Last week was pretty good for me as the only two picks I got wrong was the Lions-Falcons game (what the hell, Atlanta!) and the Colts-Steelers game (what the hell, Ben Roethlisberger!) Other than those two games and the Bengals-Ravens game that ended up as a tie, the week was pretty straightforward. Okay, that’s enough humble bragging on my part. It’s a new week in the NFL and as is always the case, the previous week’s performance isn’t an indication of how I’ll do the next week. I could as easily go 0-8 this time, although I do hope that it’s not the case.
Saints at Panthers
I had a feeling this would happen. New Orleans opened as +1.5 underdogs against the Carolina Panthers, but that number has swung dramatically in the other direction on the strength of the Saints’ trashing of the Green Bay Packers and the Panthers’ continued sour play. Right now, Drew Brees and company are -2.5 favorites even though that number has swayed on both sides in the past day and a half. I think this settles in at -1.5 for the Saints, and I’ll be comfortable laying those points hoping that the team finally breaks through its road woes.
Prediction: Saints 21, Panthers 17
Chargers at Dolphins
Action on both sides have been even, which accounts for the line not moving to much. Some books bumped the number up to -2 for Miami, but other than that, the -1.5 spread has stuck throughout the week. It’s a difficult game to predict because it’s hard to position San Diego given the tricky situational plays surrounding this game. So I’m going to pick this game based on the health trajectory of both teams. The Chargers are still dealing with a host of injuries while Miami is probably the healthiest it’s ever been. When it comes down to health, give me the Dolphins to handle its business at home. It’s going to be close, but I think Ryan Tannehill makes a late play to secure a Miami win.
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Chargers 20
Raiders at Seahawks
Looks like there’s still a limit to how high the public can go against the number. The spread on this game opened with the Seahawks as -15 favorites and that number has only moved half-a-point to -15.5. That shows a little more action on Seattle but not enough to convince me that the public isn’t scared to lay that many points, even if it’s against the Raiders. But I still think this game is going to be a blowout because I don’t see Oakland scoring more than 14 points against a Seahawks defense bent on rediscovering its mojo. There’s no better time to do that than blowing out the Raiders in Seattle.
Prediction: Seahawks 33, Raiders 13
Cardinals at Cowboys
A lot of sportsbooks have actually taken this game off the board on account of Tony Romo’s status for the game, but some still have it with Dallas as -4 favorites. I’m actually staying away from this game, but since I’m contractually obligated (sort of) to make a prediction, I think that Arizona will be able to cover that spread, even if they don’t win the game. It’s not going to be high-scoring, either so that should play into it being a tight, one-possession affair with Dallas pulling it out in the last second, with or without Tony Romo.
Prediction: Cowboys 23, Cardinals 21
Broncos at Patriots
True story: I’ve bet on every single one of the 15 games between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. It took a little bit of digging, but I was able to add up my betting record in those games. It’s 5-8-2. Not exactly a sparkling record. But I’m confident that win number six will come this weekend with the Pats still the -3.5 favorites. I’d be more confident if that hook was removed so I’m going to wait until the last minute to see what the spread is. Don’t expect the Broncos to get any more points so if this spread moves, it’s likely to go down.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Broncos 27
Ravens at Steelers
I can’t believe this game is now a pick ‘em after opening with Steelers as -1.5 favorites. I actually think this game should’ve been Pittsburgh laying -3 against the Ravens so now that it’s a pick ‘em, I’m all the more all-in on the Steelers. Lock Pittsburgh up as soon as you can before the number moves back against them.
Prediction: Steelers 23, Ravens 18
Eagles at Texans
The number has moved on both sides after opening with the Eagles as -2.5 road favorites. Some books have dropped the spread to -2 whereas others are at -3. I was actually hoping that more bets would be on Philly to push the number up to -4 but I’m still hoping that it happens in the days before the game. Once that number hits -4, I’m riding Arian Foster and the Texans to win as home underdogs.
Prediction: Texans 26, Eagles 24
Jets at Chiefs
It looks the opening spread of -7.5 on Kansas City isn’t coming back anytime soon. The number’s now at -9.5 and some books even have it at -10. I’m not happy about overcoming the two extra points, but I still think Kansas City can romp its way to a double-digit win against the hapless Jets. I’m actually scared for Michael Vick here. The combination of the Chiefs’ defense and that defining Arrowhead stadium isn’t the kind of place you’d want Vick to be in.
Prediction: Chiefs 26, Jets 13
Week 8: 5-2-1