For the first four weeks, I have previewed and picked every New England Patriots game, but it’s time to ramp it up a bit with a quick pick of teams against the spread. Gambling is legalized just about everywhere now and national television stations like Fox Sports have jumped in on the betting scene with shows like “Lock it In”. Lucky for me, I have an outlet to post my picks where you can look back and track how well I fared. I have been picking games straight up and against the spread for years, and not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at it. Somewhere around 65-70% which is almost expert level. Without further ado, I’m gonna jump in with my picks of the week. Confidence level will be indicated next to my pick with 10 being the greatest and 1 being the lowest.
All betting lines courtesy of Bovada in Las Vegas.
Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-3) : Ten -3.5 Confidence: 9
I get a Titans team with a very good defense, a healthy Marcus Mariota off a great game against the Eagles and the better coaching staff with Mike Vrabel and only have to swallow 3.5 points. Like it? I love it. The Bills despite their terrific performance against the Vikings just aren’t a very good team, and with a rookie QB, the Titans defense should have a fun time getting after it. I’ll take the Titans to win the football game in Orchad Park by at least a touchdown.
New York Giants (1-3) at Carolina Panthers (2-1): Car -7 Confidence: 8
The Panthers, fresh off a bye, get a home matchup against a very mediocre Giants team. Sure they improved the offensive line in the off-season and have Saquon Barkley plus a healthy OBJ, but the Giants offense has looked lackluster through the first four games led by Eli Manning and their defense just isn’t very good. A fresh Carolina defense at home anchored by Luke Kuechly should have zero issue holding big blue in check. Meanwhile, I don’t foresee the Giants having any type of solution to slow down Christian McCaffrey who we last saw rush for over 180 yards, add to that his ability in the passing game with Cam Newton and this one will get ugly.
Miami Dolphins (3-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1): MIA +6.5 Confidence: 7
Both teams are 3-1 heading into this week 5 matchup, are they contenders or pretenders? This game could help everyone start to get a grasp at how good each team is respectively, but the Bengals are riding high off an upset over the Falcons and the Dolphins are coming off a road thumping by the Patriots. I like the talent of both offenses to put up points, so I’ll take the over in this one as well (49.5), but I like Miami’s ability to match that of Cincy and keep it close throughout. Adam Gase and Ryan Tannehill outsmart Marvin Lewis and co. with a late go-ahead score for the win. I like the phins to cover and win the game.
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-2-1): BAL -3 Confidence: 10
Don’t get me wrong, the Browns have definitely turned a corner with their franchise in re-shaping the roster and getting a franchise Quarterback in Baker Mayfield, but lets not put them in the playoffs just yet. The Ravens are the much more talented team with a better coaching staff and are on pace to have their best offensive output in franchise history led by a rejuvenated Joe Flacco. Intra-Division matchup or not, I only have to swallow a field goal for one of the most complete teams in the AFC on the road against the Browns? Lock that in.
Green Bay Pakcers (2-1-1) at Detroit Lions (1-3): DET +1.5 Confidence: 5
Both teams have major fJalaws. For the Packers its a lack of pure talent on both sides of the ball despite a superstar Quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. For the Lions, we haven’t seen anything from Matt Patricia‘s defensive unit outside of the Week 3 stunner against the Patriots. The Lions offense however, is just as good as ever with excellent weapons for Matt Stafford. I’ll take the Lions to win and cover at home against the Packers.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-0): KC -3 Confidence: 7
Game of the week right here. A fantastic defense against the most electrifying QB in the game right now. Patrick Mahomes puts on a show and while I think defenses have already started to figure him out, it doesn’t take away from the talent he possesses and all of the weapons he has around him. The Chiefs fought back in Denver against a great defense to overcome a double digit 4th quarter deficit. I’ll swallow the field goal at home as they will go to 5-0. As good as the Jags defense is and as bad as the Chiefs defense is, Blake Bortles can’t match Mahomes score for score and I think the Jags get exposed on the road.
Denver Broncos (2-2) at New York Jets (1-3): Den +1 Confidence: 8
Honestly, this line stunned me. Some sites even have this as a straight pick without a favorite. The Broncos defense is legit and they just took a 4-0 team to the wire and if Case Keenum can make a throw they win the pull game and pull off the major victory. Now this same defense that held Mahomes in check through 3 quarters gets to face rookie Sam Darnold in New York? Yeah, I’ll take the Broncos. The Jets just don’t have a whole lot of talent on both sides of the ball while Denver does and they are looking like a borderline playoff team. Travel from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast doesn’t scare me when you compare the two sides on paper.
