What do you know, the NFL picks are back this week. We bounced back with a winning 4-2 week last week to bring our season record to 27-18. We are hitting our picks at a 60 percent rate to start the season. We have more of a drier slate to begin the week here. But as always we will give you the picks and see where we land.
We have had a busy week writing an ariticle for every major sporting game this week. So let’s see where we land here.
As always, points spreads are provided by our partners at DraftKings Sportsbook:
Miami at Buffalo
Spread: Buffalo -14
I’m just going to put it out there that I will be in attendance for this game. I can’t wait to experience Bill's Mafia for the first time. I really wanted to take Buffalo here, and yell HEYY HEY, HEY, HEY Let’s go Buffalo! For an 8-hour span. While that obviously sounds like a good time, that doesn’t always correlate into winning bets.
The more I dig into this game, I just can’t lay the points here. I know Josh Allen dominates Brian Flores' defense. He had a QBR in the 70’s and the Bills would have covered this number in five of his last six meetings. Beyond that, Buffalo ranks 10th in offensive DVOA and the offense is humming to what we expected.
What has made Buffalo so good though is its defense, which ranks first in DVOA and specifically is the best defense against the pass. They will play a one dimensional Miami team that can only pass the football. Although it's worth noting that the Miami offense has improved with Tua under center. The former Alabama QB has completed 74 percent of his passes over the last two weeks and he gets Devante Parker back on the outside.
I do not envy Tagovailoa, who has handled a difficult situation off the field with far more grace than his employers have afforded him. He is making progress on the field despite a rough offensive line that makes everything look so hard for him. I think he makes a statement here.
Over 90 percent of the public is on the Bills to cover this number. If you are a reader of the column, that means we automatically bet the other side. While the Bills likely come out with a win, I feel Miami finds a way to keep this one close.
Give me Miami to cover.
The Pick: Miami (+14)
Tennessee at Indianapolis
Spread: Indy (-2.5)
The direction of the AFC South will be decided in this one. Indianapolis seems to have gotten things rolling after back to back wins against Houston and San Francisco. Tennessee is also on a roll with wins against Kansas City and Baltimore. The spread ballooned to Indy -2.5 despite a majority of the bets landing on Tennessee.
While I want to fade the public once again here, I think there is a better angle to attack- the under.
These teams both met in Week 3 and it ended in a final score of 25-16. Indianapolis’s offense has gotten better, but they are playing a Tennessee defense that has performed at the highest level we have seen in Mike Vrabel’s tenure. Tennessee ranks 16th in scoring defense and 22nd in DVOA. That's nothing to write home about, but it’s a massive improvement on what we saw last season.
On the other side Indy ranks 11th in scoring, 12th in DVOA, and 1st in run DVOA. Tennessee averages a league high 32.8 rushing attempts per game and they are not going to be shy running the ball against Indianapolis's stout rush defense. In the Week 3 matchup, Tennessee ran the ball 37 times and running back Derrick Henry finished with 113 yards on 28 of those carries. Indianapolis will look to establish a rushing attack as well with Jonathon Taylor. They will look to attack the weak part of Tennessee’s defense.
Each team will have a ball control centered attack and the clock will be chewed up on both sides. Tennessee ranks 25th in offensive pace and Indianapolis ranks 28th. The under has hit in seven out of the last eight meetings between these two teams. I expect it to hit again. We have done extremely well betting unders this year (5-1) and this is another good spot.
The pick: Under 51
Jacksonville at Seattle
Spread: Seattle (-3.5)
Breaking down a game nobody wants to watch, what else is new. We get a matchup between two former great college football coaches between Pete Carroll and Urban Meyer. Jacksonville is coming off a bye week and will be looking to pick up a second straight win after defeating Miami 23-20 in London two weeks ago. While Seattle is looking to get it’s first win since Russell Wilson went down with an injury.
