Bettors World

The Black Cat – Winning NFL Picks against the Spread

Welcome to the 2023-2024 Black Cat NFL Picks
PLAYS WILL START WEEK 2

2006: 58%
2007: 58%
2008: 62%
2009: 49%
2010: 60%
2011: 53%
2012: 43%
2013: 52%
2014: 45%
2015: 60% Hilton Contest Winner w/ 65%
2016: 45%
2017: 48%
2018: 55%
2019: 47%
2020: 49% (57% dogs)
2021: 50% (54% dogs)
2022: 50%
2023: 55% (63% favs, 62% 2nd half overall)

Week 2: 3-4 (9 – 13 Stars)
Week 3: 6-5 (15 – 15 Stars)
Week 4: 4-4 (9-10)
Week 5: 3-4 (9-12)
Week 6: 2-6 (8-18)
Week 7: 2-3 (7-8)
Week 8: 3-3-2 (9.5-12.5-5)
Week 9: 6-4 60% (15-11 58%)
Week 10: 3-2-1 60% (9-6 60%)
Week 11: 4-3-1 57% (13.5-6.5 67%)
Week 12: 6-1 86% (14-3 82%)
Week 13: 5-4 56% (11-9 55%)
Week 14: 2-3 40% (6-6 50%)
Week 15: 3-1-1 75% (10-3 77%)
Week 16: 3-1-1 75% (8.5-3 74%)
Week 17: 5-2 71% (14.5-6 71%)
Week 18: 5-4 56%
(9-10)
Wildcard: 2-1 66% (8.5-2.5 77%)
Conference: 2-2 (3-8)
Championship: 1-1 (2-4)
Superbowl: 1-0 (2-0)

Week 9+: 48-29-4 (62%) Units 126-78 (62%)
PLAYOFFS: 6-4 (60%) 

Overall: 71-58-6 55% (192.5 – 166.5 Stars) 53.5%

Favorites: 27-16-5 63%
Underdogs: 31-29
Over/Unders: 13-13-1

For posting notices: Threads @blackcatnfl

TAY-TAY BOWL

135. Kansas City +1.5 San Francisco (2 Stars) ***WIN***
I have this very close, essentially tied right down the line with very little daylight in any stat projection. KC brings the best defense in the tournament, at least as they have been playing. I don’t have great numbers on their offense at all, but we know who they are so there is only upside there. SF did very little to convince me that they are going to handle Kelce, Rice and Pacheco after 2 weeks of rest and their offense looks middling despite their plethora of weapons. I don’t recommend playing the total but my score is what it is. The projection is close and the game will probably be very close, but who do you trust in a tight game – Brock Purdy or Patrick Mahomes? I rate this KC -0.5. 
Chiefs 20, 49ers 19

CHAMPIONSHIPS

133. Baltimore -3.5 KC (4 Stars) LOSS
I feel we just saw Baltimore vs KC Sunday night in Buffalo vs KC. Now ask yourself – what if Buffalo had a defense? A really great defense? And we’ll give their passing offense 2.5 ypp more for 100+ more yards a game. That is the Baltimore Ravens! Buffalo WAS playing great defense when they came into the game but injuries clearly caught up to them (heck, they couldn’t even punt). I am not suggesting this is gonna be a walk in the park. It won’t be and I expect very similar statistics, esp on ypp and ypr. But the difference will be turnovers. Also, if there is a banged up team – it may be KC this time. Injuries on the defense and on the offensive line could make this a very difficult day, maybe even a double-digit blowout -> so -7.5 Ravens.
Ravens 24, Chiefs 17

134. Detroit +7 SF (2 Stars) ***WIN***
SF still looks like SF in their ability to move the ball, but where are the points? This team is struggling to get on the scoreboard, somewhat inexplicably. For example, 24 points isn’t bad of course, but the Packers defense is pretty bad. 245 passing yards is…yawn…too. The MVP of the league is arguably McCaffrey, and this may be his biggest test (under rushing yards). The Lions defend the run great and they can run the ball. The problem is they are absolutely terrible against the pass – and the 49ers bring a historically-potent big play offense. It would be malpractice for me to even suggest Detroit should expect to win this game. However, the offense is hot and scoring points and they have just as much chance to make the 49ers sweat this one out as Green Bay did. So I will gamble like a Dan Campbell and take the points!
Lions 22, 49ers 27

DIVISIONAL

129. Tampa Bay +6.5 Detroit (4 Stars) LOSS
Lions have arguably the worst defense is the tournament, but it may be just good enough. Tampa has a big ypp advantage but Detroit can run on them. Detroit will be lucky to escape with a win, forget about winning by 7.
Bucs 23, Lions 24

130. Buffalo -2.5 KC (4 Stars) LOSS
This one figures to be a defensive game. KC struggles on offense and that won’t magically disappear. Buffalo has learned to rely far more on their running game and expect a heavy dose of that against a tough KC secondary. Even though Buffalo is known for turnovers, KC has been really sloppy lately and has even more risk of this deciding the game against them in my view. I do like the under.
Bills 24, Chiefs 17

131. Green Bay +9.5 SF (2 Stars) ***WIN***
SF is historically good at YPP, even if it has receeded a bit. GB is a solid passing team, at least as of late. They both run the same offense and it could be a bit of a shootout. Obviously, the weapons of GB simply don’t stack up to SF so it is a matter of how bad this one is gonna be. The most dangerous 2nd round team is the winner of the 1st round on the road – Green Bay!
Packers 23, 49ers 30

132. Baltimore -9.5 Houston (1 Star) ***WIN***
The best team in this tournament is the Baltimore Ravens. I really don’t know who Houston is so I really don’t like trying to estimate this game, but my feeling is they were lucky to be on the field to witness a Browns collapse and it didn’t mean much.
Ravens 30, Texans 14

WILDCARD WEEKEND

126. Kansas City -3.5 Miami (4.5 Stars) ***WIN***
-3.5/-4 is a pretty fair line normally for this game, and beware this is trending up and you may find -3.5 getting hard to find this morning. The problem here is really all the Miami injuries point to KC. I like Miami in the running game here, but Mosfert is hurt, there are line injuries, and Achane may have lost some explosiveness due to injuries this season. Pacheco is now rested and ready to go, and the Miami run defense – which was great – is injured now. In the passing game, Waddle and Tyreek are injured and KC’s secondary is as great as it gets anyway. Mahomes won’t face a pass rush – injured – and he’s probably like 8-1 in home playoff games anyway. I expect the Chiefs to control the game and it may not even be close. We also may see some missed FGs/XPs due to cold weather, I like under 44 here. Miami does have a terrific kicker (remember that Dallas game?) so that could be another weapon they lack in full. Players win games and Miami simply doesn’t have them anymore to pull this out.
Chiefs 24, Miami 16

