SportsGrid’s Week 7 NFL Pick$: We Won Dollars Again Last Week, Let’$ Continue

  • Matt Rudnitsky

NFL Picks

Every week, I’ll pick NFL games against the spread. Week 1 was decent. Week 2 and Week 3 were not. Week 4 was rock bottom. Week 5 was the turnaround. Week 6 was slow progress.

Here are my Week 7 NFL picks and bets. I won $38.70 last week. That’s what they call THE GRIND. IT’S A GRIND, guys, and I’m on it.

Realize: betting NFL is really hard. These picks are meant to hopefully help you out a bit, but mainly to entertain you. They AREN’T meant to be followed blindly. Listen, and hopefully be entertained by my childish jokes. Or at least say something mean about me so I can get a good cry in.

I will make a pick for every game. But if I don’t specifically recommend a bet, I’m just throwing darts. Don’t listen to my advice. The pick is there so I can have a record for picking every game, one that will undoubtedly suck. And then you can make fun of me. I’m a man of the people. As always, I hope you argue with me on Twitter.

For the actual bets, I will keep track of my record and profits/losses. Unlike my NHL/NBA “how not to lose your money gamblin’ “ series, a normal bet will be to win $100, for tracking purposes, because I’m a hypothetical high-roller, and you are too. There will be occasional double, triple, quadruple, and probably even quintuple bets.

Home teams are starred.

Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) over Seattle Seahawks*

I popped my Atlantic City cherry last Friday night. This might sound unbelievable for someone who writes an NFL betting column, but I swear it is as true as our government is dumb.

I won’t bore you with the details; I will simply give you the ammo for your schadenfreude assault rifle. I withdrew $210. I figured: If I lose this, I’ll live.

I lost it.

(And I was right; I’m breathing.)

Regardless, I went in, aware of the house edges in each game, promising myself I wouldn’t play the high-end Cash Vacuum that is roulette, and yet, after a quick, profitable start playing poker, my friend (and our mutual friend, Aaron Grey Goose) influenced me to put $10 on red, which turned into chasing with another $10 on red, which turned into a $20 on red and a “I SWEAR IF IT HITS RED ONCE I’ll STOP.” And then a “FOR THE ELEVENTH TIME IN A ROW RED DIDN’T HIT JUST GIMME ONE MORE $20 ON RED.” And then my wallet was empty. I ignored my own rational advice. I blame it on the (superfluous amount of) Goose. People should be locked up for drinking and gambling.

I left the next morning, exited the parking garage and handed the lady my credit card, when I was told that it was “cash only.” I scoured my wallet, and I spotted a $5 bill and two singles (bills, not people, I didn’t steal people from a casino and stuff them in my wallet). They had gotten all crumpled and small and hid from my drunk mind to save me. Sometimes life throws you a bone. I paid and left, down a mere $208 of my $210 withdrawal.

In all seriousness, this should teach you a valuable lesson on the “gambler’s fallacy.” All of us are prone to its wallet-destroying ways, even if we’re aware of its existence. Yes, the odds of red missing 12 straight times was just .0000000000000000034006147% (YEAH, THAT SHIT HAPPENED TO ME).

But the point is, each spin had a 48.6% chance. Once it happened once, there was no reason to think the next spin was more likely to come up red. The same was true once it had happened 11 straight times. The ball has no memory. Once it’s happened 11 straight times, you still have a 51.4% chance of losing.

If it rains every day for a month, don’t throw out your raincoat. If you lose all of your money betting on sports, you’re not “due” to profit. Things generally even out over large sample sizes, but variance exists, and in your likely small sample size of bets, you could get fucked. And in games like roulette and uninformed sports betting, you don’t have an edge, and even if things “even out,” you still lose lots of money.

Rant over. Let’s try this again.

For real this time: Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) over Seattle Seahawks*

You know the deal with the Ospreys — Russell Wilson is 11-0 at home but 6-7 on the road. He’s also the second result on google auto-fill-seach-thingy, behind Russell Brand. And he’s coming for you, wanker.

The Cardinals actually were pretty good in San Francisco last week, playing solid defense and even out-gaining the 49ers on offense. But they turned it over four times. I’d like to say that’s an aberration, but it’s not. That’s Carson Palmer. He is about that life of ceding possession. That’s why, even though I think this line might be a bit too high, I’d feel sad betting on the Cards. The Seahawks are probably still a bit overvalued on the road, because they likely won’t put up a ton of offense, but all it takes is a few items on Carson Palmer Daily To-Do List to open up a close game and lose a cover.

Betting on Carson Palmer probably feels like that dude who walked the “Skywire” across Niagara Falls felt. If it works out, you’re a hero. But you can make it 90% of the way, thinking you’re gonna cover, but then you witness a fourth-quarter pick-six, and all of a sudden you’re falling 15,000 feet to your death on national television.

I like the under at first glance. Arizona is a team that passes a ton (on over 63% of plays), but, unsurprisingly, doesn’t do it very efficiently (6.3 ypa — hi Carson!). Seattle is efficient running and passing, but is very run-heavy (~53% of plays). Both defenses are strong and match up well with the opposing offense.

