Another week of NFL action and another ulcer in the making. I had an average week with a 6-6 overall ATS record but unfortunately I lost some coin as I finished just 1-2 with my recommended wagers. One of those losing wagers was a horrible play on the Bills (what was I thinking?), but the other loss with the Chargers was really hard to swallow. I’ll get to that later.
Anyways, without further ado, here are my thoughts from Week 5.
Falcons @ Redskins
Closing Odds: Falcons -3, total 51
Predicted Outcome: Redskins 28, Falcons 27
Actual Outcome: Falcons 24, Redskins 17
By now, everyone in the world knows that Robert Griffin III left the game with a concussion and didn’t return. Griffin III wasn’t playing his best game, but his injury undoubtedly altered the outcome. You just can’t handicap things like that. Kirk Cousins came in as Griffin’s replacement and hit Santana Moss on a monstrous touchdown pass, but other than that, Cousins looked like the rookie backup that he is. The Redskins’ defense still managed to keep this game close, but ultimately, poor quarterback play let them down. This was a tough spot for Atlanta, especially considering that they struggle against the run so much, so I give them credit for pulling out the victory. The Falcons are now a perfect 3-0 on the road to start the season which clearly shows that they’re headed in the right direction. As for the Redskins, their entire season hinges on their franchise quarterback’s health, so hopefully Griffin III isn’t out for an extended period of time.
Eagles @ Steelers
Closing Odds: Steelers -4, total 44
Predicted Outcome: Eagles 20, Steelers 17
Actual Outcome: Steelers 16, Eagles 14
This game was destined to be close from start to finish, so I’m really trying to understand why the Steelers were such a heavily bet team this week. I know that Pittsburgh was coming off a bye last week, but this point spread was a gift. The Eagles once again struggled to protect the ball as Michael Vick turned over the ball twice, but in spite of that, they were able to put themselves in a position to win a tough road game. Philadelphia’s defense has been great for the most part this season, and this week was no different. The Steelers also deserve a lot of praise for finding a way to win the game. Pittsburgh struggled to move the ball consistently for most of the afternoon, but when it mattered, Big Ben was able to engineer a game winning field goal drive that began at their own 10-yard line. My faith in the Steelers has been restored, but now that I said that, Pittsburgh will somehow find a way to lose to Tennessee on Thursday Night Football.
Packers @ Colts
Closing Odds: Packers -6.5, total 49
Predicted Outcome: Packers 31, Colts 14
Actual Outcome: Colts 30, Packers 27
It’s really not surprising that the Colts were able to win this game. I’m serious. The Packers just aren’t that good this season and people don’t realize it. The surprising thing about this game is the manner in which the Colts won. Green Bay had a 21-3 lead at halftime and with all that’s transpired around the Indianapolis locker room this week, it would have been easy for the Colts to lay down and get rolled in the second half. Instead, the Colts outscored the Packers 16-0 in a dominant third quarter and carried that momentum en route to a close victory. It also didn’t hurt when Mason Crosby proceeded to piss himself on a game tying field goal try. Green Bay travels to Houston on Sunday Night Football and I’m pretty confident they’re going to get manhandled. The Packers lost Cedric Benson, JerMichael Finley, and B.J.Raji to injuries in this game, and apparently Mike McCarthy has also lost the running portion of his playbook. The Colts are in the ultimate flat spot next weekend when they travel to New York to take on the Jets.
Browns @ Giants
Closing Odds: Giants -8, total 44
Predicted Outcome: Giants 34, Browns 13
Actual Outcome: Giants 41, Browns 27
The Browns are Grade A garbage. Cleveland was spotted a 14-point lead within the first five minutes of the game, but still managed to embarrass themselves and not even beat the 8-point spread. Speaking of which, how did this spread drop to 8-points? Who was actually willing to bet money on the Browns? I know they beat the spread against the Ravens last week, but Baltimore was playing their fourth game in 18 days. Hopefully they can stink long enough to take Geno Smith first overall in the NFL Draft, and abandon this experimental Brandon Weeden project. As for the Giants, they tend to play down to the level of poor opponents, but it looks like their awful start actually woke them up. Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled away his first carry of the game, but Tom Coughlin chose to stick with the veteran back and it proved to be a smart decision. Next week’s revenge game between the Giants and the 49ers should be a dandy.
