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NFL Football Pick of the Week – Wild Card Playoff Round

We fell to 8-7-1 with our NFL Pick of the Week last time out and this week will take a look at the last playoff game on the schedule this week, when the Seattle Seahawks visit the Philadelphia Eagles. The game is now even and the total is 45.

People are betting like the Seahawks already have the game won, with Seattle garnering more than 75% of the wagers so far. The majority of the public has also bet the game to land under the total, as it opened at 46 and was bet down to 45 with 60% of the wagers going that way.

Even though the Seahawks had an 11-5 record and the Eagles were 9-7 the teams are probably a bit closer in talent than their records would indicate. The Seahawks outgain the Eagles by 14 yards a game and score 1.2 more points, while the Eagles allow 2.8 fewer points per game and 50 fewer yards, so Philadelphia had a better scoring margin during the regular season.

Seattle came into Philadelphia in November and won 17-9 in a game they picked off Carson Wentz twice and also recovered two of his fumbles. Wilson fumbled once and was picked off once for Seattle. Rashaad Penny rushed for 129 yards on just 14 carries, with his 58-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter the one that essentially put the game away, giving Seattle a 17-3 lead.

The loss came at a time when the Eagles were in the middle of a three-game losing streak and they followed up the loss to Seattle with a loss at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.

Wilson was pretty average in the game against the Eagles, going 13 of 25 for 200 yards and one touchdown, along with the one interception. Seattle ran for 174 yards, but don’t believe they’ll have the same success in this one.

Since the loss to Miami, the Eagles have won four straight and while most of them were against weak teams, they did come up with a win against Dallas when they needed it, which is more than can be said for Seattle in their game against San Francisco. You can’t blame them too much for the Arizona loss, as they still had their chance at San Francisco, but the Seahawks lost three of their last four, with the lone win come over what ended up being a pretty bad Carolina team.

Going to take a shot on the Eagles here, as they come into this one playing the better of the two teams.

END WILDCARD PLAYOFF PICKS

 

We moved to 8-6-1 with our NFL Pick of the Week last time out, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing football season, and am in the process of winding down football, as we move full-time to basketball. The plan now is to have all of the remaining bowl games posted by Wednesday – with the exception of the championship game – and most likely return to the NFL for the playoffs, unless we see something we really like in the NFL next weekend.

But first things first, and that’s the Monday night game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings opened as 4.5-point favorites and are up to 5.5 with the Packers getting two-thirds of the wagers. The total opened 46.5 and has inched up to 47 with 63% of the wagers coming in on the over.

The Vikings clinched a spot in the playoffs earlier this weekend when the Rams lost to the 49ers, but still have an outside shot at winning the division, although they’ll need the Lions to pull an upset of these same Packers next week and the Pack is going to be a double-digit favorite based on the early lines. It’s all for naught if the Vikings don’t take care of business against the Packers, however, and have to think they’ll come out ready to play here.

Minnesota is a bit of a different team at home than they are on the road, and the Vikes are unbeaten at home this season and are simply a better team than the Packers, both offensively and defensively. The Packers shouldn’t be 11-3 when you look at their stats, but you do have to give Green Bay credit for getting the job done when it counts.

The Vikings have been pretty solid in a revenge role under Zimmer and this is the biggest home game for the Vikings each season.

The Vikings run the ball well and that’s been a bit of a problem for the Green Bay defense this season, as the Packers are allowing 4.6 yards per carry against teams who average 4.2 yards, while the Vikings average 4.4 yards and are one of the few teams to run the ball more than they throw.

Green Bay had success running against the Vikings in the first meeting between the two teams, which is something the Vikings need to correct this time out and believe they will.

Have to take Minnesota -5.5 in this one, as the game means more to the Vikings, who are starting to round into form.

END OF WEEK 16 PICKS

We pushed with this one last week, so we’re 7-6-1 with our NFL Pick of the Week and this week we’ll look at the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders opened as 4.5-point favorites and the line is now 6.5 after Oakland received 75% of the wagers in the game.

As everybody knows it’s the last game to be played in Oakland, so bettors are obviously expecting the Raiders to try and go out with a big win, but the simple fact is they haven’t been playing very well lately and are just the fifth team in the last 20-plus years to be favored after losing their previous three games by a minimum of 20 points.