127. Cleveland -2 Houston (2.5 Stars) LOSS
I’m not sure why this line feel a bit, but I’ll take it. If you study the Flacco era, you can get how this game projects to a good value. Add in Houston being banged up on a short week while Cleveland drank pina coladas watching the Bengals have fun last weekend, the adage continues: Browns are BANK! Let’s look at this passing game. Flacco is absolutely lighting it up! He’s tied near the top for ypp and you can project almost 350 yards a game against an average NFL pass defense! And if Houston fields an average passing defense on Saturday, they had a really great day. But oh – Houston has WONDERBOY at Qb! Let me be honest, not so wonderful lately. And that’s not even factoring in that Cleveland has often been the shutout secondary in the NFL! They’ve given up a few yards recently but still. In short, Let’s Go…FLACCO!
Browns 21, Texans 17

128. Tampa Bay +3 Philadelphia (4 Stars) ***WIN***
Tampa has been lighting it up with Baker the TD maker, the Eagles pass defense has been a fantasy football players dream anti-D all season! Look, I’m data driven and it would be basically criminal of me to ignore these glaring statistical edges for the Bucs and the beaten up nature of the Eagles. So I won’t.
Bucs 26, Eagles 19

Week 18

This is how I’m betting Week 18, a week I feel I understand very well. Be aware that – and this is true – hundreds of thousands of simulations and data crunch analysis went into these very deep projections of…basically play every home team!

117. Miami +3 Buffalo (4 Stars) LOSS
It’s a magical season for Miami. It is just a season for Buffalo. Turnovers can put the Bills out of any big game and this is not the Ravens D.

118. Houston +1 Indianapolis (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Close but I think the Texans have enough to get this improbable playoff berth done. I think this is the only road warrior I’m riding this weekend! The Colts defense is terrible.

119. Tennessee +5 Jacksonville (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Ok, so the Jags can beat Carolina. The Titans can play defense, they just need their offense not to have another AFK day.

120. Washington +13 Dallas (2 Stars) LOSS
Dallas may ramp this down near the end once they feel they have the game in hand.

121. Baltimore +4 Pittsburgh (2 Stars) LOSS
The magic of the Ravens is their defense, not their offense. And the defense will be playing. The Steelers have very little magic on their offense, no matter what the stakes. I also like that it is a home game, that makes a difference in these “nothing to play for” matchups.

122. Cincinnati -5 Cleveland (2 Stars) ***WIN***
I don’t even expect Flacco to play, and perhaps most of Cleveland. This is a true rest-them situation on the road.

123. New York Giants +5 Philadelphia (2 Stars) ***WIN***
I don’t like the Giants and don’t have much confidence in them, but they played them at a +4.5 level in Phily when it mattered and this game really doesn’t matter to the Eagles. There’s no place like home!

124. New England -1.5 NY Jets (2 Stars) LOSS
In what could be Bill Belichick’s final game coaching the Patriots, I expect them to win.

125. Tampa/Carolina Under 37.5 (1 Star) ***WIN***
I have had really bad luck with unders lately, but the punchless Panthers are too tempting. I expect 33 points here, mathematically.

Week 17

THURSDAY

110. Cleveland -7 NY Jets (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
At this point, betting the browns is like printing $$$. The Browns defense doesn’t allow passing yards, Flacco is playing lights out and the Jets – a fucking offensive mess that nearly blew it against the Redskins defensively somehow – will have to face their old Qb, someone they could have signed themselves! Add in they are playing this on a REALLY short week on the road? Dear god this doesn’t even seem fair. The computer says this is worth about a star, but I was able to beat it up to 2.5 stars so let’s play it that way. Considering the Jets passing yardage will be like 7 of 16 for 18 yards, I don’t see how this doesn’t go under 35.
Browns 22.5, Jets 13

111. SF -13 Washington (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
The statistical mismatch in this one is insane!! SF, hot for a big rebound, has an insanely high difficulty-adjusted ypp – a key stat for any serious handicapper. In fact, the best in the past 15 years by my math! And Washington isn’t the WORST ypp defense, but they are pretty gosh darn horrible. Statistically, this is the worst blowout I’ve ever computed. Do we put 10k on it? Let’s pump the breaks. I looked at the history of huge statistical favorites. At home, it is awesome. But on the road, there have been almost NO covers. Two games seem most similar. One actually was the 49ers at Washington in 2019. They won but only 9-0. Another huge favorite – Chiefs v Raiders – ended up 44 to 33. So the history of giant road favorites is actually pretty bad, and Brisset seems to shake the offensive jar a bit. BUT this isn’t about the Washington offense, it is about the Washington defense. Another notable difference is this game is coming up very late in the season, where it’ll be absolutely dead for the Commanders in the stands. In fact, it’ll feel just like a home game for the 49ers. This could be a 5 star game, but I’ll settle on SF by 15.5 points, or 2.5 stars.
49ers 34, Commanders 19

112. Chargers +3.5 Denver (3 Stars) LOSS
This is an interesting shitshow leading up to the game. We don’t know what is going on in the Broncos locker room and how they will respond to the Qb debacle. I suspect maybe not very well. Although it isn’t like the Chargers have their shit together either. They did play Buffalo close with a fired-coach bump, so there’s that. The numbers look good for a Chargers cover though, with the game projection being between a pick’em and a < fg Broncos win. I’m focusing though on Austin Eckler. He played well last week against a suspect Bills D, and he gets the worst tackling team in NFL history this week. Eckler is a pro-fantasy football guy and he knows it is playoff time. I’m banking the dude shows up again this week after the new regime gave him 15 carries last week for 4+ yards a pop. If you feel adventurous, it may be worth a shot on the money line too.
Chargers 26, Broncos 23 (OT)

113. New England +14 Buffalo (4 Stars) ***WIN***
At least the Patriots have defense, and the offense has been slightly less horrible. You can run on the bills but you can’t run on the Patriots, which could disrupt the Bills recent formula for victory.
New England 14, Buffalo 24

114. Arizona +12 Philadelphia (3 Stars) ***WIN***
The Eagles D isn’t that good, even against the Cardinals.
Cardinals 20, Eagles 29

