There’s good news and there’s bad news after last week. First, the bad news: I went 1-2 again last week for the third week in a row, bringing my season record to 3-6. The good news: you should feel confident that if you fade my picks, you’ll likely go 2-1 and can go home with some money in your pocket. You can also follow my picks and rationalize your poor decision by reading this article where I gave out a couple of winning player props. Here’s a quick look at last week’s picks before I try to get off the snide and pick some winners.
Cardinals -4.0 1st Half: This was a sucker’s pick and I was a sucker. Four points for the Cardinals really didn’t seem like much, and I had it in the back of my head that west coast teams playing in the early window on the east coast is always tough, but I laid the points anyways and got burned.
Ty’Son Williams over 58.5 Rushing Yards: I wish someone told me Ty’Son Williams was in the doghouse. One of the most efficient runners in the league, and a guy they appeared to trust against the Chiefs in primetime, was completely M.I.A. this week. I don’t even know what to make of this one.
Bears/Browns under 23.5 1st Half: The weekly winner. Both teams squandered chances with the Browns getting stopped on fourth down in the red zone twice in the first quarter. The Bears’ offense was absolutely incompetent. Hopefully, I can find a few more of these stress-free winners this week.
Now, let’s get to some picks.
Steelers @ Packers 1st Half Spread
Last week, I took the Cardinals first half spread at minus four against the Jags and I got burned. Fool me one time, shame on you. Fool me twice, it’s probably my own fault for not learning from mistakes. I truly thought by writing out my rationale for these picks, I’d learn from my mistakes and become better over time. Nope, we’re going back to a four-point favorite in the first half. I’ve mentioned before how Vegas is smarter than me and I’m just some schlub, but I watched the Steelers’ offense and it’s not pretty. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t attacking downfield at all. His average depth of target is just seven yards, a career-low for Big Ben who looks to check down on every play. Najee Harris is getting hit in the backfield every time he touches the ball. They haven’t hit 20 points yet this season, and on the road in Green Bay isn’t an easy place to play.
I’ll admit I didn’t see much of the Packers game on Sunday night due to a prior engagement that was ruined by Joe West and a foul tip, I’m not still mad about it though. Luckily, the folks on the What We Saw team got me up to date on what I missed. Aaron Rodgers was doing Aaron Rodgers things again. Davante Adams was unguardable. The defense was great against the run and forced the 49ers into passing situations. They’re in the middle of the pack in terms of rushing yards allowed per game, but that’s heavily skewed by the week one blowout against the Saints. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers commit to stopping the run to try to force obvious passing situations and dare Roethlisberger to beat them through the air, and I quite frankly don’t think he has it anymore. Sorry Steelers fans.
Pick: Packers -4.0 1st Half (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Browns @ Vikings First Half O/U
I’ve had success picking first-half totals so far this season, and I haven’t had a ton of success. I don’t even like picking unders, but I’ve gotta find winners if they’re gonna keep letting me put my picks on the internet so that’s what we’re gonna do. The total for the first half is set at 26.0, which seems a little too high for these two teams. The Vikings’ defense hasn’t been good, but hopefully playing at home gives them a bit of a boost. The Browns’ defense has been solid, but they haven’t been challenged by anyone besides the Chiefs’ so the jury’s still out on them. Regardless, I think the two offenses’ playstyles should be enough to keep this a low-scoring first half.
Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before, but these are two teams that aren’t in a hurry to go anywhere. It’s not that they’re incompetent and can’t put up points, it’s that they take their time doing it. The Browns have demonstrated a commitment to running the ball, handing it off more than just about everyone (53% run, 2nd highest in the league). The Vikings throw the ball more, but it’s not exactly an explosive passing offense. Kirk Cousins’ average depth of target is somehow even lower than Big Ben’s, and as far as I know, Kirk Cousins isn’t a 39-year-old walking injury like Roethlisberger. I’m really sorry for all the Steelers bashing, it’s a bad (good?) habit of mine. Anyways, Cousins plays it safe, checks down, and keeps the clock moving. The Browns run the ball, get first downs, and keep the clock moving. One or two stops could be all we need for this first half to go under.
Pick: UNDER 26.0 1st Half Points (-115, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Lions @ Bears 1st Half O/U
Last week, the only winner of my three picks was the Browns/Bears under. This week, we’re going right back to that same well. Justin Fields should be the starting quarterback of the Bears again this week after a performance last week that left a little something to be desired. Fields was sacked nine times on Sunday against the Browns. Nine. Times. NINE TIMES. Granted, Myles Garrett is clearly from a different planet than the rest of us because some of the plays he makes shouldn’t be humanly possible, but nine sacks are too many for any quarterback to be successful. There’s no reason to think the Bears will suddenly be better blockers this week either, they haven’t brought in anyone new or announced a lineup shuffle to help fix the issues. I’ve made two picks already this year trashing on the Lions’ defensive line, but this time I’ll bet that they can get pressure on Fields and make life tough for him all afternoon. If Matt Nagy is smart he’ll run the ball often to try to keep the pressure off his rookie QB. Unfortunately for the sake of this pick, I’m not convinced he’s very smart.
If you’ve been following along for the past three weeks, you’ve heard this in just about every pick I’ve made: these are two of the slowest-paced teams in the league by seconds per play. I’ve already thoroughly trashed on the Bears’ offense, and I don’t think the Lions’ passing offense is anything too scary either. Tyrell Williams is likely out again this week and the other Lions’ receivers are hardly superstars. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions are able to move the ball on the ground with D’Andre Smith, but that will keep the clock running and limit possessions. Lastly, the Bears are stingy in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on just 44% of red zone possessions. Hopefully, that stays true, long drives end in field goals, and few points are put on the board early in this one.
Pick: UNDER 21.0 1st Half Points (-115, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)