LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: I've been calling the Rams the luckiest team in the NFL. They were able to squeak by the Panthers a very hobbled Cam Newton in Week 1 - who has been revealed to have a Lisfranc injury - then were able to benefit from another NFC South quarterback suffering an injury, as Drew Brees was knocked out early in Week 2. This past Sunday saw the Rams barely hang on against the Browns, who were missing all four starters in their secondary.
My point behind this is that because the Rams are 3-0, no one is discussing what's wrong with them. They have a major problem, and that would be their offensive line. Their blocking has been putrid this year. They lost two starters in the offseason, and they have not been replaced properly. In fact, the Rams might have one of the worst interior blocking units in the NFL. Meanwhile, left tackle Andrew Whitworth is finally beginning to show his age.
None of this is good against a much-improved Buccaneer pass rush. Shaquil Barrett racked up four sacks last week against another aging left tackle, Nate Solder, so he could have success against Whitworth. The Rams won't be able to focus on him because of Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea. Jared Goff will be under heavy pressure, and he tends to get frazzled when seeing lots of heat in his face. Goff could be forced into some turnovers, and unlike in previous years, he won't be able to lean on Todd Gurley, who is very limited. The Buccaneers have done a great job against elite backs in recent weeks anyhow.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: Speaking of quarterbacks who can throw interceptions, Jameis Winston is fully capable of launching a pair of pick-sixes, just like he did in the opener. However, Winston has played better of late. Perhaps that has something to do with Mike Evans overcoming a strange illness he had ahead of Week 1. Evans doesn't have as easy of a matchup as he did versus Janoris Jenkins, but he should still have a good game. Chris Godwin, meanwhile, seems to have a better matchup in the slot.
Keeping Winston upright will be the challenge. Dante Fowler is finally living up to expectations, and he should be able to breeze by inept and overpaid left tackle Donovan Smith. As with the Barrett situation, the offense can't focus on the blind-side pass-rusher because of a strong interior presence (Aaron Donald in this case, obviously.)
It would help if the Buccaneers could run the ball effectively. They did this versus the Giants with Ronald Jones, but I'm skeptical that they can do the same versus a far better Los Angeles stop unit.
RECAP: I love the Buccaneers this week. The prospect of that is a bit scary, knowing Winston's penchant for tossing reckless pick-sixes, but there are several reasons to believe Tampa will cover.
First, this spread is inflated. My calculated line is -7.5, while the Westgate advance spread was -9. DVOA says the correct line is -8. Instead, we're getting +10, which is the fifth-most-prominent key number behind three, seven, six and four.
Second, I don't believe the Rams will be completely focused for this game. They're coming off victories over the Saints and then the publicly proclaimed Super Bowl winners, and now they have this contest four days prior to battling the rival Seahawks.
And finally, something I referenced earlier is not getting much attention. The Rams' offensive line is abysmal. We've seen Los Angeles be limited offensively as a result thus far in 2019. Is it reasonable to expect the Rams to cover a double-digit spread when they have trouble scoring?
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I was hoping for a clean +10, but this spread is down to +9.5 in some places, and a +10 needs to be paid up for. Ten is a key number of sorts, but I wouldn't pay more than 15 cents on the dollar for it, and even that seems unnecessary.
SATURDAY NOTES: Sharp money has brought this spread down to +9, so it sucks that we missed out on any available +10s.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Still no +10s. I'm going to hold out hope for that, but sharp money ruined that line.
FINAL THOUGHTS: No +10 has appeared, so we'll have to settle for +9.
The Motivation. Edge: Buccaneers.
The Rams have to play the rival Seahawks in four days.
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at Arizona Cardinals (0-2-1) Line: Seahawks by 6. Total: 48. Sunday, Sept. 29, 4:05 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Seahawks.
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ARIZONA OFFENSE: The Cardinals didn't have the best performance last week, to put it nicely. The offensive line surrendered eight sacks to Kyler Murray, who threw two interceptions. Murray looked as bad as he did in the first three quarters of the season opener versus Detroit, except there was no miraculous fourth-quarter comeback this time.
