I had a solid week in Week 5, pulling 3 more games up on the season while going 8-5-1. This week I’m looking for another winning week to keep my game going. Here’s what I like and the other ones I have to pick. The road teams seem to be getting most of my attention this week, while dogs and favorites are split right down the middle. Enjoy the show.
Baltimore Ravens (+6) @ Indianapolis Colts: I can’t see value in the Colts right now. I don’t love Baltimore and I think Peyton has played well against them in the past, but right now I think a tough Ravens running game will give an inconsistent Colts team trouble, even if the Ravens can’t pass real well with Flacco running the show. I expect Addai to get close to nothing and Willis McGahee to have his best game of the year. Picking against the Colts always makes me worry a bit, but this seems like pretty solid value.
Cincinnati Bengals (+6) @ New York Jets: I hate taking the Bengals, really, I do. I just think they are better than their 0-5 record and it has to turn around somewhere. I’m not dying in love with this game, but +6 for a Bengals team that’s played a lot of close games recently, I like that more than taking a Jets team that hadn’t really impressed me before two weeks ago against Arizona.
Carolina Panthers (+2.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I’ve always liked the Panthers as a dog, and even though I buy Tampa Bay as an underrated team, and probably see some value with them at home in this one, my gut is telling me to go with the Panthers – so, screw a bunch of value, I’m going Carolina Blue on this one.
Chicago Bears (-2.5) @ Atlanta Falcons: Am I living on the edge here? Picking against the Falcons once again? I know they’ve been killing me a few times this year, but I think Forte is too much of a force for the Falcons defensive front and I like what Orton has been doing through the air. I think Atlanta is much improved, but the Bears are back (at least better than they were). I’m still not ready to fully buy in to the Bears rolling to the playoffs, but week after week they move up in my book.
Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints (-7): I think the Raiders with Lane Kiffin is a great value here – but Lane was fired because Al Davis was beginning to look like an idiot -fair enough. Until the Raiders prove otherwise, I’m definitely not picking them. I actually felt comfortable taking Oakland in this situation, because I’ve never thought much of the Saints, but at just a touchdown this one is a home team special for me.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-13): Similar to Washington State sports, you can’t see much love for Detroit or St. Louis in the NFL right now. The Vikings are a decent team, they should have lost on Monday Night, but they are a decent team. They will run more and be more effective doing it against the Lions, and of course they can always throw if the need to. Detroit won’t be able to run, and their whole plan to do a scaled down offense with the hurry up seems like a backfire waiting to happen. Gimics don’t get you wins in the NFL, take the Vikings or don’t bet this game at all.
Miami Dolphins (+3.5) @ Houston Texas: The 3.5 (the .5 part) gives me some value on the Dolphins. They do a good job of following their game plan, play discipline football, and make few mistakes offensively. I think the Texans are a much better team than 0-4 indicates, though, so if I had the choice I wouldn’t play this game. Houston has a solid offense and a defense with lots of talent, I think they will only get better as the seasons moves forward. I just like the fact that if Miami loses by a field goal I still win.
St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins (-13.5): All those points, what shall we do with them? Juggle them, shoot them in a hoop, I don’t care, I’d just stay away from any kind of “value bet” involving the St. Louis Rams. At -13.5 they might have some value, if they weren’t the Rams. If Detroit wasn’t around, the Rams would the be the sure thing worst team in football. Cincinnati and Cleveland would wallop the Rams. I like what the Redskins are doing, and honestly, they don’t have a weakness right now. They are getting healthier on defense and even with two touchdowns needed to cover, I think this is a solid bet.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) @ Denver Broncos: This is another tough call for me. I like the Jaguars to run all over the Broncos, but I also like Denver to throw the ball all over the Jaguars secondary. It’s like these two teams are made to put up loads of points on each other. At 48, I’d be taking the over instead of playing either side of this game. I guess, like the Miami game, I see a little bit more value in +3.5, because if Denver comes down and kicks a field goal to win it I still win with the Jags. If Cutler and his receivers don’t hit on all cylinders then that also gives the value nod to Jacksonville. Even with a mediocre offensive line, the Jags should be all ball control in this one. Tough call, but my lean is on Jacksonville at +3.5.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4) @ San Francisco 49ers: I like the Eagles in this one, in fact I love them. Philly has played like poo-poo over the last two weeks, and the week before that they weren’t brilliant either. That usually means good things for Eagles’ backers, as Philly is a one team slump buster. I think they do a lot right this weekend, even without Westbrook (if he indeed doesn’t play). Buckhalter is a nice running back, and without Westy they’ll just have to plan to get the ball to receiver’s hands more. The Eagles going to 2-4 with a loss to the 49ers, I don’t see it.
Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) @ Arizona Cardinals: I like Dallas to dismantle the Cardinals, or at least win by a touchdown. I think the Boys bring a lot of speed at the quarterback, and while Warner has been pretty good (despite one turnover happy game) he has always been prone to the mistake, and Dallas has the athletes and offense to really make him pay. Arizona has a chance because of their run defense, but I like Barber to have a solid game against the Cardinals – that should cut out any hopes the Cards have at an upset here. Jason Witten and Terrell Owens should be enough to keep the Cardinals’ secondary occupied, meaning that extra help the front 7 usually gets won’t be there for much of the game. Cowboys are the play here.
Green Bay Packers (+2.5) @ Seattle Seahawks: Stay away from Washington sports. Seattle’s bound to have another receiver injury this week, and if that happens they’ll have to dress up Charlie Frye in an 80 number and see if he can’t pass for Steve Largent. Green Bay had a little bit too much hype after the first couple weeks, and now look where they are. Still, I don’t see them coming into Seattle and not running the ball right down the Seahawks throats. Ryan Grant should have his first big fantasy day of the year, and that will lead the Packers to a victory over their former coach.
New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers (-5.5): Lets see, the Patriots don’t run the ball real well right now and their passing game doesn’t flourish either. They capitalized on a lot of 49er mistakes in Week 5, but I doubt the Chargers will be so kind on Sunday Night. I’m willing to bet that LaDainian Tomlinson actually has a decent day on the ground, and Phillip Rivers continues to be his accurate self. The Patriots at +5.5 seem like a great bet, but my feeling has me taking the Chargers to win by a touchdown. Come on SD, this is your chance, get those Patriots while you can.
New York Giants @ Cleveland Browns (+9): Mistake? Maybe so. But the value is on Cleveland in this one. They play close games and they have talent. They will be as healthy as they’ve been all season, and New York is coming off one of their best games ever. Cleveland is coming off a bye week and while the Browns have stomped me down a couple times this season, I have to believe they’ll play up to their potential on Monday Night at home against the Super Bowl Champs. I also think this line should be somewhere close to 3.5 to 5 points, so 4 points of value is the way I have to go. Tough to pick against the Giants after the way they’ve started, but I’m not too amazed by their weak competition thus far – so maybe I’m right about this one after-all.