Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rambling Gambler: Pick Six Week FOUR

 Ramblings and Gambling:
By Erik Laurinovics, for The Football ERA
Week 3 was another rough one, and I need to get the season turned around before I turn into the Broke Rambling Gambler. Luckily, there's lots of football left, and since I've been surviving on my small number of winners. Along with picks, how you bet is extremely important; a 2-4 week could still be profitable for you, if you were most confident in your two winners. Let's recap last weeks picks.
San Diego -5.5 OVER Seattle: What in the world is going on in Seattle? They're jeopardizing my under pick on their win total. On paper, San Diego should have rolled, but I suppose I forgot to account for their history of slow starts.
San Francisco - 1.5 over KANSAS CITY: This one hurt. The Niners are a disaster at this point. I'm staying away until I see them against Atlanta... Jimmy Raye kind of seems like a crazy old man at this point, so I feel like they might actually improve without him.
NEW ENGLAND -14 over Buffalo: New England's secondary is a big concern at this point. I don't think anyone envisioned them being down, at home, to the Bills. They actually managed to cover midway in the fourth, and then they let a long pass go for a TD to blow it.
Green Bay -2.5 over CHICAGO: An astounding display of self-destruction put on by Green Bay on MNF. This will probably serve as a wake up call, and I like them against the Lions this week.
Cincinnati -3.5 OVER Carolina: A fairly stress-free win, and the Bengals are 2-0 ATS after getting massacred in week 1. They're still not getting enough respect, and are an excellent pick this week against the Browns.
Philadelphia -2.5 over JACKSONVILLE: This spread sure looks silly after the beatdown Philly laid down last week. Michael Vick is legit.
2010 Overall Record: 7-10-1
And now, on to this week's picks.
GREEN BAY -14.5 over Detroit


Injuries are starting to plague the Lions. With Stafford and Burleson out, and Jahvid Best dealing with a turf toe injury, this offense will slow down. They couldn't do anything against the Vikings last week, and Green Bay's defense is even tougher. Detroit has a lot of potential, especially on offense, but they need to get healthy before they win a game. Despite the loss to Chicago, the defense (penalties aside) played quite well; Forte was held to 29 yards on 11 carries, Cutler only threw for 221 and took 3 sacks, and the Pack should have had some more INTs. Penalties destroyed them, and I really doubt they'll do that again this week. This has the makings of a blowout, as the spread would indicate, and Green Bay should have this covered by halftime. If you're worried about Detroit covering in garbage time, a la Philadelphia, then take the first half line (8.5).

New York Jets - 5.5 over BUFFALO
Don't let last week fool you- that game was a product of New England's secondary playing terribly. The Jets do not have the same issue, obviously. Miami (11th ranked D) and Green Bay (2nd ranked D), demonstrated that Buffalo cannot overcome a good defense, with Miami allowing 10 points, and the Packers allowing 7. The Jets come in as the 20th ranked defense (based on total yards), but this is deceptive as they have faced the 6th most plays from scrimmage (202). What does this tell us? Well, the offense struggled against Baltimore and a bit against New England, and they did not control the ball. Sanchez looks like he may be getting into a bit of a groove, and if he continues that trend, the Jets will become a lot more dangerous. A win here gives them a 3-0 record in the division, so they'll be motivated. This line opened at 4.5 and has already moved a point.
Cincinnati -3.5 over CLEVELAND

The Bengals apparently don't get much respect. The money has moved against them the past two weeks, and they are 2-0 ATS. The money is moving slight towards Cleveland so far this week (Bengals -3.5 is paying even money, last I looked), and I have to be honest, I don't understand. The line is probably due to the Browns keeping last week as a one-score game, and Peyton Hillis breaking out against a tough run D. Maybe the Ravens had a bad day, or maybe the Browns had a good day, but it doesn't really matter. Looking at the numbers, you may not know that Baltimore is actually ranked 22nd against the run. The Bengals are 13th against the run. Moreover, they held Carolina 87 yards last week. With the pass defense clicking (11th overall), and the Browns lacking weapons in the passing game, look for Cincy to load the box and neutralize Peyton Hillis. He will likely grind out some yards, but he's not about to drop 144 again. This should be another slow, steady, easy cover for the Bengals. 

Baltimore +1.5 over PITTSBURGH

Ok, so I said I would lay off Pittsburgh after going against them in weeks 1 and 2. I managed to stay away last week, but here I am again, trying my luck at figuring out when they're going to lose. This is a big division game for both teams even though it's early in the year. My thinking on this one is that Baltimore is by far the best defense that the Steelers have faced (Atlanta, Tennessee, and Tampa don't strike me as defensive juggernauts). About one paragraph ago, I pointed out Baltimore had the 22nd ranked run defense. While this is true, offensive line is an important consideration here. Per an interesting statistical breakdown on, the Browns actually have the 8th ranked offensive line, which makes a lot of sense, given the talent on that line. The Steelers come in with the 25th ranked line, which also makes sense, given that injuries decimated their line. While they do have the 3rd ranked rushing offense, they haven't exactly played great run defenses... Atlanta, Tennessee, and Tampa come in at 12th, 17th, and 28th through three weeks, respectively. In brief, this is pretty much the same analysis as my previous picks against Pittsburgh- the o-line is hurt, their QB is hurt, and it's going to cost them a game. Maybe I'm like a moth to a flame here, but I think Baltimore takes it outright on the road.

Indianapolis -8 over JACKSONVILLE

This one seems easy to me. Jacksonville cannot generate any offense. The Jags are so fed up with Garrard that they picked up Trent Edwards off waivers. When your team is picking up a QB that was discarded by Buffalo, you're in trouble. Currently they're the 27th ranked passing offense, and they've put up 278 yards in TWO weeks. Moreover, their secondary is giving up 289 yards per game, ranked 29th in the league. I'm not thinking much more about this. San Diego rolled 38-13, Philly rolled 28-3, and Indy should do something similar. Jacksonville is beginning to look like the worst team in football and they won't do anything to change that image this week.

NEW ORLEANS -13.5 over Carolina

New Orleans is 0-3 ATS this year, so I have to admit, this one worries me a bit. It's definitely my least favorite out of the six, but I like it more than any of the other games remaining this week. Jimmy Clausen has a long way to go before he'll be leading the Panthers to victories over quality teams, and this should be the game that gets the Saints back on everyone's radar. Carolina has an average defense (14th) and a terrible offense (31st). The Saints defense actually hasn't played that bad, generating 6 turnovers through 3 games, and have allowed 17.3 points per game. The run D has been poor so far (30th), but Carolina is without their best offensive lineman, Jeff Otah. The lack of a passing game will also allow the Saints to load the box and shutdown the run. As long as the New Orleans offense gets things going this week, they should cover.

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