But it’s not as though the Jaguars have been much better, losing their last five games by a minimum of 17 points and having some quarterbacking issues in the process. The Jaguars have been able to hang with the weak teams in the league but have really had their troubles when facing off against the good teams. The Jags’ victories this year have come over the likes of Cincinnati, NY Jets, Denver and Tennessee, when the Titans were struggling with Mariota at quarterback.

The Raiders are much the same, with just one win over a team that has a winning record when the beat Chicago way back on Oct. 6. Oakland’s last two losses to the Chiefs and Titans are forgivable, but that 34-3 loss to the Jets is pretty much inexcusable.

Teams who have lost at least three games in a row aren’t the greatest of favorites, going 182-204-5 over the years and 110-130-2 if the underdog is coming off a loss. The record falls to 68-86-2 if the road team has lost at least two in a row, so basically history says to take the underdog involving games featuring two teams on losing streaks and I’ll go ahead and take a shot on the Jaguars +6.5 in this one.

END OF WEEK 15 PICKS

Thought the Vikings would do a little better last week, as we drop to 7-6 on the season and still spinning the wheels in football altogether. This week, we’ll look at the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where the Bucs are favored by 3 (-115).

The Colts are coming off a bit of a downer against Tennessee and the Bucs have managed to cut down on their turnovers the past few weeks and have a couple of victories to show for their efforts. But with the Colts at 6-6 and the Bucaneers now at 5-7 it’s unlikely either team is going to be playing in the postseason. Indianapolis does have the better chance of the two, but this is essentially a must-win game, as are their remaining four in all likelihood.

The Colts are a solid running team, while the Bucs defend the run pretty well, although a part of that is due to the fact that Tampa Bay is easy to throw against. Teams are gaining 76.3 yards on the ground against Tampa Bay, but throwing for more than 280. The Colts allow 101.7 yards on the ground and 226.7 through the air.

Basically, both teams are pretty close to being even in scoring, with the Colts being the lower-scoring team and better defensively, while the Bucs score and allow more. Those types of teams tend to do better as underdogs than favorites, as the Bucs are 1-2 when favored, while the Colts are 3-1-1 as a dog.

Much has been said about Jameis Winston and his interceptions, as his biggest problem is simply trying to make too much happen at times instead of throwing the ball away. If the Bucs had a better defense, or one that resembles the defense we’ve seen the past few weeks out of Tampa, that wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but for the time being Tampa will live with his mistakes.

This is a game between two pretty evenly-matched teams, which could make the three points come into play, but think Indianapolis comes away with the win and will take the Colts and the points here.

END OF WEEK 14 PICKS

We moved to 7-5 last week when the Jets got the job done for us against the Raiders and this week, will take a look at the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks, which will be played on Monday night. The Seahawks are favored by three and the total on the game is up from 49 to 50.

Both teams have quietly put together strong seasons so far, with the Vikings entering this one at 8-3 and Seattle bringing a 9-2 record into the game. Both teams have won four of their last five, with the Vikings losing to Kansas City and Seattle falling to Baltimore. Minnesota also has losses to Green Bay and Chicago, while Seattle’s other loss came against New Orleans, so each team is facing the type of team that has caused problems for them in the past.

All three of the Vikings’ losses have come on the road this season and Seattle isn’t an easy place to play, but if the Vikings want to take the next step, they have to win games like this one.

The two teams almost mirror each other offensively, as Minnesota scores 26.3 points compared to Seattle’s 26.5 and the Vikes rush for 142 yards and a 4.6 yards per carry average, while Seattle runs for 137 yards per game and a 4.5 yard per carry average. Minnesota throws for 236 yards per game and gains 8.1 yards per pass attempt, while Seattle throws for 248 yards and 7.8 yards per pass attempt.

The Vikings are a bit better on defense, allowing 18.6 points game compared to 23.9 for Seattle and having better numbers across the board, both rushing and passing defense.

These are both solid teams and the game could go either way, so will have to take the Vikings and the points, knowing it’s a revenge game for Minnesota, where Zimmer has been strong, as the Vikings are 29-15 ATS since he took over in 2014 playing a team that defeated them the last time they met.

