The Barstool Chicago boys are about to join Stoolies in smashing 60oz Great Tasting Less Fillings (responsibly), while I type this with a 1-month old strapped to my chest and a screaming 2-year old with pink eye tugging at my leg. So I ask you - who has is better?
It's the Chicago boys. They have it better.
No one said the intern life would be pretty. I'm here to grind - wouldn't want it any other way. Let's lock down my third consecutive winning Sunday.
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Texans (8-5) @ Titans (8-5); 12pm CT
Pick #1: Over 51
Action: 71% on the Over, 83% of money on the Over
This bet gives me the chance to quote myself being correct, which is great for my fragile self-esteem. Here's what I said about the Titans in Week 2 after they pounded the max-hype Browns in Week 1:
"Don’t let the 43-point performance fool you – Marcus Mariota is not good. Ryan Tannehill may still replace him this year."
And boy has he! The dude has won six of his seven starts since ousting Mariota (6-1 against the spread as well) and he leads the league in yards/attempt by an insanely wide margin (9.8; next best is 8.6). He just needed 7-and-a-half seasons to warm up. Standard.
This is not a fluke for two reasons: 1) Derrick Henry is doing that late-season thing again where he rolls outta bed with 100 yards and 2) the eyeball test shows that Tannehill is legitimately making big-time throws, which is preventing opposing defenses from cheating the run. No one wants to give Tannehill credit because he's a QB that has been boring for years on a team that has been boring for years, but he has transformed this offense into a WAGON.
Last week, if Aaron Rodgers completed either of these dimes instead of Tannehill, the NFL would have to cancel the Bears/Packers game today on account of an old-fashioned Wisconsin cum avalanche:
Instead, we shrug our shoulders. Not a drop of cum. Bone dry.
I'm telling you: Tannehill is here, and he's for real.
What makes me feel more comfortable with this take is that the Texans pass defense is horrendous. They rank 27th is pass defense DVOA and they just got ripped to shreds by Drew Lock. They won't do shit to stop Tannehill this week.
Turning to the Texans, we all know about Watson's firepower, but what flies under the radar is that he's facing a Titans defense that does NOT match up well against him. I've talked about this before, but I think we all falsely associate Mike Vrabel with "tough defense." The Titans can stuff the run, but they can't get pressure and they're dealing with injuries in a secondary that has put up poor numbers against an extremely easy slate of opposing passing offenses.
When facing pressure, Watson holds onto the ball too long and takes back-breaking sacks. When he's clean, he's an assassin. Against Tennessee's weak pass rush, we'll see the latter this week.
Take the Over - it's gonna be fireworks between Watson and the One Man Tanne-THRILL-ride.
Jaguars (4-9) @ Raiders (6-7); 3:05pm CT
Pick #2: Over 47
Action: 76% on the Over, 89% of money on the Over
These are two pretty "blah" teams, which is why the total is only at 47 (common range is 38-54).
The Jaguars have averaged only 11 points per game over their past five games. Not good. The return of Big Dick Nick was a shit-show and completely derailed any remaining momentum for this Jags offense, which was mostly due to 1) Foles sucking as a passer and 2) Foles preferring for the shotgun (kryptonite to Fournette's running style).
Yes, I understand that the Jags only put up 10 in Minshew's returning start last week, but that was against a Chargers D that I will be talking about later. He's now facing a Raiders defense with a comically bad pass rush (league-low 13 sacks; next-worst is fucking 30) and a non-existent secondary. Minshew will be able to operate out of more favorable sets for Fournette, and together they will cook against a Raiders D that ranks 31st in yards/play allowed.
Turning to the Jags D, they've given up in a BIG way. Jalen Ramsey knew what the fuck he was doing because this unit has imploded since his departure. If any part of your brain is still holding onto the Jags D being good, you need to erase that immediately. They rank 28th in yards/play allowed, and they're trending down drastically. A.J. Bouye has flat-out stopped defending people. This defense is a joke, and Gruden's competent offense will carve it up.
Side note: Josh Jacobs is playing through a fractured shoulder. As a fellow insane person, that's a psychopath move I can appreciate.
Two Teasers Alert!!!
Pick #3: Broncos +16 (teased from +10) AND Falcons +16.5 (teased from +11.5)
Broncos (5-8) @ Chiefs (9-4); 12pm CT
Action: 53% of bets on Broncos, 66% of money on Broncos
This is a divisional game with a moderate total (44.5) and a dog with too much fight. Gimme the dog.