Basically, every thing points to the under, except that daredevil Carson Knievel. I see this being a low-offense game, but I’m a bit scared these ballhawking defenses will screw things with turnovers not of the pleasant apple variety. Still, I must bet.

Bet: UNDER 41 (-110), $110 to win $100

Chicago Bears (pk) over Washington Potato Skins*

I think that the Potato Skins are somehow overrated, despite their awful record, because they got some solid garbage-time numbers in the first two weeks. If you look at yards per play, these teams are equals. On offense: 6.0 for Chicago, 5.9 for Washington. Defense: 6.1 allowed by Chicago, 6.0 for Washington. Those are pretty bad numbers. Neither team is good. Both teams are pass-heavy, Washington a bit more so, but that’s partially because they’ve played from behind a lot.

I think there’s a tiny bit of value here, because the Potato Skins are a bit overrvalued here, and I think this is a bad matchup for them. Chicago stops the run well, which means that RG3 will have to beat their admittedly-shitty secondary. If there’s any team he can do it against, it’s one that gives up 8.1 ypa(!). But I’m not sure he and his receivers are good enough to count on, right now. And as weird as it sounds, I trust Jay Cutler to tear up a porous secondary way more than I do RG3. Time is funny.

Still, I think the safer bet here is betting on Chicago’s offense, so I think I’ll hold off and take the Bears team total over, which should be at 25. They’ve topped that number in 4 of 6 games, missing by one point in another. And Washington’s only kept a team below that number once. Me likey.

Bet: Bears team total OVER, probably

Carolina Panthers* (-6.5) over St. Louis Rams

So, the Rams fucked me last week. Houston -6.5 was my third-favorite bet in a week where I reeeeallllly liked three bets. And then St. Louis won, outright, by 25 fucking points. I got rammed in the butt.

Buuuut, don’t freak out. St. Louis won that game despite just 117 passing yards and 99 rushing yards. Holy shit. If I had access to fancy databases, I’d tell you that a team has never won a modern-era game by 25 with barely over 200 yards. But I don’t know if that’s true. I do know that it is uncommon, though.

The Texans moved the ball fine and played decently on defense, but went 1-for-6 in the Red Zone (hahahaha) and turned the ball over four times. You can’t judge a team positively based on its acceptance of Matt Schaubchez’s gifts.

Carolina is markedly better in virtually every single aspect of the game. Except coaching. Ron Rivera is awful. There is clearly no relation to Mariano. There is always a good chance he fucks a good bet up by benching Cam Newton for Ted Ginn, or something.

Bet: Panthers -6.5 (-110), $110 to win $100

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Atlanta Falcons* (-7)

This game is going to be uglier than David Eckstein’s hair.

David Eckstein Hair

Seriously, Atlanta’s offense was struggling, and they lost Julio Jones. Tampa Bay has a fairly good defense. Darrelle Revis can cover Roddy White. This is Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez vs. the world, and it likely won’t be pretty.

Yet Mike Glennon is putrid, and you can’t back him on the road, even against this shaky defense.

The under is shouting at me, and I will oblige. I will consider doubling this bet by gametime.

Bet: UNDER 44 (-120), $120 to win $100

New York Jets* (+3.5) over New England Patriots

Why exactly is this total so high (43.5)? The Patriots offense has been really bad (4.9 yards per play, 26th in the league! You know the Jets offense is not great. You know the defense is potentially great. The Patriots are very banged up on D, but it’s not like they’re going to give up 30+ to the Jets (I think?).

I don’t really trust this banged-up Pats’ D on second thought, though, so I’ll hold off for the Pats’ team total under, which may be as high as 24. I’d like that very much.

Bet: Patriots team total UNDER, probably

San Francisco 49ers (-4) over Tennessee Titans*

This seems WAY too easy, like taking candy from friendly neighbors on Halloween. Is there a catch? Is there cyanide in those Reese’s?

I don’t think so. The 49ers have a good defense. The Titans had a pretty bad offense with Jake Locker. They have a shit-stained offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick. They’ve scored 17 or fewer points in three of six games. The only times they topped 17 were: against San Diego’s putrid defense (20, with Locker), a game in which Geno Smith turned the ball over 16,000 times, and a weird, turnover-laden outburst against Houston (I’m sensing a pattern, Texans), in which Locker was playing.

The Titans’ team total should be 17.5 or 18. I can’t see them topping that unless Colin Kaepernick goes full-Schaubchez. It’s possible, but his name doesn’t sound good when Sanchized. Mark Kaepernick? Doesn’t work. Colin Sanpernick? Sandpick? Kaepschez? I guess Kaepschez sort of works. Don’t capsize, Kaepchez.

And if you like the Niners: Why mess with a more-than-a-field-goal spread in a low-scoring game?