115. Minnesota -1 Green Bay (3 Stars) LOSS
The Vikings have been raffling the Qb position off for weeks now, but even I could throw to Justin Jefferson.
Vikings 24, Packers 20

116. Pittsburgh +4.5 Seattle (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
It is possible the Steelers have the best Qb at the helm of the season.
Seahawks 20, Steelers 18

Week 16

SATURDAY

105. Pittsburgh +3 Cincinnati (3 Stars) ***WIN***
The Steelers are a fucking train-wreck and hardly something anyone wants to bank on, but I see some positives in their matchup today. Mostly, the Bengals have key injuries in their run defense and Jamar Chase. I also have slightly more confidence in Rudolph, particularly since it is Christmas weekend.
Steelers 24, Bengals 23

EARLY SUNDAY

106. Carolina/Green Bay Under 37.5 (3 Stars)  LOSS
The outlook for both passing games is terrible. While 37.5 seems fair to me, there is nothing here to make you think this has any hope of sailing beyond the number. This is one of the absolute worst yardage projections of the entire season!

LATE SUNDAY

107. Miami -2 Dallas (2.5 Stars) PUSH – although most people probably won!
In what is an undercard to the Ravens vs 49ers game, the Cowboys will provide a preview of what it will look like when a top NFL offense faces a top secondary. The Cowboys are wrestling with injuries along their offensive line and defense (line/safety) while the Dolphins biggest question is simply whether the league’s most valuable weapon will play and be healthy. We all know what his new wife will say – get yo ass out there! So I have this pretty damn close with all things being even, but have one solid indicator that the Dolphins passing game is simply going to be too much here and the Cowboys suck on the road. Miami is ready to put this “can’t beat a good team” narrative to bed! Based on history, live bettors will be jumping on whoever takes an early lead. Given injuries, hard to have confidence in the over. If Tyreek doesn’t play and the line jumps towards the Cowboys, I’ll probably load up on the Dolphins because they can still run!
Dolphins 27, Cowboys 23

CHRISTMAS EVE

108. New England +7 Denver (2.5 Stars) *** WIN ***
My secret sauce on this one is buried in statistics. I don’t see this as a passing contest, not with the Broncos being a bit under and Patriots D being a bit over. When you look at the running defenses, you have the best possible mismatch of the season with the Patriots ridiculously good run defense contrasting the Broncos laughable keystone cops. So that is worth 7 points to me here.
Patriots 19, Broncos 23

AND YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT IS…

========> 109. Baltimore +6 SF (3 Stars) *** WIN ***
What an incredible matchup! One of the most efficient pass offenses in HISTORY against the top pass defense in the league!! Of course, when your passing options are as unusually deep as the 49ers, that typically favors the offense as the depth of the defensive coverage is challenged. Still, Baltimore projects to largely neutralize the advantage of the 49ers explosive passing game. On the ground, there is little advantage there either. Of course, big games often come down to turnovers and I can give a slight edge to the 49ers here. While I do have the 49ers solidly as likely to win, there is nothing here to make me want to give them 6 points in what is clearly a 3 point battle of the two best teams in the 2023 NFL. Given the clamps on explosive plays, I would think it’ll go under.
Baltimore 21, 49ers 24

Week 15

100. LA Rams -6.5 Washington (5 Stars) ***WIN***
I have 0 confidence the Washington secondary can provide any resistance to the Rams passing game.
Rams 29.5, Commandos 18

101. Chargers/Raiders Under 34.5 (3 Stars) LOSS
I don’t need to explain this. I hold that this choice is self-evident.

102. Indianapolis -1.5 Pittsburgh (3 Stars) ***WIN***
The wheels are coming off the Steelers. Trubisky may not make it past halftime.
Colts 23, Steelers 19

103. Cleveland -3 Chicago (2.5 Stars) PUSH
The Browns pass defense is downright scary and they are pretty stout against the run too. Flacco brings some competency to the Browns offense.
Browns 24, Bears 19

104. New Orleans -6 NY Giants (2 Stars) ***WIN***
I’d have fired the Giants coach two months ago, I don’t think this run lasts.
Saints 24, Giants 16

Week 14

99. Philadelphia +3.5 Dallas (2 Stars) LOSS
Late update
Ok, as I am stuck at 2-2, I’ll post one more official pick to keep or kill my winning streak. Ignore the Eagles blowouts and the Cowboys running up the score on bad teams. This one stacks up close and we’ll take the FG win in a game that could easily wind up in OT. What the Eagles will lack in passing they will make up on the ground game, an area where I expect the Cowboys to struggle.
Eagles 24, Cowboys 27

Sorry small update this week. On big games, I am leaning KC but just so many injuries here. I like the points for Phily, but struggle with the range getting to 4 points Cowboys. Other good bets might be Giants and Sainsts, but I’m just not feeling them.
So I’ll just hang my hat on 3 more here as follows:

96. Cleveland -3 Jacksonville (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Hobbled or not, I think the Browns D will be giving Jacksonville a very hard time – especially considering they just lost Christian Kirk too. That’s a lot to deal with.
Browns 23, Jaguars 17

97. Indianapolis +2 Cincinnati (2 Stars) LOSS
I wouldn’t get too excited about Browning for the Browns. The offensive gameplan on Monday night was incredibly creative and exciting for a big primetime showing, but I don’t expect that every week. On paper this looks really close to me and I’m not even sure who will win, so I’ll just take the points.
Bengals 25, Colts 24-26

98. Detroit/Chicago Over 43 (2 Stars) LOSS
This one started at 41.5, dropped to 40, and is now at 43? I thought this seemed like an over from the get, with Detroit being an offense that dependably puts up points while yielding 30+ a game over the last few weeks! Certainly nothing here makes me expect otherwise.
Target: 49

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

95. New England +6 Pittsburgh (3 Stars) Over/Under 30 ***WIN***
New England 16, Pittsburgh 12

As much as Pickett has been incredibly marginal for the Steelers, Trubisky figures to be a notable downgrade. One thing you can say about Pickett is he doesn’t turn the ball over. This changed with Trubisky at the helm in a couple snaps of the ball last weekend. Last season, he managed to throw 5 picks in limited action, including 3 against Baltimore. He threw 2 picks in his one start earlier this season. Turnovers will not allow the Steelers to win with this extremely marginal offense. Add to this a 6 point spread in a game that should have an over/under of 6 points, this seems like a solid play.