END OF WEEK 13 PICKS

We dropped to 6-5 last week after the Colts thumped the Jaguars and now will take a look at the game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. The Raiders are favored by 3 (-120) in this one, which is basically right where it opened and with Oakland getting 58% of the wagers, the sportsbooks are now asking you to lay a little bit of extra juice on the favorite, which we have in several games this week.

The Raiders are 6-4 on the season and bring a three-game winning streak into this one, but this one is on the road, so a little different test for the Raiders, who were able to hold off a scrappy Cincinnati team fighting for its first win of the season last week.

The Raiders run the ball fairly well and rush 28 times a game, while throwing a few more. Oakland is completing an impressive 72.2% of its passes for 243 yards a game, but Oakland hasn’t been the greatest team at taking advantage of its opportunities and scores a point for every 16.5 yards gained.

The Jets score a point for every 15.1 yards gained, but they certainly have more trouble gaining yards than Oakland does. New York has some dreadful offensive stats, which aren’t helped by when Darnold was out, but have put up 34 points in back-to-back weeks, even though they still really haven’t put it together offensively.

The Jets don’t run the ball very well, gaining just 3.2 yards per rush and they do complete a higher percentage of passes than their opponents allow on average and the Raiders do give up some big plays against the pass, allowing 7.6 yards per attempt to teams who average 6.9 yards per pass and the Oakland stats are even worse when they’re away from home.

Home underdogs off of a pair of 34-point or greater offensive efforts are 11-4 over the years, so a decent situational advantage for New York and it’s the dreaded 10 a.m. start for Oakland, so will take a flyer on the Jets +3 in this one.

END OF WEEK 12 PICKS

We moved to 6-4 with our NFL Pick of the Week and this week we’ll take a look at the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts opened as 3.5-point favorites and the line has dropped to 2.5 with the betting pretty well split down the middle.

The Jaguars will return to Nick Foles at quarterback and if nothing else, it should provide an emotional spark to the Jags’ offense. Minshew filled in admirably when called upon, but most of the team’s wins came against some weak competition, such as the Jets and Cincinnati. Minshew could be a solid quarterback in the future, but the Jacksonville coaches feel their best chance to win is Foles.

One thing Foles should do is force the Colts to respect the pass a little more than they would with Minshew behind center and that could open things up a bit for the ground game, which has been solid the majority of the season.

Jacksonville is 2-2 on the road this season, defeating Denver and Cincinnati, while losing to Houston and Carolina, while the Colts are 3-2 at home this season, although they are coming off a loss to the Dolphins last week in front of the home fans. Large home favorites who are upset have fared well in the past, but not so sure the Colts are the right side in this one.

The teams are pretty even on the field, but Foles is a bit more proven than Brissett, who is expected to return after missing the game against Miami and Hoyer wasn’t at his best, throwing three interceptions against a still suspect Miami defense. Even though Brissett will return, Indianapolis will against be without T.Y. Hinton and in one of those strange stats, the Colts are 0-7 when he’s not in the line-up.

The Jaguars are coming off their bye week following their dismal showing in London against the Texans, which was the game that moved Foles back into the starter’s role.

The Colts have had a tendency to play close games this season, as every one of their contests has been decided by seven points or less, and three of them have been decided by two points, so will go ahead and take the Jaguars +2.5 in this one, which is one of those games that could go either way between two teams who are fairly comparable on the field.

END OF WEEK 11 PICKS

We fell to 5-4 with our NFL Pick of the Week last week in ugly fashion, as the Jaguars threw in a clunker and Minshew Mania will be riding the bench when Jacksonville returns to action next week. This week we’ll take a look at the Sunday night game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys opened as 3-point favorites and are still there, although you’re now being asked to lay -120 or -125 with the home team, while just one placed has moved the line to 3.5.

Both teams enter this one with 6-3 records and their numbers aren’t really vastly different. The Vikings average 26 points per game, while Dallas averages 28.4 and both teams allow just under 18 points a game. The Vikings have played a tougher schedule, but have lost all three games on the road.

Both teams can run the football a bit and both are averaging 150 yards per game. Surprisingly, both defenses allow a little more than their opponents average against the run, so we could see quite a few rushing attempts in this one, although both defenses are also capable of making some plays, which you’d expect when both team’s have an offense and a defense in the top 10.

