The Patriots came so close to putting us very much in the green, but their inability to hold a double-digit halftime lead put our dreams on hold. Still, as it was, we had a very good week, going 3-1-1, making it our fifth week out of six where we avoided going under .500. Unfortunately, we took a shot with $10 of our $20 budget on the Patriots, so that game was where all the money was this week.
That being said, we still grabbed a return on investment of about 25 percent this week and have pulled almost exactly even on the season. Our pick percentage is also sitting at 56 percent, meaning that if it creeps a little bit higher in the coming weeks, we’ll be close to the professional standard of 60 percent.
LOSS: Panthers over Redskins (EVEN): Redskins 23, Panthers 17.
Oh, so close. Like I said, we had every reason to think the Panthers would drop this one, but their talent should have won out. Washington went up 17-0 and I gave up on Carolina. However, they climbed back into the game and were in the red zone when they failed to convert on fourth and 5 to end the game.
Cam Newton and Co. got hot just a little too late and they fell on the road to a Washington team that looked terrible a week ago. That’s just the NFL sometimes. The fact the Panthers even made this close at the end made this one exciting. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come through in the end. Total win: $0.
WIN: Seahawks -3 vs. Raiders (EVEN): Seahawks 27, Raiders 3.
They say the Seahawks are a different team away from home. They were REALLY far from home this week as this game was played in London, but it didn’t seem to affect Seattle. Russell Wilson and his talented receiving corps picked apart the Raiders secondary and dominated from the jump. Even more importantly for the Seahawks, the defense balled out as well, forcing turnover after turnover.
By the end of the first half, this one wasn’t in doubt and it felt good knowing we were going to have a game in the win column early in the day. We should also keep in mind that Seattle has been great against the spread this season, losing against it only once. Total win: $6.
WIN: Ravens -3 at Titans (-110): Ravens 21, Titans 0.
This game wasn’t the prettiest to watch, but Baltimore easily covered and that’s all we really care about. That defense is scary, now allowing just 12 total points over their last two games. They also found more ways to get Lamar Jackson involved in the offense and he provided a spark. We’ll keep this in mind for potential unders to bet in the future, although you can guess oddsmakers are probably already catching onto this defensive trend.
Tennessee has been feisty this season, ruining several spreads including when they came back and beat the Eagles in overtime to lose us a bet. They showed very little fight today, though, and just like Seattle, Baltimore provided us with plenty of breathing room and the confidence that we were in for a good week. Total win: $5.70.
WIN: Jaguars-Cowboys OVER 40.5 points: Cowboys 40, Jaguars 7.
I certainly can’t claim to have foreseen this outcome, but hey, it won us our bet. Nobody or their moms thought Dallas would put up 40 points on the Jaguars’ defense. It just doesn’t make sense. One of the NFL’s most anemic offenses simply torched the league’s best defense. Blake Bortles also looked terrible for the second week in a row. They have to get something figured out with him or they aren’t winning the division again.
After Dallas hopped out to a 24-0 lead, this seemed like a sure win since Jacksonville would be playing catch up, but it actually ended up being close. The Jags were never able to get anything going offensively, so thank goodness the Cowboys added another touchdown of insurance or this game would’ve ended at 33-7, good enough to break our hearts by half a point. Total win: $3.80.
PUSH: Patriots -3 vs. Chiefs (-110): Patriots 43, Chiefs 40.
We can’t ever have nice things, can we? We would have had a phenomenal day if the Patriots could have better protected their 15-point halftime lead, but I suppose we will settle for a push. New England looked unstoppable in the first half and Kansas City had to keep settling for field goals. In the second half, those field goals turned into trouble and allowed the Chiefs to take the lead at one point late.
It really would have been nice to chalk this one up in the win column and be way up for the season, but as it is, we’re moving on up and that pick percentage continues to rise as well. As we look ahead to next week, it again will be all about picking how much to put on each game. Our only problem this season has been putting small money on our winning picks. Let’s keep reversing that trend into Week 7. Total win: $10.
PIGGY BANK: $116.81 (-2.7% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 56% (15-12-3)
Welcome back for another stress-filled week of NFL betting. There are a lot of lines to love this week, so let’s get right to it. We’re going to invest the right amount of money on each game this time, since our biggest problem this year has been putting big money on the wrong games even while picking at a 58 percent clip. Let’s get to it.
