I apologize for my tardiness. Normally, I have this column written by Thursday or Friday, getting it out in plenty of time before Sunday’s games. However, this week has been extra busy, and the World Series is only one of a handful of reasons for that.
That being said, even though I had plenty of Red Sox coverage to deal with on Friday night, I had every intention of getting this thing written after Game 3 wrapped up. Well, at least until the Red Sox and Dodgers decided to play the longest game in World Series history. These two teams played for 18 innings — TWO whole games — at Dodger Stadium, and the Red Sox had multiple opportunities to win the game. But the best offense in baseball was all but lifeless, scoring two runs in 18 innings, and allowing the Dodgers to walk it off in bottom of the 18th.
So, instead of getting a chance to write out my NFL picks for this week, I spent my Friday night (and part of Saturday morning) watching one of the most dreadful baseball games of my life. It was definitely an experience, I will give it that.
So that’s why this column isn’t getting written until the very last minute. Better late than never, right?
On to the picks.
(Home teams in caps, and all lines courtesy of OddsShark.com)
Eagles (-3) over JAGUARS – London
The designated “home” teams for these ridiculous London games have had serious trouble covering the spread in recent attempts, and meanwhile, this Jaguars offense is more incompetent right now than the London Silly Nannies. Neither team is a sure bet, as Philly blew a 17-0 lead last week to Carolina, but Jacksonville is in a slump of all slumps right now.
Ravens (-2.5) over PANTHERS
Check it out, we’ve got ourselves a home underdog! As I mentioned seven seconds ago, the Panthers came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the defending champion Eagles last week. But the Eagles aren’t playing their best football right now, while the exceptional Ravens defense held Drew Brees and the Saints to seven points through three quarters.
Ultimately, that Baltimore defense should be too tough for the Panthers, even at home.
Browns (+8) over STEELERS
They might not be winning a lot of games, but the Browns are covering spreads left and right, mainly because they have a knack for taking games to overtime. They are 5-2 against the spread this season. I wouldn’t normally endorse picking the Browns on the road, but Baker Mayfield makes you feel a little bit better about it simply for the fact that’s he’s brought this team from complete and total irrelevancy to minor relevancy.
And plus, eight points is a big spread. Cleveland is 3-0 ATS in its last three games against Pittsburgh. Le’Veon Bell still apparently doesn’t exist. And lastly… are we really that confident in the Steelers, even at home?
CHIEFS (-9.5) over Broncos
Patrick Mahomes and Kareem Hunt are the best fantasy football duo I have ever had. They are absolutely incredible. Thanks to those two guys, my fantasy team is a win away from going to 8-0, my best ever start to a fantasy football season. I just wish I had Tyreek Hill to go along with it. My team next season might be 60 percent Chiefs.
Also, take the Chiefs in this game because they are 7-0 against the spread this year. They even covered in their one loss at New England.
Jets (+8) over BEARS
This is a bold pick, but the vaunted Chicago defense is vulnerable right now. They gave up 31 points, and the win, to Brock Osweiler two weeks ago in Miami (something they may never fully recover from emotionally), and then Tom Brady and the Pats burned them at home last week for a 38-31 victory.
It’s hard to imagine this Bears team losing a third straight game, especially at home to the Jets. But teams are putting up points against this defense, and asking them to cover eight points might be a little too much.
Seahawks (+3) over LIONS
The Lions are 5-1 against the spread this season, and the fact that they’ve been so successful ATS makes me nervous. One of my good friends is from Detroit and has taught me to never trust the Lions, even when they seem like they just might be trustworthy.
BENGALS (-3.5) over Buccaneers
Yeah, nobody is watching this game.
Redskins (-1) over GIANTS
Saquon Barkley and O’dell Beckham Jr. are the lone bright spots in this New York black hole. It’s funny that this is pretty much the second straight year in which the Giants front office thought they were Super Bowl contenders but instead are most likely headed for a top three pick in the draft.
COLTS (-3) over Raiders
I don’t often bet on the Colts, but when I do, it’s against Jon Gruden’s Raiders.
Gruden has been depleting this Oakland team on what feels like a weekly basis, and the most recent blow came in the form of a trade that sent Amari Cooper to Dallas earlier this week. Even the Raiders players are starting to hate Gruden, unsure if they are even going to still be with the team the next week.
RAMS (-9) over Packers
I was looking for any possible reason to pick the Packers to cover nine points in this game, and even Aaron Rodgers isn’t a good enough reason. That’s because Green Bay has one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, allowing 116.5 yards per game, and Todd Gurley is already difficult enough to stop when you have a good run defense.
This Rams team is just too good.
CARDINALS (+1) over 49ers
This game is going to be wildly intense. Which team will advance to 2-6 while the other drops to 1-7? I can’t even imagine the pressure these players are under.
VIKINGS (+1.5) over Saints
Once again, we have the game of the Week on Sunday Night Football. The Saints are red hot right now, having won five straight games, while the Vikings are getting back on their feet after a bad start with three straight wins. The big selling factor on the Vikings in this game? They are pretty dominant against the spread when playing at home; 29-11-1 ATS in their last 41 home games at U.S. Bank Stadium and the Metrodome.
Patriots (-13.5) over BILLS
It’s hard to turn my back on the Bills in this game when they are nearly two-touchdown underdogs, but could I really live with myself if I actually bet on Derek Anderson against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? That question answers itself.
Last week: 7-7
This week: 1-0