Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I begin my second season writing this column. 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 proved to be a wild Week 14, with several games tilting the opposite way to how many would have expected. The Giants’ loss to the Cardinals stands out as a cautionary tale. Entering the week, the G-Men had been showered with praise by everyone who mattered in the media; on Sunday, the air was taken out of that balloon in an instant. It is tempting to get drawn in by narratives, but sometimes the Vegas line – in this case, Arizona by 2.5 on the road – should have been a warning sign. The men in the desert don’t always get it right, but they have a sixth sense for these things. A personal record of 6-10 means there is some work to do, but this column still has an overall ATS winning percentage of 54% this season.
Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com
(Thursday Night) LA CHARGERS at LAS VEGAS (-3.5) (Over/Under 53)
The Chargers finally got over the hump, thanks in part to some well-timed Atlanta turnovers in the dying embers of a game that meant nothing. But for an under-pressure Anthony Lynn, it was a much-needed breath of fresh air and perhaps a life raft as questions continue to mount over his in-game management. Justin Herbert may have cooled off in recent weeks, but his eyes should light up in his film preparation ahead of Thursday night’s clash with a Raiders defense that just witnessed its coordinator get fired.
The Raiders are not dead yet, but the path is difficult at 7-6 and the momentum has stalled for Jon Gruden’s once upwardly mobile unit. Defensive frailties have played a major part in the slide, so the 3.5-point line seems a little suspect. The high total is a fair representation of what could be an old-fashioned shootout between Herbert and Derek Carr. In such games, the prudent choice is often to take that extra half-point and see how it all plays out. There is always the chance Las Vegas gets the fabled ‘fired coach bump’ on defense, but that is hard to count on.
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