Atlanta Falcons (1-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1): ATL +3 Confidence: 8
The Steelers are a mess. Le’Veon Bell confirmed he will show up, just not until week 7 when he feels the time is right for him. There’s the rift between Antonio Brown stemming from this and Mike Tomlin just can’t get his team focused. Meanwhile, the Falcons are without a doubt the best 1-3 team in football. They suffered some key injuries on the defensive side of the ball, but Matt Ryan and company are still firing on all cylinders offensively and now have Devonta Freeman expected to return on Sunday. I’ll take the Falcons to cover and win the football game on the road turning their luck around.
Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2): LAC -6 Confidence: 6
The Raiders are coming off a great offensive showing by Derek Carr and Jon Gruden finally earned his first win since re-joining the silver & black, but their celebration will be abruptly put to a halt on Sunday in Los Angeles against a very strong Chargers roster. Phillip Rivers is as good as ever and the Chargers are deep enough to outscore the Raiders.
Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-2): MIN +3 Confidence: 7
The Vikings are coming off a tough loss on Thursday night football to a high powered Rams unit, but the silver lining is a longer week to prepare for the Eagles. Sure Carson Wentz is back, but the Eagles are coming off a loss to the Titans and squeaked out a win against a Colts team that simply isn’t very good. Alshon Jeffrey is healthy, but the Eagles haven’t really looked that great through the first four weeks despite the two wins. Minnesota is in almost a must-win position if they want to jockey for seeding in the NFC down the stretch an could use a statement win. Games like this are why they went out and got Kirk Cousins and the former NFC East QB will pull one out against Philly like he did so many times for the skins.
Arizona Cardinals (0-4) at San Francisco 49ers (1-3): ARZ +4.5 Confidence: 7
Arizona is seeking their first win of the season and first for Steve Wilks and Josh Rosen. The Cards nearly got it done last week at home against Seattle, this time they travel to Santa Clara to take on CJ Beathard the backup QB that really isn’t very good. Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals will get after it and get it done. Take the points on the road, and I like Arizona to win the football game.
Los Angeles Rams (4-0) at Seattle Seahawks (2-2): LAR -7.5 Confidence: 8
The Rams are the most talented team in football, period. Their offense is firing on all cylinders and their defense should be healthier than a week before and have zero trouble getting after Russell Wilson and the very bad Seahawks OL. In Seattle or not, the Rams are much too talented and will be bringing the Seahawks to the woodshed like we saw last season at CenturyLink. Without Earl Thomas, the Seahawks truly are a one-man team, Sean McVay will have some fun out there on Sunday afternoon with Jared Goff.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) at Houston Texans (1-3): HOU -3 Confidence: 6
The battle of the two franchises hailing from the Lone Star State. Deshaun Watson and Bill O’ Brien fresh off their first win looking to build with a second in as many weeks against a very underwhelming Cowboys side. One of the toughest games to pick of the week straight up, never mind with the spread, but based off of last week’s performance, I’ll take the side with more top tier talent and a better coaching staff. Yeah, I said it, Bill O’ Brien is a better coach than Jason Garrett. JJ Watt will anchor down the D Line to hold the Cowboys offense in check and Houston eeks out a home win, just covering the spread. 24-20 sounds about right. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys just don’t jump off the page to me.
Washington Redskins (2-1) at New Orleans Saints (3-1): WSH +6.5 Confidence: 8
The Saints are a force at home in the dome, with that explosive offense. Drew Brees on Monday Night football has an exceptional track record. However, a very good Redskins team captained by veteran Alex Smith is no easy win, the Saints will have to put up points and execute if they are to come out with a win. I like the skins to cover on the road in a tough environment due to the fact Smith is battle tested and they have a few key defensive players that can keep this one tight in Josh Norman and Ryan Kerrigan. It’s a close game one up until the very end, and I like Jay Gruden’s team to win fresh off a bye and stun the Saints at home.
There you have it my week picks. Feel free to give me your thoughts all weekend @FrankBostonTank