Pigskin Pick’Em: Covering the point spreads proving to be a tricky game

  • By Nolan Rose
  • Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:31pm
  • Sports

Tackling NFL point spreads isn’t for the faint of heart. Need evidence? Just take a look at last Sunday’s games. The New York Jets, 10-point dogs, trailed the Denver Broncos 24-17 with under a minute left on the game clock. As long as Denver didn’t score a defensive touchdown on the final possession Jets backers were going to cash. Of course, a Geno Smith pick-six with 15 seconds left gave the Broncos an improbable cover.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, 4.5-point dogs in Tennessee, jumped out to a touchdown lead on their first offensive possession. The hapless Jags couldn’t muster another point until late in the fourth quarter. Trailing 16-7, Jacksonville received the ball on their own 17-yard line, and 83 yards later the Jags had pulled within two, and sealed a backdoor cover, on the back of a Blake Bortles touchdown pass with just 43 seconds on the clock. Titans backers were seen fleeing the scene, surely racing to the nearest ATM.

The Arizona Cardinals broke the hearts of Washington Redskins backers with another final minute defensive score to cover a 3.5-point spread. The Indianapolis Colts, three-point favorites in Houston, jumped out to a seemingly insurmountable 24-point lead before hanging on to a 33-28 victory. The near collapse undoubtedly caused a few grey hairs to pop up in Las Vegas. One can only imagine where the football roller-coaster will take us next!

A steady 9-6 mark in week six, in spite of all the chaos on the field, raised our season record to 53-37-1. The 59% clip would cause Vegas bookies to tremble! Lucky for them I live in Soldotna, Alaska. A whopping 2,299 miles from Sin City…

NEW YORK JETS @
New England Patriots -10

The football gods give us yet another New York Jets crash on national television. Woo-hoo! If the Jets were the Jets, only in Nebraska, NFL Ticket wouldn’t even carry their games. Instead we’re all privileged to get Gang Green forced down our collective eyeballs each week. Rex Ryan couldn’t coach a pee-wee team. Geno Smith is arguably the worst quarterback in NFL history. Clearly, the Jets are a terrible football team. A resurgent Tom Brady and the New England Patriots has to be the play, right? Wrong! Why? Because the NFL doesn’t make sense. Patriots win 27-20

Atlanta Falcons @
BALTIMORE RAVENS -7

The Atlanta Falcons have played three road games this season. The Dirty Birds are 0-3 in those contests. In fact, the Falcons haven’t lost a road game by less than ten points. Atlanta doesn’t just lose on the road, they get blown out. Travelling to Baltimore, to face a hot Ravens team looking to rescue a city from Orioles heartbreak, is not the ideal nest for the Falcons to land in. Ravens win 30-21

Tennessee Titans @
WASHINGTON REDSKINS -5.5

The 2-4 Titans visit the nation’s capital to pillow fight the 1-5 Washington Pre-Columbus Americans. Both of these teams stink. That’s the quality analysis you can expect from this column! Pre-Leif Erickson Americans win 24-17

Seattle Seahawks @
ST. LOUIS RAMS +7.5

There’s a little bit of anti-jinx policy in this pick, especially in light of the 23-30 defeat against Dallas last week. Seattle just hasn’t been playing well. Injuries on the defensive side of the ball have slowed the Legion of Boom, but the real problems are on offense. The Seahawks have lost their identity. Coordinator Darrell Bevell would do well to remember Marshawn Lynch is still on the team. Beast Mode has averaged 21 carries per game in Seattle’s wins, compared to just eight in their two losses. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know handing the ball to number 24 is a great way to score points. Seahawks win 24-21

CLEVELAND BROWNS @
Jacksonville Jaguars +6

The Cleveland Browns are a six point favorite on the road? When was the last time the Brown-Baggers were a road favorite? I don’t know if the line speaks to how well the Browns are playing or just how awful the Jungle-Kittens have become. In fairness to Jacksonville, the Jags have been better in recent weeks posting narrow losses to the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, for Kitten fans, Cleveland has already defeated both of those teams. Browns win 30-16

Cincinnati Bengals @
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS -3.5

How good has Andrew Luck been for the Indianapolis Colts this season? Luck is on pace to throw for 5,300 yards and 45 touchdowns. The Colts won’t lose many games with that type of production from the quarterback position. The Bengals raced out to a 3-0 start before a befuddling meltdown in Boston. Cincy followed that up with a dud of a tie at home against the Carolina Panthers. A.J. Green is expected to miss another game and star rusher Giovanni Bernard is questionable with a shoulder ailment. Colts win 31-23