Panthers over Redskins (EVEN)
I get it. This is a trap game. Carolina is coming off a last-second win thanks to a 63-yard Graham Gano field goal and the Redskins are coming off a thumping on the road against the Saints on Monday Night Football. It’s in Washington. Trust me, I understand that all signs are pointing toward not betting on Carolina this week. Simply, I don’t care.
The Panthers are just the better football team and when you can get value like this, you take it. Carolina is a one-point road underdog, making them even money to win straight up. There are plenty of reasons not to like this, such as Washington being desperate and at home, but again, Cam Newton and Co. are starting to click and that makes this really good value. The bet: $3 for total payout of $6.
Seahawks -3 vs. Raiders (EVEN)
Here’s another good even money value. This game is being played in London, so it is likely to be a little quirky. Oakland hasn’t been able to muster a pass rush this year (Hmm, I wonder why), so Russell Wilson will have plenty of time to throw. Has the Seattle defense been as good as usual? No, but they’re good enough to contain an inconsistent Derek Carr for 60 minutes.
I’ve liked Seattle most weeks this year and they covered at home against the Rams last week. I think they keep rolling and grab a much-needed win against an inferior team, even if the game is being played across the pond. The bet: $3 for total payout of $6.
Ravens -3 at Titans (-110)
It feels as though I get screwed every time I pick against the Titans this season. They’re just a weird team. The defense is for real, but the offense can’t get out of its own way. Coming off a 13-12 loss to the Bills, they’re going to be hungry at home. Baltimore is going to be hungry too, coming off an overtime loss to the Browns.
To keep pace in the competitive AFC North, this is one Baltimore has to have and with the spread only being a three points, it provides us that much-needed cushion of getting a push if they win by a field goal. This feels like an over correction from odds makers in response to Baltimore’s loss to Cleveland last Sunday and it seems wise to hop on them the week after such a disappointing loss. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Patriots -3 vs. Chiefs (-120)
I absolutely love this pick. Kansas City traditionally starts out very strong and then tapers off toward the middle of the season. Especially with a rookie quarterback, even one as talented as Patrick Mahomes, they’re prone to that happening again. For the first time all season, the defense showed up against the Jaguars, so that’s reason to think K.C. may be more complete than originally thought, but it’s just tough to march into Foxborough and march out with a win.
Bill Belichick doesn’t have a stellar defense, but you better believe they’ll have some schemes in place to limit Mahomes’ effectiveness. This should be a close game. When big games are close in Foxborough, the Patriots are rarely on the losing side. Take this one to the bank. The bet: $10 for total of $18.33.
Jaguars-Cowboys OVER 40.5 points (-110)
This over/under is so low, it’s really hard not to take it. I’m relying on the Jaguars to continue their trend of having a good offensive showing every other week. Dallas has shown no signs of life on offense and against a tough Jaguars defense, they could be in for a long day. The biggest thing we’re relying on here is a big day from Jacksonville.
A score like 30-17 sounds about right and that would get us over by a touchdown. It could easily backfire and turn into the disaster that our OVER pick of the Browns’ 12-9 win over the Ravens became last week, but this is one worth taking our chances on. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.80.
The parlay option: As usual, let’s dream about what we’ll make if all five games hit. This week, with a few EVEN money games being thrown into the mix, it would be a doozy. To be exact, we’d be betting $20 to win $534.40. Fingers crossed for us all. Happy Week 6, the week we shoot into the green.
I hate to say we resembled the Browns the last two weeks, but just like Cleveland’s season-long record, we have gone 2-2-1 over the past two Sundays. Houston really should have put us at 3-2 on the week, but they twice failed to score points from inside the one-yard line. As it happened, they won on a game-ending field goal to give us the push, but we could have finally been in the green if they’d been able to dial up any successful play call on several tries from the goal line.
We won’t get bitter, we’ll get better. We’ve only picked more losers than winners one week out of five this season, so that should be seen as a good sign of things to come. Here’s a recap from all the games we picked over the past week.
LOSS: Broncos to beat the Jets (-110): Jets 34, Broncos 16.
Wow, did Denver look bad in this game. After taking the Chiefs to the brink at home, the Broncos looked like a whole other team in the Meadowlands. Chalk it up to the short week or whatever you want, but there are very few excuses to allowing Sam Darnold and company to torch you all afternoon.
The Broncos are officially in a long list of teams that are now dangerous to bet either way, just because they’re too unpredictable. It was good value to get them at -1 headed into the week, but New York showed some fight and started our week on a sour note. The win: $0.