What do the Lions and Panthers have in common that the Ravens don't have? A strong pass rush. Detroit and Carolina excel at getting to the quarterback, while Baltimore does not. Murray, as a result, played very well at the Ravens, nearly defeating them. The Seahawks don't have any sort of pass rush to speak of, so I think Murray will have a rebound performance this week. Helping Murray is an inept secondary that surrendered more than 400 yards to Andy Dalton a few weeks ago.
While the Seahawks struggle versus aerial attacks, they thrive versus the run. Alvin Kamara had a few ridiculous rushes last week, but David Johnson is no Kamara. Still, it's not like the Cardinals got much out of Johnson when they moved the chains effectively against Baltimore.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: The Seahawks have similar problems as the Cardinals do. Of course, they haven't been able to pass protect for years, and I expect that to remain prevalent in this contest. Unlike Seattle, Arizona has some talented pass-rushers like Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs. They should be able to get by Seattle's poor line.
Russell Wilson will be under heavy pressure at times, and some drives will be disrupted by sacks. However, Wilson should be able to buy time with his legs and find open receivers downfield. Arizona's secondary is missing its top two cornerbacks, so this is a matchup Wilson should be able to exploit very easily with his two talented receivers, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. He'll also have great success targeting Will Dissly, who will be going up against an Arizona defense that has surrendered monstrous performances to tight ends this season.
Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see what the Seahawks do with their rushing attack. Chris Carson has been a mess this season. He has lost several fumbles, and he slipped on the grass four times last week. I expect Rashaad Penny to get more touches this week if he's healthy, but there's a question if he'll even be able to suit up.
RECAP: Now, here's an overreaction! The Westgate advance spread on this game was Seattle -3. But because of a loss to the Panthers, the Cardinals are now +5. This spread has risen two points and has gone through a pair of key numbers.
Most of the projected lines say this is incorrect. My calculated line is Arizona -1. The DVOA says this spread should be Seattle -3. Perhaps I'm overly pessimistic about the Seahawks, but even the DVOA, which ranks Seattle way too favorably for my taste, thinks this spread shouldn't be above three.
If you think about it, this line makes very little sense. The Seahawks, with their poor offensive line and horrible pass defense, have beaten the dreadful Bengals by one and the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers by two. Why would they suddenly defeat a usually competitive Arizona team by more than five? It makes no sense.
Furthermore, the Seahawks may not be completely focused because they have to battle the rival Rams in four days. Sure, they're coming off a loss, but they need to game plan for a contest that could decide the division.
Despite seemingly everything favoring an Arizona cover, the public is pounding the Seahawks at an 80-percent clip. That's music to my ears. I'm on the Cardinals for a five-unit play.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm hoping for +6 to appear, so we'll wait on this one until up to 20 minutes prior to kickoff. There's no reason to lock this in yet, as +5 is in no-man's land as far as spreads are concerned.
SATURDAY NOTES: I still love Arizona, and I'm still waiting for that elusive +6.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Here's another line we're waiting on. I hope we get a +6 by 3:45 p.m.
FINAL THOUGHTS: We got our +6! Of course, this is professional action on Seattle, which we'll have to fade, but I love Arizona at +6 (at 5Dimes).
The Motivation. Edge: Cardinals.
The Seahawks have to play the rival Rams in four days.
Minnesota Vikings (2-1) at Chicago Bears (2-1) Line: Bears by 1. Total: 38. Sunday, Sept. 29, 4:25 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Vikings.
Emmitt on the Brink Season 12 is underway! Emmitt's bastard son Emmitt Snow Jr. arrives in Antarctica and makes a friend along the way.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: I think we can confidently say that the winner of this game will be the team whose quarterback is less inept. Mitchell Trubisky is certainly a candidate to play very horribly. He completed a high percentage of his passes Monday night, but his stat line was not indicative of how he performed. He threw off his back foot far too often and made some poor decisions, including heaving an interception in the red zone.
