Every week I make NFL picks against the spread here at The Props Network.
Week Eight was alright
Mainly because I am starting to claw my way out of the hole. That is more than I can say for the morons at Barstool. My friend suggests that “if you want to win, fade those guys and you’ll have winnings and won’t be paying alimony.” Follow this sage advice and fade Dave Portnoy for fun and for profit. You don’t have to follow him, just check his Twitter feed and check out his picks. You too can make money from his misery.
What else did we learn last week??
The Packers are pretty damn good.
So are the Chiefs, but we got to see peak Andy Reid in full effect on Sunday night. Of course, he mismanged the clock in his usual fashion.
Matt Moore still sucks, but Andy Reid made him look like okay because he’s a genius tactician and play caller. Except when the game gets inside five minutes at the end the game and he resembles a play caller from 1972. Bet accordingly on short Chiefs spreads. And hey, that Rodgers flick to the back of the end zone was pretty cool, wasn’t it? My favorite part was towards the end of the game when LaFleur was on camera asking Rodgers what to run. That’s pretty funny, but not a bad idea when you consider that Mike McCarthy spent years arguing with Rodgers instead of working with him. Maybe LaFleur learned something about managing people from McVay.
Jacksonville’s looked solid the last two weeks.
And if you’ve cashed tickets on them on this mini-streak, be careful with the London game. Sure, the team as a whole has some experience bopping over there, but it’s a 6 am EST kickoff and Minshew hasn’t done the London swing yet. I don’t trust Bill O’Brien, but I’d just be careful about getting too excited over this one. Even in a vacuum I like the Jags winning outright. O’Brien is going to get Watson killed and it’s going to suck when he gets another serious injury.
Freddy Kitchens should be fired in the off season.
I mean, you can’t do it right now because the team might spontaneously combust, but he’s not ready for this. It’s not a good sign when your team turns the ball over on its first three possessions and then you’re out there deliberately taking a penalty. Oh man, why even bother? One friend said Kitchens is like Reid on steroids, but I think he’s more like Bizarro Reid. He does ham-fisted things like forget what down it is and doesn’t run the ball in the red zone. He sometimes has great play calls and can definitely come up with some nice schemes, but as far as being in charge of the whole operation?
Forget it. He doesn’t strike me as much of a leader as a guy who is making it up as he goes along. That’s fine, it’s part of growing. I think he’s got some real talent as a coach, but he needs seasoning as a coordinator and working under some guys who know how to manage a team. I really wanted to see Arians run the Browns, but alas, the Browns remain the Browns.
The Bears would be better with almost anyone but Trubisky at QB.
He is so bad that PointsBet refunded all of the future wagers on Mitch to be MVP. Andy Dalton would have been a massive upgrade and the way the Bengals did him when they benched him without giving him time to explore a trade was terrible. There are a lot of reasons why there is a pox on that franchise, but screwing over Dalton is pretty low. Don’t give me this BS about football being a business, you can be a smartly run business and also not treat your long term players badly.
Alright, let’s make some picks!
Sean’s Week 9 NFL Picks
All lines are from Caesars
NFL Pick #1: Patriots -3.5 points @ Ravens
Don’t look now, but the Patriots are vulnerable. I know it’s a fool’s errand to bet against the Pats. Since around 2005 they are 60 percent ATS and break virtually every betting model on the planet. Double-digit spreads? No problem. Going on the road to face an opponent off the bye? Pffft. Division rivals? Ha. They have no division rivals because their division is soft as baby poo and has been for years. About the only time you can catch New England in a bind is when they are undermanned, injured, facing a quality opponent on the road, and even then you have to put pressure on Brady.
Now, if you’re looking at just scores and numbers, the Pats appear to be just fine. They are 8-0 SU, 6-2 ATS, and defensively they are a juggernaut ranking second overall and pitching two shutouts already. It’s worth repeating, the Pats would have been 3-3-1 through their first seven games if their offense didn’t even exist. They have been so dominant against bad competition that one friend of mine said, “they are the only team to shut down Josh Allen” and I died laughing. That is how moribund the Pats’ competition has been this year.
There are chinks in the armor. Brady is starting to look his age, the offense is slow to get going, the running game is suspect and Sony Michel is not hitting holes or cutting back, but rather just diving into the line. The receiving corps got a boost with the addition of Sanu, but they put Gordon on IR, Edelman is fighting through some dings, and Gronk is not coming through that door. Sooner or later not having him around for big plays is going to manifest itself in stalled drives and not getting the big plays we are used to seeing them make when the chips are down.
Trust me, that Cleveland game was much closer than it looked. The Browns were basically even with the Pats in yardage and had they not turned the ball over on three straight possessions to open the game and didn’t have Andy Reid With a Lobotomy as their head coach, they might have won.
Baltimore is maybe the second quality team New England will face this year and they are coming off the bye and an impressive road win in Seattle. Baltimore has a less than stellar history against the Pats including three straight losses and 2-5 in their last seven going back to 2010 and are only 2-4-1 ATS this season. However, one of those tickets they cashed was on the road in KC with a back door cover.