PUSH: Texans -3 vs. Cowboys (-110): Texans 19, Cowboys 16 (OT)
Like we mentioned off the top, if Houston was able to come away with ANY points on two drives that found them in goal-to-go situations from the one-yard line, we would have easily won this bet. We did catch a break with Jason Garrett deciding to punt on fourth and one in overtime on the Texans side of the 50.
That terrible decision allowed Houston to drive the length of the field and kick the game winning field goal to earn us the push. It certainly could’ve been better, but based on how overtime played out, it could have also been worse. Total win: $4.
LOSS: Browns-Ravens OVER 47 points: Browns 12, Ravens 9 (OT)
I’m at a loss for words. Wow, was this a brutal game. When you get five field goals in a game, you know you’re probably not hitting an over. When those five field goals are the ONLY POINTS OF THE GAME, you know you’re toast. Both these teams showed an ability to be explosive on offense in past weeks, which made you think they should both be well into the 20’s in this one.
However, neither offense could convert inside the red zone and that is the biggest killer of overs. Just imagine if a few field goals had turned into touchdowns. This would have been a lot closer. As it stands, we didn’t get halfway there, so we’ll try to block this one out of memory. The win: $0.
WIN: Jaguars-Chiefs UNDER 49 points: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 14.
Breathe a sigh of relief, because this was almost a terrible beat. The under seemed well in hand after we realized the Jaguars couldn’t move the ball offensively, but everything was almost ruined late. With Kansas City leading 30-14, the Jaguars marched the ball down the field on a meaningless drive in the closing minutes. Jacksonville got inside the red zone, but Blake Bortles threw an interception in the end zone to end it. The win: $7.60.
They had a couple legit shots at the end zone and had they been able to complete it, we would’ve lost this under by two garbage time points. We will thank the sports betting gods for now, while acknowledging that probably means we will be on the other side of this luck at some point later in the season.
WIN: Dolphins-Bengals UNDER 49.5 points: Bengals 27, Dolphins 17.
Betting the Bengals -3 wouldn’t have been a bad move in this game either, but the under hit, which is all that matters for us. A late Bengals touchdown made it closer than it actually was; this was pretty much in hand most of the game. Cincinnati didn’t set the world on fire with Joe Mixon back in the starting lineup, but they did enough while holding Miami in check.
So, we picked three over/unders this week and all of them went under. Luckily, we had two out of the three correct. Remember, life might be too short to take the under, but unders hit slightly more than half the time. The win: $7.60.
PIGGY BANK: $91.31 (-8.7% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 58%
Our ROI and pick percentage look to be at odds with one another. We’re approaching that magical 60 percent pick mark now, but we’ve been putting too much money on losing games. This coming week, we will put a large percentage on the games we’re most confident in, in an effort to finally get us solidly into the green. With us gaining more information on teams each week, we should get better as the season goes along. Keep an eye out for Week 6 picks coming in the next couple days.
I’m confident. This is the week we climb into the green. Even while picking at a 55 percent clip, we’ve just been putting the bulk our money on the losing picks, even when we get 3 or 4 out of 5 picks right in a week. To combat this, we’re going to put the exact same amount of money on all five picks this week. That way, if we get 3 out of 5, we will make some money, as opposed to the last two weeks where that was the case and we actually lost a couple dollars.
There is lots to like this week and actually, the over/unders look more intriguing than most of the point spreads. We’ll take a deeper dive into why that is and what you can expect from Week 5.
Week 5 Picks
Broncos to beat the Jets (-110)
Denver will be playing the Jets on the road and are one-point favorites, so we might as well pick them straight up to get a little more value. The only place that will hurt us is we will lose the bet if there’s a tie. After nearly knocking off the Chiefs at home on Monday Night Football, not only will the Broncos be hungry, they will be desperate. Now at 2-2 and seeing Kansas City might not be slowing down anytime soon, the Broncos need this win more than the Jets do.
Imagine that Broncos pass rush against rookie Sam Darnold, who has struggled mightily lately. It’s just hard to imagine a world where Darnold makes the plays he needs to in order to win this game. Denver is playing on a short week, so it might not be pretty, but expect them to get the job done. Since we’re just betting them straight to win, that’s all they have to do for us to be in the money. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Texans -3 vs. Cowboys (-110)
Houston finally got its first win of the season last week thanks to iffy decisions from the Colts. When Indy could have punted in the closing minute of overtime to basically ensure a tie, they went for it on fourth and 4 and didn’t pick up the first down. The Texans then just had to drive 10-15 yards to get into field goal range, which they did and kicked the game winning field goal as time expired. Deshaun Watson is starting to get some of his playmaking ability back and it looks like Houston could finally hit its stride.