Considering that Trubisky didn't even play well against a horrible defense is very worrying for his outlook in this contest. Unlike the Redskins, the Vikings have great talent in their secondary. They'll be able to limit Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, assuming Gabriel even plays, given that he's coming off a concussion on a short work week.
It would be nice if the Bears would be able to establish the run with David Montgomery to take some pressure off Trubisky, but I don't see them doing that. The Vikings have an excellent ground defense that just put the clamps on Josh Jacobs, so limiting a less-talented rookie back shouldn't be too much of a challenge.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Trubisky could throw off his back foot half-a-dozen times in this contest, and yet he still might not be as bad as Kirk Cousins. The vastly overpaid quarterback has a long history of choking in big games, and there's no reason to believe that won't happen again.
Cousins has a penchant for making dumb decisions, like tossing a Hail Mary on a first-down play in the red zone in a one-score game. Cousins rebounded off a horrible performance in which he should've committed five turnovers. He played well versus Oakland last week, but this was just typical Cousins. He's great in easy matchups. This is certainly not an easy matchup. The Bears have a monstrous pass rush that will put lots of pressure on Cousins behind his pedestrian offensive line.
The Vikings, however, should have more success establishing the run, especially if stellar defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is out. No opponent has succeeded in stopping Dalvin Cook thus far in 2019, so as great as Chicago's defense is, Cook could still have a strong outing.
RECAP: It amazes me how much money is on the Vikings. They're a massive public dog, which is not surprising, given how horrible Trubisky has looked through three games this season. It could be argued that this will be Trubisky's toughest matchup yet, though I would give the Packers a slight edge in that regard. Still, we saw how awful he was versus Green Bay, so a similar output could occur.
Then again, Cousins is the master of choking in big games. As bad as Trubisky has been, I trust him more than Cousins. I think that's saying a lot!
This is a difficult contest to handicap. I usually love betting against heavily backed public dogs, and I think this spread is a bit off; I have it at Chicago -3.5, which goes through the key number of three.
However, I can't shake the fact that Mike Zimmer has had longer to prepare for this matchup than Matt Nagy. Zimmer is one of the top coaches in the NFL, so giving him an advantage like that is very significant.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: A computer model adjustment has calculated this spread at Chicago -5. Given that, and everything else I've discussed, I'm tempted to bet a couple of units on the Bears. One additional worry I have that I didn't mention earlier is that the Bears fly to London next week, but I doubt they're going to overlook the arch-rival Vikings.
SATURDAY NOTES: I thought about betting the Bears, but the two injuries to their defensive line (Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols), could hinder their ability to stop Dalvin Cook. I also can't shrug off the thought of Mike Zimmer having longet to prepare for a game than Matt Nagy.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: It sounds like Akiem Hicks will be out, which will make it more difficult to stop Dalvin Cook. I'm still on the Bears, but I'm not confident in this pick.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Akiem Hicks is, in fact, out, so I won't be betting on the Bears.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) at Denver Broncos (0-3) Line: Broncos by 2.5. Total: 37. Sunday, Sept. 29, 4:25 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
A reminder that Jerks of the Week for this week is up, so just click the link. This week's jerks entry is the fifth entry of my trip to Las Vegas. In this entry, I talk abut the many jerks of Vegas.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The national sports media loves hyping things in an attempt to increase viewership. That would explain their latest craze, which is Minshew Mania. Gardner Minshew played well versus the Titans, and now he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Apparently, it's very reasonable to ignore a performance in which he was absolutely dreadful three-and-a-half quarters the week prior.
Minshew might be solid one day, but he's not a very good quarterback at the moment. He had the luxury of battling an overconfident defense that had some holes in its secondary. The Broncos, conversely, have the personnel to erase Minshew's mediocre receiving threats. Meanwhile, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb have extremely favorable matchups, given that Jacksonville's offensive line isn't very good.
I don't expect Leonard Fournette to have much success either. Perhaps he'll make some plays as a receiver out of the backfield, but with Todd Davis back from injury, the Broncos were much better versus the run last week than they were in the first two games of the season.