The rating adjustment here doesn’t really make sense. Team rankings have Seattle 1.3 points better than the average team and Jacksonville is 7.7 points worse than an average team. Downgrade Seattle a whole touchdown without Wilson and you are still getting a half point of value with Seattle. Geno Smith hasn’t looked great in the past two games, but you can’t convince me Jacksonville has a clear QB edge right now. Seattle’s defense has allowed 649 total yards over the last two games. Over that stretch, they have gotten teams off the field limiting teams to a 22 percent success rate on third downs. They are facing a Jacksonville offense that ranks 31st in third down conversion rate at 30%. I think Seattle will stifle the rookie. Lawrence needs to be patient in completing underneath throws and taking what Seattle gives him. Lawrence hasn’t been able to do that all year completing 59 percent of his passes. Lawrence will play into the Seattle defense.
Offensively for Seattle, this is the perfect matchup for Geno Smith to get confidence. Jacksonville’s secondary is the worst in the NFL ranking 31st in yards per pass attempt, 31st in opponents completion percentage (71.2 percent), and 32 in pass defense DVOA. There’s no Russell Wilson, but Seattle has two big weapons on the outside in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. They will have opportunities to make some big plays on Sunday.
The number is short, give me Seattle at home in this one.
The pick: Seattle (-3.5)
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Spread: Tampa Bay (-4.5)
Let’s take a walk down narrative street. We get Jameis Winston's first start against his former team. New Orleans dominated Tampa in the regular season last year, but Tom Brady's squad was better when it mattered most - in the postseason. Winston has a chance to be very successful against a Bucs passing defense that’s allowing 264 passing yards per game. So far Winston ranks 14th in QBR, and has thrown 13 touchdowns versus three interceptions on the year.
Still, Winston is going to need some help in this one. New Orleans' receivers lead the NFL in drops. Alvin Kamara has been the only player that has made himself a weapon. Jameis Winston targeted Kamara 11 times or nearly a third of his 35 pass attempts. New Orleans ranks 32nd in the NFL in passing offense averaging 176 yards per game. We know Winston has the arm strength to punish Tampa’s defense. His receivers just need to step up and make plays. With Tampa missing Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy Bunting sidelined, they will be in a good spot to do just that.
Meanwhile, New Orleans defense has gone under the radar all year. They rank second in scoring defense, fourth in EPA, third in DVOA, including sixth against the pass and second against the run. They are ready for this matchup, even as well as the Bucs offense is playing. New Orleans is the one defense that has Brady’s number. New Orleans can get pressure with four and get in Brady’s face. They have long physical corners that match well with Tampa’s receivers. Their secondary ranks sixth in the NFL in air yards allowed and they rally up and tackle missing just 35 tackle opportunities all year-third least in the NFL. Point being, they don’t give Brady much room to work and they get pressure in his face while doing it.
Tampa has been significantly worse on the road this year going 0-3 ATS. The Superdome is going to be rocking and I love the home underdog in this spot. We are fading the public again and taking New Orleans.
The pick: New Orleans +4.5
Dallas at Minnesota (Sunday Night Football)
The storyline in this game is whether Dak Prescott is going to play. Prescott has been nursing a calf injury through the bye week and is listed as a game time decision. Prescott mentioned he wants to play Sunday Night, but the decision is out of his hands. The line has rocketed from Minnesota +1.5 to -3.
But regardless I like Minnesota in this spot. One, even if Dak plays he is going to be limited and Dallas is going to play conservatively.
Sitting at 3-3 Minnesota may be the most underrated team in the NFL. Kirk Cousins is playing at a Pro Bowl level and boosts the fifth best passing grade in the NFL. Defensively, Minnesota ranks 13th in scoring defense and they rank first in the NFL in adjusted sack rate.
Dallas has been a public darling going perfect ATS this season, but they have also had significant turnover luck. For instance, Trevon Diggs seems to have become a top corner in the NFL since he leads the league in interceptions with seven. Yet quietly, the Dallas corner is allowing 19 yards per pass attempt when targeted. That is a crazy number. Minnesota should have a lot of success through the air against the Dallas defense that has allowed 7.7 yards per pass attempt and 295 passing yards per game.
We get Minnesota in a home spot against a backup or injured quarterback. If Minnesota gets to play Cooper Rush, this becomes a very good play. I hate chasing a rising line, but Minnesota offers a ton of intrigue here. Give me Minnesota at home.
The pick: Minnesota -3
Follow Austin on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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