They’re at home, which helps a ton. Dak Prescott did have his first above average game in recent memory last Sunday, so we will see if his strong play continues. You shouldn’t rely on that happening, though, especially against a stout Texans defense. With Houston looking to build some momentum and climb back into the playoff picture, it’s safe to pick them as field goal favorites at home. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Ravens-Browns OVER 47 points (-110)
Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking these AFC North match ups are defensive showdowns anymore. The truth is, most of the defenses in the division stink. Cleveland actually probably has the best one of the bunch. The offenses are something to like, though, and that’s why I love this over. Cleveland has been involved in shootouts ever since Baker Mayfield took over and win or lose, they’re putting up points. This should be a competitive game and the only way we fall to the under is if this becomes a battle of field position in the first half.
With the way Cleveland’s been playing the last two weeks, expect this to be a competitive game. It’s not hard to imagine both teams climbing into the 20’s. It will all come down to these teams cashing in red zone trips with touchdowns instead of field goals. Both Baltimore and Cleveland rank in the top 10 (Baltimore fourth, Cleveland ninth) in touchdown percentage inside the red zone, which is a good indication the over has a great chance of hitting. Let’s hope for another shootout. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Jaguars-Chiefs UNDER 49 points (-110)
The Chiefs are coming off an emotional win on a short week. Jacksonville will now be the second tough defense in a row that Patrick Mahomes and Co. will have faced. He struggled early against Denver, but figured things out late. Can he do it against the best defense in the league? It’s going to be tough. By no means am I saying the Chiefs can’t win this game, but this might finally be their first low-scoring affair of the season.
Really, our biggest fear should be Blake Bortles having another stellar performance and putting up points for the Jags, but he’s been so up and down, it’s hard to say he will be effective. If the Jaguars get up early and the Chiefs are playing catch up, this thing is going to go over in a hurry. Under pretty much any other scenario, it’s likely we’ll see the under. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Dolphins-Bengals UNDER 49.5 (-110)
It seems like the Dolphins were exposed as frauds last week with their blowout loss against the Patriots. Cincinnati also seemed to cement itself as an AFC contender with a big come-from-behind win over the Falcons to improve to 3-1. With Joe Mixon potentially back in the fold, the Bengals’ offense will be that much more explosive. This should be a Bengals win, so we just need to hope they’re limited to around 30 points.
As long as they’re held around that mark and the Cincy defense applies pressure on Ryan Tannehill, it doesn’t seem likely Miami is going to be able to keep up. If running back Kenyan Drake is finally able to break out for the Dolphins, it could be a whole other story, but until we see that happen, we’re not going to bet on it. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
The parlay option: If you take your $20 and parlay all five of these picks today, you’re in for a big pay day if we go 5 for 5. If we go perfect on picks this week, it would be a total payout of $507.06. Let’s cross our fingers for that, huh?
Unlike past weeks, we will have a much closer eye on over/unders this week. It should be an interesting slate of games. We’ll check back in later in the week, hopefully to recap a perfect week, and our fourth winning week out of five this season.
It was another week of treading water here on this column. If it weren’t for an Eagles full-out meltdown, we’d be up on the day and the season. However, they collapsed down the stretch and as a result, we pretty much find ourselves where we were at this time last week: just about where we started. Overall, we went 2-2-1 on the week, but our biggest problem this year has been putting the majority of our money in the wrong places.
For example, we spent $3 of our $20 on the Bears -2.5 against the Buccaneers. They won 48-10. We spent $8 on the Eagles -3 against the Titans and they lost. If we flip those amounts, we’re well into the green on the day. So, going forward, the management of how much we spend on each game will be just as important as the game picks themselves. Let’s take a look at how this week shook out.
WIN: Bears -2.5 vs. Buccaneers (-110): Bears 48, Buccaneers 10.
Mitch Trubisky played like the best quarterback on planet earth in the first half of this blowout as Chicago’s receivers were wide open all day long. Trubisky struck for six touchdowns, five of them coming in the first half and this one was never really close. We knew that being at home would help the Bears and that FitzMagic was bound to come to an end at some point, but we didn’t expect it to be so dramatic.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was so affected by the Bears’ fearsome pass rush that Jameis Winston played in the second half, potentially earning his starting job back. Whatever way you slice it, this Bears defense is scary and if the offense is 70 percent as good as it was today for the rest of the season, other teams are in trouble. Total win: $5.70.
