The five clubs I’m wagering on this week are a combined 6-22 straight up (the Cleveland Browns account for three of those wins) and 8-20 against the spread.
College basketball has “Rivalry Week.” Why can’t the NFL have “Bet On Bad Teams Week”?
This week’s picks (home team in caps):
WASHINGTON (even) over Chicago: Washington is home after two weeks on the road (a win in Oakland and a loss in Dallas) and should be able to control the tempo by feeding the ball to running back Alfred Morris, a key to so many wins last season. Morris is averaging 5.2 yards per carry but his season high in carries is only 16. By the time the fourth quarter arrives, Morris will be rolling through the Bears’ below-average defense. Risking $165 to win $150.
CAROLINA (-6) over St. Louis: The Rams are playing their second straight road game and run a conservative offense that doesn’t have enough weapons to make coming from behind plausible, particularly against a team that has quietly allowed only 299 yards per game. St. Louis exploded for 38 points in Houston, but two of those scores were defensive touchdowns. Risking $110 to win $100.
Cleveland (+10) over GREEN BAY: Green Bay’s receiving corps is in shambles, so it has taken advantage of rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who has 219 rushing yards in his last two games. The Packers have scored 41 points in those two contests, low by their standards, so expect the same ball-control strategy against Cleveland’s stout defense. Risking $110 to win $100.
JACKSONVILLE (+7½) over San Diego: The Chargers have lost to Houston, Oakland, and Tennessee. If you think they’re capable of traveling across country — on the heels of a big win over the Colts and just before their bye — and struggling against the Jaguars, then you’re thinking like me. Risking $110 to win $100.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-3½) over Minnesota: One thing I’ve done correctly this season is avoid the Giants and the “they have to win this week, don’t they?” mentality. But this week I’ve cracked, mostly because of New York’s opponent. Last week, after a bye, Minnesota hosted Carolina and got destroyed, 35-10. Josh Freeman is going to stabilize this 1-4 team? Risking $110 to win $100.
Last week: 1-2, minus $235. Season: 9-11-1, minus $485.