Week 13

86. SF -3 Philadelphia (2.5 Stars) O/U 47.5  ***WIN***
49ers 28, Eagles 23
I favor SF’s defense – the best in the business – and rate their offenses equal. I believe SF will be extremely motivated after what we saw last year in the championship. About the only thing that would make you lean Philadelphia is home field advantage in a major game. I like SF to win turnovers and ypp. I’m pushing this a bit because the line is pretty solid, but I want to make a call on this one.

87. Pittsburgh -6.5 Arizona (2.5 Stars) O/U 41 LOSS
Steeelers 24, Cardinals 15
Both teams hope to showcase improved offenses in this one and the running games should be strong. I can’t predict what exactly will happen in the passing games but Pittsburgh “exploded” last week to 268 yards in addition to 153 on the ground. Arizona’s defense got smoked by the rams on the ground for 228 and managed 229 yards of offense under Kyler. So just on those recent trends, you got to like Pittsburgh. Ultimately, bank on the Pittsburgh defense to win the turnover and pressure battle, which will generate a 5-10 point edge. Steelers may be returning Minkah and face a very beaten up Cardinals secondary, which might push me to think a 10+ win.

88. Cleveland +3.5 Rams (2.5 Stars) O/U 40.5 LOSS
Last weeks, the Rams overcame a banged up passing game with an outstanding effort by RB Williams. That won’t happen this week, it could be the exact opposite. Because we haven’t seen much of Kyreen lately and where this game fits in the scope of many more compelling games, I’ll be conservative with 2 stars.
Browns 23, Rams 21

89. Miami -9.5 Washington (2.5 Stars) O/U 49.5 ***WIN***
Dolphins 33, Washington 21
I can’t see how the Miami Dolphins don’t break every single game passing record in the history of the NFL, unless they just decide to run the ball in the entire 2nd half. I might not take this at 10 or over but at 9.5? Ok.

90. New Orleans +4 Detroit (2 Stars) O/U 47 LOSS
Saints 22, Lions 24
New Orleans will undoubtedly have their hands full stopping the Lions rushing attack, but they may compete effectively through the air. I like the Saints chances of wrapping this game up within 3, and it could be even closer than that. Detroit is not the same on the road, with rare exception.

91. Indianapolis -1 Tennessee (2 Stars) 42,5 ***WIN***
Cols 23, Titans 22
Both teams enjoyed their opponent imploding in front of them, but the Titans offensive numbers are simply painful to look at and don’t build confidence. Pressure on the Qb pushes me to Indianapolis. I know these RBs both want to show each other up, I don’t expect any measurable difference but that may play out differently in real life.

92. Houston -3 Denver (2 Stars) O/U 47.5 ***WIN***
Texans 26, Broncos 21
I expect Texans to win in the air and on the ground, with a good 1 ypp advantage on every play worth around 7 points. They may face more pressure though on the Qb, so pulling it down a bit for that.

93. NY Jets +2 Atlanta (2 Stars) O/U 33.5 LOSS
Jets 19, Falcons 18
This one is a coin toss, so this is just take HF and the points. Maybe the Aaron Rodgers news is somehow motivating?

94. Cincinnati +8.5 Jacksonville (2 Stars) O/U 38.5 ***WIN***
Jaguars 24, Bengals 17
Cincy got killed in the rushing game last week, and they need to do better. Jacksonville wasn’t lighting it up against Houston last week, though. I just can’t trust Jacksonville to win by 9 points, I think it is too much. Statistically, they matchup well enough to make me want to make a play here.

Week 12

79. Cleveland +1.5 Denver (3 Stars) LOSS
Browns 24, Broncos 22
Cleveland has been competitive regardless of who their Qb and running back is. Denver is just hilariously bad at defending the run and the rushing stats could eclipse the passing stats for the Browns. Could be a decent amount of pressure on Russell Wilson.

80. Denver/Cleveland Over 37 (2 Stars) ***WIN***
I have this up at 48, so I clearly see this differently than Vegas and that’s a margin that no starter really would seem to justify. I don’t necessarily see this correlated to a Browns victory however.

81. Pittsburgh -2.5 Cincinnati (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Steelers 24, Cincinnati 19
Generally you have to like the Steelers against an inexperienced Qb. The new offensive coordinator situation could be a spark too. I expect a very productive running game from the Steelers.

82. Atlanta +1.5 New Orleans (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Falcons 21, Saints 20
My computer thinks Atlanta is the better team here, and it is usually about right at least 65% time on who will win a game so take them and the points. This will be close though.

83. Indianapolis -2.5 Tampa Bay (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Indianapolis 24, Bucs 19
We saw how bad Tampa’s defense can be last week when they gave up a perfect game. Indianapolis rates pretty well as an offense too, objectively speaking.

84. Baltimore -3 LA Chargers (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Ravens 27, Chargers 22
Chargers will have to contend without Joey Bosa, which could be a real factor against a team like the Ravens that can run the rock well. I don’t think Chargers can keep pace running or passing.

85. Chicago +3 Minnesota (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Chicago 26, Minnesota 27
Looking for Justin Fields to provide a massive bump for the Bears. You have to think he’s the better Qb in this game even if the passing game heavily favors the bears. But it is the potential on the ground for both of these Qbs that could be a difference maker.

Week 11

71. LA Rams +1 Seattle (4.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Rams 24, Seahawks 20
Stafford returns to help pepper targets at the WR. Aside from that, there’s nothing that separates these two teams at all so just take home field.

72. Baltimore -3.5 Cincinnati (3.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Ravens 24, Bengals 17
This looks like a great matchup on paper and Cincy continues to be hot. But the Ravens strength is pass defense, and Cincy could barely run the ball last week. I do think the Ravens are far less dominating in their own division, but 3.5 isn’t asking a lot at home. Baltimore’s rushing advantage is massive and – for a guy who can’t hit deep balls – the Ravens should still have a substantial advantage getting air yards.

73. Minnesota +2.5 Denver (3.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Vikings 24, Broncos 23
When you bet against the Broncos, you only need to ask yourself if the team can run the ball. And yes – Josh Dobbs can!

74. Houston -5 Arizona (3 Stars) PUSH
Texans 27, Cardinals 19
Full disclosure, I am not giving Arizona any credit for Kyler Murray. I figure if the other Qb is as good as he has been for Minnesota, why should I think Kyler will be an upgrade here? The passing game of Houston is far more explosive than Arizona, so I’m hanging my hat there.

75. Detroit -7.5 Chicago (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Lions 29, Bears 19
Detroit has been lighting it up at home, and they get perhaps the worst defense in the NFL.