LOSS: Eagles -3 at Titans (-110): Titans 26, Eagles 23 (F/OT).
Our week hinged on this game and the Eagles really screwed us. At one point, Tennessee scored 17 unanswered points to help them force a 20-20 tie going into overtime. They actually held a 20-17 lead before the Eagles tied it with a field goal as time expired. Then, in overtime, the Eagles marched down the field and all seemed right with the world. Carson Wentz orchestrated the drive with ease and it looked like we might escape with our money. Not the case.
Instead, the Eagles drive stalled and they settled for a field goal. That meant the defense just had to get a stop to win the game. Marcus Mariota and Co. promptly converted three fourth downs on the drive, including one that came from a pass interference call and on third and goal with time winding down, Mariota found receiver Corey Davis in the end zone for the game winning touchdown. It was a crushing betting loss and you can blame the Eagles for why our week was average instead of good. Total win: $0.
PUSH: Seahawks -3 at Cardinals (-110): Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17.
This was a sloppy game and it reminds us why the Seahawks are a risky bet on the road. There’s just something about being away from Seattle that turns them into a different team. When they went up 17-10, it seemed like they would be a good bet to cover, but Arizona tied things up. We did get lucky when the Cardinals missed a go-ahead field goal near the two-minute warning.
Russell Wilson took the team down the field and it led to a game-winning field goal at the buzzer from Sebastian Janikowski. It stinks to not get the betting win here, but with the Cardinals poised to win with that late field goal, we will gladly take our money back on this push. Total win: $4.
WIN: Saints -3 at Giants (-110): Saints 33, Giants 18.
New Orleans started out slow, which was worrisome given the spread, but Drew Brees and the offense finally figured it out. They appeared ready to run away with it, only to let the Giants cut it back to an eight-point deficit at one point in the fourth quarter. However, the offense got humming and was able to score a dagger touchdown to extend the lead and lock up the betting win.
If you took the under in this game, you were really sweating it out. It was 51.5 and it ended at 51. It’s almost as if oddsmakers know what they’re doing or something. Total win: $5.70.
LOSS: Packers-Bills over 44.5 points: Packers 22, Bills 0.
Well, it sure is hard to hit the over when one team gets shut out. One might even say it’s impossible. The crappy Bills we all know and love came back today just in time to make our chances of the over lower than zero. Josh Allen looked horrendous and even while looking pretty average, Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense did plenty to win.
It’s time to admit now that we may have overreacted to Buffalo’s random outburst against the Vikings, but we even acknowledged that before making this bet. Green Bay’s defense isn’t that good, so it was reasonable to think Buffalo might be able to get something going, but they never did. This is now the second week in a row a game involving the Packers was one of our misses. We might have to avoid them to set our minds at ease in the coming week. Total win: $0.
PIGGY BANK: $72.11 (-9.8% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 55%
As you can see, we’re picking at a 55 percent clip this season, but have still lost a few dollars. This just goes to show you how the decision on how much money to spend on each game matters as much as the games you pick. Let’s get it in Week 5 and stop treading water like we have over the last couple weeks.
Note: The change column indicates the percentage change in the odds of each player. Positive change labeled in green means the player is getting bet and his odds are lower, while the negative change in red means the player’s odds have regressed.
Heisman Trophy Winner Props
Data provided by Westgate.
Week 4’s Monday night matchup features the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos. This divisional rivalry has been somewhat streaky the past couple of years. From week 12 of 2012 to week 2 of 2015, the Broncos won 7 consecutive games. Since then, the Chiefs have won 5 consecutive games.
Kansas City continued to build on it’s hot start with a win over the 49ers in week 3. They currently sit atop the AFC west, are 1st in the league in points scored (118) and are 3rd in point differential (+26).
Last week, Denver lost to a tough Baltimore team that is 2nd in point differential (+46). It seems that Case Keenum hasn’t really found his rhythm in the offense, throwing for 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions through the first 3 weeks. The run game has been solid, but Phillip Lindsey getting ejected in the first half of last week’s game didn’t help anything.
It’s tough to imagine that the Mahomes train will slow down any time soon, but should Denver’s defense be up the the task, the Broncos would jump into first place in the AFC West.
Chiefs vs. Broncos Props