By IAN WUKITSCH
Welcome back, gambling fanatics! Before we get started here on my Week 8 predictions, I would like to share a quick story on my lucky betting streak so far this season that I failed to mention in last week’s column.
Here’s the situation: I picked Team A to cover a 8.5-point spread against Team B. With 16 seconds left in the game, Team A is up 7 points. I’m doomed, right? Wrong. Team B decides to throw a pick-6, and I hit. Team A covers… I win money. Any guesses who these two teams might be? Well, if you guessed Team A to be the Broncos, and Team B to be the Jets, you were correct. Thank you, Geno Smith, for absolutely sucking. Now on to the bets…
HOME team in CAPS
Detroit Lions (-3.5) over ATLANTA FALCONS
I have VASTLY underestimated the Lions, and REALLY overestimated the Falcons. The Lions are coming off a great win this past week, mounting a serious comeback against Drew Brees and the Saints. Matthew Stafford is developing into more than just a pure gunslinger, and Golden Tate is filling in well for Calvin Johnson. God help the Falcons if Calvin returns this week. I mean, God help the Falcons PERIOD at this point. This team is really going downhill, and I don’t see this skid ending here. If Matty Ice Cold Ryan and crew couldn’t score against an average defense in the Baltimore Ravens, how do they expect to score against the best D in the league? Take the Lions to beat up on the Falcons on the road this week.
Buffalo Bills (+3) at NEW YORK JETS
I have no idea how Vegas is giving the Jets points. Have they played some close games? Absolutely. Can they win eventually? Sure, why not. But I just don’t see this team taking off just yet, not for a year or two. Geno Smith is very unreliable, and although he shows signs of being a good player eventually, he chokes late, as does the rest of the circus act that plays in the Meadowlands. As for the Bills, they enter the game at 4-3, and they have looked good lately, winning 2 of their last 3 — including a nice win over the Lions. They are led by a veteran QB in Kyle Orton, who last week showed that he can still get the ol’ arm going and connected with Big Time Sammy Watkins for a pair of TDs. I see this being a close game to be honest, but you cant bet against the points, especially when they come against the Jets. Take the Bills here to upend Tubby Rex and co.
Green Bay Packers (+1.5) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Another one that baffles me here, but hey, Vegas always knows shit we don’t. Aaron Rodgers is good… really, really good. And he has some good receivers, again… really, really good. And the Saints don’t have a good defense; in fact, it’s really, really not good. So what do you get when you get an on fire Rodgers, combined with threats like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, and pair them against a Saints defense that is allowing 270 yards passing per game and nearly 28 points per game? You get Rodgers going HAM and throwing for multiple touchdowns. Brees is a great QB, but the Packers can stop the pass — 215 yards allowed per game — and with an injured Jimmy Graham, it could be tough to get going. The Saints’ best chance is to attack Green Bay on the ground, the Pack allows almost 150 yards per game, but they don’t have a dynamic enough RB to do it. Look for a lot of passing in this one, with the Pack getting the edge. Take the Pack not only with the spread, but with the money line as well.
Not So Fast My Friend
The following games are ones I’d try and stay away from this weekend — unless you’re a complete degenerate gambler and are feeling lucky. In that case, good luck.
Philadelphia Eagles (+3) at ARIZONA CARDINALS
This is my Game of the Week this week for sure. Both of these teams enter at 5-1, and expect this one to be a blood bath. Neither defense allows too many points — with the Cardinals allowing about 20 and the Eagles allowing about 22 — and they both give up the same amount of yards. I give the edge to the Eagles from the offensive standpoint, scoring almost a TD a game more than the Cardinals, but a good defense always beats a good offense. Two teams with good WRs, good run games and good pass catchers. I expect a good game, plain and simple. Not even an addictive gambler should even consider touching this game.
Seattle Seahawks (-5) at CAROLINA PANTHERS
Two disappointing teams square off in this one, with both teams both coming in at 3-3. When I saw this game on the schedule at the beginning of the season, I woulda told you this would have been a sick one to watch. But the Seahawks look BAD as of late, and that has a lot to do with the sub par play of their “Legion of Boom” defense, yeah, Richard Sherman… you’re overrated. The only thing that has the Seahawks still giving points from Vegas, and keeping them competitive, is the play of Russell Wilson, who looks like he could be an MVP-type player. Factor that with a Panthers defense that is struggling, and it could spell for a lot of Skittles being thrown into the mouth of Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch. However, I think the Panthers will score. Cam Newton can really do it all, and I see him exploiting this Seahawks secondary, that is allowing over 250 yards per game through the air. If Cam can get going with his arm, that opens up his running ability and then he becomes a whole other monster. If the Seahawks can stop the pass they’ll win easy, but that is a BIG IF. Expect a close one here. Nothing for you here in a battle of underachievers.
Chicago Bears (+5.5) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Bears are struggling and the Patriots are surging. Easy to pick the Patriots, right? Maybe not. It is always tough to bet against Tom Brady at home, and in his last three games he’s thrown nine touchdowns and zero picks. Combine those numbers with a solid RB by committee, as a team running for over 100 yards per game, and a team that knows how to score (27 PPG) and it could spell disaster for the Bears. BUT the Bears offense is too good with too many weapons to be held intact much longer. Jay Cutler will find a way this week to beat the Patriots D, allowing 208 yards per game through the air, because I think he got a wake up call from Brandon Marshall last week. If Matt Forte can continue to tear it up on the ground — and he should considering the Patriots allow nearly 130 yards per game on the ground — than the pass game will really open up for Da Bears. Expect Cutler to get the ball to his weapons, Alshon Jeffery and Marshall, and put up big numbers in a big road win. If you have ever hit 00 on roulette, I would take the Bears to upset the Pats on the road.
Well those are my picks for the week for Week 8. And just remember; please don’t blame me if you lose your money, because chances are I’m losing it with you.