Are you looking for a vote of confidence when picking game scores, spreads and over/unders? Let me be that football wizard who has seen the prophecies of victory and has the ability to put your wagering soul at ease. In this column, I'll go over each match up and point out why I'm leaning a certain direction as well as predicting the point total. I will also tell you who I'd pick when it comes to point spreads and over/unders. Wagering tip of the week: if I'm placing multiple wagers on multiple games, I rank the games in an order based on how confident I am of winning, just like it's a confidence pool. If there are 16 games for example, I would place them in four brackets of four games(or form some system of multiples). The games in the first bracket or two, I would place 2-3 wagers on, including single game bets and parlays. Obviously, the further down the brackets you go, the less you bet on those games. I always put a check mark next to the game every time I use it on a ticket to make sure I don't over play that contest. Remember, don't put all your eggs in one basket, no matter how tantalizing a game line can be.
WEEK 5 PICKS:
ARIZONA CARDINALS 24 @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ers 13 - Even with Carson Palmer sitting out with a concussion, the running game of David Johnson mixed with Arizona's defense, will be way too much for the inconsistent 49ers to handle. Safely take the Cardinals and the low spread as well as taking the over. Mid-to-high confidence points.
BALTIMORE RAVENS 24 @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS 27 - Baltimore couldn't get it done at home against the Raiders last week, so something tells me they'll fall short against the Redskins. Washington isn't exactly a powerhouse, but I like how they've been playing lately and believe this one will come down to a few big plays. The Redskins are underdogs, so take them and the points. Also, go with the over and low pool points.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 34 @ CLEVELAND BROWNS 17 - Okay, we all know Tom Brady is back and that means a huge increase in offense and points for the Patriots. We know the Browns are the Browns, but they are at home and do have one of the best running attacks in the league. Safely take New England and the spread as well as the over. Go high on the confidence rankings.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 27 @ DETROIT LIONS 24 - We're going to get a chance to see if Carson Wentz is for real when he faces the Lions this week. Or will we? I mean, Detroit's defense isn't really that great and Philly also played against the Browns and the Bears. The only tough challenge was a home game against the Steelers. Even though I am going with the Eagles and the rookie in this one, I am treading with caution on the spread and taking the over. Definitely low pool points on this close contest.
CHICAGO BEARS 20 @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 27 - Two struggling teams... one of them will go home with a victory. Since the Colts are at home and have less injured starters, I won't have to flip a coin to predict a winner in this 'loser bowl'. Take the Colts and the spread but stay away from the over/under, it's set up to fail on this match up. Very low confidence points.
TENNESSEE TITANS 27 @ MIAMI DOLPHINS 23 - I'm going against the grain and backing the Titans this week. I don't think Miami's defense can contain DeMarco Murray and think the Fish will be one-dimensional having to throw most of the time. So, take the Titans and the points and definitely take the low over. Low pool points.
HOUSTON TEXANS 17 @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS 27 - The Vikings will be coming off a short week so I can see them giving up a few more points than normal. I still picture them winning without a problem as the offense gels and the defense keeps on shutting down opponents. The Texans will show flashes of pulling off a victory, but Minnesota's defense will cause one too many turnovers for Osweiler and the gang. Safely take the Vikings and the spread, definitely the over and feel confident picking medium to high pool points.
NEW YORK JETS 16 @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS 34 - The Steelers are rolling and the Jets are in their way. New York has a pretty good defense, but it won't be able to handle Pittsburgh's offense firepower. The Jets will only be able to move the ball based on blown coverage plays by the Steelers' defense. Other than that, I don't see a lot of consistency with their offense this week. Take the Steelers and the spread, go with the under and pick medium-to-medium-high pool points.
ATLANTA FALCONS 23 @ DENVER BRONCOS 30 - Matt Ryan and the Falcons will be flying high into Denver fresh off the beat-down given to Carolina last week. Only the Super Bowl contender(and champion) from last year, which they will be facing, has gotten even better from last season. Sure, their defense is still crazy good, but now the offense is consistent and points are easier to come by. Atlanta will still put up a fair share of points, but this is the week they'll be put in check. Take Denver and the spread as well as the over. I'd stay with the middle ground when assigning those pool points.
CINCINNATI BENGALS 27 @ DALLAS COWBOYS 24 - This is going to be a close game and one that will prove if the Cowboys are for real or not. Personally, I think Dallas is fine without Dez Bryant as they have other weapons in the receiving attack and a great running game. This contest will come down to big plays and I would the Bengals and the very low spread. I'd also lean towards the over and put low pool points on this close game.
BUFFALO BILLS 13 @ L.A. RAMS 23 - The Bills' two-game winning streak will come to an end this week when the stout Rams' defense takes control of the game tempo. Points will be hard to come by, so stay away from the over/under but take the Rams and the low spread. Low pool points due to the close, low score.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 31 @ OAKLAND RAIDERS 27 - This is another game that has me going against popular opinion. The Raiders give up a lot of offense to opposing teams and I feel they have been getting lucky. The luck well runs dry this week and Oakland will show it's true colors. They are playing the Charger's weak defense, so getting points won't be a problem. However, it won't be enough to get the job done. Take San Diego and the points as well as the over. I would put very low confidence points on this one.
NEW YORK GIANTS 20 @ GREEN BAY PACKERS 34 - Aaron Rodgers and company are back fresh off a bye week and get to host the Giants at Lambeau. The Packers' defense is middle of the road, so the G-Men will get some points to make it interesting. In the end, Green Bay's passing attack mixed with the solid running of Eddie Lacy, will be way too much for Eli Manning, Odell Beckham and the New York Giants to match. Take the Packers and the spread and go with the over. Put medium pool points on the Pack.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 17 @ CAROLINA PANTHERS 23 - Will Cam play or won't he? This could be a huge deciding factor when trying to pick the outcome of this game. For one, it's a division game and anything can happen. For two, the Panthers have been slipping and now isn't a good time to lose your best offensive player and leader. At the same time, Tampa Bay hasn't exactly been a consistent football team and is one of those squads you just feel uneasy putting your money behind. Personally, I would stay away from picking the spread and the over/under on this contest, as it's what I like to call, a 'succubus' game.