Dallas leads the Eagles by a half-game in the standings, while the Vikings trail the Packers by a game, so from that perspective the game is bigger for Minnesota, who haven’t been that good against winning teams on the road, going 0-9-1 their last 10 attempts. It’s also a big game for Cousins, who was just 1-6 against Dallas as a member of Washington, but he has a lot more weapons with Minnesota than he did with the the ‘Skins.

The Vikings lost at Kansas City last week and the Chiefs were without Mahomes, so it’s a game they probably should have won, but if there’s one thing Mike Zimmer has been able to do it’s get Minnesota to bounce back from a loss, as the Vikes are 17-5-1 ATS after a setback since Zimmer took over.

These teams are pretty evenly matched, so when you can get three points at even money or +105 depending on your betting outlet, it’s not the worst wager you can make, so will go ahead and take Minnesota +3 in this one.

END WEEK 10 PICKS

We’re 5-3 with our NFL Pick of the Week and will return to the scene of last week’s dismal showing, as we’ll take a look at the early game on the NFL slate – the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. Both teams have bye weeks waiting for them after returning home and both are coming off victories.

Houston won the first meeting of the year between the two teams by a 13-12 score, as the Jaguars began the season 0-2 and have gone 4-2 since then. The Jaguars’ defense is starting to resemble their former selves, although part of that has to do with having some confidence in the offense, something that took a little bit of time with Minshew at quarterback. They’ve had a few hiccups along the way – allowing 34 points to Carolina and 24 to a Denver team not known for its offense, but have been making the plays they need to in order to get back into playoff contention.

Offensively, the Jaguars are doing what it takes to win, scoring 26 or more points in four of their last five games, with the lone exception a 13-6 loss at the hands of New Orleans, so no great sin to lose to the Saints.

The Texans are 5-3 after rallying past the Raiders last game and they miss JJ Watt, as teams have been scoring against them, but the Houston offense has been able to overcome that. The Texans have allowed at least 24 points in each of their last four games, but they’ve also scored at least 23 in each of those games and have managed to win three of the four.

The Jaguars catch a bit of a bad break in this one, as the first game played between the two teams was in Houston, so this one is the game that the Jags would normally have in front of the home fans.

The Jags can’t afford to lose this one, as they’d fall two games behind the Texans and Houston would also have the tie-breaker with a season sweep.

The Jaguars are getting a little bit of sharp money in this one, as the Texans opened as 3-point favorites and the line is now down to Houston -1.5 with Houston attracting 58% of the wagers. Will go ahead and take Jacksonville +1.5 in this game.

END OF WEEK 9 PICKS

We’re 5-2 with our NFL Pick of the Week and this week we’ll take a look at the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were 4-point favorites on the early line, but the Packers switched to become the favorites after it was announced Mahomes would be replaced by Matt Moore. Green Bay is now favored by 5 after getting close to 70% of the wagers in the game.

There’s a definite drop-off between Mahomes and Moore, but can’t but feel it’s being exaggerated here a little bit. We’ve seen a nine-point movement in the line and that’s too much even for Mahomes. Moore isn’t a great quarterback, but he’s a serviceable backup, the type of guy you sign for exactly this reason. He didn’t look great after being pressed into service last week, but he didn’t make crucial mistakes, nor would you really expect a longtime veteran like Moore to do so.

The stakes will be a little higher Sunday night, as Moore isn’t being put into a game with a decent lead and asked not to lose it, but he’ll be asked to make some plays to give his team a chance to win.

The Packers are 6-1 on the season, winning their two away games so far, while Kansas City is just 1-2 at home this season and 0-3 against the spread. But we’ve all seen teams rally for a game or two after a key starter is knocked out and this is the type of game I’d expect to see the Chiefs be up for.

Kansas City hasn’t been a home underdog since the 2014 season and don’t think they’ll take too kindly to it here.

The Packers are playing well and have beaten a couple of decent teams along the way, but their first two games on the road saw them as underdogs, while they’re now the favorites and there’s a slightly different mentality that goes along with that.

There are trends that point to both teams, but think the Chiefs are in a better situation than Green Bay and Arrowhead is going to be rocking, so will go against the public in this one and grab the points with Kansas City.

