First off, to review last night. We’re down to just 2 unbeaten teams after the Cardinals lost in a 17-3 Thursday Night snoozer in St. Looie. AZ’s offense continued to be completely ineffective and it finally caught up with them as the 1 point home underdog Rams moved to 3-0 at home this year and 3-2 overall.
So where do I see opportunity on Sunday after advising no action last night?
– The Packers are 7 point favorites at Indy. This despite being only 2-2, and struggling to nip the winless Saints at home by 1 point last week. The strength of the Packers has always been an explosive passing offense. However this year the Packers rank 25th in the League with a pedestrian 5.8 yards per pass play, and will be without top receiver Greg Jennings. The Colts are coming off a bye week, and while they’ve been uninspiring so far this year, the Packers simply should not be giving 7 points on the road anymore. My model says the Pack should be 1 point favorites, not 7, jump all over the Colts. And while you’re at it, the model puts the over/under at 42.5, which is almost a full TD lower than the posted 48. Vegas still seems to be setting lines for the 2011 Packers, not the 2012 version. Take the under.
– Coming off an impressive dismantling of the Cowboys on Monday Night, the 3-1 Bears are 4 1/2 point favorites at Jacksonville. That’s not enough. My model says the Bears should be 7 point favorites. When the Bears are good, they are usually near the top of the league in points/yard of offense, thanks to a defense and special teams that puts points on the board. The Bears rank first in that stat so far this year, so even if these teams were even, which they’re not, you can probably count on the Bears getting a TD out of their defense or special teams. That means that they’ll win by at least a TD. I like the Bears giving 4 1/2 points here.
– The over under for the Falcons at Redskins game is 50. I think that’s too conservative. Washington’s giving up an absurd 9.1 yards per pass play, and Matt Ryan has been the best QB in the NFL so far this year, with lots of receiving weapons. The Redskins offense can put up some garbage time points thanks to RG3. The model says the over/under here should be 55, and that’s enough of a difference from the posted 50 to convince me that the over is a good play here.
– Staying on the over/under tip, the posted total for the Ravens at Chiefs is 45.5. The Chiefs have been giving up 34 a game by themselves, and the Ravens should have no problem raising that total with their 5th ranked scoring offense. The Ravens can beat that 45.5 on their own, but you get both teams if you take the over. The model puts it at 52, so I’m strongly on board with this play.
– Are the 3-1 Vikings for real? They’re real enough to beat up on a tragic Titans team that has lost by 20 or more points in 3 out of 4 games this year and is giving up an average of 37.8 points a game. Vegas has the Vikings as 6 points favorite, but my model says Ragnar rolls by 13 1/2. This one’s a no-brainer, take the Vikings giving 6.
I’ll be back later this weekend with my picks for the late afternoon and Sunday Night games. To recap, here’s what I like:
Packers at Colts under 48
Bears -4 1/2
Falcons at Redskins over 50
Ravens at Chiefs over 45 1/2