Last week, I had the revelation that the reason I was unsuccessful making picks against the spread was because I was over-confident in my ability to evaluate teams/games better than Las Vegas. I therefore decided to pick the opposite of what I thought I should do. I joked that I would go 9-6 while pulling a “George Costanza”… and then went 8-6-1. It would have been 9-6 if Houston didn’t suffer an epic collapse. This has improved my record on the season to a slightly not as bad 25-34-4.
My explanations after each pick will make no sense given the picks I’m making. The idea is to give a “square” or uneducated opinion that illustrates why the opposite side may be the right pick.
Here are this week’s counter-intuitive picks against the spread:
Cleveland (-4) vs. Buffalo
I don’t trust Brian Hoyer as a starting quarterback yet. Apparently he played well against Cincinnati but I saw Hoyer throw some awful interceptions in his previous game against Minnesota. The Browns defense might be good but I don’t see how they should be favored by more than a field goal against Buffalo.
Kansas City (-2.5) at Tennessee
I know the Titans just lost Jake Locker to injury, and the Chiefs are an undefeated 4-0. However, the Titans are 3-1 and have played strong defense all season so far. Should the Titans really be an underdog at home?
Baltimore (+3) at Miami
This is a fair line. I’m siding with the Ravens because they were slightly more expensive than the Dolphins, which makes this a counter-intuitive pick.
St. Louis (-11) vs. Jacksonville
Should the Rams really be a double-digit favorite against anybody at this point? I believed in them early in the season but their offense has looked atrocious and Sam Bradford has regressed. The Jaguars aren’t THAT bad, are they? (Maybe they are.)
Cincinnati (-1.5) vs. New England
Cincinnati just got shut down by the Cleveland Browns. Now they’re facing a New England Patriots team that may or may not have Rob Gronkowski back. This can’t end well.
Indianapolis (+2.5) vs. Seattle
I hate picking against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. By the way, Wilson just pulled a Tim Tebow and nobody noticed. Seattle got very little out of its passing game and was down 20-3 in the second half. Then the Seahawks engineered a miraculous comeback and ended up winning 23-20 in overtime. They had about 120 passing yards for the whole game. That’s pulling a Tim Tebow.
Green Bay (-7) vs. Detroit
This is a fair line and the price was equal for both teams at -110 each. In those situations I pick the home team by default; it might as well be a coin flip.
Chicago (-1) vs. New Orleans
I had this game as a pick’em. Chicago started a very soft 3-0 but just got torched by Detroit. Everybody is moving the ball against the Bears, and now they have to face Drew Brees and the Saints. It seems like New Orleans should run them over.
NY Giants (-1.5) vs. Philadelphia
I understand the Eagles have a terrible defense, but isn’t the Giants offense even more terrible? The Eagles can at least put points on the board. I just don’t feel like the Giants should be favored in this game.
Arizona (+1.5) vs. Carolina
Arizona would have scored three points against Tampa Bay if Mike Glennon hadn’t gift-wrapped an interception for them in the fourth quarter. Now they face a talented and motivated Carolina team coming off its bye week. They really should get shut down.
Denver (-7) at Dallas
This is a fair line. Denver was the more expensive side so I’m going with them.
San Francisco (-6.5) vs. Houston
Even though the 49ers beat the Rams, something still seems off with their passing offense. Colin Kaepernick should have thrown multiple interceptions against St. Louis. Now they’re facing a much tougher defense in Houston. How exactly is San Francisco favored by almost a touchdown?
Oakland (+4) vs. San Diego
This should not require an explanation. It’s Oakland.
Atlanta (-9.5) vs. NY Jets
The Falcons are struggling and the Jets still have a tough defense – when they don’t get thrown under the bus with Geno Smith interceptions. The Jets should at least keep this somewhat close.