After exploding to an 11-3 record with my first set of picks against the spread two weeks ago, I crashed and burned this past weekend, going 5-8. A couple of the games, I was within one point of picking it correctly, and too often I stayed away from a big number, only to have the favor destroy the spread and win by multiple scores. It was a bad week for me.
After two weeks of making Sunday and Monday picks against the spread, I am now 16-11. Hopefully I can widen that gap back out this week.
Here are my picks against Vegas. You can find all of the current betting lines at the SB Nation odds page.
Here are my third week of making these picks:
2014 Week 8
Detroit Lions (-3) vs Atlanta Falcons (London) - I have no faith in Atlanta at this point, but London makes things strange whenever the game is played over there, and the 9:30am kickoff is wacky. If this number were any bigger, I might be tempted to take a shot on the underdogs, but Detroit's defense should be able to keep a struggling Atlanta back by at least three. Pick: Detroit (-3)
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at Cincinnati Bengals - Cincinnati looked really bad last week, and have not won a game in over a month. The did, however, beat the Ravens already once this season, topping them in Baltimore by a touchdown. Now home in Cincinnati, I think they turn it around. Pick: Bengals (+2.5)
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) - Tampa Bay does nothing to instill confidence this year, but they should be better than a Vikings team that has not done anything as of late. I just have a strange feeling that the Vikings are going to be able to pull the win - straight up and against the spread - this week. Pick: Vikings (+3)
Seattle Seahawks (-6) at Carolina Panthers - Six points is where I usually start getting nervous about taking a big number, especially in an NFL where there is so much parity. The defending Super Bowl champions are coming off two straight losses, though, and the Panthers are not looking good. Giving six points to a home underdog is usually enough to scare me off, but I got torched last week, and I want to make up for it. The same can be said of the Seahawks. They win by at least a touchdown. Pick: Seahawks (-6)
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-3) - I am actually a little surprised by this line. The Jets have been a mess as of late, and, unless someone knows something about how Percy Harvin is going to suddenly turn the offense into something special, I would have thought Buffalo would be the favorites. Instead, the Bills and Jets are seen as even right now, with New York getting the home-field advantage nod. I have Buffalo winning this straight up, thereby taking the points and winning against the spread as well. Pick: Bills (+3)
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots (-7) - The Patriots of 2014 are not the dominating Patriots of the past. That being said, the Bears are not the Bears of any time. They are inconsistent and there are a lot of questions surrounding the team right now. In our straight up picks, I have Chicago winning, but that is more of a hopeful upset in order to make up ground in the pool than it is confidence in the Bears winning. The good thing is, Chicago is a better road team than home team this year, and is 3-1 against the spread on the road, compared to 0-3 at home. New England is 1-2 at home against the spread, despite being 3-0 straight up. I'll play those numbers, and the big touchdown number, and take the points. Pick: Bears (+7)
Miami Dolphins (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars - Miami is going to be a popular pick this week, coming off an impressive win in Chicago and facing a Jacksonville team that has not earned confidence from the public yet, despite getting their first win of the season last week, and covering each of the last two weeks. The line opened at four and has moved as high as seven for Miami, before coming back down a little to six (though you can still find seven points out there). This line has me nervous, maybe part of it is being a Dolphins fan makes it hard for me to trust a big number, but it's also another instance of a home underdog with a six point spread. I think Miami wins by 10, which would cover this spread, and I would probably be even more worried if this were the seven point line, so I will give the points. Pick: Dolphins (-6)
Houston Texans (-3) at Tennessee Titans - Straight up, I have the Texans, but I am not sure when it comes to the spread. The question of the day becomes rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who will be starting for the Titans for the first time. Houston can be a good team, and they should it for most of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Those awful two minutes crushed them however. Do they do the same thing against Tennessee? I will lean toward Houston, based on this being Mettenberger's first start, but I almost took a push in this game. Pick: Texans (-3)
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (-3) - It seems like people are starting to get on the Cardinals bandwagon, which is kind of surprising this week as the Eagles usually have a good bandwagon following themselves. This is a great matchup between two 5-1 teams, with Philly 5-1 against the spread and Arizona 4-2. It could go either way, but I like the Eagles offense and will take the points. Pick: Eagles (+3)
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers - This is a rare time when I do not think the line is big enough. It actually opened even tighter, with Indy favored by just 1.5. Simply put, the Colts are a better team this season, and are the top passing team in the country. The Steeler are sitting at 4-3 on the year, but are 3-4 against the spread compared to a ridiculous 6-1 for the Colts against the spread. That improves to 7-1 this week. Pick: Colts (-3.5)
Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-7) - This line gives too much credit to the Browns and not enough to the Raiders. Oakland is not a good team, but they have actually been competitive this year, when the spread is brought into play. The Raiders are 3-3 against the spread (2-0 on the road), while Cleveland is 3-2-1. A big spread like this and, while I think Cleveland gets back to winning after giving the Jaguars their first victory of the year last week, I do not think this game is a blow out. I'm taking the points. Pick: Raiders (+7)
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (-1) - New Orleans is a much better team at home than they are on the road, but the Packers are just a better team. There really is not a lot to say here; I have the Packers winning straight up, and I am surprised that the Saints are giving points here. I will happily take them. Pick: Packers (+1)
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-10) - That's a huge line, but I will not argue against it in this case. Dallas' defense has been great this year, and Washington is on to the Colt McCoy era. I am never comfortable taking the favorite with a double digit line, but the Cowboys are in a different league than their NFC East rivals at this point. It's hard to do, but I am actually going to give the points here. Pick: Cowboys (-10)