The supposed “rules” for picking winners in NFL games are many and, in some cases, self-contradictory. But we’re pretty sure “don’t take every big favorite” is one of them.
So, in that spirit, “Tom Brady’s Emails” went out and took just about every big favorite this week, like a bunch of noobz.
Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Ben Watanabe, the trio that makes up NESN.com’s entrant into the Westgate SuperContest as part of Team OddsShark, went big in Week 8. After yet another 3-2 record against the spread last week, TBE employed the bold strategy of taking three favorites of 6 1/2 points or more in Week 8.
What other games do we feel confident about? Read on.
New England Patriots (-8) vs. Miami Dolphins, Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
Miami is on a two-game win streak against the spread and straight up, while New England has failed to cover the last two weeks. The Pats also are an underwhelming 2-2-2 ATS in their last six home games, per OddsShark. Still, the Dolphins have only one against-the-spread victory in their last five games in New England. The main reason to expect this matchup to buck that trend would be because of Dan Campbell’s magic, and belief in magic isn’t a rational way to make picks.
Minnesota Vikings (-1.5) vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Soldier Field, Chicago
These teams are a combined 6-0 ATS since Oct. 4, which we think is pretty good. (Just confirmed: Yeah, it’s good.) In the big picture, though, Minnesota’s trending up while the Bears (5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 home games) are only marginally less mediocre than was predicted entering the season. Chicago is giving up nearly 125 rushing yards per game, so they’d better be sure to stock the Vikings’ pregame spread with plenty of bad shrimp for Adrian Peterson.
St. Louis Rams (-8.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
This is a huge spread for a Rams offense that has been held to 10 points or less in three of its last five games. Yet St. Louis is coming off an 18-point win over Cleveland and its advantage in turnover differential could create problems for a Colin Kaepernick-led offense that has struggled in that area at times this season.
New York Jets (-2.5) vs. Oakland Raiders, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
O.co Coliseum, Oakland
Derek Carr’s strides this season are admirable, but now he faces a defense that’s limited opponents to 212 passing yards per game and forced eight interceptions. The Jets are on a roll vs. Vegas, going 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games and 4-0-1 ATS in their last five on the road. Don’t overestimate the Raiders, who dropped two straight against the spread before joining the club of teams that have beaten the spread against the Chargers in San Diego.
Carolina Panthers (-6.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
Indianapolis is 1-4 ATS in its last five matchups with the Panthers, who have dominated the spread all season. Carolina is 5-1 ATS this season and 15-7-1 ATS in its last 23 games at home, and while this is the Panthers’ most aggressive spread since they failed to cover at minus-10 against New Orleans in Week 3, expect Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton to run all over an Indy defense that allows more than 122 rush yards per game.
Thumbnail photo via Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) catches a pass before the game against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 20-12.