Last week was the week I've been waiting for all season. I went 3-0 in my picks to improve to 11-10 on the season and 5-1 the last two weeks. I'm hoping that 5-1 stretch is more indicative of how the rest of the season will go than the 11-10 start.
This week's picks start with a home favorite that isn't getting enough credit with this week's spread.
Cincinnati Bengals (-4) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Bengals are 43-36-3 ATS at home. That trend in and of itself has been profitable, but it's nothing special. Where things become interesting is in games against NFC opponents. In that same time span, the Bengals are 12-6-1 ATS against NFC teams in Cincinnati.
While that trend is intriguing, it isn't what attracted me to this pick. I always like to look for teams coming off blowout losses as the public tends to overreact, and last week the Bengals lost to the Chiefs 45-10 on Sunday Night Football when the entire country was watching. As a result, a team that should be a 6-point favorite at home against this Bucs team is available at 4 points. Bengals 30, Buccaneers 24
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) vs Philadelphia Eagles
Speaking of teams getting embarrassed as of late, we have the Jaguars. One of the preseason Super Bowl darlings, the Jags have lost three straight to Chiefs, Cowboys, and Texans by a combined score of 90-28. Last week Blake Bortles was benched, and while he'll return to the starting role this week, he's on a short leash. In other words, Jacksonville's stock has plummeted, and we're getting good value here on the Jaguars.
Jacksonville is making its sixth trip across the Atlantic to play in London, and it has won and covered the last three trips. They know what needs to be done to prepare for a trip like this. The Eagles have never made this trip before. Because of that, I feel like the Jags have a homefield advantage in London that they might not even enjoy at home. Take the Jags to bounce back this week. Jaguars 21, Eagles 17
Washington Redskins (-1) at New York Giants
I'm a little scared that this play seems too obvious, but I think the Giants traded another couple of defensive starters as I typed this sentence. Seriously, as if things haven't gone poorly enough for the Giants this season, now management is sending a clear and unmistakable signal to the team that they've given up on the season. Last week the owner was calling out Odell Beckham, and this was a few weeks after Beckham and Lil' Wayne threw Eli Manning under the bus in a televised interview.
Does this seem like an excellent situation to bet on? I took the Giants to cover against the Falcons on Monday night, and they (barely) managed to do that for me. I appreciate it, but things have changed since then, and this Redskins team is better than the Falcons team they played Monday night. Redskins 31, Giants 14
SportsLine Bonus Pick
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills: This week's Monday Night Football contest heads to Buffalo where the Bills find themselves as 14-point underdogs to the Patriots. I have a strong play available for this game that you can find over at my SportsLine page.