76. Philadelphia +3 Kansas City (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Eagles 22, Chiefs 23
It should be a tight game with a good chance of closing within a FG.

77. Pittsburgh +1 Cleveland (2 Stars) LOSS
Steelers 24, Browns 23
No Watson, no win. I actually got this at 2.5 when the news broke, but the point is the Steelers should be able to eek out another unexciting win. As a dog, they have been $$$ all season.

78. Pittsburgh/Cleveland Over 33 (2 Stars) LOSS
Nobody is expecting fireworks here, but the Vegas line is getting laughably low. I think you just got to go over now and hope for the best. At least if it is really this low, I think that favors the Steelers winning due to Cleveland being unable to function.

Week 10

65. Houston +6.5 Cincinnati (4.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Texans 19, Bengals 21
Both team Qbs are hot as can be coming in, but these defenses can be really tough against the pass and 6.5 is a lot of cushion considering the Bengals may feature a banged up Jamar Chase. So I won’t go as far as to call an upset but I think the game will stay close and maybe surprisingly defensive, especially against a number that seems to have gone a bit high against the underlying data.

66. Jacksonville +3 San Francisco (4 Stars) LOSS
Jags 24, 49ers 23
After beating up on some bad teams, the 49ers look strangely vulnerable with a secondary that has not been great. Coming off those losses and with the benefit of a long bye, few bettors have the stomach to think the 49ers will do anything but win. But I see value here in what could be a very competitive game.

67. Washington +6.5 Seattle (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Commandos 20, Seahawks 24
Gino will be hard pressed to look terrible against the Washington secondary, but he hasn’t looked good. Washington airs it out a lot and figures to at least make this exciting. Could be a surprisingly entertaining game.

68. Buffalo/Denver Over 46 (2.5 Stars) PUSH
Target: 50.5
It won’t be surprising to see Buffalo score some points, but Denver should be able to run the ball and Russell Wilson has not been too bad this season. I expect some points from Denver against a middling Buffalo defense that will put the total high.

69. Cleveland +6.5 Baltimore (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Browns 17, Ravens 21
The Ravens have been sleepwalking through the NFC West, but they’ll have to start playing football again when these two stellar defenses face off. You might think this slugfest will go under, but 38 isn’t really making me drool on offenses that may be competant. I expect the passing games of both teams to be pretty dormant while they run the rocks, so 6 points here could be a lot.

70. Steeelers/Packers Under 39 (2 Stars) LOSS
Target: 36
There’s not much good going on with either offense, but the Steelers D can play. Expect the Steelers usual script of playing close to the vest and winning with a walkoff FG. The margin here is thin but it will probably slide just under.

Week 9

55. Miami +1.5 Kansas City (3 Stars) LOSS
Dolphins 28, Chiefs 26
The Chiefs have enjoyed a tremendous pass defense, but I suspect that may be a function of some pretty bad opponents and it won’t apply to the Dolphins. I see the passing metrics being very close, and the real advantage in this matchup coming from the Dolphins rushing game.

56. Green Bay -3.5 LA Rams (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Packers 19, Rams 12
It’s pretty clear Stafford won’t play, so I’ll ride the Packers at home.

57. New England -3 Washington (3 Stars) LOSS
Patriots 26, Commanders 19
While both teams figure to struggle running the ball, there could be a surprising amount of ariel fireworks in this one.

58. Atlanta -3.5 Minnesota (3 Stars) LOSS
Falcons 21, Vikings 15
Atlanta upgrades to Heinenke while the Vikings keep getting worse.

59. Indianapolis -2.5 Carolina (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Colts 29, Panthers 23
The Colts haven’t been winning, but they have been scoring. That’s more than you can say for the Panthers here. I see solid advantages in ypr, ypp, and pressure.

60. Las Vegas -1.5 NY Giants (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Raiders 32, Giants 24
I like betting the “fired everyone” bump, and the strong running games of these two teams will keep the chains moving and could lead to a surprisingly high score. The Giants – who somehow almost won last week with -9 net passing yards and who’s coach seems to be paid to put a hit out on his own Qb – is my favorite target of 2023.

61. Miami/KC Over 50 (2 Stars) LOSS
Even though it is chalky, I do like the over here. It may correlate well with a Dolphins win, as we can feel confident the Chiefs won’t go down easy. Target: 55 points

62. Baltimore/Seattle Under 44 (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Seattle will lean in their running game and try to mire this game in the mud. Baltimore will just shut down if they jump out to a lead. So I see an under here even though 44 is a solid projection – game script should be in your favor.

63. Philadelphia/Dallas Over 47 (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Dak has played great games against Philadelphia in his career (7-1), so you can count on this one being an exciting back-and-forth.

64. Cincinnati/Buffalo Under 50.5 (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Even though both defenses can be amazingly porous, my simulations came up at 44.

Week 8

We’ve had a couple bizarre weeks where anyone and everyone has won, but I’m going to look for a pretty chalk weekend with all teams in action. And yes, this is all SUPER chalk. I’m curious to see what happens in a weird season where I’m somehow scoring like 12% on dogs.

47. Kansas City -7 Denver (5 Stars) LOSS
Chiefs 31, Broncos 19
In this bizarre double-header, the Chiefs return to Denver but no reason to think it won’t be just another KC rout of this truly awful team. This line certainly doesn’t seem too high betting that Denver will be out of it late in the 4th quarter.

48. Indianapolis +1.5 New Orleans (5 Stars) LOSS 
Colts 24, Saints 19
Saints really don’t have much of an offense, and that increasingly isn’t a problem for the Colts. The biggest question is really why this line is so close? Even if you like Kamara, you have Jonathan Taylor firing up again under his fat new contract. I don’t love this matchup really but it is a lopsided matchup at a near pick’em! It has been a good year for all home teams too, as if home field advantage suddenly matters again.

49. Detroit -8 Las Vegas (5 Stars) ***WIN***
Lions 30, Raiders 17
Detroit returns home where they play their best football. It is a big moment for the Lions actually hosting a MNF game! I feel like they may have looked past last week to this one but will show up here. Hard to feel positive about the Raiders when Josh Jacobs hasn’t shown explosion all year and he is facing a stout run defense, and Garoppolo is coming back into the lineup – maybe. I don’t think this game comes down to the last possession.

50. Philadelphia -7 Washington (3 Stars) PUSH
Eagles 30, Washington 20
The WTF have absolutely no answer for AJ Brown and Devonta Smith, and I expect them to play quickly from behind. Washington may have some moments again but most of them will be ended with sacks and punts. It feels like I’m being generous looking for a 10 point game and feel really good it’ll be at least 7 or 8.

