Thinking Like Vegas: Week 8

By Joe Caputo

Week 7: 4-2

Overall: 21-14

The charity fund is back! Just over here handing out money to people who want to take it.  Doing the math, that 21-14 record up there equates to 60%, for those wondering.  But I’m not satisfied there.  Yes, I’ve made money this season, but can you ever win enough money?  We all know the answer to that question.  So keeping that in mind, we’ll start here:

PITTSBURGH (+3) v Indianapolis

Feel like I’m leading with this team every week.  Uhhhhhhh, why not?  This marks the 4th straight week that I will be attempting to cash in on the Colts.  The last 3 have been successful.  They have covered 5 straight in total.  I know this is a very trappy line and with most teams I would be weary, but this is Indy and Pittsburgh.  The Steelers, at 4-3, have just enough over-value to make them a field goal home dog here.  As for the Colts?  Not really sure why they continue to be undervalued by Vegas.  Offense is good.  Defense is good.  Haven’t been killing the turnover game- which means no cause for concern that regression may be coming.  The Steelers last 4 games have been against these quarterbacks: Mike Glennon, Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick.  They split those games.  Now… Andrew Luck.

My Pick: Colts

CINCINNATI (pick) v Baltimore

This game is actually Cincy +1 in most places at this point, but I’ll pick it even.  It also opened at Cincy -2.5.  The only thing that causes a little concern for me in this game is that Baltimore lost the first matchup.  However, you may never find this Cincinnati team more undervalued at home this season.  Baltimore is red hot, and Cincinnati is about the exact opposite.  Although I’m not always a contrarian, this is 100% a contrarian pick.  Everybody is on Baltimore, and in the past 2 years, Cincinnati has been a near auto-play at home.  Why does 1 bad home game against Carolina mean everyone must jump ship on them?  Although I like Baltimore in the long-term (which I’ve been saying since the preseason), I really like Cincy in this spot.

My Pick: Bengals

NEW ENGLAND (-6) v Chicago

Take this line as soon as possible if you want Chicago.  It’s gonna drop even more.  Very good spot for the Bears here.  Aside from the obvious (Chicago a much better road than home team), I really like Jay Cutler when no one is expecting much of him.  He has been a great underdog in his career, and despite the Bears locker room troubles, let’s not forget about all of these weapons this team has offensively.  Now, for the Pats.  I’m simply not sold on them yet.  They’re getting there for me, but they have not yet cracked the Circle of Trust.  I really don’t like this spot for them though.  Coming off 2 straight wins in the division, and hosting Denver next week, the Pats may very well find themselves in the midst of a “sandwich game” come Sunday.

My Pick: Bears

CAROLINA (+5) v Seattle

Picking against 2 home dogs this week?  What in the world has gotten into me?  I just don’t see Seattle losing 3 straight, and I don’t believe the Panthers are very good.  It’s put up or shut up time for the Seahawks.  They cannot afford to fall to under .500 nearing the halfway point of the season.  But let’s not forget about how good the Seattle offense has been this year.  Outside of the Dallas game, Seattle has had one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL.  Although inconsistency has plagued them a bit, when the Seahawks are rolling, they are extremely hard to stop.  The Panthers are one of the NFL’s worst run-stopping teams, and Seattle can run it with the best of them.  Seattle in a rout.

My Pick: Seahawks

ARIZONA (-2.5) v Philadelphia

This is where the Cardinals start to unravel a bit.  Both of these teams are somewhat overrated, but Arizona may be the most overrated team in the NFL.  They are living off turnovers, and not doing really much of anything offensively.  Their last 2 wins against Washington and Oakland have been extremely unimpressive, and last time they faced a good offense they got completely obliterated.  The Eagles are coming off a bye, which means come 4th quarter this will be an extremely lopsided game in terms of energy.  The Eagles will wear out Arizona with the up-tempo offense and ultimately could end up leaving Arizona with a double-digit victory.

My Pick: Eagles

NEW ORLEANS (-1.5) v Green Bay

Another very popular public pick in Green Bay.  Green Bay has an extremely good offense, and this is by no means me discounting the season they have put together to this point.  But this is the game New Orleans gets right.  They have been arguably the most unlucky team to this point.  Drew Brees regressing?  Well, whether he is or not, the Saints offense still ranks first in the NFL in Yards per Play (my new favorite stat to evaluate offenses and defenses).  Meanwhile, the Green Bay defense, although above-average in Yards per Play, have not exactly been tested much.  Their stats are being helped by games against struggling offenses such as Minnesota, Detroit, and the Jets (3 of the bottom 5 teams in offensive Yards per Play).  This will be truly their toughest test of the season.  On the road, at the Superdome, in Primetime, a spot where the Saints are normally at their absolute best.  I expect nothing less than their best on Sunday.

My Pick: Saints

TEASER TIME

I’m not a huge teaser guy, and realize it’s not a good way to bet, but throwing in 1 every week or so doesn’t hurt.  Although it wasn’t published here, I hit an essential teaser last week (actually a Packers-Colts money-line parlay), so I decided to include my Week 8 teaser in the article this week.

My Pick: KANSAS CITY (-1) over St. Louis, Philadelphia (+9) over ARIZONA

WACKY PARLAY

Chicago, Philadelphia, Tennessee moneylines

15-1

Good luck!

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