END OF WEEK 8 PICKS

The NFL has been a little better to us than college football, although that’s not saying a whole lot as bad as college football has been. We’re 4-2 with our NFL Pick of the Pick, and this week we’ll take a look at the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions. The game opened even or Minnesota -1 depending on your betting outlet and now the Vikings are favored by 2.5 after getting 60% of the wagers, so maybe a slightly bigger move than we should be seeing by half-a-point or so.

True, the Lions got the short end of the stick against the Green Bay Packers, but they have to put that behind them and move ahead to this week, which is sometimes easier said than done. One thing we have seen out of Detroit this year is a tendency to play close games as the biggest margin of victory in any of their games so far this season has been four points.

The Lions are 2-2-1 this season and aren’t a bad team, but they do happen to play in one of the toughest conferences in the NFL, with Chicago, Green Bay and Minnesota. Those are six tough games there and not a single weak team in the bunch.

There was plenty of grumbling after the Vikings turned in a dismal showing against Chicago, but two straight wins after that one has everything back to normal in Vikings Land. Cousins has had back-to-back decent games and the Vikings are going to need him to perform well if they want to return to the playoffs.

The Minnesota defense has been itself so far, allowing a high of 21 points and holding four of six opponents to 16 points or less. The Lions have had one low-scoring game against the Chargers, but the others have all seen relatively high scores.

The Vikings are the better team and this would normally be a little bit of a letdown, having taken care of the team that kicked their butts in the 2017 playoffs, but Mike Zimmer isn’t one to let his players go through the motions on any week.

The Vikings are a bit of a public play this week, but have to believe they’re the right side in this one and will lay the 2.5 points with Minnesota.

END OF WEEK 7 PICKS

We moved to 4-1 with our NFL Pick of the Week last time out and for this week’s NFL Pick of the Week we’ll take a look at the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags opened as 1-point favorites and are now favored by 2.5 after getting 40% of the early wagers in the game.

The New Orleans Saints are coming off a big game against Tampa Bay, particularly quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who enjoyed his finest day as an NFL pro. The Saints threw for 345 yards and added 112 on the ground, but the Bucs had allowed more than 300 yards passing in each of their three previous games before playing New Orleans, so it isn’t as though Bridgewater accomplished any great feat.

The Tampa Bay offense never really got untracked, rushing for 94 yards and throwing for 158, with the New Orleans defense notching six sacks in the game, which is one good way of keeping a team’s yardage down.

The Jaguars saw their two-game winning streak snapped last week in Carolina, as Jacksonville’s rushing defense took the game off. The Panthers ran the ball 27 times for 285 yards, so it didn’t matter that Cam Newton didn’t have the best of games, as he didn’t need to. The Jags’ once proud defense been getting the job done this season, allowing 34 or more points twice in their first five games, which isn’t what you expect to see from Jacksonville.

The defense wasted a decent performance from the offense, which put up a season-high 27 points and gained over 500 total yards. Minshew had a decent game and has given the Jacksonville offense a bit of fresh air, particularly after last season’s debacle behind center.

People have been quick to jump on the New Orleans bandwagon after last week, but in the NFL it’s always been difficult to keep any sort of momentum and teams have a tendency to come back down to earth after a big win.

Surprisingly, this is the first time the Jaguars have been favored all season and at 2-3 straight-up on the season this is a big game for the Jags, who have split their two games at home so far this season.

While the public is backing the Saints after their impressive victory, going to take a shot on the Jaguars as the small home favorite.

END OF WEEK 6 PICKS

We moved to 3-1 with our NFL Pick of the Week and this week we’ll look at the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are favored by 11 and the total on the game is 56. This would have been the most anticipated game of the week before Andrew Luck’s retirement, but it’s still a decent contest.

The Colts were expected to struggle a bit without Luck and that’s been the case, as they’re coming off a home loss to the Oakland Raiders and sitting at 2-2, which is where most people probably would have expected them to be at this point of the season. All four games have been close, which isn’t necessarily a good thing in the case of the Oakland game.

The Chiefs have been second in the Super Bowl odds quite some time so it’s not really a surprise to see them 4-0 through the first four games of the season. They’ve been favored by at least 3.5 points each game and have had a couple of close victories their last two games.