The Broncos are a young team with full buy-in from both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball to build an identity for next year. They've held hands in a circle around Vic Fangio's fanny pack, and they're a family now. The defense has finally picked up Fangio's complicated system, and the offense appears to have found a QB that can actually leverage their very talented skill position players.
This week, Denver is poised to keep the game close with the run against the Chiefs soft front, and their newly revived passing game presents enough of a threat to keep KC from stacking the box.
Offensively, KC's struggles in the run game will prevent their offense from exploding, which is all I need with the 16-point insurance.
Falcons (4-9) @ Niners (11-2); 3:25pm CT
Action: 53% of bets on Falcons, 60% of money on Falcons
16.5 is just so many goddamn points to give a real NFL quarterback in Matt Ryan and a Falcons team that clearly hasn't quit (beat Carolina 40-20 last week).
I love the Niners (picked them last week, winner), but they're coming off of back-to-back road games against the Ravens and Saints. Emotional investment will be lower this week, and they're dealing with key injuries on defense: Richard Sherman is out at least this week with a hamstring, and Dee Ford is expected to miss four weeks with a hamstring. I haven't seen this much drama around hammy's since the El Pres SoulCycle fiasco.
The Ravens are the only playoff team with a twisted desire to run up the score this late in the season. San Fran just wants to get this win, keep players healthy, and focus on the playoff run. The Niners will win, but it'll be close.
Pick #4: Chargers +7 (teased from +1) AND Cowboys +7 (teased from +1)
Vikings (9-4) @ Chargers (5-8); 3:05pm CT
Action: 71% of bets on Vikings, 53% of money on Vikings
We've got a reverse line move here: it opened at MIN -3, but dropped to MIN -1 despite the vast majority of bets being placed on the Vikings. You know I love the other side in these situations.
Here's the deal. The Chargers are back on their bullshit of playing great football in the second half of a dead season. We'll soon be saying "it's a good thing the Chargers are eliminated because nobody wants to face them in the playoffs"… again.
At least this year there's a good reason for the late surge. The Chargers were missing some key players at various points in the first half of the season: Derwin James, Melvin Ingram, Russell Okung, and Melvin Gordon. All of them are in full swing and now we're seeing how tough this team can really be. The offense has gained stability, and the defense has rounded into Top-10 form.
The Chargers may not always win, but they play you close. They are the opposite of the Seahawks. All the Seahawks do is win one-possession games. All the Chargers do is lose one-possession games (literally all eight of their losses). With the 6-point insurance from the teaser leg, you can cover your ass in a one-possession game.
I don't even think I need to watch this game. I've seen it a million times: Phillip Rivers will close the game with a thrilling two-minute drill down 3 that ends with a pick thrown to nobody. Chargers lose, I win.
Rams (8-5) @ Cowboys (6-7); 3:25pm CT
Action: 82% of bets on Rams, 78% of money on Rams
Picking the Cowboys?
I know, I know.
I'll try my best to sell you on Dallas, but it's not fuckin' easy. Know that this bet is based heavily on market value.
To get negatives out of the way, the Cowboys have looked like absolute dog shit on a national stage in consecutive weeks. Their defense shows you exactly what they're going to do pre-snap, and their offensive play-calling has no flow. On top of that, the Rams need this game to stay alive while the Cowboys can somehow afford to lose it because their division is a travesty. The Dallas stock cannot be lower, and it's why 82% of bets are going against them.
Here's the sell. When it comes to the Rams, we haven't learned anything new. Goff implodes against defenses that get pressure, and he slings dick against defenses that can't get to him. It just-so-happens that the Rams have faced defenses that can't get pressure in the past two weeks (picked them against Seattle last week, winner), so their offense appears to have "figured it out."
With the Cowboys and Rams trending in opposite directions, the market is wildly overreacting. This line opened at DAL -4 and it has moved all the way to DAL +1, and still everyone is piling bets on the Rams.
In addition to the natural 5-point line movement, I'm tacking on 6 points in this teaser. Whenever I can get double-digit value in the NFL, I'll take it every day and twice on Sun… well, today.
The Cowboys can rush the passer, and because of that, they'll remind us of the shell-shocked version of Goff that we saw earlier this year. This is a classic case where sportsbooks rob the public blind. Be careful out there.
Buy low, sell high.