Well, last weekend sucked, didn't it? OK, so not entirely. This column did go 2-1 with its picks, and any profitable week was a good week, but as far as the games are concerned, the weekend sucked.
We had six playoff games from Saturday through Monday night, and only two provided any semblance of drama. Five of the six favorites won, and the lone favorite to lose shot itself in the foot roughly 30 times and then decided it would try a QB draw for 20 yards with 14 seconds left and no timeouts. Wonderful stuff. Anyway, the average margin of victory on the week was 17.2 points per game. To take it a step further, the average deficit entering the fourth quarter of the six games was 20.2 points per game, so they weren't even as close as the 17.2 might suggest.
So here's hoping this week is more entertaining, and if it isn't, let it at least be as profitable.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Hi, I'm the guy who has been betting against the Titans all season long, and I see no reason to stop now. If you're going to do it, it's best to do it when the Titans are favored. Tennessee is 10-7 ATS on the season, but it's 4-5 ATS as a favorite compared to 6-2 as a dog. And while it's a good team that's getting back to full strength, I still don't have a healthy Tennessee team as being this large a favorite against the Bengals.
I've watched Joe Burrow thrive in too many big spots already to go against him now. This isn't a fluke. I'm not going to proclaim that Burrow is already an elite QB and embarking on a Hall of Fame career just yet, but Burrow is definitely elite and will be in the Hall of Fame (as long as he stays healthy). The surest way to get there is by covering the spread! Join me on the bandwagon now, so 20 years from now, you too can say that you knew it all along.
Prediction: Titans 24, Bengals 23
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I love betting on the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan as underdogs. Since taking over in San Francisco, Shanahan's 49ers teams have gone 25-17 ATS as underdogs, compared to 16-24-1 as favorites. Taking it a step further, as road dogs, the Niners are 17-10 ATS. As road dogs outside the division, they're 11-6. Aren't these wonderful trends?
Also, while they went 3-0 ATS last week, large favorites don't tend to do well in the NFL playoffs. Including last week, they're 11-13 ATS since the 2017 season, and my dumb brain tells me that we're bound to see some regression this week after those blowouts last week. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but my numbers back it up as well. I have the Packers much closer to being field-goal favorites in this matchup than nearly touchdown favorites.
Prediction: Packers 27, 49ers 24
Rams at Buccaneers: Under 48.5 (-110)
I want to take the Rams here, but I can't bring myself to do it. Still, it's hard to shake the image of Tom Brady being under pressure so often in the win over Philadelphia after Tampa suffered a couple of injuries on its offensive line. If Tristan Wirfs and Ali Marpet are less than 100% in this game, how will they fare against Aaron Donald, Von Miller and company? That said, it's still Tom Brady, and I'm not all that interested in betting against Tom Brady.
Instead, I'll bet the total. Those concerns I have about the Tampa offense are real, and I'm not as convinced the Rams' offense will look as strong outside on grass as it did at home indoors. Furthermore, Shawn Hochuli will serve as the ref for this game, and his games tend to be lower-scoring. I assume it's because everybody falls asleep while he's spending 15 minutes explaining every penalty to you. Like father like son!
Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Rams 21