By Steven Marcuz (@sidskeat) and Shaun Meyer (@deadduck77)
Another week down and we did it again. It seems we’ve finally got a grasp on what’s going on around here and have turned in a few winning weeks in a row now. And just as things start to seem clear, a week like this creeps up where all the lines seem tough. Vegas knows what they’re doing too and it’s only a matter of time before the market corrects. But we still got this! Here’s a look at where we are sitting after five weeks:
And now, we’re on to week six!
Detroit Lions (+4.5) @ New Orleans Saints
As soon as I saw the line come out for this game, I circled it and couldn’t feel more confident about it. My only worry here is that the Saints are coming off of their bye so they’ll be well rested while the Lions are coming off a loss at home at the hands of the Panthers. Detroit is 3-2 this season, losing to the aforementioned Panthers and in week three against Atlanta, but both by four points or less. They don’t really get blown out. I remember last year when Detroit went into New Orleans the line was very similar and they left Louisiana with a victory. I don’t think that would be strange to see again as Detroit plays some smart football. In fact, they’re 3-0 against the Saints in their last three meetings and not much has changed with these teams. Give me the Lions to win this one straight up 30-27.
Los Angeles Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars OVER 42.5
What a difference a year makes. I feel like last year the total for this game would have been 29.5. But these aren’t last year’s garbage teams. The Rams and Jags are, dare I say, up and coming teams who have the ability to put some points up on the board. We also get to see two of the league’s top RBs facing off and I expect this game to have some fireworks in it. Wow, I can’t believe this is happening. For the Rams, the total has gone over in five of their last seven games. For the Jaguars, the total has gone over in eight of their last 11. The total has also gone over in seven of the last eight played in Jacksonville, including earlier in the season when Tennessee came to town. On top of all that, the last three times these teams have matched up, the over has covered in all of them. Take the OVER as the Rams win this one 31-24.
New England Patriots (-9.5) @ New York Jets
You probably won’t make a lot of money betting on big road favorites, but here we are. Let me get the ugly stats out of the way. The Pats are only 1-6-1 Against the Spread (ATS) in their last eight games against the Jets. They’re also only 1-4 ATS in their last five games when visiting the Jets. I don’t care. The Pats are going to turn into the Pats eventually and I think this division game is the one to do it. Through their “rough start” the Pats are still 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games and that includes being 5-0 in their last five games away from Gillette. The Jets just struggled to get a win in Cleveland while New England hasn’t played in 10 days. They’ve got extra rest and will be getting Gronk back in the lineup. Give the Patriots to win 35-24.
San Francisco 49ers @ Washington OVER 46.5
It’s a pretty ballsy move on my part to take the over in a game that features a team that seems to be allergic to scoring touchdowns but here I am. This game has narratives written all over it but the one that I like to look too is Kirk Cousins wanting to show off for a team that is going to make a strong push for him after the season. We all know Kyle Shanahan was interested in Cousins after taking over in SF and this game might be the one that makes him push in all the chips after the year. With Washington coming off of the bye, they’re rested (and with a healthy Jordan Reed) so I expect them to easily put up over 30 points against a team that almost allowed that to a Jacoby Brissett led Colts team. The 49ers will try to keep pace which will push this total to an easy OVER cover. Washington wins 38-16.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-4)
The Steelers laid a stinker at home vs the Jags last week behind Big Ben Roethlisberger’s career high five interceptions. The Chiefs remained the NFL’s only unbeaten team by comfortably beating the Texans on Sunday Night Football. These teams are headed in opposite directions. Kansas City is rolling on the legs of Kareem Hunt and unbelievably on the arm of Alex Smith. After the game last week Big Ben was questioning if he even has what it takes to play in the NFL anymore. Meanwhile Antonio Brown is throwing tantrums on the sidelines. The Chiefs are 9-1 Straight Up (SU) in their last ten late afternoon games while the Steelers are 0-5 SU and 0-3-2 ATS in games where they are underdogs of five or more points. (Spread moving up. Started at 4) Chiefs have covered in every game this year. Ride the streak!! Chiefs win 30-23.
Cleveland Browns (+9.5) @ Houston Texans
Everyone has Deshaun Watson fever baby!! The rookie has been impressive in his rookie season accounting for five touchdowns last week, albeit in a losing effort against the juggernaut Chiefs. Cleveland is what Cleveland always is…a huge disappointment. Seems there are few constants in the NFL year to year but we can always count on the good ol’ Browns to suck when we expect them it. Which is always. However, they are putting the rookie Kizer back on the bench and rolling out “Hollywood” Kevin Hogan who has been very un-Browns like by looking downright competent at times. Also the Texans defense is definitely a different animal without JJ Watt on the field and he is lost for yet another season. Cleveland has been so bad in recent years that I have no stats to lean on for this one. You try to find something positive on the internet about the Cleveland Browns. Go ahead. I dare you. I like the Browns to stay competitive in this one but ultimately lose again. Texans win but Browns cover 26-19
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) @ Minnesota Vikings
When are teams going to figure out that you can't give Aaron Rodgers the ball back with time on the clock at the end of games? He did it again. This time he did it to the Cowboys in a good game but anyone could have seen that game winning drive coming. The Vikings rushed Sam Bradford back and started him Monday night vs the Bears and he Bradforded all over the place. Realizing their mistake they went back to Case Keenum in enough time to spoil the debut of Bears rookie Mitchell Trubisky. The Vikings seem like they will roll Keenum out again this week but the question is, can they keep pace with Green Bay? Minnesota always plays the Pack tough, earning even splits SU and ATS over the last two seasons. I say Aaron Rodgers doesn't need a last second touchdown to win this one. Packers win 33-24.
LA Rams (+2.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars went into the Steel City last week and opened up a can on the black and gold. I told you to take the points but I never would have thought it would be the one sided whoopin’ that it was. The Rams were beaten by Seattle in a low scoring game. Jared Goff is impressing me week after week though and was a dropped touchdown pass away from winning that game. Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette have been chewing up defenses all year and I expect more of the same this week. The difference to me is the quarterback position. Goff has been good, looking like a real franchise quarterback. Blake Bortles has been crap, with the success the Jags having come by playing good D, running the ball and taking it out of their mistake making QB’s hands. I’ll take the Rams in a road upset. Rams win 29-27.
Steve - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) @ Arizona Cardinals
This game opened at Tampa Bay -3 as has been moving in the wrong direction and I’m actually happy to see that as opposed to worried. Tampa Bay was shut down by the...New England Patriots? Is that right? Yes, that’s correct. The Bucs will get to try and pick apart a defense that was just shredded by Carson Wentz and the high flying Eagles. The Cardinals have looked off ever since DJ went down and although they’re getting points at home, you’re basically picking them to win and I’m not doing that. The Bucs are good road bets, going 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games. And I’ll leave you with this obscure stat: the Bucs are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall following consecutive home games. So they like getting out of Tampa and covering and they’ll do that again here. Bucs win 24-17.
Shaun- New York Jets @ New England Patriots (over 47.5)
The Pats are heavy favorites in this game although I am not sure they should be. The Jets, who everyone expected to be in full tank mode, are arguably the biggest surprise of the NFL by leading that division through five weeks. I’m not confident enough to take the Jets and the points, but I am confident enough that they will be able to put up some points on the putrid Patriots defense. This rivalry has gone over in 11 out of the last 15. Pats win 33-20 so take the OVER.