NFL against the spread picks: Why all the blowouts?
Sun, Nov 30, 2014
Last Thursday was supposed to be the greatest Thanksgiving schedule ever. And we were treated to three blowouts.
On paper it was the best Thanksgiving schedule, for many years at least. But one of the themes of the NFL this season has been lopsided games.
The lack of competitive games in prime time have been well documented, but that's how many games have been. We have already had 46 games have been decided by 20 points or more. With 179 games in the books so far, that's 25.7 percent decided by 20-plus points (it's up a decent tick from the last few years; from 2010 to 2013 there were between 53 and 57 such games each 256-game regular season, according to pro-football-reference.com). If you have watched a NFL game this season, you had a better than a 1-in-4 chance of it being a 20-point blowout. That doesn't count games like Thursday night's San Francisco-Seattle game, which was decided by 16 and an absolute snoozer.
Whatever the reason, this season has had more than its share of blowouts, more than we're used to in the past few seasons. Maybe it will correct itself in January and we'll have an epic playoff. A classic New England Patriots-Green Bay Packers game on Sunday afternoon would be a good start too.
Here are the Week 13 picks:
Bears (+7) over Lions; Eagles (+3) over Cowboys; Seahawks (+1) over 49ers (picked Thursday): I didn't give the official ATS picks on Twitter, but did have the two late underdogs winning straight up. The 9-3 Eagles are pretty good, by the way.
Bills (-2.5) over Browns: The Sammy Watkins Trade Bowl. The trade was good for the Browns. The player they drafted after moving down has not been yet. Cornerback Justin Gilbert's snap total the past four weeks, according to Pro Football Focus: 18, 13, 0, 8. He has been passed on the depth chart by undrafted rookie K'Waun Williams. Not good for the eighth overall pick.
Colts (-9.5) over Redskins: Colt McCoy might be better for Washington right now, but the Colts really do enjoy blasting bad teams.
Rams (-7) over Raiders: After a particularly brutal scheduling stretch, the Rams will gladly welcome the Raiders, who might have reached their season goal last week by making sure 0-16 wouldn't happen.
Vikings (-2.5) over Panthers: I haven't seen anything that leads me to want to take the Panthers, especially on the road.
Steelers (-4) over Saints: We understand there's no telling which Steelers team will show up. But if forced to pick their games, go against the team that just had a huge three-game homestand and blew all three.
Bengals (-4) over Buccaneers: Josh McCown has eight interceptions and seven touchdowns. He's 35. He continues to start for a 2-9 team over the 2013 all-rookie team quarterback, Mike Glennon (10 touchdowns, six interceptions).
Giants (-2.5) over Jaguars: Two bad teams. Just tough to pick the Jaguars.
Ravens (-5.5) over Chargers: We haven't seen the Chargers play really well in a game since Week 5. I'm not sure where the Chargers team from September went, but they're gone.
Titans (+6.5) over Texans: Don't love taking the Titans, but maybe Zach Mettenberger can get a backdoor cover.
Cardinals (-2.5) over Falcons: This line is so oddly low, it makes me cautious. The Falcons have shown zero signs that they are a good football team.
Packers (-3) over Patriots: Wouldn't pick the Packers on a neutral field or at New England, but they're pretty special at home right now.
Broncos (-1) over Chiefs: The Chiefs aren't a bad team, but if the Broncos are going to make a run, it has to start now.
Dolphins (-6) at Jets: Not going to find me taking Geno Smith against this Dolphins defense.
Last week: 8-7
Season to date: 88-89