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Week Eight Picks

October 26th, 2017

Week seven’s results were the very definition of a mixed back for me. I went 12-3 picking straight up, 5-8-2 against the spread.

Even with exactly zero dollars wagered, that ATS result is pretty painful.

Of course, I’m going to keep on trying, because … well, mostly because I wager exactly zero dollars and I really have no pride left to lose. But at some point, I think I’m really going to have to figure out what I think about these games with the points and then pick the exact opposite.

For the nonce, I stand at 63-43 (.594) straight up and 48-54-4 (.472) against the spread through the first seven weeks of the season. I’m eager to see what I can do to move farther in the wrong direction.

Here’s what not to expect in week eight.

Miami (+3) at Baltimore
Neither of these teams is very good. But only one of them is not very good and playing on the road on short rest. As long as the Ravens manage to hold on to the ball, they should be able to come out on top by at least four.

Minnesota (-9.5) vs. Cleveland at Twickenham Stadium, London
The Browns score fewer than 15 points a game and allow 24. The Vikings give up 17 and score 20. Adjusting for the time difference and allowing for the continued devaluation of the pound, I’ve got the Vikings winning 27-0.

Chicago (+9) at New Orleans
I hope the folks in charge of music at the Superdome will be paying tribute to Fats Domino on Sunday. That, at least, would keep things interesting, which is something I can’t imagine the Bears are capable of pulling off.  Saints by three turnovers and at least 14 points.

Atlanta (-4.5) at NY Jets
With this game, the Falcons wrap up four straight against AFC East opponents. They’re 0-3 going in. I suspect they’ll come out at 1-3. But I don’t expect them to have an easy time getting there. Atlanta by a point.

Carolina (+2) at Tampa Bay
Yeah, the Panthers are inconsistent. But the Bucs have yet this season to beat even an average team. And I don’t see anything in this matchup that leads me to believe Tampa will beat an average team here, either. Carolina by three.

San Francisco (+13) at Philadelphia
Trap game my ass. Eagles by 20.

Oakland (+2.5) at Buffalo
I’m not ready to buy into the “Bills to the postseason” narrative. Not yet. Maybe I will be if Buffalo can win this game by a margin greater than the three or four points I’m expecting.

Indianapolis (+10.5) at Cincinnati
I don’t know which of these teams is more awful. But the Bengals are at home. And they at least manage to pretend to have a defense from time to time. So, sure, Cincinnati by eight.

LA Chargers (+7) at New England
The Patriots defense may be able to adjust to playing without Dont’a Hightower, but that adjustment isn’t going to happen quickly. New England is off in week nine, which should at least give the Patriots a chance to adjust their strategy and personnel. And heading into the bye with a home game against an overrated, one-dimensional opponent should help. Look for New England to come out firing, build an early lead, then control the tempo of the game (and keep their defense off the field) with the run. Patriots by 10.

Houston (+5.5) at Seattle
The Texans might be able to keep it close. Or they might not. Considering they’re playing in Seattle a rookie quarterback, I’m leaning toward not. Seahawks by nine.

Dallas (-2) at Washington
With the NFC East having been effectively settled on Monday night, this game is about which team gets to hold onto the hope of capturing a wild card berth. The short week for the Racists negates home field and opens the door for the Cowboys to win a close one. Dallas by a point.

Pittsburgh (-3) at Detroit
If Ben Roethlisberger throws two (or more) interceptions, this game belongs to the Lions. But I don’t see that happening. Pittsburgh by a field goal.

Denver (+7) at Kansas City
The Broncos are in the middle of a brutal stretch. This is the second of three straight road games. They started the trip with a devastating loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles. They finish their tour next week in Philadelphia. And then they get to host the Patriots, who will be rested from their bye week. (And, of course, the Broncos went into the whole thing fresh off a loss to the Giants suffered at home while Denver was coming off their bye week.) If Denver can’t find a way to win this game, they’re very likely cooked. I think they’re cooked. Kansas City by 10.

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