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.
My overall season record remains solid at 100-92, but some bad beats and surprise results (Washington beating Carolina, really?!) have thrown a spanner in the works. No excuses, though; the undeterred gambler is also the smart gambler, unwilling to fold under pressure and staying true to his or her convictions. Let us apply that same logic and vigor to this week’s tantalizing slate.
The byes are in the rear-view mirror, so we have a full slate of games to sink our teeth into.
Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com
(Thursday) DALLAS (-3) at CHICAGO (Over/Under 43)
It is all beginning to slip away for the Cowboys – and yet the continued ineptitude of their division rival Philadelphia has thrown them a life raft. The Eagles’ loss to the Dolphins last week – unexpected but not exactly shocking – means that Dallas losing to Buffalo isn’t as damaging as originally feared. A glancing blow, but not a fatal one. The rumblings around Jason Garrett’s future as head coach linger around this team, but they are undeniably the most talented and best-suited for an NFC playoff berth, albeit likely a short-lived one. At 6-6, the Cowboys cannot afford to let this crucial Thursday night opportunity get away. Under Garrett, it should be noted that Dallas is just 26-28-3 (48.3%) against the spread after a loss.
For the Bears, also loitering around the fringes of the NFC playoff picture at 6-6, in some ways the pressure is off. Matt Nagy has already squeezed every drop he possibly can out of Mitchell Trubisky’s talent; the final few games of the season will be nothing more than an audition for next season as to whether the quarterback will play a bit-part role or a starring one. The defense in Chicago has remained a steady force but hasn’t been the dominant unit of 2018. The spot here is decent for the home team to get above .500, but the Cowboys need this more. Expect Garrett to be aggressive with his coaching life on the line.