Baltimore’s offense is hit or miss and when the passing game breaks down it basically becomes the Lamar Jackson show. I don’t know how reliable that’s going to be against the Pats who can disguise coverage better than any team in football. Also, Jon Harbaugh is superior to all of the other head coaches New England has faced this year, save for maybe Sean McDermott. The defense isn’t particularly impressive and it’s not like Earl Thomas is flashing his Legion of Boom form, but as mentioned before, the Pats offense isn’t exactly a well-oiled machine and again, they have played exactly one quality opponent and Buffalo didn’t make things easy on Brady and company.
Now, I know every Pally and Sally in the New England area is screaming about this being the greatest defense of all time. Just stop. That defense is rad, but beating up on the dregs of the NFL like you are supposed to isn’t enough. Just remember, had the Rams somehow eeked out that Super Bowl and Jared Goff had hit the dozen or so open looks McVay set up for him with the play calling everyone would be talking about how the Pats offense has taken a step back instead of talking about how the defense is carrying Brady for once. Seriously, the Pats offense is not very good and it’s ranked 16th. That’s the definition of mediocre.
Anyways, the Pats are laying more than a field goal on the road against a quality opponent? Careful because the other way is Baltimore coming off the bye and catching three points against a massive public team and 80 percent of the money on the Pats. What I like even more is the total because a combo of the downward trending Pats offense coupled with their defense means there won’t be a ton of scoring, right? I lean Baltimore as a side, but I like the Under.
THE PICK: UNDER 45.5
NFL Pick #2: Packers -3.5 points @ Chargers
The Chargers are the most frustrating team in football. They are loaded with talent, but have really bad coaching. Also, they have terrible luck with injuries or just have a horrible strength & conditioning coaches and trainers. Plus, they don’t get a lot of calls their way and make all kinds of silly mistakes. They have a Hall of Fame quarterback and weapons all over the field, but for every insane comeback they get like last year in Kansas City, they have a game like two weeks ago in Tennessee where they couldn’t punch the ball in as the clock was winding down.
When you talk to other bettors there seems to be a feeling that the Chargers are a solid home dog. They are not. They are basically .500 ATS both ways since 2017 in the soccer stadium. And, they have absolutely no home field advantage. None. Fun fact to file away, though, the Jets are 7-1 ATS as a home dog since 2017. Go figure. Should have remembered that record when I bet Dallas against them. Anyways, this is only the third time since 2017 that the Packers have been a road favorite. They are 1-1, so hey, it’s a literal coin flip, right?
Look, put this game in Lambeau and you’re look at Pack -6.5 or 7.5. The Chargers got away with one last week because the Bears offense is atrocious. The Chargers are 3-5 and ranked 17th in offense and 12th on defense. They suck. Like, they really suck. The Steelers raced out to a three score lead before the Chargers even warmed up. They lost to Denver at home. They lost to Houston at home. And they should have lost to Indy at home.
I am fading San Diego whenever I can because ultimately they are a poorly coached team that is capable of turning the ball over, committing an egregious penalty, blowing a coverage, or some other stupid thing because they are undisciplined and unfocused. The Pack are ranked 7th in scoring offense, are 3rd in red zone scoring, and their defense is 8th in the league at stopping teams inside the red zone. Sure, the Chargers are 6th against the pass, but this is Rodgers and I don’t trust the Chargers at all. Also, you are aware that the Packers get every call known to man, right?
THE PICK: PACKERS -3.5
NFL Pick #2: Titans + 3.5 points @ Panthers
This is the most obvious glaring spot in the world. Like, there’s a spotlight on the board this week and this is it. Don’t be a dummy and put your rent or mortgage on the game. But right here is a nice spot to make a move if you’re craving a motivated favorite. The Titans are getting above average play from Tannehill and that’s not something you can count on week in and week out. They have gotten a couple wins in a row against the perpetual screw ups, the Chargers, and Jameis Winston.
Oh, I can feel my pace quickening with excitement as the Titans reach .500. Look, they have some talent. But let’s be honest, they ranked 30th or below in points scored, passing yards, and rushing yards per game. Their defense is 12 against the rush and 16th against the pass, but a robust 4th in points allowed. This means they can be had by competent teams.
Carolina is coming off an absolute shellacking at the hands of the Niners. Now they get to come home and play a team that reeks of mediocrity. I am not the biggest fan of Kyle Allen, but I think he’s a fine caretaker until Cam is fully healthy. The Titans are not necessarily a team you’re going to fatten yourself up on, but they are not very good and they run a very vanilla defense. It’s the sort of defense that even a guy like Kyle Allen can manage to be productive against if McCaffrey is able to get in the open field or the defense spends all of its time trying to bottle him up. It won’t matter because he will get his and could break the game open at any moment.
This is one where I think you can go with the bounce back spot and trust that Carolina, who got a lot of love prior to last week, just had a really awful game. They are a playoff contender and will want to get the taste of a big loss out of their mouths very fast.
THE PICK: PANTHERS -3.5
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