Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I take the reins from Jeff Pasquino after writing a guest edition last year. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?
As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with 1-3 “Stars”, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.
Week 3 is upon us already, and we have learned some harsh lessons through two weeks. As we consider to gather data points, keep your mind open to the many possibilities and stay on top of injury news to optimize your wagers.
Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com
(Thursday) TENNESSEE (-2) at JACKSONVILLE (Over/Under 40)
Not exactly a barnburner of a Thursday Night Football game, so NFL Network will have to pull out all the stops with the promotional content. After two AFC South clashes in Week 2, another creeps up on us as the cult figure that is Gardner Minshew comes home where the water is warm, and the jock strap-only warm-ups are plentiful.
It is a very Titans thing to lose at home to the Colts only a week after blowing out an opponent on the road. Mismanagement of the clock at the end of the game stymied any lingering hopes Marcus Mariota and company might have had, and there is still a real sense of trepidation in trusting this quarterback to deliver. Being made road favorites is completely understandable, but is Minshew any less capable than Mariota of playing the position competently? I’m not so sure.
While Jacksonville got turned over convincingly in their first home game, the caveat is the opponent: Kansas City. The Chiefs look nigh on unstoppable and Jacksonville’s embattled defense limited the Texans’ potent offense to just 13 points. If Minshew can maintain his poise – and he looked awfully chilled on that potential game-winning drive last week – the Jaguars look like they could be a live underdog here. I’m buying in on the mustachioed one. Getting three points would be ideal, so watch this line to see if there is any movement.
DETROIT at PHILADELPHIA (-7 to -7.5) (Over/Under 48.5)
Since Matt Patricia took the reins in Detroit last season, the Lions have an impressive 6-3-0 record against the spread as the away team. That is a 66.7% cover rate, by the way. What is frustrating and confounding about this team is its Jekyll and Hyde nature. Just when you believe you have their identity pinned down, they take off the mask and one side of the ball or the other lays an egg.
Despite the Eagles’ late loss to the Falcons on Sunday Night Football, a lot of credit must go to Carson Wentz. Losing not only his center Jason Kelce, but two of his primary receiving options in DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, was a huge blow – and yet he persevered and completed some ludicrous passes with defenders hanging out of him. This is a very solid team, and likely a contender in the NFC, so they should be fancied at home. The injuries bear watching, of course, though one has to wonder if 7.5 points is a little too much respect.