Before getting in to the picks this week, a quick reminder to all of you to join the TVF College Bowl Pick-‘Em. The first bowl games of the season are Saturday with the New Mexico, Idaho Potato and New Orleans Bowls. I’m hoping to build on my winning season of picks in the college football regular season games.
Now, onto this week’s picks. After going 6-10 in Week 14, I’m back well under .500 for the year at 98-102-8. Lots of work to be done as the regular season winds down…
Disclaimer: Gambling on sports is illegal unless you are in Las Vegas, Delaware or Atlantic City. Also, if I’m horribly incorrect with these picks – as I have occasionally been in the past – I’m sorry in advance. If you can’t afford to lose, don’t play. John Anthony – “The Million Dollar Man with the Billion Dollar Plan” – is not a real person. All lines from Bodog or **SBRForum** are accurate as of the time this was typed – 5pm Thursday. Home teams in CAPS. That about covers it.)
FALCONS (-13) over Jaguars: From Twitter at 2pm Thursday…
The more I thought about it, I really didn’t want a lousy Jaguars performance. I was relying on MJD to have a huge game if I wanted to have any chance of upsetting PatPhish in the TVF fantasy league playoffs. But either way, the Falcons are the better team
Cowboys (-7) over BUCS (Saturday Game): Don’t look now, but Tampa Bay hasn’t won a game since October 16th. Against the Saints, of all teams. Since then, they’ve been outscored 225-119, staying below twenty points in six of their final seven games. They just got blown out by the Panthers and the Jaguars… I feel like Dallas might win this game by 21+.
GIANTS (-6.5) over Redskins: I believe Washington is the only team in the NFC East mathematically eliminated from contention, and that’s a good enough reason for me to pick against them, on the road, in a divisional matchup.
Packers (-13.5) over CHIEFS: I absolutely loathe the idea of giving up this many points on the road. But all signs point to either Kyle Orton or Ricky Stanzi getting the start at QB in this game for Kansas City. I think Orton might be able to keep the game close, but probably not close enough.
SAINTS (-6.5) over Vikings: I can’t think of a single reason aside from Adrian Peterson that I would want to pick the Vikings in this game. Not one. That’s usually a bad sign for a team’s chances of covering.
Seahawks (+3.5) over BEARS: Yep, I’m actually making that pick. I’ve seen enough of Caleb Hanie to know that he is not going to last long in the NFL. Jay Cutler can’t get back fast enough for Bears’ fans.
** BILLS (+1.5) over Dolphins **: Well then. The Fins were just starting to look like a mediocre, middle-of-the-road type of team. And then last week happened. Now they’re back to being a team that I want no part of under any circumstance.
** Panthers (+7.5) over TEXANS **: I’m willing to bet that the Texans’ defense takes a minor step back without Wade Philips running the show. I don’t think the Panthers can control the game and win outright, but they should be able to keep it close.
** Titans (-6.5) over COLTS **: I don’t know how many times I’ve said this in 2011, but here it is again: If the Colts are going to win a game this year, it will have to be this week. A rookie QB, on the road, in a division game… nah, nevermind. They’re going 0-16.
Bengals (-7) over RAMS: The Rams are the worst offense in the league. Even the Colts and Chiefs manage to put up twenty or thirty points every now and then. The Rams have scored twenty or more points twice – three weeks ago when they reached exactly twenty, and Week Eight when they somehow dropped 31 in a win at home against the Saints.
RAIDERS (+1.5) over Lions: This entire game is just a Personal Foul waiting to happen. I’m going to set the Over/Under on combined penalties at 18.5, and I think that Over is a gimme. I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one fight, and someone will probably get ejected. And just think; there’s a pretty good chance that one or both of these teams could be in the playoffs in a month!
BRONCOS (+7) over Patriots: I’m really looking forward to this game. The Broncos have had the Patriots’ number for the past ten years; Tom Brady has one career regular season win in Denver. And yet, I’m convinced that the Pats will be able to score at will, at least in the second and third quarters. I just don’t know if they can build the “insurmountable lead” that it seems to take to put the Broncos away these days.
EAGLES (-2.5) over Jets: With a healthy Mike Vick, I think Philly can probably get out in front early and stay there. Related: is it just me, or has this been the quietest Rex Ryan has been for any prolonged stretch since he became the Jets’ head coach?
** CARDINALS (-6) over Browns **: I have absolutely no idea what to make of either of these teams. They both win games they’re not supposed to, then spit the bit against teams that are far inferior. But Arizona has won five of six games, and they’ve beaten at least one, and possibly as many as three playoff teams in that stretch (SF, Dal, Phi). That’s pretty impressive for a team that probably won’t finish over .500
Ravens (-2.5) over CHARGERS: Baltimore is the best team in the AFC right now. There’s no doubt about it. It looks like I was a year early with my GB/BAL Super Bowl prediction…
** Steelers (+2.5) over 49ERS **: Obviously, this pick is predicated on Big Ben playing, and playing at something close to 100%. Which is also why you can’t find anyone to take action on this bet right now – even the sites that list a line aren’t taking any bets on it. If Roethlisberger is hurt, the Niners will probably jump up to about 10.5-point favorites, maybe more.
RECAP: FALCONS / Cowboys / GIANTS / Packers / SAINTS / Seahawks / BILLS / Panthers / Titans / Bengals / RAIDERS / BRONCOS / EAGLES / CARDINALS / Ravens / Steelers
Best Multi-Team Bet: After finally picking a winning multi-team bet last week, I’m much more confident in this spot this week. Let’s go with… Cowboys/Packers/Saints on the Money Line. Hell, I don’t think you could make the return low enough to get me not to pick at least a Packers/Saints Money Line parlay.