51. Baltimore -9.5 Arizona (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Ravens 28, Cardinals 17
Lamar never loses to NFC teams, and this looks like a joke of a matchup for him anyway.

52. Miami -9.5 New England (2.5 Stars) ***WIN***
Dolphins 32, Patriots 20
Miami is an offensive bully and when they win – they win big! If you can’t punch them back in the mouth, it is gonna be a long long day and points will be cheap.

53. Cincinnati +5 SF (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Bengals 24, 49ers 27 (OT)
Yeah, I know SF has lost 2 in a row but we haven’t really seen the Bengals yet and I expect them to come out like their lives depend on it. Having a Qb issue in SF isn’t a positive either.

54. NY Jets -3 NY Giants (2 Stars) PUSH
Jets 24, Giants 19
Giants are absolutely terrible, and yes – I realize they are playing the Jets.

Week 7

42. Indianapolis +2.5 Cleveland (4 Stars) ***WIN***
Colts 24, Browns 22
I don’t care in the slightest that the Browns won last week. I think it is almost completely meaningless. The Colts loss was very disappointing to me and they were terrible, but most teams aren’t terrible every week so I’m optimistic the tea leaves point my way here on both sides. I am not banking on much offense from the Colts (or the Browns honestly), but we’re looking for turnovers and sacks in a defensive-led victory.

43. Tampa Bay -2.5 Atlanta (3 Stars) LOSS
Bucs 23, Falcons 17
Tampa was embarrassed by Detroit last week, and Atlanta is just downright embarrassing. The Falcons have a terrible passing game, and the Bucs will sack them to death. This also looks like a very defensive win.

44. NY Giants/Washington Under 39.5 (3 Stars) ***WIN***
30-35 points
Giants can’t protect the Qb to save their life, and Sam Howe takes way way too many sacks. With this many sacks, I simply see more punts than points!

45. Miami/Philadelphia Over 51.5 (3 Stars) LOSS
55-60 points
I mean, duh. Seems almost chaaeap right? I think Philadelphia has a good chance of winning this game, and that’ll take a LOT of points.

46. New Orleans/Jacksonville Under 40 (2 Stars) LOSS
35-40 points
This might be close, but on a short week, banged up Qbs or backups, I see game scripts with lots of running and neither defense really gives a lot of room to run!


Week 6

35. New Orleans -1.5 Houston (5 Stars) LOSS
Saints 20, Texans 14
Result: Despite losing last week, Houston is oddly falling in my top 5. Needless to say that’s ridiculous but these anomolies do self-correct over time, generally sooner than later. The same indicators said to ride the Bengals to finally rebound over the Cardinals last week.

36. Washington +2 Atlanta (5 Stars) ***WIN***
Skins 21, Falcons 18
Result: This is also a bit of a reversion-to-the-mean expectation. Washington’s biggest problem is they are letting WR1s go nuts on them. Fortunately, this won’t be an issue this weekend. Washington is flirting in bottom 5 territory and I think they are due to move up the ranks a bit. I just like this game as being in Washington’s wheelhouse and the public is very down on them after the Chicago debacle.

37. Tampa Bay +3 Detroit (4 Stars) LOSS
Bucs 24, Lions 23
Everyone is excited for the lions, but the Bucs defense has been very good and they will make the Lions sweat this one a bit. If they win the turnover battle (and I think they will), it’ll be enough to win the game. David Montgomery should be a concern for this defense. In a week where there are so many obvious-seeming blowouts, this stands out as a game where the underdog can compete.

38. Indianapolis +3.5 Jacksonville (2 Stars) LOSS
Colts 23, Jags 24
Last week – at least on Threads – I said Jacksonville was in a good spot to upset the Bills. And they did, although I thought they looked pretty much like crap trying to blow the game for most of the 2nd half. So I did not come away impressed, they won a game they were in a good spot to win and didn’t look all that great doing it anyhow! I feel better about Indianapolis with a vet under certain, Taylor back in the fold with the other back blowing up defenses anyway – this team also coming off another win.

39. Philadelphia -6.5 NY Jets (2 Stars) LOSS
Eagles 28, Jets 19
In a weekend with a lot of likely-ugly blowouts, I’m putting my chips on this one because it is such a great matchup for Phily. They are incredibly hard to run against, which leaves the Jets to do damage with – ahem – their Qb.

40. Chicago/Minnesota Over 43.5 (3 Stars) LOSS
Terrible defenses, 2 Qbs who have been very productive, even without JJ this smells like a lot of points and the number is pretty low! Gotta love this one for about 53!

41. Dallas/LA Chargers Over 51 (2 Stars) LOSS
I think both running backs will go off, and those Qbs will be efficient with 2nd/3rd and short all day. I say 55+.

34. KC -10.5 Denver (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Chiefs 34, Broncos 17
This projected score feels about as automatic as it gets, even if the Chiefs don’t blow out other teams very often. 175+ yards rushing, probably 300+ passing, a pretty large ypp advantage, some pressure on the Qb. For the Broncos, not much here although Wilson’s day may not be statistically terrible if you have to play him.

Week 5

I’m stuck at .500 but this could be a breakout week as I can really follow some data now. I ran hundreds of thousands of simulations microanalyzing every play from this season and here is what I found that deviated most from where Vegas and the betting public sit!

27. Arizona +3 vs. Cincinnati (5 Stars) LOSS
Prediction: Arizona 24, Cincinnati 20
Analysis: As we approach this stage of the season, it’s time to let the data do the talking. Arizona’s performance this year has been nothing short of remarkable, given their challenging schedule. Even facing Cincinnati, another formidable opponent, we can’t ignore the issues plaguing Joe Burrow and his offense. It’s time to trust the data, even if some bettors are holding onto different expectations. The Cardinals rushing advantage is very substantial.

28. Miami -10.5 vs. NY Giants (4 Stars) ***WIN***
Prediction: Dolphins 33, Giants 17
Analysis: It’s a dire situation in New York, to say the least. When you can’t find excitement in laying 10.5 points in this matchup, it’s hard to imagine when you can. The Giants don’t just lose; they MELT under pressure like a scene out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Statistically, the Dolphins have just eye-popping advantages in both the pass and rushing game that lead the week’s board in BOTH categories, as well as sacks. Unbelievable!