DENVER OFFENSE: The most important thing pertaining to this side of the ball in this matchup is Jalen Ramsey's status. Ramsey is refusing to practice because he doesn't want to get hurt before he's traded, and understandably so. However, Jaguars head coach/doofus Doug Marrone has a don't practice-don't play policy, so he could opt to sideline Ramsey this week.
Ramsey's absence would obviously be huge for the Broncos. It would allow Joe Flacco to expose a Jacksonville secondary that was already very weak at safety. Of course, that would require Flacco to have time in the pocket, which might not be a possibility, given how bad his offensive line is without Ja'Wuan James playing right tackle. James' absence has really hurt the Broncos, who struggled to pass protect in the second half versus Green Bay.
Getting the ball to Phillip Lindsay in space could work against a Telvin Smith-less Jaguars linebacking corps. Lindsay had a very explosive performance in Lambeau this past week, so perhaps that'll convince Vic Fangio's staff that it needs to feature Lindsay way more than the plodding Royce Freeman.
RECAP: This is a situation in which I was really hoping for a deflated spread. We managed to get some value - Denver was -3.5 on the Westgate advance line - but it's not enough. I was wishing for a spread closer to pick 'em, which seems like a reasonable request, given that the Jaguars won on national TV, while the Broncos dropped to 0-3 following a defeat at Lambeau.
Still, I like the Broncos enough to wager a few units on them. They are absolutely desperate to get a victory, as an 0-4 start would end all playoff hopes for them. They're winless, sure, but they're not as bad as people think. They should've beaten the Bears, who are much better than the Jaguars, and they were even with the Packers until they started fumbling non-stop.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars seem like a great fade. The media is hyping up their mediocre quarterback, and the team itself will be overconfident following a victory on national TV and a long layoff.
Besides, betting against a public dog is always a good idea. I'm putting three units on the Broncos. I would need this spread to drop below -3 for a larger wager.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: We still have no clarity on whether or not Jalen Ramsey will play. Either way, I still like the Broncos, but I'm hoping for a clean -3; not this -3 -125 garbage floating around.
SATURDAY NOTES: Here's another crappy situation where I'm less enthusiastic about a team because of the injury report. The Broncos could be down two premium cornerbacks, with Bryce Callahan out and Kareem Jackson questionable after failing to practice all week. I'm going to drop this unit count from three to one as a result, though Jackson being available prior to kickoff could prompt me to revert to the three-unit wager.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I'm looking forward to seeing the injury report, as it'll be crucial for Kareem Jackson to play for Denver, given the injury to Bryce Callahan. Being down two top cornerbacks would be a huge deal.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Kareem Jackson is out, but so is Jalen Ramsey. I'd say Jackson is the bigger issue, given that Denver was already down one cornerback. I'm going to keep this play at one unit, with -2.5 -115 being the best spread available (at numerous sportsbooks.)
The Motivation. Edge: Broncos.
The Jaguars might be "smelling themselves," to quote Kenny, following their victory on national TV. The Broncons, meanwhile, will be desperate to avoid 0-3.
Dallas Cowboys (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (2-1) Line: Cowboys by 3. Total: 47.5. Sunday, Sept. 29, 8:20 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
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This week, I'd like to promote a site Jacob Camenker runs. Jacob is my co-host on the picks podcast, and he runs Riggo's Rag, which is a great site if you're looking for Redskins content.
If you want me to promote something of yours, send me an e-mail, so I can take a look at it!
DALLAS OFFENSE: Some guy in the comment section below just said that Dak Prescott is a much better quarterback than Carson Wentz, so it must be true. Prescott has been amazing thus far in 2019, but a smart thing to do would be to consider his competition. He battled the Giants and Redskins in the first two weeks, a pair of teams that have some major problems in their secondary. Prescott then went up against the worst team in NFL history, the Dolphins, who made Lamar Jackson look like the second coming of Joe Montana back in Week 1.
