Against the Spread
Colts -2.5 @ Titans
The Colts and Titans meet Thursday night in a game that could essentially lock up the division for the Colts. Indianapolis heads into the game with a two game lead in the AFC South, despite getting hammered last week at home by the Rams 38-8. Some might be concerned about the Colts following this defeat; however, when giving it a macro look, it seems that last Sundays loss is an outlier. The Colts are 3-1 on the road and have defeated the Titans three straight times. The Titans have home field advantage; however, they are 2-3 in Tennessee on the season and are starting backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick for the rest of the season. Look for Andrew Luck to have success early and often against the Titans average defense. Indianapolis has been hit or miss all season but all signs point towards the Colts extending their divisional lead on Thursday night.
Prediction: Colts 30 – Titans 17
Lions -2.5 @ Steelers
The Lions are one of the hottest teams in football and hold a one game lead in the tough NFC North. Here’s a rule you should always follow (thanks to the Hangover for this one): NEVER BET AGAINST A HEATER! When Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson have played together this season the Lions are 6-2. That record should be 7-2 by the time the feisty Lions get done with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Classically, the Steelers have been almost impossible to beat in Pittsburgh; however, they are a modest 2-2 this season and are 2-4 on grass fields. At the end of the day this game is going to come down to the Steelers offense being able to keep up with the Lions offense and that simply isn’t possible. Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers QB, is an expert at making something out of nothing. If the Steelers are going to have any chance he is going to need to utilize that skill set to perfection because the Lions front four, featuring Suh, Fairley and Ansah, is potent and will be on Big Bens trail all day. In the end the Steelers don’t have enough to get it done.
Prediction: Lions 28 – Steelers 20
Seahawks -12.5 vs Vikings
Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks have been favored by double digits four times so far this season and have finished 1-3 against the spread in those games, with their lone victory coming against the lowly Jaguars in Week 3 45-17. The Hawks are also only 2-2 at home against the spread this season. So why take this side? Well, there are a couple of reasons. The Minnesota Vikings are in shambles and do not look like the type of team that can hang with the Hawks at all. Secondly, the Seahawks played incredibly well last week in Atlanta and they should be able to build on that momentum into this one. Look for the 12th man to be a huge factor in slowing down whomever the Vikings throw out there at QB and for the Seahawks defense to have a dominating performance. Plus, PERCY HARVIN IS BACK! Against his old team! This one is for Percy.
Prediction: Seahawks 41 – Vikings 13
Saints -3 vs 49ers
First rule of betting in the NFL….Never bet against a Sean Payton led Saints team in the Superdome. It’s a horribly flawed decision. Just never do it. The Saints are predictably 5-0 in New Orleans this season with an average margin of victory of 20.2 points per contest. That average margin of victory, for you nubes out there, is astronomical! Now, to be fair, they have played the Falcons, Cardinals, Dolphins, Bills and Cowboys at home this season so it’s not exactly like they have been up against great competition. But hey, this is still the NFL. An average margin of victory at home of almost three touchdowns? That’s just wild. The 49ers come to New Orleans at 6-3, having lost their last game at home to the surprising Panthers. The Niners had won five straight before last weeks game and had covered the spread in each contest. Those games were against the Rams, Texans, Cardinals, Titans and Jags. So what to make of that? Good teams win, great teams cover. This should be an exciting game between two playoff bound franchises but at the end of the day you have to roll with the Saints at home.
Prediction: Saints 30 – 49ers 24
Patriots +2.5 @ Panthers
Monday Night Football finally has a good game? It’s a miracle. The guys at ESPN must be counting their lucky stars that the Panthers have been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this year. ESPN can thank the Panthers suddenly aggressive Head Coach Riverboat Ron Rivera. The Panthers are 6-6 on fourth down conversions this season. Do you know why Rivera started to go for it more often on fourth downs? No, it’s not because he got into analytics like Billy Beane. It’s because early this season the Panthers had a 4th and 1 opportunity but Riverboat Ron thought the Panthers had gotten the first down so he sent his offense back in. Obviously the conversion worked and Rivera has been gambling ever since. And you know what? Ever since that first conversion in the Vikings game the Panthers have gone 5-0 and have covered the spread in all five weeks! Congrats to you Ron, you saved you job by accident! Unfortunately for the Panthers, it all ends this week against the Patriots. The Panthers are a solid team with an incredible defense. However, there has to be a little bit of regression in them. This team isn’t THIS good. The Patriots are 7-2 and riding high in the AFC East. New England is also almost back to full strength with Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and now Shane Vereen back in the fold. Watch out for the Pats, they’re coming on strong. Bill Belichick versus Riverboat Ron Rivera? Sorry Carolina, gotta roll with the hooded one.
Prediction: New England 24 – Carolina 20
Giants vs Packers Over 42.5
Despite the fact that the Packers are starting some guy named Scott Tolzien (sorry we know who you are we just don’t care), this game should feature way more than 42.5 points. The Giants, who are very hit or miss offensively, should be able to take advantage of the weak Packers secondary. The Packers, on the other hand, will be able to run the ball down the throat of the Giants suspect defense.
Prediction: Giants 37 – Packers 23
Eagles vs Redskins Over 52.5
The Eagles defense is bad. The Redskins defense is worse. Both teams have offenses that can score at will if they are rolling right. Look for both QBs to have enormous games and for the Eagles to take this one in the end.
Prediction: Eagles 35 – Redskins 27
Bengals vs Browns Under 42.5
The Bengals are probably the worst good team in the NFL and their star players keep dropping like flies. For the sake of the Redzone Channel let’s hope that A.J. Green stays upright all season. The Browns have a surprisingly stout defense; however, their offense is non-existent for 85% of the game. This should be a low scoring affair with the Bengals holding on at home.
Prediction: Bengals 20 – Browns 14
Last Week: 4-1