Titans @ Vikings
Closing Odds: Vikings -6, total 44
Predicted Outcome: Titans 23, Vikings 20
Actual Outcome: Vikings 30, Titans 7
I’m comfortable with admitting when I make big mistakes, and this predicted outcome was definitely a big mistake. I figured the Vikings would struggle in the favorite role since they’re accustomed to being underdogs, but I overlooked the fact that Tennessee is simply a pathetic football team. Most people, including myself, continue doubting Minnesota, but I’m almost ready to admit that they’re legit. If they’re able to follow up a blowout win with a victory in Washington next week, I think it’ll be time to start talking about Minnesota as a genuine NFC North contender. The combination of Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin make for a nightmare matchup for any NFL team right now. As for Tennessee, I really thought they’d put up a fight in this game, but they looked completely discombobulated from the outset. Chris Johnson followed up his impressive Week 4 performance with another terrible game and is well on his way to being crowned the most overpaid athlete in sports. I’m going to have to take the Titans to cover against the Steelers on Thursday night, but I’m really running out of reasons to wager on them.
Dolphins @ Bengals
Closing Odds: Bengals -3, total 45
Predicted Outcome: Bengals 27, Dolphins 17
Actual Outcome: Dolphins 17, Bengals 13
This is one of those games that I wish I could have back. Truth be told, I took to my Twitter account before the game and warned of the Bengals being a huge trap. Had I wrote this game breakdown on Sunday morning instead of Friday afternoon, I would have undoubtedly taken the Dolphins. Cincinnati opened up as a 5.5-point favorite and despite nearly 80% of the action coming in on the Bengals, the line dropped all the way to 3-points at game time. This indicates that there was a ton of sharp money on Miami. This EXACT same scenario happened in Week 9 last year when Miami traveled to Kansas City and proceeded to pull off a 31-3 upset of the Chiefs. In the end, I was victimized by sheer stubbornness. Rather than evaluating the Xs and Os of this matchup, I just assumed that the Bengals would win the game because they tend to play well against non-playoff teams. This game is yet another indicator that Cincinnati is merely an average NFL team, and that Miami is going to be a tough team to play against all season. I’ve also recognized that I severely underrated Ryan Tannehill as a quarterback—he still makes some rookie mistakes, but he’s drastically better than the bottom feeding signal callers in the league.
Ravens @ Chiefs
Closing Odds: Ravens -6.5, total 47
Predicted Outcome: Chiefs 20, Ravens 18
Actual Outcome: Ravens 9, Chiefs 6
The truth of the matter is that the Chiefs should’ve won this game. Kansas City committed four turnovers and that really doesn’t come as a shock considering they haven’t been able to protect the ball all season. But in spite of the turnovers, the Chiefs scored a legitimate defensive touchdown that should have put them ahead, but unfortunately the referees blew the play dead on an obvious Joe Flacco fumble. That was obviously a huge play because it was evident that Kansas City’s offense wasn’t going to score a touchdown. At the end of the day, I won’t read too much into this game. It was sloppy on both ends. Baltimore clearly spent the last week thinking about their upcoming games against the Cowboys and Texans, while the Chiefs were once again victimized by horrible quarterback play. Brady Quinn isn’t exactly a solution at quarterback for the Chiefs, but at this point, there can’t be a worse option than Matt Cassel.
