Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts Free NFL Pick

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Houston Texans (+10) @ Indianapolis Colts Free NFL Pick: As you know, it’s hard to bet against the Colts right now. Peyton Manning is at the top of his game, and his game was pretty impressive before he was at the top. They find ways to win when it’s tough, they cover spreads (5-2 ATS so far this season) and they bring an undefeated record home to Indy to host the 5-3 Houston Texans. But 10 points is too much for me, mainly because good teams shouldn’t get double digits, and Houston is a good team. I know, it sounds as weird to say it out loud as it does to write it, as I’m sure it’s just as odd to read. But it’s true.

The Texans have won 4 of their last 5, three straight, playing good football all season long. Even their losses (for the most part) have been close games. They lost by 7 at Arizona, by 7 against the Jaguars, and their only blowout was Week 1 against a Jets team that came right out and out-physicaled the Texans from the get go. I think Houston is playing the best football they’ve played in their short history, Matt Schaub has been awesome, and despite seeing their star running back get benched last week, they’re always a threat for a big play on the ground. During their current three game winning streak, they’ve beaten a couple pretty good teams in Cincinnati and San Francisco. It will be tough to continue, but they’ve out-passed their opponents in 7 straight games.

Another thing, Houston seems to always play Indy tough. Indy’s won 9 of the last 10, but this game has been decided by a touchdown or less in 4 of the last 5 contests. The Texans might not be getting over the hump, but they’ve been pretty damn close. 10 points for a good team is just good value-betting.

Green Bay Packers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Pick

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Green Bay Packers (-9.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Pick: I normally don’t even like thinking about Green Bay as a big favorite, they just don’t commit to running the ball enough to be a sure thing as a big favorite -but this Bucs team, they make the whole process a lot easier. I do think Tampa Bay can find some running room against the Packers run defense, especially if Green Bay comes in thinking they are going to win because they are better. But a tough loss to Brett Favre and the Vikings should be enough to sober them up for a big performance against a Bucs team that really shouldn’t compete.

The Packers have shown more of a commitment to the run against bad teams. Maybe they feel like they have time to score, and thus they don’t rush the big plays as much, and Grant gets to pound away at lesser defenses. If the Packers continue that trend, and I have to think they will, this should be an easy cover.

The Packers have an aggressive defense and Tampa Bay is starting their first round quarterback for the first time. The Packers have aggressive corners that should test Josh Freeman’s confidence early and often. A couple mistakes by the Bucs, and this thing can turn into a blowout in a hurry. 76% of the public likes Green Bay, yet the line moved away from it’s opening -10. That’s always something that makes me wary. Still, I have to go with the Pack here, it’s their side or no side at all.

Arizona Cardinals vs Chicago Bears Football Prediction

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Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Chicago Bears Football Prediction: I think Arizona’s the better team, but more-so I think Chicago is at the wrong side of a tough match-up in this one. The Bears struggle against accurate passers, they struggle against teams that stop the run, and when they can’t run the ball with ease, they make mistakes that really kill them. I know, the story of Jay Cutler’s life.

Now, I think this could be a close game, but Arizona’s chances of winning this thing are pretty good. The Bears don’t really eliminate anything Arizona does, so the Cardinals should dictate the flow of the game. That’s bad news for Bears fans. Usually, the fact that Arizona is traveling eastward would be bad news for their chances, but as it seems, pulling off multiple road upsets on their way to the Super Bowl had done wonders for their road confidence. They are 3-0 away from home this season, dominating at Jacksonville, Seattle, and ousting the Giants in New York. Those last two are tough places to play, too.

These two teams don’t have much of a recent history, in fact, I don’t think Kurt Warner has played the Bears while in a Cardinal uniform. I do know that Chicago has struggled against solid passing attacks, losing to Green Bay, Atlanta, and Cincinnati so far this season. 3 of their 4 wins also don’t impress me much – we’re talking Seattle, Detroit, and Cleveland here. Beating Pittsburgh was a good win, definitely, so the talent is obviously there.

What it comes down to is match-ups and the Cardinals get the nod in a lot of key areas. I’ll take them to continue their undefeated road record in 2009, at least against the spread.

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Preview, Pick

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Miami Dolphins (+11) @ New England Patriots Preview, Pick: Again, I just don’t think you can go against good football teams and double digit points. The Dolphins may be 3-4, but hey, they are a good football team. They can stuff the run, and if anything, they can really run the ball well offensively. They play sound football, get tough yardage, and use that dreaded and famed Wildcat offense to chew up the clock, shorten games, and keep elite offenses off the field. That’s a covering dream right there. Then you give them double digit points? Come on, this is too easy right?

