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.
Just as we think we have clarity on this fickle game of pro football, we are reminded how little we truly see clearly. Like an inebriated person stumbling from a bar after one too many, we perceive ourselves to be all-knowing, all-seeing and capable of picking the lock of every conceivable bet we place. The trick is to shake off the cobwebs and, no matter how poorly last week went, to have a short memory. The lines only get sharper at this time of the season, so don’t forget that ‘no play’ is a valid strategy as well to keep your bankroll ticking over.
The bye teams this week are the Falcons, Bengals, Saints, and Rams.
Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com
(Thursday) SAN FRANCISCO (-8) at ARIZONA (Over/Under 44)
The San Francisco 49ers wore their throwback jerseys on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. It proved an appropriate choice as Kyle Shanahan’s team looked like a vintage 49ers team of the glorious 80s in an utterly dominant performance from wire to wire. Scoring 51 points against an NFL team is no mean feat, especially when you consider how strong the Panthers defense has been. This 49ers team looks every bit like a number one seed – now all that’s left is for them to prove it.
Arizona produced a brave display against the Saints in the Superdome – better than most teams would muster, certainly – but what kind of effort can we expect against their division rivals on a short week? The Cardinals have the advantage of playing at home, at least, but Kyler Murray will need all his ingenuity and skill to overcome this team. Arizona’s defense is leaky against the run, so expect the Niners to grind this one out.
Pick: San Francisco
(London) HOUSTON (-2.5) at JACKSONVILLE (Over/Under 47)
London could be in for a treat with this early Sunday kick-off as two of the AFC’s more entertaining quarterbacks duke it out. Deshaun Watson’s third touchdown pass – spinning away from a sack, getting kicked in the eye and somehow flicking the ball up perfectly – was a work of art. If Houston ends up rallying to make the playoffs, they will look back on moments like that. The Texans received the crippling news that J.J. Watt will miss the rest of the season, however, a bitter blow to their defense and overall team leadership.