Seahawks @ Panthers
Closing Odds: Panthers -2, total 42
Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 23, Panthers 17
Actual Outcome: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12
I’m still in disbelief that I actually picked Seattle to win a road game AND I got the pick right. The probability of both of those things happening in any given week is probably somewhere around one in a million. Anyways, I was bang on with this game. Cam Newton was predictably awful after he spent the entire week sulking over what could have been a victory against Atlanta last Sunday. The Panthers just couldn’t get anything going offensively as only 3 of their 12 total points came as a result of their offense. Carolina is on a bye next week and it couldn’t have come at a better time for them as they desperately need to figure things out. As for Seattle, they played a pretty decent road game with the exception of Russell Wilson’s two bonehead interceptions. I wouldn’t get too used to the idea of the Seahawks winning on the road though. On a side note, I mocked Pete Carroll when he decided to take Bruce Irvin with the Seahawks first round pick in the draft, but I was obviously wrong. Irvin is a beast and has made me eat my words. On another side note, I will continue to mock Pete Carroll for being a disgrace to humanity.
Bears @ Jaguars
Closing Odds: Bears -6.5, total 39
Predicted Outcome: Bears 31, Jaguars 10
Actual Outcome: Bears 41, Jaguars 3
I wish I could have been in the locker room for the inspiring halftime speech that Mike Mularkey gave to the Jaguars. It really seemed to have a positive effect as Jacksonville was only outscored by 38 points in the second half. Things could have been a whole lot worse. With Blaine Gabbert playing quarterback for the Jaguars, I found it surprising that the Bears were only able to muster two defensive touchdowns this week. Pathetic. Both teams are on their bye next week so there’s not really much more to say here. The Bears are going to the playoffs and I’m going to rake my eyes out if I have to watch another minute of a Jaguars’ game this season.
Broncos @ Patriots
Closing Odds: Patriots -6, total 51
Predicted Outcome: Patriots 37, Broncos 24
Actual Outcome: Patriots 31, Broncos 21
I’m kicking myself for not putting any money down on the Patriots this week. Everyone made this game out to be a battle of quarterbacks, completely forgetting that New England is simply a vastly superior team. The Patriots moved the ball at will in this contest, and had Bill Belichick decided to not be Bill Belichick and go for it on a fourth down late in the game, the score line would have been much more embarrassing. New England tore apart the Denver defense twice last season, so it was no surprise to see them do it again this week. Anyways, I’m so sick of the coverage that this game received this week that I can’t will myself to write about it any more than I already have. The Pats have a real tough test traveling to Seattle next weekend, while the Broncos have a key AFC West battle with the Chargers on Monday Night Football.
Bills @ 49ers
Closing Odds: 49ers -10, total 45
Predicted Outcome: Bills 20, 49ers 19
Actual Outcome: 49ers 45, Bills 3
If you’re wondering, there is no typo in my predicted outcome. I really thought that the Bills were going to win this game. Buffalo was coming off of a blowout loss, San Francisco was coming off of a blowout win, and the 49ers have the revenge game with the Giants on deck next weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for the fact that the Bills are a steaming pile of garbage and the 49ers are an unstoppable force at home. Buffalo looked sluggish right out of the gate, and it should have been obvious to me that betting an east coast team on the west coast was a bad idea. Mistakes were made. Buffalo will be in tough against a motivated Arizona squad next weekend so this could be the start of the annual Bills’ downward spiral.
Chargers @ Saints
Closing Odds: Saints -3.5, total 53.5
Predicted Outcome: Chargers 42, Saints 24
Actual Outcome: Saints 31, Chargers 24
What a scam. It’s actually going to pain me to write about this game after the series of events that occurred in the second half. The Chargers led the game 24-14 midway through the third quarter, and when San Diego returned a Drew Brees’ interception for a touchdown, I thought my Chargers wager was gold. Unfortunately, rookie Melvin Ingram got called for roughing the passer on the play, and from that point on, the momentum completely shifted. Ingram’s hit, by rule, was a legitimate penalty because he led with the crown of his helmet, so I really have nothing to complain about from that standpoint. But when the Chargers were looking to tie up the game late in the fourth quarter, the officiating crew essentially handed the Saints the victory. At one point, Cris Collinsworth couldn’t believe what he was watching anymore and even muttered something along the lines of “in this type of atmosphere, it’s not a surprise that the referees are making these calls”. I’m so stupid for not seeing this beforehand. Sean Payton returning to the building… Drew Brees trying to break a Johnny Unitas record… Saints playing for their season… It had all the ingredients of a typical NFL screwjob. It’s a good thing I’m having my Thanksgiving turkey this afternoon or I would have vomited chunks of bird all over my condo. I can’t say I don’t deserve this though. I benefited from the horseshit Seattle victory on Monday Night Football a couple of weeks back, so it looks like karma finally bit me in the ass. As for the Saints, they still stink. They had surrendered 24 points and 350 total yards midway through the third quarter and Al Michaels was calling it one of their better defensive efforts of the season. The Chargers will be postseason contenders and this week’s Monday Night Football game against the Broncos should be a solid game.