The Colts ran the ball well their first two games, gaining 370 yards but have sputtered a little bit the last two weeks, although they’ve had success through the air, throwing for 565 yards. If the Colts could ever put it together and have both aspects of their offense working in the same game, they’d be a tough team to handle.

Defensively, the Colts are allowing 362.7 yards per game, which is about 40 fewer than Kansas City, although the Chiefs are allowing 2 less points per game. The Chiefs have allowed nearly 150 yards per contest, so have to think the Colts will try to exploit that if at all possible.

The Kansas City rushing attack hasn’t been quite as effective this season, although it doesn’t matter much when you’re able to throw for 370 yards per game, but the Colts have actually defended the pass decently, allowing 230 yards per game.

Both teams are negative in the turnover department, so whichever team wins that battle should have a leg up on getting the cover in this one, where I have to the Colts plus the 11, as I think Indianapolis can move the ball a little bit on the ground, which should open things up for the passing game. The Colts have the talent to keep it close and that’s all we really need in this one.

END OF WEEK 5 PICKS

For our NFL Pick of the Week, where we’re 2-1, we’ll take a look at the Sunday night game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. Dallas opened -2.5 and the number has stayed there even with 62% of the wagers coming in on Dallas. Several places have you laying -115 or -120 with the ‘Boys, but so far only Bovada (at least among books that I know of) has moved the game to Dallas -3 (Even) and New Orleans +3 is -120.

The Cowboys thumped the Dolphins last week and have a pair of wins over the Giants and Washington, although none of those victories are reason for too much excitement. You can’t fault the Cowboys for who they’ve played so far, as they weren’t the ones to make up the schedule.

For the most part, Dallas has done what they needed to do, but didn’t necessarily like the way they were forced to turn it on against the Miami Dolphins last week, as teams can get in the habit of doing that and there are going to be some games where the opposition prevents you from doing so.

The Saints will again be without Drew Brees, but this is Bridgewater’s second game as the starter, so he should have some kinks worked out. He wasn’t necessarily great last week in Seattle, as the defense came up with some big plays, but he didn’t do anything to cost New Orleans the game, which is what they were looking for. With a few more first-team reps during the week, he may be asked to shoulder a little more of the load this week.

But this game will be decided by the New Orleans defense, which was solid last season when they allowed 21.8 points per game, but hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts this year, allowing 27 points twice and 28 points in the other game.

Brees was injured on the road against the Rams and New Orleans was on the road last week, so this is the first home game for New Orleans without Brees and the place should be rockin’ for a Sunday night encounter against ‘America’s Team.’

The Saints are 7-5 straight-up their last 12 games as a home underdog and are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a home underdog, with a loss to the Patriots in 2017 their lone blemish.

Think the Saints play an inspired game here and the Cowboys are in a 48-60-3 (44.4%) situation regarding teams who have scored at least 30 points in each of their last three games, so will take a shot on the Saints plus the points and I’ll use 2.5 since not everybody has an account at Bovada.

END OF WEEK 4 PICKS

We fell to 1-1 with our NFL Pick of the Week and this week we’ll take a look at the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders. The Vikings opened as 7.5-point favorites and the line has moved to Minnesota -9, while the total on the game has moved slightly from 43 to 43.5.

The Raiders are coming off a bit of a strange game against Kansas City, as the Chiefs led 28-10 at halftime and that ended up being the final score, as neither team scored in the second half. The Riaders did win their first game of the season against Denver and now take the road for the first time. The road wasn’t kind to Oakland a year ago, as the Raiders were 1-7 straight-up, while getting outscored 28.5 to 13.9. The Raiders received more than 6 points three times on the road last year, failing to cover a single one and now travel to face a Minnesota team that is sure to be in a foul mood after losing to the Packers last week.

Nobody in Minnesota is likely to be in a worse mood than head coach Mike Zimmer, who has managed to get the most of his team after a setback, as the Vikings are 21-8-2 ATS after a loss since Zimmer took over. As impressive as that spread record is, the Vikings are a little bit better when favored after a loss, as they’ve gone 11-3-1 under Zimmer’s watch with an average margin of 10.8 points and in the two games the Vikings were favored by more than a touchdown after a defeat, Minnesota won by 24 and 27 points, so Minnesota probably isn’t the place you want to be heading after the Vikings lose.