29. Houston +2 vs. Atlanta (3 Stars) LOSS
Prediction: Texans 21, Falcons 20
Analysis: The stats favor the Texans, making them a solid small underdog. Admittedly, small underdogs haven’t been the best bet for me this season, but I believe it’s only a matter of time before they pay off. Small edges in the passing game, sacks and turnovers outweigh Atlanta being the better rushing attack in this game.

30. NY Jets +2 vs. Denver (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Prediction: Jets 26, Broncos 23
Analysis: It’s puzzling to see the Jets as underdogs when they have Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook running against the Broncos. Additionally, the Broncos’ best wideout will be covered in “Sauce”. I anticipate the Jets’ passing game will show significant improvement against a more manageable opponent. This small underdog could turn out to be a significant value play thanks to a massive edge in the running game, one of the best this weekend!

31. Green Bay -2 vs. Las Vegas (2 Stars) LOSS
Prediction: Packers 23, Raiders 19
Analysis: In this matchup, my trust lies with Jordan Love and the Packers, given their more successful track record compared to the Raiders. We’re riding this lean with confidence because while the two teams stack up very evenly, the fatal mistakes will be made by the Raiders.

32. Dallas +3.5 vs. San Francisco (2 Stars) LOSS
Prediction: Cowboys 21, 49ers 23
Analysis: It appears that San Francisco is getting a bit too much of a points cushion in what is likely to be a closely contested game. Giving them more than a field goal seems excessive, so we’ll take the Cowboys to cover. I even feel they have the edge everywhere but the running game – where they are still reasonably competitive.

33. Washington vs. Chicago Over 44.5 (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Prediction: 52 total points
Analysis: I’m sure this matchup makes you feel a bit sleep and bored, but the Skins should be able to push 30 points against the Bears horrendous defense and – frankly – I can see the Bears scraping enough together to get into the low 20s too! I think both teams will have some success getting rushing yards and be at least serviceable through the air.

Keep an eye out for potential updates before kickoff on Sunday, and for more notifications, follow me on Threads!

 

Week 4

Sunday was a pretty great day but “I have a bad feeling about this!” settled in before the double kickoff nightmare of Monday night. It was a rough week as ZERO small underdogs won and just a couple random big underdogs came home to roost. Probably the most painful one was the Rams +2.5 losing seemingly-predictably by 3. On the bright side of the ledger, I hit 4 of the 5 over/unders which was a nice debut considering it was the first full slate of over/unders I have posted in 15 years.

19. Atlanta +3 Jacksonville (3 Stars) LOSS
Projected Score: Falcons 21, Jaguars 21
I see this as a tight “flip a coin” game, so I’ll take 3 on the neutral field.

20. Pittsburgh -3 Houston (3 Stars) LOSS
Projected Score: Steelers 23, Texans 17
I’m having a really good year and riding Pittsburgh as a dog has primarily been my fuel. Now as a favorite, they are still a good value as the overachieving Texans step up in class. Pittsburgh is a winning franchise and they know how to win. 3 or more feels like another good deal. The Steelers defense is real and historically, they have destroyed young Qbs on the road. This could be very lopsided but I’ll generously spot the Texans 17 based on calculations.

21. Minnesota -4.5 Carolina (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Projected Score: Vikings 24, Panthers 14
While the Panthers didn’t cover for me last week, the stats with a veteran Qb were notably better. So Bryce Young starting is not a positive. And this game does stack up as a “reversion to the mean”-type event. 4.5 is a tough number to justfify, however, but the air advantage is pretty massive. If I had played more reversion to the mean last week, it would have gone much better for me for sure.

22. Las Vegas +6 Chargers (2 Stars) LOSS
Projected Score: Raiders 23, Chargers 26
6 points is asking a lot for a team that figures to win all their games this season by a FG. Since when do the Chargers blow anyone out? Ok, maybe they win by 6 but I don’t see much upside here for the Chargers. I also see some signs that the Raiders are due for a good game.

23. NY Jets +8.5 KC (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Projected Score: Chiefs 20, Jets 15
I feel like we really know who these teams are. While the Chiefs are almost certainly going to win this game, this is not a team really known over the years for blowing out their opponents, last weekend being more of an abberation. Sure, taking the Jets feels a bit like flushing money down the toilet especially if they do indeed look as bad as we expect, but the numbers point to this side of the deck.

24. Chicago/Denver Over 46.5 (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Everyone is expecting this to be a pretty dull game, but with two terrible defenses on the field this could be a lot of points. I don’t know what Chicago will actually do offensively, but I’d be running Justin Fields every play after watching the Miami/Denver tape. Personally I like Chicago in this one but the computer likes Denver, but things really can only get better for the Bears. Maybe the Broncos can improve on defense this week too, cut it down to 35. I see this game 50+.

25. New Orleans/Tampa Bay Under 40 (2 Stars) ***WIN***
I have this game solidly in the 30s, it has all the earmarks of a boring defensive battle. It doesn’t hurt that Carr may not play against a really tough defense, or at least could be limited.

26. Seattle/NY Giants Over 47.5 (2 Stars) LOSS
I think this could be a pretty high scoring game too, also in the 50s. SO this total seems a bit low to me.

Week 3

We are not here to make you feel good and beach you off. While I haven’t had a strong overall season in many years, my underdogs still win. Vegas gives us a 50/50 – sometimes a 60/40 – and I’m pretty good at ferreting out the mongrels they add a couple points to for those willing to take the ugly step-child. So yeah, I know the other Qb is prettier and better but I evaluate the whole context and understand the NFL is a league where the top and bottom really aren’t all that far apart. So here are the ugly ducklings this week that I think will win you some cash!

7. Carolina +5 Seattle (4 stars) Seahawks 19, Panthers 17  LOSS
Reason: The 5-point spread seems a bit generous. Given the current state of both teams, this game should be closely contested. The Panthers, with a veteran quarterback now leading them, have a genuine chance to secure a victory or at least keep the game competitive until the final whistle. The quarterback change might make a difference.

8. Pittsburgh +2.5 Las Vegas (4 Stars) Steelers 21, Raiders 19 ***WIN***
Reason: The Steelers’ dominant defense was on full display last week, and they’re unlikely to ease up against the Raiders on Sunday Night Football. Gotta love Steelers – a winning team every year – as an underdog to…Vegas? Almost smells worthy of calling it a “trap”!