The Saints have a far better defense than the Giants, Redskins or Dolphins. Marshon Lattimore is an excellent cornerback who should be able to slow down Amari Cooper a bit. Meanwhile, the Saints have a strong pass rush that has given all of its opposing quarterbacks fits this season. The Cowboys have some liabilities in the interior of their front, so this is something New Orleans might be able to exploit.
Of course, the Cowboys will attempt to feed the ball to Ezekiel Elliott. It's possible that Elliott could have a nice performance because of his talent, but the Saints have put the clamps on all the rushing attacks they've faced thus far in 2019. Granted, they haven't battled a back as talented as Elliott, so it'll be interesting to see how they match up against him.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: The defense and special teams did all of the work last week, as Teddy Bridgewater didn't have to do anything but manage the game by staying turnover-free and getting the ball to his two play-makers, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. That said, Bridgewater nearly made a couple of mistakes. He was lucky to get away with two interceptions versus a miserable Seattle secondary, so this is something that the superior Dallas defense can take advantage of.
That said, moving the ball won't be impossible against the Cowboys. Doing it through Thomas might be challenging because of Byron Jones' coverage, but Alvin Kamara figures to have a big game. Saquon Barkley had some highlight-reel plays in the opener versus Dallas, but inept coach Pat Shurmur forgot to feed him the ball enough, even when the game was close. Kamara should be able to replicate what Barkley did and was going to do against the Cowboys.
Also, it really helps that Bridgewater is well protected. The Saints have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL, so giving Bridgewater time to locate his targets will be extremely instrumental in the Saints' attempt to pull the upset.
RECAP: I placed an early bet on the Lions last week, and it panned out. Granted, there ended up being no difference between +7 and +4 because Detroit won outright, but it was nice to have such a great spread.
I should have done the same for this contest. I loved the Saints when I saw a +3. I didn't see any indication that the sharps would be on New Orleans, but the pros pounced all over the home dog at some point Tuesday afternoon. They moved the line down to +2.5, so we almost certainly won't see a +3 -110 ever again. The best +3 available is for -125 juice at Bovada.
I'm going to lock that in for four units (it would've been five at +3 -110.) I absolutely love the Saints.
The spread is way off. My calculated line says New Orleans -1 is the right number. The same goes for DVOA. The computer model believes New Orleans -2 is the right spread. Thus, at +3, we're getting either four or five points of value, all while getting the key number of three.
Also, this is much bigger game for the Saints, who will be playing with great motivation. They want to prove that they can win with Brees. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are 3-0 and might be overconfident. They have a matchup with the undefeated Packers next week, so they might be looking ahead to that game.
As I said, I'm locking this in at +3 -125. Given the sharp money on New Orleans, it would be a surprise to see +3 -110 reemerge, though crazier things have happened.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I was asked how many units I'd have on the Saints at +2.5, and I think my answer would be two. Getting three points is so important, and if you don't believe that, recall the Panthers-Rams game from Week 1.
SATURDAY NOTES: No change here, nor could there be because of the pick being locked in. Luckily, there are no concerning injuries.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Again, no change here. The Saints are a four-unit play at +3 -120 and a two-unit play at +2.5 +100 (5Dimes).
FINAL THOUGHTS: It looked like I was getting a great deal with Saints +3 -125 from earlier in the week, but Bovada currently has +3 -115 available. I think I'd have New Orleans for five units at that price. I love the Saints in this game, as they should be favored against a Dallas team that has beaten absolutely no one this year. Aside from quarterback and center, the Cowboys are not better at any position. Despite this, the public is pounding the Cowboys.
The Motivation. Edge: Saints.
The Cowboys, at 3-0, might be overconfident here, especially with a matchup against the 3-0 Packers next week.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) Line: Steelers by 3. Total: 45. Monday, Sept. 30, 8:15 PM
The Matchup. Edge: TBA.