Normally, this might be a bit of a letdown game for a team, as the Vikes are coming off the game with the Packers and have Chicago up next, but Zimmer has shown in the past he won’t let his team lose focus, as the Vikings are 20-12-2 ATS the week before they’re an underdog and 13-3-1 if they are favored in the game.

Never have necessarily been a fan of playing favorites in the NFL and it’s something that we won’t do a whole lot of over the course of the season, but have to believe the Vikings are the right side in this one and will go ahead and take Minnesota -9.

END OF WEEK 3 PICKS

The lone bright spot last week was our NFL Pick of the Week, as the Tennessee Titans took care of business against the Cleveland Browns and this week we’ll look at the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams opened as 3-point favorites and the line is now down to Los Angeles -2 with the home team getting 54% of the wagers.

The Rams defeated the Panthers last week 30-27, allowing a final touchdown with under two minutes remaining to hand us a loser on the total of that one. The Saints defeated the Texans 30-28 on Monday night, so we have pretty identical performances on opening night, although the Rams got the job done on the road, while the Saints won in front of the home fans.

Everybody knows this is the revenge game for the Saints, who lost in controversial fashion to the Rams in the playoffs last season and this is the game New Orleans had circled on their calendar as soon as the schedules were released.

But these players are professionals and revenge typically doesn’t mean nearly as much in the professional ranks as it does in the colleges, but there are exceptions. And this is definitely one of those spots.

It’s one thing to lose a regular season game due to a bad call, but being denied a trip to the Super Bowl is another matter entirely. You can be sure the Rams are going to do their best to show that they are the better team and can win without any help from the officials, but the Saints have a little more incentive in this one, not to mention the officials also know what happened last year and might be willing to let a few things go by New Orleans that they would typically flag.

But motivation, revenge and all of that aside, the Saints were actually a better road team last year than they were at home, going 7-1 away from The Big Easy. It was the team’s defense, not the offense that carried New Orleans on the road. After allowing 37 points in a 43-37 win over Atlanta, New Orleans didn’t allow more than 23 points in its other seven away games and held five of those seven foes to less than 20 points.

The Rams were also 7-1 at home, but allowed five of those opponents to score more than 30 points and that could be trouble against a highly motivated squad, so will take the points with the Saints.

END OF WEEK 2 PICKS

For our NFL Pick of the Week we’ll take a look at the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Cleveland Browns. The Browns opened as 5-point favorites and the line has climbed to 5.5 after two-thirds of the wagers have come in on the home team.

The Browns are the choice of a lot of people to win the AFC North, but the Steelers could very well have something to say about that when all is said and done. But the betting public loves offense and shiny new toys, so Baker Mayfield is getting plenty of attention after a strong rookie season, but it’s important to remember that Cleveland was still below .500 last season and I’m not so sure they can be trusted in the role of a favorite, especially to a decent team like Tennessee.

The Browns are the better offensive team, but Tennessee is better defensively and the one thing the Titans like to do is run the ball, which Cleveland isn’t all that good at stopping. Marcus Mariota can also run the ball when chased out of the pocket and a healthy Mariota is a definite plus for the Titans.

The Browns were favored just twice last season and were 1-1 against the spread, although those two opponents were the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals, neither team which is as talented as this Titans squad. Cleveland also had a tendency to play close games last year, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for a team laying more than five points. Half of Cleveland’s games were decided by 4 points or less last year, while the Titans saw six games decided by 4 points or less.

This looks to be a case where the public is enamored with the new team and forgetting that the Titans are a decent team, who happens to be much better when Mariota is in the line-up.

The trends are pretty much split on this one, as Week 1 home favorites of 5 or more points haven’t fared too well recently, although Week 1 favorites against a team who had a better record the previous season have done pretty well, so a bit of canceling out in that regard.

This game is also one of the ones that show the advantage of using Bovada as one of your betting outlets, as they have the Browns -6 due to a tendency to inflate the line towards the public choice at times. But since not everybody has an account there I’ll use the more common spread of Tennessee +5.5 for this week’s play.

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