Ultimately, I went 7-5 on Wildcard Weekend, completely whiffing on Cowboys/Bucs to finish. (Each of Brett Maher’s FOUR missed extra points kept the game from hitting the over.) Now we enter the NFL’s best weekend, and the league has served us four terrific games. The goal is simply to stay above .500 the rest of the way.
This week’s three-bullet approach will be a point on each team and a score prediction. Again, my picks against the spread and the total are in the final score predictions. All numbers from DraftKings Sportsbook.
This is less a gambling guide, and more an overview of the weekend’s action with predictions. But my gambling choices are evident in my final score prognostications. (All lines from DraftKings Sportsbook.)
Everyone loves the Buffalo Bills. Everyone. And quite frankly, that scares me. The NFL has become so unpredictable that it’s hard to imagine an overwhelming favorite making it all the way to the final Sunday and winning an expected title. But in order to get the Bills out of the Super Bowl, I need to find another team.
The Jets aren’t ready.
The Patriots don’t have the firepower.
The Dolphins worry me but it’s a big ask for a first-year coach.
The AFC South stinks.
The Bengals went to the Super Bowl last year. So why are the Ravens favored to win the division? (Vegas always knows something. Also, is “Vegas” even a thing anymore? Why aren’t the lines set in NJ or NYC?)
The whole AFC West is explosive, but it just feels like they’re going to beat the hell out of each other. That means the top seed is unlikely to come from the left coast and the top seed feels essential for those teams hoping to avoid the playoffs going through Buffalo.
The Buffalo Bills don’t have a major flaw on their roster, assuming Tre White eventually returns healthy, and in Josh Allen, they have the best player in the sport. If Von Miller can provide the prowess on the edge they’ll need in December and January, they will coast to an easy AFC East title and find themselves in Glendale playing for it all.
So, who wins the NFC?
I have no idea.
Am I taking the Packers again? No. Not with those receivers and not with the quarterback’s postseason record. (He’s one of the best regular season quarterbacks of all time but he’s a mediocrity in the tournament.)
I don’t trust Stafford’s health. I don’t trust Brady’s commitment. I don’t think Trey Lance is going to take a team to the title game in his first year as a starter. (And the Jimmy G re-signing strikes me as quite odd.) Who the hell else is there? Philly? Dallas? New Orleans? Nope. Nope. Nope.
I have zero conviction. And when you have no conviction, you just assume Tom Brady will do something ridiculous and overcome whatever he needs to overcome.
I’m posting these to DBB because over the course of the season, I find myself constantly searching out data like this. Figure it’s easier to store right here on the site.
Thought: Green Bay actually feels a bit undervalued at that number. Barring a Rodgers injury, they are winning the division.
Thought: The Giants have near identical odds to win their division as the Raiders do to win theirs. Just shows you how awful this division looks to be on paper. If the Cowboys weren’t such a national entity, they’d have plus odds.
Thought: What is there to say? On paper, this is the greatest divisional mismatch in the sport. It is Tom Brady vs. three teams that struck out on Deshaun Watson.
Thought: San Francisco is the team I’m most wary of at this stage because Trey Lance absolutely disappeared in 2021. (They had packages for him early in the year.) Is he going to be ready to be the starting quarterback in 2022? Has the bridge been burned with Jimmy G? Too many questions for odds like that.
Thought: Deshaun. Watson.
Atlantic City at 40 (Original Photo)
Last week, the guide was actually about gambling (i.e., trying to make money) and my slips in Atlantic City proved that advice to be solid. This week, I’m going to try and nail all eight general bets. That’s every spread and every over/under. Will I achieve that? Of course not. But it’s a worthy endeavor.
As always, all lines from DraftKings Sportsbook.
4:30 PM ET
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-3.5) – Over/Under 47
8:15 PM ET
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (-6) – Over/Under 47
3:00 PM ET
Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) – Over/Under 48.5
6:30 PM ET
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) – Over/Under 54