As the playoff races heat up, picking winners only gets tougher.
On the face of it, teams in the playoff mix should be easy picks over teams on the outside looking in, since the have-nots have nothing to play for. But teams are made up of individuals, and a lot of those individuals are playing for jobs next year — regardless of whether they’ll be playing this February.
Once again, NESN.com’s super-picking trio of Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Ben Watanabe plucked five games from the weekly slate to enter into the Westgate SuperContest on behalf of Team OddsShark. Although Tom Brady’s Emails is still technically in the hunt in the Team OddsShark standings, time is running out for them to vault into the top contenders.
Here’s who we’re locking up this week:
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Does Baltimore have anyone left to field a team? The Ravens (or what’s left of them, anyway) are 0-4-1 ATS at home this season, and don’t be fooled by their two-game ATS win streak, which came against the pitiful Dolphins and Browns.
Chicago Bears (-3) vs. Washington Redskins, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Soldier Field, Chicago
Washington’s been a betting disaster on the road, going 1-4 ATS away from the nation’s capital, while the Bears are 5-1 ATS at home this season. As if that’s not academic enough, the Redskins’ ATS victories this season come against the most dreadful opponents the NFL has to offer, and the Bears aren’t quite that.
Buffalo Bills (-1) vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
The Bills have been good at halting teams riding high, most recently snapping Houston’s win streak last week. Coming off a victory over New England, the Eagles are feeling good — but that was Philly’s first ATS win since a Nov. 8 victory over the Tony Romo-less Cowboys.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4) vs. New Orleans Saints, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
OddsShark points out that this is the first time all season Tampa Bay opened as more than a field goal favorite, but it’s not undeserved. The Bucs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games, and the Saints’ tight loss to Carolina last week is nothing more than a blip. Even beating that plus-5 1/2 spread, New Orleans is just 1-3-1 ATS in its last five.
San Francisco 49ers (+1.5) vs. Cleveland Browns, Sunday, 1 p.m.
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
After being benched for two games, Johnny Manziel heads back under center for the Browns, who are on a five-game ATS skid. But make no mistake, it was a lot easier for Cleveland to teach Manziel a lesson for his off-the-field issues due to him not being all that hot on the field, either. The Niners, who have three ATS wins in their last four games, are the pick.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images