The Pats opened as 12 point favorites, early bets on Miami moved that down to 11 and the small majority of public bets seem to like Miami enough to keep this thing moving down, if you like the Patriots, you can get them -10.5 at some books. But Miami with double digits looks good to me. The Dolphins may be 3-4, but they’ve lost just two games by double digits, a game they freakishly failed to cover in when the Saints returned a late interception for a touchdown after an improbably comeback, and their opening 7-19 loss to Atlanta. They’ve won 3 of their last 4, including two wins against the Jets. They’ve been running wild, and first year starter Chad Henne has proven he can make any throw on the field, making defenses prepare for that for the first time in a long time when facing the Dolphins.

The road team has taken this game in 5 of the last 8 contests. Miami broke out the wildcat to dominate the Patriots in New England early last season. This game has hit the over in 3 of the lat 4 meetings, and Dolphins have busted the over in each of their last 4. I like this one to stay close, and 11 points looks sexy, even against Tom himself.

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals Free NFL Pick

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Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals Free NFL Pick: Last time out the Bengals beat the Ravens in Baltimore, pulling a pretty nice upset both against the spread and straight up. The Bengals have had a week off to relax and ponder how easy it was beating up on the Bears. Palmer tossed 4 touchdown passes and Cedric Benson ran wild against his former team as Cincinnati steamrolled the Bears. The Ravens aren’t coming off a bye, but they are coming off a 30-7 win over the previously undefeated Denver Broncos last week. In that game they seemingly got their pass defense in a good place.

The Ravens have struggled against teams that can really throw it, giving up 436 yards to Phillip Rivers in a close win over the Chargers, and 3 touchdown passes by Brett Favre in a close loss to Minnesota. Carson Palmer also diced them up for 270+ yards last time out.But like I said, they looked good against the pass last week.

But here’s the deal, and it’s a situation I take very much to heart when picking games over the second half of any given NFL season; Unless there is some sort of extreme mismatch between two good football teams, the chances of a split are pretty good.

I think these two teams are very similar. The Ravens are probably even a little bit better. This game means a lot to the Ravens, sitting at 4-3 and 3rd place in the AFC North, behind the Bengals and Steelers. The Bengals aren’t going to lay down, but I think a lot of the Ravens, and a split with the Bengals looks like a good bet to me.

Washington Redskins vs Atlanta Falcons Football Pick

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Washington Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons (-10): Here’s the deal, and I want to be very clear on this, I wouldn’t bet much on this game, and I won’t, if I do at all. Why you might ask? Anyone can see that the Redskins are struggling mightily with more things than anyone can count.

Offensively they just can’t score points, and defensively they give up big plays and despite playing pretty stout during stretches, they are consistently put in a bad place by their bad offense. Then there’s the coaching troubles, the questions in the organization, and how just recently the owner of the team publicly discussed his disappointment with the players, saying that they have “let everybody down” and I’m sure even more will come out about team-dysfunctional before the game kicks off in Atlanta – but this is a trap game for the Falcons if I’ve ever seen one, and defensively the Redskins have the talent to shut down the run and make some big plays if the Falcons aren’t focused.

The Falcons just came off a game against the Saints on Monday Night where they played very well against one of the league’s best teams, and if they walked away from that game feeling like they can play and compete against the best, a moral victory of sorts, then they might be in for a battle against the Redskins. A week off for Washington might have been enough to get their offense on the right page with the new play-caller.

Listen, I know what I see, and I see a beat and battered Redskins team flying into Atlanta this Sunday. But this one worries me a bit, just an eerie feeling I guess, one that will keep my risking just a little if any. With my Falcons pick, I’m warning you.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Pick

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Kansas City Chiefs (+6.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Pick: First off, I don’t think the Jaguars have showed me enough consistency to be favored by 6.5 points against anybody in the league, even the Chiefs. A Chiefs team coming off a bye week. A Chiefs team looking for their first real win of the season (Can Washington really count?). A Chiefs team that just got rid of the guy that put himself before the team.

With Jamal Charles getting more touches, the Chiefs have more chances to hit the big play. With Matt Cassel getting more and more practice time with Todd Haley, this offense should get better and better as the season goes forward. I’m not sure what the addition of Chris Chambers will do for this team, but right off hand Chris can come in and make a difference as a guy that blocks well, and plays the right way.

I’ve liked the Jaguars for a long time, but they are a predictable team that just got more predictable when Jack Del Rio limited his quarterback’s audibles, telling him not to check out of MJD runs. (Don’t get me wrong, I would likely tell David Garrard the same thing, I just wouldn’t tell the media.) As if the Chiefs weren’t going to stack the box already.  The Jaguars don’t look like a well-coached team, and they certainly lack physicality outside of MJD.

This game has already moved to 7 at Bodog, and it could make that jump in a lot of books by the end of the week. So far, 62% of the bets like Jacksonville. The Jaguars have been favored twice this season, they’ve lost both ATS. This should be an ugly and close game, so the points look good enough to me.