Another week, another round of making NFL predictions. I’m starting to get used to this, even though I’m still loitering below the .500 mark. I’m getting close, though, so that’s giving me even more incentive to claw my way back to respectability. This week’s got a full schedule of intriguing games that should get a lot of action from the public and sharps alike.
Panthers at Packers
The line for this game hasn’t moved squat since opening with Green Bay laying a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. I mentioned earlier this week that I thought a little movement would drop the spread to -6.5. Apparently, that’s not the case, which says a lot about where the money’s coming in. I still think the line moves down closer to kick-off, which would be great for those backing Aaron Rodgers at home against a Panthers team that has been all over the place the past six weeks. At the moment, though, it’s still -7 so I’m using that number.
Prediction: Packers 30, Panthers 17
Saints at Lions
As expected, the line moved down to -2.5 a few days after everybody had it at -3. Not having Calvin Johnson hurts the Lions’ cause for this game and that’s not the only thing that’s going against them when they host a New Orleans team that’s fresh off of a bye week. Granted, Jimmy Graham isn’t playing in this one either so both teams face each other without their best pass catchers. I’m not as bullish on the Saints as I was at the start of the season, but I do think this the kind of road game they can win fresh off of a bye week to make adjustments to that horrible defense.
Prediction: Saints 31, Lions 27
Giants at Cowboys
One thing I always look for when betting on the NFL is which team is getting overvalued by sportsbooks. Last week, it was the San Diego Chargers. This week, I think it’s the Dallas Cowboys. That’s what happens when you beat the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, coupled with their opponents, the Giants, putting up a doughnut against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys are good, that much I’ll concede. But the Giants aren’t as bad as what they showed against Philly. This will be a closer game than most people think. It’s even better for me now that the line is at -6 on the Cowboys after opening at -4. That’s two extra points for those taking the Giants. That includes me.
Prediction: Cowboys 24, Giants 21
Bengals at Colts
Like Panthers-Packers, the line for this game hasn’t moved since opening with Indianapolis at -3. A.J. Green is expected to miss another week for Cincy, which makes it a little easier for me to pick Indianapolis. Here’s what I don’t get: if Green was playing, I think this line moves down to -2.5, which suggests that the Bengals are better than the Colts on a neutral field. I think the opposite is true. Indy’s got more weapons on offense and it has an unheralded defense. On the other side, Andy Dalton doesn’t have his favorite target and its defense is getting more credit than they should.
Prediction: Colts 26, Bengals 20
Browns at Jaguars
I cautioned everyone to take the Browns at -4 when it opened earlier in the week before the line moved up. Now it’s at -5 and yet I still think it’s going up another half-point before kick-off. I like Blake Bortles as a QB but I’m not a fan of the people he’s throwing – and handing – the ball to. It doesn’t get any better against a Browns defense that’s really coming into its own the past few weeks. It may seem counter to common sense picking the Cleveland Browns as road favorites, but if there was an opponent to do it, you can’t get any worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Prediction: Browns 27, Jaguars 17
Chiefs at Chargers
This is one of the most interesting games of the week from a betting standpoint. The Chargers opened as -5.5 favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs but that number has been bet down to -4.5 on the heels of the Chargers’ first ATS loss of the season. Here’s where it gets interesting: there are so many situational elements going on in this game. First, KC is coming off a bye and San Diego came off a closer-than-expected game against the Oakland Raiders. Second, the Chargers’ offensive line is really banged up while the Chiefs running game is finding its groove. Third, the Chargers have a Thursday Night Football date with the Denver Broncos, which could mean that some of its players are already looking forward to that game. That’s contributed to the heavy action on KC that brought this line down. I don’t think the number goes down any more than it has, but in this case, I think the public’s overthinking this one. I’m happy to get a point off of the opening line because I’m taking San Diego to win buy barely cover.
Prediction: Chargers 26, Chiefs 21
49ers at Broncos
Tough one to pick because the line is big enough with the Broncos opening at -7 playing
against a San Francisco 49ers team that’s playing a lot better after their early-season struggles. Since then, the number has moved down to -6.5, which says a lot about the action on San Francisco early on. I fully expect those backing Denver to come in late and push the number back to -7, but while it’s still at -6.5, I’ll take the home team to win this one with a late cover, similar to what happened last week against the New York Jets. The circumstances may be different, but the results should be the same.
Prediction: Broncos 34, Niners 24
Jets at Patriots
This could be the game that puts the season in the tank for the New York Jets. Defensively, I think they can give the New England Patriots a lot of fits. It’s the non-existent offense that I’m worried about. If Geno Smith can’t get going and settles for short drives, I see Tom Brady and the Pats dominating the time of possession game here end route to an easy double-digit victory. The line has moved from -8.5 to -9.5, which says that the public is laying large on the Pats. That’s always a risky proposition when the spread approaches double digits, but I’m confident this one gets away from New York quick, fast, and in a hurry. Remember, Thursday Night Football this season have all been double-digit blowouts except for last week’s Colts at Titans game.
Prediction: Patriots 30, Jets 13
Week 6: 4-4