

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Detroit
The Lions totally could win this game. I mean, they won’t. But they could. Bengals by three.

Houston (+10) at Indianapolis
There was a time when getting 10 from the Colts in Indianapolis wasn’t at all embarrassing. That time is not now. Colts by six.

LA Rams (-8) at NY Giants
I’m not sure the Giants at full health could compete with the Rams. And the Giants are not at full health. The Rams traveling across the country for the second of two straight road games may result in this one looking close into the third quarter, but that’s about it. Los Angeles by 10.

Kansas City (-6.5) at Washington
Yes, the Kansas City defense is awful. But the Washington defense is awfuler. KC by six.

Minnesota (-2.5) at Carolina
I don’t know the difference between these teams. Frankly, I’m not sure there is one. Below average home team by three.

LA Chargers (+2.5) at Baltimore
I’m fairly sure the Chargers are a better team than the Ravens. But not by quite enough to overcome the cross-country travel factor. Baltimore by a point.

Arizona (+3.5) at Cleveland
I think the Cardinals are better than the Browns by just enough. Arizona holds off a late Cleveland drive and comes out on top by two.

Las Vegas (+4) at Denver
I’m sure the Raiders are completely focussed on this game. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? Broncos by a touchdown.

Dallas (-3.5) at New England
I’ve seen exactly nothing from the 2021 Patriots that would lead me to conclude they’re in any way ready to compete with the Cowboys. But maybe they’ll find a way to keep it kind of close. Cowboys by three.

Seattle (+5) at Pittsburgh
Neither of these teams has much of an offense. The home team at least sort of has a defense some of the time. Pittsburgh by six.

Buffalo (-5.5) at Tennessee
Just five and a half? I’d give double that anyway. Buffalo by 14.

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NFL 2021 Week Six, Thursday Night Pick

October 14th, 2021 Comments off

Tampa Bay (-7) at Philadelphia
The big problem for the Eagles heading into this job is that their defense can’t stop the run. Or the pass. That’s not a great place to be with the defending champs coming to town. Buccaneers by 10.

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NFL 2021 Week Five Picks

October 10th, 2021 Comments off

Things are not turning around for me.

Not much, anyhow. I managed to get 10 games right picking straight up in week four. And that’s at least slightly less awful than I’d done over the previous three weeks. But I was 6-10 against the spread, which I can’t cast as anything other than thoroughly embarrassing.

That lands me at 34-30 (.531) straight up, 24-39-1 (.383) with the points through week four. And I’m powering to this weekend 0-1 both ways.

Here’s what not to expect over the remainder of week five.

NY Jets (+2.5) at Atlanta
The Falcons can’t keep opponents off the scoreboard. Lucky for them, the Jets are pretty good at keeping themselves off the board. Atlanta by a point.

Green Bay (-3) at Cincinnati
Maybe by the time the game ends, I’ll be able to tell these teams apart. Bengals by a field goal.

Detroit (+10) at Minnesota
The Vikings aren’t good, but the Lions are horrible. Minnesota by 13.

Denver (-1) at Pittsburgh
Ben Roethlisberger is tracking 16 TDs, 16, interceptions and 40 sacks in the 2021 season. You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but, um, that’s not good. Broncos by four.

Miami (+10) at Tampa Bay
If the Dolphins had anything resembling an offense, they might’ve had a chance to keep this one closer than anyone expects. Buccaneers by 14.

New Orleans (-2.5) at Washington
Even with four games to look at, it’s hard to know what to make of the Saints. They struggle … when they struggle. I suspect they won’t struggle (or, you know, not much) against an opponent with no defense. New Orleans by six.

Philadelphia (+3) at Carolina
In this one the NFC East team with no defense is on the road. Carolina by 10.

Tennessee (-4.5) at Jacksonville
I’d say the only thing the Jaguars really need is a coach. Except that’s not true. Might be a start, though, if the organization ever decides it wants to start fixing things. Titans by seven.

New England (-8) at Houston
You know what you call a healthy person who remains unvaccinated at this point despite having easy access and obligations to his teammates in addition to his obligations to his family and community? A stupid, selfish asshole. That’s what. The Patriots are very lucky they’re facing the softest of soft opponents this week. And I still can’t give a touchdown plus in a road game in which they’re forced to field a pointlessly depleted offensive line. New England by three.

Chicago (+5.5) at Las Vegas
This matchup really should not present much of a challenge for the home team. And yet somehow it will. Raiders by four.

