Zero for my last six picks. Things are getting ugly in a hurry here folks. I believe that takes us to 11-15 on the season, but much like betting, I’m also not very good at basic math so I could be wrong. If you’re still reading these, I hope you’re fading my picks and finding winners that way, because I clearly can’t pick them. As always, we’ll take another (sad) look at last week’s picks before making the same mistakes again this week.
Robby Anderson over 45.5 Yards: Robby Anderson continues to gather targets week after week. He also continues to not catch those targets. 20 targets over the last two games has turned into six catches for 25 yards. Apparently, betting on someone because they look like an “island boy” isn’t a great idea. I’m not betting on the Panthers to do anything well for a while.
Rams -5.5 1st Quarter: The Lions decided to pull out every trick in the book in the first quarter here with a fake punt, a surprise onside kick, and most importantly: a touchdown. They completely controlled the clock and made me look like the sucker I said I would be last week.
Titans/Chiefs over 29.0 1st Half: Well, we got 27 first-half points including a grand total of zero from Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. I don’t even think I need to defend myself for this pick. Who the heck saw a first-half shutout coming for the Tennesee Titans against offensive guru Andy Reid? I know I didn’t, but I don’t see a lot coming these days.
Now, let’s get to some picks.
Patriots @ Chargers First Half Spread
A few weeks back, I said I would take my Patriots blinders off and avoid betting on games involving the Patriots, but when you lose six straight bets, you’ve gotta switch something up. As a Patriots fan, I watch the Patriots closer than any other game in the league in a given week, and I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on the direction of the team. The Patriots are coming off a massive win against the Jets (massive in terms of the margin of victory, not the quality of win), look to have some confidence, and are starting to get a little bit healthier. Yes, they’re only 3-4, but they’re 2-0 on the road and have really only been blown out by the Saints. It’s the homer in me that says this, but they’re really just a few plays away from being 5-2 or even 6-1. The Chargers on the other hand are sitting at 4-2 with a really mixed bag of results. One week they win an absolute shootout with the Browns and the next they get blown out by the Ravens. They’re coming off a bye and have had time to prepare, but there are a few reasons I think this game stays close and comes down to the wire.
First and foremost, the biggest reason I see this game staying close is the Chargers’ run defense. They’re last in the league in both rush yards per attempt and rush yards before contact. They also don’t tackle particularly well, allowing another 3.1 rushing yards after contact. Outside of the games against the Buccaneers and Saints where they had to completely abandon the run, the Patriots have shown a commitment to running the ball. The Chargers are coming off the bye week, so maybe they’ve found a way to adjust, but thus far this season the Chargers have struggled with run-first offenses like the Browns and Ravens. My next reason for the Patriots keeping this game close goes back to 2020. Last year, the Patriots went into Los Angeles and beat the Chargers 45-0 with Cam Newton. I know teams and players improve, but this game could be more of the same. New England ran the ball 43 times last year, the defense forced two turnovers, and it was all-around domination. While Justin Herbert has had a whole offseason to improve his game, Bill Belichick obviously had an effective game plan last season and can likely roll some of that into this year. I’m a diehard Patriots fan so this pick may be biased, and while I don’t know if the Patriots win this game, I think they can keep it within a field goal for at least the first half.
Pick: Patriots +3.0 1st Half (-105, Fanduel Sportsbook)
Bengals @ Jets First Half Team Total
Last week I took the Rams to cover the first quarter spread against the lowly Lions, called myself a sucker, and watched the pick blow up in my face. This week, I’m gonna do the same thing, tweak it slightly, and likely watch it blow up in my face. The Bengals are coming off a huge win against the Ravens where they looked like the best team in the AFC North and while this will likely be a fairly public pick, we’re gonna bet against Mike White’s ability to move the ball and roll with the public here. I mean seriously, it’s Mike White. Almost nobody has even heard of Mike White. I had a friend growing up whose dad’s name was Mike White. For the Jets’ sake, I hope it’s not the same guy. Who knows though, with the state of their organization, I wouldn’t be shocked if it is. Seriously though, the pace in this game is going to be on the slower side, but I trust the Bengals’ defense to keep the Jets’ possessions short and give their offense at least four first-half possessions.
Anybody can find reasons the Bengals are going to win this game; it’s the Bengals against the Jets, it’s not rocket science. The biggest reason I’ll bet on the Bengals to score 14 first-half points is their ability to put the ball in the end-zone. On the season, the Bengals are scoring 3.3 touchdowns per game, thanks in large part to rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Every time he touches the ball he has the potential to take it to the house, even from his own half of the field. Defensively, the Jets aren’t very good against the pass, allowing a 70% completion percentage and more explosive pass plays than almost any team in the league at 12%. Joe Burrow has a healthy average depth of target of nine yards and isn’t one to check down for checking down sake. Going even further, the Jets are allowing over 17 first-half points per game, while the Bengals are scoring touchdowns on over 70% of their red-zone possessions. For me, it’s a matter of how many first-half possession the Bengals get. Cincinnati is seventh in the league against the run, which should put Mike “my friends’ dad” White into some obvious passing situations and help the Bengals’ defense get off the field quickly. If you’re worried about the Bengals not scoring early, consider the Bengals team over at 27.5 as well.
Pick: Bengals over 13.5 First Half (-116. Fanduel Sportsbook)
49ers @ Bears First Half O/U
For our last pick of the week, I’ll step away from rooting for the Patriots and against the Jets and get back to my bread and butter, first-half unders. The number for this game is set at just 20 points, but these offenses are both slow and lame. My roommate told me a good strategy to win is to bet against the 49ers every single week, and I’ve been a strong proponent of betting against the Bears, so merge the two together and maybe you’ve got a winning strategy. These two teams combine for an average of 18.6 first-half points per week, while each team is allowing a combined 20 points per first half. It’s almost as if Vegas knows what they’re doing when setting these lines. But as every terrible gambler believes, I’m smarter than Vegas and know exactly how this game will play out with a little bit of research and the eye test.
Like I said before, these offenses are slow and lame. At 22nd and 26th in terms of seconds per play, these teams aren’t quick to hurry up and get to the line of scrimmage. They like to huddle up, have a quick chat and get to know each other before they get in the correct formation and run an ineffective offensive play. When looking at yards before contact both offensively and defensively, it’s set up for the Bears to have a tough time running the ball. I’ll bet Matt Nagy won’t abandon the run and will continue to put his young quarterback in bad situations. We’re okay with that though because we want the clock moving and the only deep balls being off the feet of the punters. Trent Williams hasn’t played since week five and may be out with an ankle injury again this week putting a hole in the Niners’ offensive line. And last but not least, Jimmy Garoppolo is starting again at quarterback this week, who’s bottom five in the league in both big-time throw rate and turnover-worthy play rate according to ProFootballFocus. Turns out Jimmy G might not be that good, and hopefully won’t be putting up points on the road in Chicago this week.
Update: Khalil Mack was ruled out which could move this line a point or so. Regardless, I like the under here so any upwards line movement is more than welcome.
Pick: UNDER 20.0 First Half Points (-125, Fanduel Sportsbook)
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)