Once again, the Thursday night pick didn’t go so well. Christian Ponder being on a football field didn’t help (everyone loses when that happens), but this was a case of the Packers playing like they were supposed to all year even though they haven’t all year. The Vikings being kind of terrible isn’t all that surprising, but Green Bay’s next few weeks will be informative. If they’re actually good, then they should look pretty good playing Miami and Carolina the next two weeks and put on a good show in New Orleans before heading into the bye at maybe 5-3 if not 6-2. If they’re more like the team we saw play Seattle and Detroit, they might still get there at 5-3 but could be 4-4 and everyone will be a little unsettled. But those are predictions for future days; let’s look at the rest of week 5 first.
The closest game this week according to the spread is Patriots-Bengals, where the Pats were favored by a point earlier in the week (at least according to the Barnwell article linked below), which has now swung to Cincy -1 or a pick ’em. I imagine this is optimism that the Patriots will turn things around in a big televised game. But it seems to ignore that the Bengals are 3-0 and have looked pretty good getting there. The win over Tennessee doesn’t look too impressive anymore, but they won by a lot. Baltimore has been surprisingly solid, and that was a road win for the Bengals. And Atlanta has been hit-or-miss, but the Bengals were in charge the whole way even when losing A.J. Green. And the Bengals are coming off a bye. I don’t see why this game should be close.
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Looking at the spread, one place the models have typically found some success (or at least a tendency to pick that way) is to look for home underdogs. This week the only games that fit that bill are Jacksonville and Washington (and the Pats depending on the number you like). I honestly don’t feel great backing either of those teams, so I’m happy that at least Luigi finds the Jaguars +6 to be about right and so would stay away from it. I have no faith in Washington keeping their game within a touchdown.
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Our exciting/high-scoring games of the week are Giants-Falcons and Colts-Ravens according to Luigi. The over/unders agree. I think I should get the Indy game locally, at least.
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Barnwell is still in for Simmons and still not listing any Thursday night predictions, so I gave him the freebie. It’s what the models get for backing Ponder.
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Finally we have some SuperContest picks. Sadly, the Vikings are in there. But that means the picks can still go 4-1! Luigi is taking Vikings +9, Washington +7, Cincy-1, Cleveland +1.5, and Arizona +7 (narrowly over KC +6 and Atlanta +4). The story is the same for Yoshi 2. Yoshi 1 is going with Washington, Minnesota, Arizona, Tampa +10, and Jacksonville +6 (narrowly over Chargers -6.5).