All in all, Week 5 was subpar. The outcome in the Chargers/Saints game really ruined my day as it would have put me above the .500 mark on my overall ATS plays for the day and my recommended wagers. It also sucks that I really have no feel for tonight’s Monday Night Football game so I’m content to end this week with a loss. Oh well.
Monday Night Football pick
I’m going to spare you a complete breakdown of this game. Truth is, I love the Texans and I hate the Jets, but I really think New York is going to beat the spread tonight. When 80% of the public is betting the road favorite in a game, you really got to take a step back and look at the game more carefully. Houston has looked amazing to start the season, but their four wins have come against teams with a combined 6-14 record. I need to see more games against quality opponents before I’m comfortable laying big numbers with the Texans on the road.
As for the Jets, they’re in the ultimate bounce back spot. They just got roped by San Francisco last week and everyone is starting to write them off—that’s the ultimate motivation for an NFL team. Every trend that you’ll find for this game will support the Texans, but ultimately, I think that this line is really inflated. Texans win, Jets cover, and I wouldn’t bet a single dollar on this game with my worst enemy’s money. Texans 23, Jets 17.
Week 6 Early Lines
Last but not least, the early lines for Week 6 have been posted. Here are my thoughts:
Pittsburgh @ Tennessee +6 – People will be lining up to bet the Steelers here, not even realizing that they’ve lost all line value. Pittsburgh was -4 against Tennessee prior to Week 5’s games.
Cincinnati @ Cleveland +2.5 – Cleveland is widely considered to be the worst team in football, so I imagine a lot of money will come in on Cincinnati. This could be a trap. Cincinnati is merely an average team.
Kansas City @ Tampa Bay -3.5 – I’m sure Tampa will get most of the action here. The Bucs are coming off of a bye and Kansas City has had some horrible quarterback play this season.
Oakland @ Atlanta -8.5 – Atlanta will continue to remain a big public play when they’re at home. The Raiders are coming off of a bye but it’s hard to have any faith in Carson Palmer.
Dallas @ Baltimore -4 – Even with the Cowboys being a public team, I can’t imagine the Ravens not getting at least two thirds of the action in this game. This looks like a short line, so it’s probably a trap.
Detroit @ Philadelphia -6 – I think that the public still expects the Lions to bounce back at some point. The Eagles will get the majority of the action but it won’t be a landslide, especially since Philadelphia keeps playing close games.
St. Louis @ Miami -3.5 – I think this will be 50/50 action. Both teams have been great money makers this season and it’s really hard to make a compelling case for one team over the other.
New England @ Seattle +4 – All aboard the Patriots bandwagon! New England is going to get a TON of action in this game despite Seattle’s extreme home field advantage.
Buffalo @ Arizona -4.5 – Buffalo has laid an egg in two straight games, so Arizona will be a heavily bet despite the fact that they’re horrible in the favorite role. I’ll probably go back to the Bills one last time.
Minnesota @ Washington -2 – This is entirely up to who’s playing quarterback for the Redskins. If RGIII is in, Washington takes in more action. If not, Minnesota takes in more action. Simple as that.
NY Giants @ San Francisco -6 – Despite the fact that the 49ers have outscored opponents 79-3 in their last two games, I think the Giants will be publicly bet underdogs. Who doesn’t want to bet the defending Super Bowl champs as 6-point underdogs?
Denver @ San Diego -3 – This will likely be a 50/50 action game. These two teams are pretty even.