This week on ESPN, we're going to have awful announcers calling the shots instead the great preseason homers like Kevin Reilly, Ron Wolfley and Don Tollefson, inept ESPN guys Emmitt, Herman Edwards, and aloof people like Dan Fouts and Jay Cutler. Here's what it would sound like if these seven dudes (and some special guests) were calling this game:
Reilly: Welcome to the city of Pittsburgh, the worst of the two major cities in Pennsylvania. Tonight, the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Guys, what is happening with Ben Roethlisberger? He's the fantasy quarterback on one of my fantasy teams, and he didn't score any points last week. Should I cut him? What do you think, Emmitt?
Emmitt: Clyde, I do not plays fantastic football, so I do not has any idea how these operation. But if I had to guest, it would be because Ben Hamburger have surgery on his head when his head fall off against the Seahawk.
Reilly: What? He got decapitated? Why didn't anyone tell me this! Now my team is in last place because of it. Luckily, my 11 other teams in the league are not in last place!
Tollefson: What? You play 12-team fantasy football leagues by yourself? Kevin, you pathetic little boy, why don't you just kidnap women and force them to be in fantasy football leagues with you? The women I drug are in my fantasy league. All of them cook and clean naked for me, and then set their lineups. The kidnapped woman who finishes last each week gets whipped by me in my dungeon, hahahaha!
Reilly: Tolly, that won't work. Mother won't let me have women over, even if they're there to help me study for pop quizzes Mother gives me each week. Mother says that if I talk to a girl, she'll poison my mind and will make it so I don't rub Mother's feet anymore. Does anyone know where I can find some friends to do a fantasy league with me? I don't care who it is, but they have to be a guy, and they have to let me win.
Jason Witten: Hello, my name is Jason Witten and I just came out of retirement. When I came out of retirement, I felt real good. And another real good thing is fantasy football. Fantasy football is like a fantasy, and it's also football, so it's fantasy football, which is real good and real fun. I say it's real good and real fun because it's real fun, and it's also real good at the same time, so it's real good and real fun.
Reilly: So, are you saying you'll be in my league? Yay! Anyone else? How about you, sideline reporter new daddy?
Cutler: Meh, just put me on auto-draft, and don't expect me to ever set my lineup. Back to you, Todd.
Reilly: That counts, even though my name isn't Todd, new daddy. Anyone else want to do fantasy football?
Fouts: And here's what Kyle means by fantasy football. You have a sport called football. And then, you have a fantasy, which is not real life. So, when you put them together, you get fantasy football, which is not real-life football, which means it's in your imagination. I don't know why they don't call it imagination football!
Wolfley: DAN, I PLAY IMAGINATION FOOTBALL. I HAVE A THREE-TEAM LEAGUE WITH ME, A CAN OF TUNA WITH EAR PLUGS AND A SPORK WHO CAME BACK IN TIME FROM THE YEAR 2483.
Reilly: Wouldn't the spork from the future have an advantage? Oh well, do you think he'll be in my league with me? Just tell him to give me a 30-0 lead in every game and allow me to sub out players at any time. Hey, Herm, want to be in a league with me?
Reilly: BUHAAHAHAHA! Yeah, right. No way Herm will ever be in my great fantasy league.
Charles Davis: Kevin, looks like you're talking about fantasy football, Kevin. How about we talk about different forms of fantasy, Kevin? Let's talk about standard scoring, Kevin. How about we chat about PPR scoring, Kevin? What do you think about half-PPR scoring, Kevin? That's half the fun of PPR leagues, Kevin. What about quarter-PPR, Kevin? How about a sixth-PPR, Kevin? Tell us about an eighth-PPR, Kevin. Kevin, it looks like you're getting angry, Kevin. Kevin, if you give me a fantasy format, I'll pay all your league fees without being in the league, Kevin.
Reilly: Oh wow, how about two-qu...
Charles Davis: Sounds like you're going to say two-queen leagues, Kevin. This is not chess, Kevin. Better luck next time, Kevin.