Bet: Titans team total UNDER, probably

Pittsburgh Steelers* (-1) over Baltimore Ravens

Another game where I am clueless which side will cover, but I have no idea why the total is so high. If you take out the opener against the Broncos, there wouldn’t be a single game for the Ravens that would approach this total, were it not for two turnover-fests. Another turnover fest is possible with Joe Flacco at the helm, but, like, if he keeps it to a reasonable number of interceptions, I don’t see how the first one to 20 doesn’t win this game.

And in case your friends at ESPN aren’t mentioning it: Holy fuck, Joe Flacco sucks.

Bet: UNDER 41 (-110), $110 to win $100

Houston Texans (+7) over Kansas City Chiefs*

Yes, mostly because of Matt Schaubschez, the Texans have thrown a pick-six in five-straight games. Yes, if you read my roulette experience at the top, you’d know that it’s not unreasonable to think it will happen again. It could.

The point is, this is one of the unluckiest teams against one of the luckiest. This is the definition of value. I will prove this to you.

The case for unlucky Houston, compared to Kansas City.

– Better yards per passing and rushing attempt, as well as yards per play.

– They’ve recovered just about 30% of fumbles, normally a ~50-~50 proposition.

– The Chiefs have recovered almost 65% of their fumbles.

– The Chiefs’ opponents have made just 55.56% of their field goals! The Texans’: 90.91%.

– The Chiefs’ opponents have converted just 24.1% of their third downs. Much of this is due to skill, but it’s probably a lot due to luck, too.

– The only games the Chiefs have dominated were at home against the Jaguars and Giants. Those teams are not good sports performers. Last week wasn’t much of a scare, but they didn’t exactly torch the Raiders’ defense, at all.

The Chiefs are good. Shit, I even picked them to make the Super Bowl. But the point is: Most people are slobbering on Andy Reid’s knob, and by knob I mean penis, and Andy Reid’s penis is probably gross and hard to locate. They’re overrated.

Texans +7 (-120), $120 to win $100 AND Texans ML (+240), $20 to win $48

Denver Broncos* (-6.5) over Indianapolis Colts

I have been preaching that both of these teams are overrated, and it has paid off. Again, they’re both good. But you have to get the absolutes out of your head and worry about perception and value.

That said: Both teams should be able to pass all over the other. If the Colts decide to use their quarterback, that is. They didn’t seem to want to do that against a similarly-secondary-deficient team in the Chargers.

The only thing that can stop either offense is the Colts’ playcalling. I am slightly worried that the Colts are one of the slowest-playing teams in the league (Denver is one of the quickest), but I don’t see how the Broncos don’t top 31 points here, which should be their team total. Their worst output this year was 35, last week. And they were nearly as prolific last year, reaching 31 points in 11 of 17 games.

The over 55.5 looks good, too, but I think this is a bit safer. I’m not 100% sure, though. Check for some info on the Colts’ gameplan and see if anything jumps out.

Broncos team total OVER, probably, but maybe just the regular over

New York Giants* (-2.5) over Minnesota Vikings

I nearly jumped off my couch when I saw Giants -2.5 and pounced. You may think I have a brain defect to be so eager to bet on such ineptitude, but consider it more of a bet against the Vikings, a putrid team that is starting a disgraced quarterback off the street.

The Giants have been superior to the Vikings this year. That shows you how bad the Vikings are. And though the Giants’ defense has been awful, they’ve been decent stopping the run. Contain Peterson a tiny bit, and they should win if Eli can keep the interception count to, like, 2 or less.

You’d think that’s not too much to ask. But it might be.

New York Giants -2.5 (-110), $110 to win $100

Other Games

Dallas Cowboys (+2.5) over Philadelphia Eagles*

My instinct was to bet on the Cowboys, but the Eagles, despite their awful defense, are second in offensive DVOA, for a reason. And Nick Foles looks good. I certainly lean towards the over, but 55 is too high for me. Enjoy this shootout and then go back to debating gun control, you hypocrite.

Miami Dolphins* (-7.5) over Buffalo Bills

Instead of watching this game, go wash your eyes out with pickle juice. I assume that burns slightly less than this game would.

Detroit Lions* (-2.5) over Cincinnati Bengals

Meh. Cincy’s got the better defense, Detroit has the better offense, we don’t know how healthy Megatron is… no idea what to do here.

Jacksonville Jaguars* (+7.5) over San Diego Chargers

You do not want to bet on this Chargers defense on he road against a team that has a quarterback, even if that quarterback is Chad Henne. It will scare you.

Cleveland Browns (+10.5) over Green Bay Packers*

Green Bay’s pass defense is too awful to back them -10.5, but Brandon Weeden is too awful to back him +20.5.

Good luck, friends. Please hit me up on the Twitters to argue, call me names, or do whatever it is that this guy was going for.

Last Week’s Betting Record 4-4 (.500) (+38.70)
Since Limiting My Crazy, Overextended Self 9-4 (.692) (+778.43)
Overall Betting Record 29-28 (.509) (-$1,189.91)
Dart-throwing record: 47-43 (.522)