As we get close to the Sunday games of Week 6 of the NFL season, I thought it would be fun to take on Las Vegas. How well can I make my picks against the spread? We shall see.
Here are my picks against Vegas. You can find all of the current betting lines at the SB Nation odds page.
This is my first time going up against the spread, so we will see next week how well (or poorly) I picked.
2014 Week 6
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-1): I want to stay away from this game with all of the injury concerns in Detroit right now, but I will pick all Sunday and Monday games, so I have to make some pick. With just a one point spread, I will go with my straight up pick of Detroit. Pick: Detroit (+1)
Denver Broncos (-10) at New York Jets: I don't like the double-digit spread, especially when the underdog is the home team. The Jets have looked bad this year, and the Broncos have been on a roll, but double digits is still a big spread. I'm still going to go with the Broncos, but I'm not going to call it a lock. Pick: Denver (-10)
New England Patriots (-3) at Buffalo Bills: A tough choice here. Are the Patriots really back after their win against the Bengals last week? Are the Bills for real? I think New England moves back into sole possession of the AFC East lead with their win this week, and I think it's likely by more than a field goal. Pick: New England (-3)
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I'm not big on the Ravens this year, and actually have the Buccaneers pulling off the upset in our straight up pool. The Buccaneers are a better team than people realize, and are playing better football than a 1-4 record would suggest. Lovie Smith has the team moving in the right direction, even if it's slowly moving in that direction. Pick: Tampa Bay (+3.5)
Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals (-7): I've got the Bengals bouncing back from their New England beat down last week to come away with the home win here, but I think it will probably be close. The Panthers are a good team, and should be able to hang closer to Cincinnati than a touchdown. Pick: Carolina (+7)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-4): Tennessee opened as a six-point favorite, then it moved in the Jaguars' direction by two points. It's been taken off the board in some places because of the question marks surrounding Jake Locker, who at this point is expected to take a seat during the game. With Charlie Whitehurst liekly to start, I'll take the points and Jacksonville. Pick: Jacksonville (+4)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-1): This game is essentially a Pick 'Em contest: do you think Cleveland wins or does Pittsburgh cover the one point spread? Given that I picked Cleveland to beat the Steelers in our straight up picks, I will give the one point and take the Browns here as well. Pick: Cleveland (-1)
Green Bay Packers (-2.5) at Miami Dolphins: This game comes down to which Miami team shows up this week - the one who crushed the Oakland Raiders in London two weeks ago and beat the New England Patriots in Week 1, or the tea that lost back-to-back games in Weeks 2 and 3 by 19 points each time? Looking a little closer at this game, the Dolphins are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven home games, while the Packers are 2-4 in their last six games in Miami. Pick: Miami (+2.5)
San Diego Chargers (-7) at Oakland Raiders: Another big number on the board here, as an underdog Tony Sparano looks to revive a Raiders season against a team many see as a Super Bowl contender in the AFC. San Diego should be able to dispatch the Raiders, and I am actually a little surprised this is not a bigger number at this point. Pick: San Diego (-7)
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons (-3): This game feels like a Pick 'Em contest straight up, and it kind of reflects that here with the Falcons getting just the home-field three points. The Falcons are a better team at home this year than they are on the road, but the Bears are a better team than their last two showings. I'll guess this is going to be a really tight game (unless Devin Hester goes insane against his former team like he did against his former coach earlier this year). Pick: Chicago (+3)
Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5): Who knows what to do with this game. Arizona is a good team, but is starting their 7,438th different quarterback this season. Washington is an enigma this year, and who knows how they will play in Arizona. The point spread may not be large enough in this game, or it may be way too much. This may be the hardest game on the board to pick against the spread, just because you don't know what team will show up for either squad. Pick: Arizona (-3.5)
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-9): With this game in Seattle, the Seahawks are going to win it. The nine-point spread is a big number, and one that Dallas will likely be able to keep close. The Cowboys are a better team this year than a lot of people expected, and this game will give them a chance to test just how good they really are. Pick: Dallas (+9)
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-3): The Giants have started figuring out their new offense, and are playing really good football the last couple of weeks. The Eagles, while they are winning, are not winning big. I'm going to give the points and hope that Chip Kelly is able to wake up his explosive offense at home this week. Pick: Philadelphia (-3)
San Francisco 49ers (-3) at St. Louis Rams (Monday Night Football): The Phinsider staff was unanimous in picking the 49ers in this game straight up. The only team to come close to Arizona's number of quarterbacks used this year is St. Louis, and they actually almost beat the Eagles last week. I don't think they have that same kind of success against a 49ers team that seems to be finding their groove. Picks: San Francisco (-3)