Sigh. Between my own weekly article and the player props article last week I finished at 2-4. I really can’t buy a winning week. I can’t buy much of anything now with all the losing picks I’m giving out. I’m sitting here at 15-20 on the season, that’s 43% which is not where we want to be. The goal is to make it back to 50% on the season so we have our work cut out for us in the second half of the season. I’m going to take a different approach this week and see if we end up with the exact same results. Let’s take a quick look at last week’s picks and reiterate how terrible a gambler I am.
Bengals/Browns under 23.5 First Half: Not even close here. This pick died the second Joe Burrow threw a pick-six on the goal line. Putting seven points on the board in 15 seconds and giving the ball back to the passing offense that won’t milk the clock as much is a recipe for an over. I’m staying away from the first half under for a bit.
Bills -7.5 First Half: Nobody saw this one coming. The Bills have started to come down to earth these past few weeks against mediocre opponents. Maybe there are no good teams in the NFL this year, or maybe they’re all good weeks. Any given Sunday, I guess.
Cardinals +2.5 First Half: An easy winner on this one. Even without Kyler Murray, the Cardinals were able to pull away in the first half. They seem to be one of the most complete teams in the NFL and find ways to win games. I don’t know how many times the Cardinals will be underdogs the rest of the way this season but I’ll take points with them every single time.
Now, let’s get to some picks.
Raiders Team Total O/U 24.5
Okay, week ten. Halfway point of the season. I’m switching up my process and will be using more of my brain and less of the numbers. The numbers will still be used plenty, but I’m going to go a little more with my gut this week and see if my gut is smarter than my brain. My brain says the Chiefs are the Chiefs and they’ll figure it out eventually and go back to their winning ways. My gut on the other hand says they only put up 13 points against the Packers, and they’re road favorites against the Las Vegas Raiders who have played surprisingly good football so far this season. The total for the game is 51.5 while the spread is 2.5, giving us an implied final score of about Chiefs 27, Raiders 24. So by extending my own flawed logic, if the Raiders were to win this game and the total was correct, the Raiders would score more than 24 points. That’s a very roundabout way of saying I’m taking the Raiders over 24.5 for the game.
The Raiders have gone over 24 points in all five of their wins this season, and two of their three home games. The Chiefs have allowed over 24 points in six of their nine games this year. The only teams that scored under 24 points were quarterbacked by Taylor Heinicke, Daniel Jones, and Jordan Love, not exactly murderer’s row. Some might think the Chiefs’ defense is “fixed”, but I hardly think beating Jordan Love at home is enough evidence to say the Chiefs are back. I should stop using pace as a stat to support my picks because it apparently never works, but we should see quick-moving offenses and get enough possessions to push this one over. Last year, Derek Carr didn’t have his best season, but he did show up against Kansas City with over 600 yards and six touchdowns in two meetings. Look for him to continue that success on Sunday Night at home in front of a rowdy Raiders crowd.
Pick: OVER 24.5 (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Vikings Team Total O/U 24.5
Okay, week ten. Halfway point of the season. I considered copy and pasting that entire last pick and changing out some names and numbers because this is a very similar pick. Again, this is a pick I’m making with my gut for a few reasons. First, it’s the perfect spot for Kirk Cousins to succeed. It’s a 4:05 EST start, the perfect time to get lost in the shuffle of NFL Redzone and make sure nobody in the world is watching the game. Kirk Cousins thrives when nobody is watching. Next, my brain is conditioned to assume every game the Chargers will play is going to be off the rails, mostly because I grew up watching Philip Rivers come so close to completing a game-winning drive, but always coming up short. The Vikings are the exact same way this year. “Is that person doing hard drugs, or are they just watching the Minnesota Vikings?” is a real question that a person could reasonably ask. Add all of this together and you’ve got a recipe for an off the walls game with close to triple-digit points, a la Chargers/Browns earlier this season.
The Vikings have gone over 24 points in three of their four road games this season; in the other road game, they scored exactly 24 against the Bengals. The Chargers defense is allergic to stopping the run and while there are questions around Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison is a more than capable replacement if Cook doesn’t suit up this week. The Vikings have no problem running the ball, averaging over 100 yards per game, and can look to continue exploiting that against Los Angeles this week. If they can stay ahead of the sticks, and they should be able to, that opens up the playbook for some deep shots and potential quick scores. And again, much like my last pick, it should be a fairly fast-moving game with enough possessions to get the Vikings over this 24 points. I really just wrote the same pick two times for two different games; work smarter, not harder.
Pick: OVER 24.5 (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Packers Team Total O/U 26.5
Okay, week ten. Halfway point of the season. No, I’m not doing this for the third time. Well actually I am, but this one is slightly different. As I mentioned earlier, the Chiefs held Jordan Love and the Packers to just seven points on Sunday night. Love looked terrible all night and couldn’t move the ball at all against a shoddy Chiefs’ defense. Maybe Aaron Rodgers cooked up this whole coronavirus situation to show the Packers they wasted a pick – probably not, but maybe. If Rodgers is too be believed, and that’s a big if, he should be good to go this Sunday against Seattle. Unlike my other two picks, the Packers are favored in this one, with the game total set at 49.0. This is another pick made by my gut, and my gut tells me that Rodgers will be out for revenge on Sunday after being the biggest villain in the NFL for about a week.
This game will actually be on the slower side, but we only use pace as a stat when it fits our narrative, so we’ll ignore that. Seattle is allowing close to 300 passing yards per game, giving Rodgers a nice matchup to prove he still has it after a week off the field and in the spotlight. D.J. Reed has been good in coverage for the Seahawks this year, but he only stays to one half of the field and won’t take a star like Davante Adams completely out of the game. Russell Wilson should return from injury this week which should help keep the game closer and give the Packers a reason to keep scoring. I see Aaron Rodgers coming for revenge this week and lightening up the scoreboard on Sunday afternoon.
Pick: OVER 26.5 (-120, DraftKings Sportsbook)
If you’ve been reading all year long you already know I make terrible NFL picks. I’m here today to tell you I make slightly less terrible college basketball picks. As of writing this, I’m 3-2 on the young season with my personal picks while I still get a grasp on the direction teams are headed. If for whatever reason you’re awake at 11:30 EST on Friday, tune into Villanova vs. UCLA for a matchup between what should be two strong teams. UCLA is bringing back a lot of talent from their team that made a final four run last season and lost on a buzzer-beater against eventual runner-up Gonzaga. As of right now, they’re 3.5 point favorites over Villanova.
In handicapping this game, I think less about the two teams and more about the spread itself. Last season UCLA was an overtime win against an uninspired Michigan State from not even making the round of 64. Had they lost that game, they aren’t ranked preseason number two and might not even be favored in this game. Villanova is bringing back talent in the form of super seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels, as well as talented upperclassmen Justin Moore and Brandon Slater. They’re incredibly well-coached as most Jay Wright teams are, and have the experience to go on the road and beat a UCLA team that will likely be a very public side. Take the free points and ride with Nova on Friday night.
Pick: Villanova +4.5 (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)