Minnesota Vikings @
BUFFALO BILLS -5.5

Buffalo’s previously strong defense was shredded to the tune of 37 points last Sunday by the Brady Bunch. Fortunately for Toronto suburbs faithful, nobody circles the wagon like the Buffalo Bills! Look for the Bills to bounce back against an anemic Minnesota Fighting Norwegians offense. The Vikings stumbled to a measly 212 yards of total offense last week at home. Minnesota parlayed that effort with nine penalties and three turnovers. To make matters worse, Vikings rookie passer Teddy Bridgewater was sacked eight times! Bills win 26-17

Miami Dolphins @
CHICAGO BEARS -3.5

The 3-3 Chicago Bears have yet to win a home game. I do not expect the Bears to remain winless at home all season. Miami has yet to win a road game in North America. I refuse to count their victory over the Oakland Raiders in London, England as an official road win. It’s entirely possible that the Dolphins won’t win a road game this year. Siding with the Bears is the pragmatic play. Bears win 33-24

New Orleans Saints @
DETROIT LIONS -3

The New Orleans Saints were supposed to be a strong contender in the NFC. They’re not. The Saints are 2-3 but even that unsightly record is misleading. New Orleans two victories are over the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, verifiable NFL patsies. Detroit’s defense has been dominant to begin the year. If the Lions offense ever returns to form, watch out. Lions win 27-20

CAROLINA PANTHERS @ Green Bay Packers -7

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers travel to the frozen tundra of Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. How does Newton do it? The Panthers have been ravaged by injuries. The team’s best receiver is a rookie and they have to overcome the deficiencies Ron Rivera presents as head coach. The Packers are finding their groove and have to be confident after their stunning rally in Miami last week, yet somehow you just know the Panthers will figure out a way to keep this game competitive. Packers win 27-24

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @
San Diego Chargers -4

The San Diego Chargers have performed brilliantly all season. So why are the 5-1 Lightning Bolts a small favorite at home against the 2-3 Kansas City Chiefs? Vegas books will get a lot of action on a popular Chargers side. I’ll happily take a Chiefs team that looks a lot better than their record indicates. If the Chiefs want to be a player in the AFC West this year they have to win this game. Chiefs win 30-27

ARIZONA CARDINALS @
Oakland Raiders +4

The Desert Bats are good. It pains me to admit it. My beloved Seahawks already have a strong 49ers team to contend with in the brutal NFC West. Now another legitimate contender in the division has emerged. The Raiders were competitive, something the team rarely is, last week against the San Diego Chargers. Expect the Raiders to return to their woefully miserable ways this Sunday. Cardinals win 26-13

New York Giants @
DALLAS COWBOYS -6.5

This is an ideal letdown spot for the Dalla s Cowboys. America’s previous favorite team beat up the Seattle Seahawks in a surprising victory last Sunday. Dallas was just the second team to defeat the Seahawks in Seattle during the Russell Wilson era. There’s every reason to think the Fighting Jerry’s could suffer from a bout of overconfidence. The Giants are in the opposite position looking to bounce back from a 27-0 drubbing in Philadelphia. I would take the road side if their top wide receiver and running back weren’t out with injuries. The Cowboys roll continues against a hobbled Giants team. Cowboys win 35-17

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @
Denver Broncos -6.5

The San Francisco 49ers just won’t die. I was so hopeful the Niners would suffer a down year after the team got off to an inauspicious start, but here they are at a healthy 4-2 after six weeks. Will the good vibes travel to Denver? Peyton Manning visited the Bay a few years ago and nearly joined the team before signing with the Broncos. A decision I’m certain Denver fans are happy about. The mile high love affair will last another week, but the road side covers. Broncos win 27-23

HOUSTON TEXANS @
Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5

Week seven’s final matchup features a bland Houston Texans team travelling to Pittsburgh to face an even more boring Steelers squad. I’m bored just typing about it. Houston’s star defender J.J. Watt is arguably the most valuable player in the NFL (excluding quarterbacks). Watt, a defensive lineman, has scored more touchdowns this year than the entire Jacksonville Jaguars team. I don’t know if that’s true or not but the fact that it’s not an absurd statement points to just how dominant Watt has been. Houston wins 17-14

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