Cleveland (+2.5) at LA Chargers
The way to beat the Chargers is to keep the ball on the ground and avoid turnovers. I know the Browns should be able to accomplish the former. The latter might prove a problem. I think the home team edges this one out by way of a critical takeaway. Chargers by one.

NY Giants (+7) at Dallas
The Giants aren’t ready to compete with the Cowboys. Dallas by nine.

San Francisco (+5.5) at Arizona
The Cards sure have looked like the class of the NFC West so far. I don’t see that changing here. No much, anyhow. Arizona by three.

Buffalo (+3) at Kansas City
You can talk all you want about Kansas City being better than their slow start. Maybe. And maybe they show it here. But from my perspective, Buffalo simply has the more complete team. Or maybe it’s just the more prepared team. Whatever. Bills by four.

Indianapolis (+7) at Baltimore
There’s nothing that indicates to me that these two teams belong on the same field. Ravens by 14.

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NFL 2021 Week Five Thursday Night Pick

October 7th, 2021 Comments off

LA Rams (-2.5) at Seattle
Wow! An exciting game on a Thursday night. That’s a rare treat. I’m certain the Rams are the better team in this matchup. But division games are tough. And the Seahawks are at home. I expect to see Seattle win this one on the ground. Seahawks by three.

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NFL 2021 Week Four Picks

October 3rd, 2021 Comments off

I can only assume at this point that if there’s anyone here, it’s to find out how not to pick this week’s games.

I had yet another miserable showing in week three, wrapping up 9-7 straight up and 5-11 against the spread. I’m pretty sure I’m never climbing out of the hole I’ve dug this season. Through the first three weeks, I stand at 24-24 (.500) straight up and 18-29-1 (.385) with the points. And I’m heading into the weekend 1-0 and 0-1. So it looks like more of the same.

Here’s what not to expect through Monday night.

Washington (-1.5) at Atlanta
Wasn’t Brand X supposed to be headed in the right direction this season? The Falcons, at least, are pretty much what we thought they were. Not good. Washington by three.

Houston (+17.5) at Buffalo
The thing about huge spreads in the NFL is that there are just too many factors that can get in the way. The good team slows down the game. The bad one picks up meaningless points in garbage time. The Bills could probably win this game by 35 if they wanted to. But I’m not giving three scores. I’ll say Buffalo by 16.

Detroit (+3) at Chicago
I don’t think the Bears are one bit better than the Lions. But the Bears are at home. So I suppose there’s that. Chicago by a point.

Carolina (+4) at Dallas
I’m fairly confident the Panthers D can slow down the Cowboys offense. But stop them? In Dallas? Not so much. Cowboys by a field goal.

Indianapolis (+2.5) at Miami
Neither of these teams is going much of anywhere. But the Dolphins at least look like they’e prepared to play professional football some of the time. That’s got to be some kind of advantage. Miami by four.

Cleveland (-1) at Minnesota
I don’t know that there’s much of a difference between these two teams. So I’m taking the one that’s playing at home. Vikings by three.

NY Giants (+7) at New Orleans
I keep thinking the Giants have to be better than they look on paper. And then I keep having to ask myself why they hell I insist on thinking that while all evidence suggests the opposite. Saints by 10.

Tennessee (-6) at NY Jets
The Jets have scored 20 total points through three games. Titans by 14.

Kansas City (-6.6) at Philadelphia
Kansas City may struggle through the entire season. Or they may come around at some point. In either scenario, they should be able to win this game. KC by seven.

Arizona (+4) at LA Rams
If the Rams could make the Buccaneers offense one dimensional, they ought to be able to do the same to the Cardinals. Los Angeles by three.

Seattle (+2.5) at San Francisco
It might be time to stop believing the 2021 Seahawks are bound to find their groove. San Francisco by four.

Baltimore (-1) at Denver
The Broncos to date have played no one. Ravens by six.

Pittsburgh (-6) at Green Bay
More often than not, this is the way great NFL careers end. Packers by a touchdown.

Tampa Bay (-7) at New England
What you may have missed if you spent the week thinking about Brady vs. Belichick is that this game involves two complete football teams. The fact that the Patriots are better coached than the Buccaneers could be a factor, sure. The fact that the Bucs offense is led by the greatest quarterback of all time should be a factor. But the biggest factor is likely to be that the Patriots, as of week four, are not ready to challenge the defending Super Bowl champions. That’s the long and short of it. Buccaneers by six.

Las Vegas (+3) at LA Chargers
The Chargers are ever so slightly more impressive at 2-1 than the Raiders are at 3-0. Los Angeles by a point.

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