Last week was Crazy Town Banana Pants.
For the most part, I have seen my picks either win big or get crushed. However, last week was a different story, aside from Baltimore +3.5 (big win) and Buffalo +10.5 (got crushed). I won four games and lost another by a half-point each. I found myself in a 2-3 hole after the 1 PM games and thought my world was spinning out of control.
Starting with Thursday night, we watched the Los Angeles Rams soundly defeat the Minnesota Vikings in a game where the score hardly reflects the outcome. The final was 38-31, allowing Vikings +7.5 bettors to come out on top, but those who bet +7 and +6.5 close to game time fell short.
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, I watched as the Buffalo Bills got trounced. The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, were up three, got stopped at the goal line and then preceded to blow a six-point lead and kick a game-winning field goal as time expired. Cowboys 26, Lions 24. Cowboys -2.5? Not good.
The Colts, who I nabbed at +1 after late action came in on Houston, were in overtime after storming back behind Andrew Luck’s 62 pass attempts. The Colts were facing fourth down with less than 30 seconds left in overtime in their own territory. They went for it and predictably failed. After that, we see a Houston field goal and another last second loss.
If it wasn’t for the 4 PM games, I would have likely drank myself into next week. The Cardinals followed a predictable pattern in their cover at home against Seattle, but Oakland -2.5 might have been the most ridiculous game this season.
After all of that nonsense, I managed to walk out of Week 4 with a 6-3 record. Favorites largely got the job done in Week 4, though my underdogs finished with a 5-2 record ATS. Double-digit underdogs are now 4-1 ATS, if we do not include Buffalo last week, where the line closed at 9.
Week 5 Picks
As always, my picks will be listed from most to least confident. However, I must note that I won’t be finalizing most of the picks on my end until Sunday morning (unless I really feel good about the number I’m seeing, which does happen from time to time). You’ll probably sense a trend in my picks early on, but with the lines being as they are, I’ve been forced to bet on some bad football teams. For reference, I will have the team I’m picking in bold font next to the point spread.
Season Record: 23-11
Season Point Differential: +159.5
Bye Weeks: Chicago, Tampa Bay.
Last Week: 6-3
- Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5)
This line opened at 5.5 on Sunday night, and I jumped all over it. Alcohol may or may not have been involved, but I feel even better about this bet now that the line has jumped all the way to 6.5. This line could definitely climb up to 7 or higher, and in that case, there might be value in taking Miami.
The Bengals, whose over of 6.5 wins is looking mighty fine, are getting Joe Mixon and Vontaze Burfict back this week against a Miami team that saw their number against the Patriots inflate following a 3-0 start. Even if Miami regains some competitive form this week, the Bengals are superior in almost every aspect of the game. Their homefield advantage should be more than enough to carry them in this game. If Andy Dalton limits his turnovers, this should be an easy cover.
- Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
Last week, Minnesota was one of my bets that covered by the hair of their chinny chin chin. The Eagles, coming off a disappointing loss in Nashville last week, are primed to huff, puff and blow their house down.
Although the Los Angeles Rams have looked borderline untouchable this season, a lot of their success has to do with the marginally better play that they are getting from their offensive line. They swallowed Minnesota’s defensive line last week, and I believe the Eagles are primed to do the same. Obviously, Philadelphia has not looked like last year’s juggernaut, and they still might be a few weeks away from retaining that form (if at all). However, their offensive line still grades out as one of the best in football. I expect them to come out strong this week against the Vikings at home.
- Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills (+3.5)
A fun fact for you: Josh Allen leads the Bills in rushing so far this season. I don’t know about you, but I always feel good when the quarterback I bet on is a rookie who’s running for his damn life every time he takes a snap.
In all seriousness, I like the home underdog getting more than a field goal. If the Titans didn’t just come off a nice home win against the defending Super Bowl Champions last week, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation. As terrible as the Bills are, I’m taking the home dog and finding the closest hole-in-the-wall bar with cheap booze because I don’t feel great about this one.
Sometimes, you just have to stick to your principles.
- Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (+3.5)
Did I mention earlier that I like home dogs? I almost have to bet these dogs.
Last week, I bet on the Raiders as short home favorites against Cleveland and got flat-out lucky despite Baker Mayfield’s four turnovers. The Browns can move the ball and their defense has some real blue-chip talent. We’ll find out real fast whether or not Joe Flacco’s sudden improvement is real or if he’s going to come back down to earth. I’m going to bet on the Ravens, and Flacco, slowing down a bit here and I, once again, feel great about getting more than a field goal at home.
Side note, try typing Flacco into your phone, without capitalizing it, and see what happens.
- Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans (-3)
This game is a little harder to judge on the surface, but I locked in this game at -3 anticipating a jump. As of Wednesday, it’s already at 3.5. I think I grabbed decent value here and I believe Houston is the better team overall. With Ezekial Elliott banged up, I’m not sure if Dallas will be able to move the ball in Houston.
That being said, there is a rather large mismatch on the board: Dallas’s pass rush against Houston’s putrid offensive line. That scares me, but I’m riding with the short home favorite.
- Green Bay Packers (-1) at Detroit Lions
I don’t traditionally bet road favorites. Earlier this season I bet Philadelphia ‑3 in Tampa, much to my dismay. Still, I like Green Bay’s chances on the road against an overvalued Lions team. If this were last season, Packers would probably be 3- or 3.5-point favorites in Detroit. In that make-believe scenario, I’d be on Detroit. Unfortunately, that is not the case and I’m betting on the Packers and their uniped quarterback.
Gun-to-my-head season record: 14-14-1
Indianapolis Colts (+10) at New England Patriots
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs*
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers (-7)
Denver Broncos (+1) at New York Jets
Atlanta Falcons (+3) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)
Arizona Cardinals (+4.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (+7.5)
Washington Redskins (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints
*If this hits 3.5, and it looks like it will, I’m likely betting Jacksonville