9. NY Jets +2.5 New England (4 Stars) Jets 19, Patriots 17 LOSS
Reason: Objectively, the Jets should handle the Patriots, as any improvement on the Patriots’ part hasn’t materialized yet. The Jets, despite criticism of their quarterback, are a known quantity from last season. Weather conditions may also limit the Patriots’ somewhat limited passing attack. This game has a premium for the winless Patriots having to win.

10. Tampa Bay +5.5 Philadelphia (3 Stars) Eagles 24, Bucs 21 (OT) LOSS
Reason: The Buccaneers appear capable of giving the Eagles a run for their money. This could have been a competitive match last season, and the Eagles are showing early signs of vulnerability, which might hinder their ability to contain the Bucs’ offense and put points on the board.

11. LA Chargers +1 Minnesota (3 Stars) Chargers 28, Vikings 27 ***WIN***
Reason: There is no arguing that – in a close game – the Vikings know better how to win those. And if you fear Justin Jefferson going all “Tyreek Hill” on the Chargers, that’s a very rational fear. And the (likely) unavailabily of Austin Eckler in this one is a concern. And typically, when we tell you why the other side is very attractive, that doesn’t turn out great for our win/loss record. All that aside, my algorithmic analysis does hate the Vikings defense and I am going with the Chargers here in a critical battle of two very offensively-explosive 0-3 teams.

12. LA Rams +2.5 Cincinnati (2 Stars) Rams 17, Bengals 14 LOSS
Reason: Regardless of Joe Burrow’s status, the Bengals’ offense is struggling, while the Rams have surprised with their balanced attack and defensive capabilities. The Bengals will fight to win this game, but it’s not certain they can match the Rams’ well-rounded performance. This is a 2022 line in 2023.

In this week’s NFL predictions, we’re also leaning heavily on the over/under bets despite last week’s “under” selection being a bust. These selections are driven by instinct rather than computer analysis, although the computer seems to concur in most cases. Let’s delve into our “Captain Obvious” 2-star over/under picks for this week:

  1. Colts/Ravens Under 43.5 ***WIN***
    • Reason: This game’s potential for a low score is influenced by the weather conditions and the absence of key running backs.
  2. Steelers/Vegas Under 43 ***WIN***
    • Reason: Both teams are expected to focus on a ground-and-pound style of play, keeping the scoring on the conservative side.
  3. Patriots/Jets Under 36 ***WIN***
    • Reason: Watching these offenses play is about as thrilling as watching paint dry, which justifies our bet on a low-scoring game.
  4. Broncos/Dolphins Over 48 ***WIN***
    • Reason: The Broncos’ defense allowed an abundance of points against Washington, and they now face the league’s top offense. Additionally, Russell displayed his deep-threat capabilities last week. While Waddle’s absence is a blow, Cracraft’s recent performance offers some hope. But let’s face it, it’s going to be all about Tyreek Hill.
  5. LA Chargers/Vikings Over 54 LOSS
    • Reason: Even if the over/under was set at 74, we’d still favor the over. With two potent offenses and rather pitiable defenses, this game promises to be a high-scoring affair.

 

Week 2

In Week 1, a lot of offseason hype proved irrelevant and teams more-or-less picked up where they left off last season. Unders also came through at a record-pace last week, with several teams missing the bus for their game entirely. For Week 2, we follow a similar approach that teams will largely pick-up where they ended the 2022 season and mitigate but tweak expectations from Week 1 to avoid an unbalanced over-reaction from 1 game.

As always, remember that sports betting involves risk (particularly when you follow OUR advice!), and these predictions are for entertainment purposes. Enjoy the games and good luck with your wagers!

Game #1: Tampa Bay -2.5 vs. Chicago (4 Stars) ***WIN***
Projected Score: Bucs 24, Bears 17

Reason: The projection suggests a 5-point gap from the spread, making Tampa Bay a solid bet. The Bears’ poor finish last season, coupled with a lackluster performance against the Packers in Week 1, raises concerns about their defense and offense. While Tampa Bay has room for improvement, their running game should be better than last year, making this a favorable pick.

Game #2: NY Jets +9 vs. Dallas (4 Stars) LOSS
Projected Score: Jets 17, Dallas 22

Reason: This is a good betting game because we know EXACTLY who these teams are from last year. If anything, it is the Jets who have made significant upgrades surrounding their efforts to win with Aaron Rodgers. With a dynamic duo at running back, they could outperform their pathetic 2022 offense even without Rodgers. Dallas coming off a 40-0 win creates inflated expectations, making this an attractive cash-in opportunity for the Jets backers.

Game #3: Las Vegas +8.5 vs. Buffalo (4 Stars) LOSS
Projected Score: Bills 24, Raiders 20

Reason: This projection is closer than the Vegas line suggests. Week 2 often sees top teams rebound from losses, but it’s crucial not to overestimate them. The Raiders can challenge the Bills in the running game, and Josh Allen’s turnover risk could be exploited by a team better than the Jets. Expect a closely contested match.

Game #4: Jacksonville +3.5 vs. KC (3 Stars – Over parlay 51) LOSS
Projected Score: 27-27 (OT win for KC?)

Reason: Like the Bills, the 0-1 Chiefs might face an overconfidence premium. Surprisingly, this projection calls it a pick ’em game, with the Jaguars’ offense expected to shine. Consider this in a parlay with the over, as a defensive battle is unlikely, and the Chiefs can match the Jaguars’ scoring.

Game #5: Washington +3.5 vs. Denver (3 Stars) ***WIN***
Projected Score: Washington 17, Denver 16

Reason: This pick isn’t necessarily an endorsement of Washington, but rather a cautious approach towards Denver’s hype. There’s no compelling reason to believe Denver has improved significantly, making this a battle of struggling teams. Take the points in what could be a closely contested game.

Game #6: Pittsburgh +2.5 vs. Cleveland (2 Stars) ***WIN***
Projected Score: Steelers 19, Browns 17

Reason: Despite doubts about Cleveland’s performance, the projections and Vegas odds indicate a fairly even matchup. The Steelers have a passing game edge and a potentially turnover-rich defense, which could make them a strong pick for Monday Night Football. Expect a low-scoring affair, although the line has already moved down this week.

Chargers/Titans Under 45 (2 Stars) LOSS
Projected Score: Chargers 21, Titans 17
Reason: A rare venture into over/under territory! This pick leans toward the under due to a full touchdown gap from the projection. Both the Chargers and Titans have shown a commitment to the running game, which might not make for the most exciting game but could result in a lower-scoring affair. Chargers may be without Eckler for some or most of the game, which may hurt rushing productivity and force them to the air more, so that’s a bit of a wildcard.

 

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