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.
It is hard to believe we have already reached Week 4. There has been the usual allotment of random results as is the NFL’s trademark, but with each passing set of games things are becoming clearer. This week does not present us with as many ridiculously large spreads, so we have more leeway to consider teasers.
The byes begin this week as well, allowing us to hone in just a little bit more as the Jets and 49ers lick their wounds before jumping back into the fray in Week 5.
(Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com)
(Thursday) PHILADELPHIA at GREEN BAY (-3 to -4.5) (Over/Under 47.5)
Prior to the season, many experts had tabbed the Eagles as a shoo-in for a playoff spot, expecting a tit-for-tat battle with the Cowboys for division supremacy. Through three weeks, however, Philadelphia is 1-2 and their only win was against Washington – and that required a rousing second-half comeback. The wheels may not be falling off quite yet, but Doug Pederson’s men have some real soul-searching to do and a short turnaround to do it in.
The Packers, meanwhile, haven’t a care in the world. A lot of their success is attributable to their defense, which has stymied opponents at key moments. Mike Pettine’s unit is giving the offense the license to grow as three-and-outs are becoming a trend and not just an aberration for Aaron Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur. The Packers have covered the spread as the home team 60.5% this decade, a mark bettered only by Minnesota and New England.
It is not do-or-die stakes for Philadelphia, but a short week really puts them at a disadvantage here just when they needed it the least.
Pick: Green Bay
TENNESSEE at ATLANTA (-3.5 to -5) (Over/Under 46.5)
The line movement for this game is revealing Vegas clearly is all out on the Titans. And perhaps that is the correct move considering just how outright poor they played last Thursday night in Jacksonville, with Marcus Mariota once again failing to rally the troops. Narratives aside, sometimes wagering comes down to trust. How much you trust a team is crucial, and Mariota has given the betting public very little reason to do that.