Reilly: F**K YOU CHARLES DAVIS! I WAS GOING TO SAY TWO-QUARTERBACK LEAGUES, CHARLES DAVIS, NOT TWO-QUEEN LEAGUES, CHARLES DAVIS! YOU'LL REGRET TRICKING ME, CHARLES DAVIS! YOU'LL NEVER EVER BE IN MY LEAGUE BECAUSE YOU'RE THE KIND OF GUY WHO WON'T EVER LET ME WIN, CHARLES DAVIS! We'll be back after this!
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The Steelers better hope that Mason Rudolph plays better than he did in San Francisco; otherwise, the pick they traded to Miami could be in the top five. That would be a disaster, as the Steelers would miss out on landing a potential franchise quarterback to replace Ben Roethlisberger.
Rudolph will have a chance to bounce back, as he'll be going from battling San Francisco's terrific defense to playing against a Cincinnati unit that hasn't been able to stop anyone this season. The Bengals' secondary is a mess, as they've been very susceptible to the deep ball. That should be music to the ears of JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson, all of whom have downfield ability.
The Bengals aren't even very good against the run either. James Conner has struggled for the most part this season, but this will be an opportunity for him to get into a rhythm for the first time all year.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: The Bengals put together some fluky scores at the end of the Buffalo game, as they were able to take advantage of some turnovers the Bills committed. I think this may have thrown people off the scent of how truly horrible they are on this side of the ball.
The problem Cincinnati has is simple: It can't block whatseover. The offensive line hasn't been truly horrible because of some improved interior play, but the tackles are atrocious. Cordy Glenn's absence has been a killer, and I can't see Cincinnati blocking T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree if Glenn continues to miss time with a concussion.
The best aspect of Cincinnati's offense, at least until A.J. Green returns from injury, is Joe Mixon. However, the poor blocking has impacted him as well. Mixon won't find much room against Pittsburgh's stellar front, so he'll have to do his damage as a receiver out of the backfield, just like he did this past week at Buffalo.
RECAP: This is a tough one. On one hand, the terrible Mason Rudolph is favored by more than a field goal, so backing him is unappealing. On the other hand, the Bengals are a mess because of their horrid offensive line.
My pick could hinge on Glenn's availability. If he's out again, I'll be on the Steelers, provided this spread doesn't rise. If, however, Glenn clears concussion protocol, I may switch to Cincinnati.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The computer model now believes this spread should be Pittsburgh -7, which is surprising. I'm pretty sure I'll be on the Steelers, barring some positive Cordy Glenn news.
SATURDAY NOTES: Cordy Glenn has been getting in limited practices, which is obviously great news for the Bengals, at least as far as Week 5 and beyond are concerned. However, Glenn is out for Monday's game, which will limit Cincinnati's ability to score. With this spread dropping to the -3 range, I may end up betting on Pittsburgh.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: You can get -3 -120 at BetUS. If you love the Steelers, I'd consider jumping on that, as this spread could rise back to -3.5.
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: I'm going to put a unit on the Steelers -3 -120, available at BetUS. This spread is too low with Cordy Glenn out. It should be -4. A point may not seem like a lot, but three and four are key numbers, with the former being the most likely margin in any football game.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The -3 -120 I grabbed earlier in the day is gone. It's now -3.5 across the board, though the best juice on that is +100 at Bookmaker. I would not bet the Steelers at -3.5. The most likely result of this game is probably Pittsburgh by three, so you're not giving yourself a good chance of winning with that wager.
week 4 NFL Picks - Early Games
Eagles at Packers, Titans at Falcons, Patriots at Bills, Chiefs at Lions, Raiders at Colts, Chargers at Dolphins, Redskins at Giants, Browns at Ravens, Panthers at Texans
A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,430)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$575)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$855)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 18, 2020): 2-3-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 18, 2020): $0
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-2, 50.0% (-$135)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 132-123-6, 52.6% (+$3,280) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 43-42-3, 50.6% (-$2,650) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515) 2020 Season Over-Under: 137-119-6, 53.5% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$375
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300) 2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845) 2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040) 2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640) 2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,989-2,760-179, 52.0% (+$13,585) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 953-858-49 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 452-396-23 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 2,459-2,413-66 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 44-29-1 (60.3%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.