Time for a bounce-back after a bad week
It was the rare bad showing for my NFL ATS picks last week. Ron Burgundy said that drinking milk was a bad idea and so was betting on the New York Giants, who were as awful as you would expect from a one-win team. The sad thing is that I think they'll win at least another game so the key is trying to figure out when that will come. Another thing I did that I don't like to do is go against teams coming off a bye week. But that was last week, let's see if I can't turn things around and do better in Week 9.
Record: 23-15-2 (53-32-3 last year)
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Nov. 4
Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread:
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (4-4), 1 p.m.
It's game two in the rivalry this season as the Ravens host the Steelers. Baltimore took the first game back in late September, 26-14 in Pittsburgh as the Ravens held the Steelers to just 19 rushing yards. Since then, Baltimore has gone 1-3 with losses to Cleveland, New Orleans and Carolina. The Ravens have struggled a bit on defense the last two weeks allowing teams to run on their suddenly leaky defense. The offense has been pretty consistent, scoring 21 points or more in three straight. On the other side, Pittsburgh has won three straight against the Falcons, Bengals and Browns. The Steelers have seen their defense improve greatly, especially against the run as they've held five straight opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground. The Steelers have gone under in 15 of their last 20 road games and 24 of their last 42 overall. Baltimore has gone under in 11 of its last 19 at home. I think this one continues that trend. SELECTION: Under 47.5
New York Jets (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-4), 1 p.m.
Way back in Week 2 I backed Miami against the Jets in New York. The Dolphins won the game 20-12, holding the Jets to just 42 rushing yards while forcing three turnovers. Miami put up only 257 yards of total offense but had just two penalties. The Dolphins have lost two straight and four of their last five since putting together a three-game winning streak. The defense has been beaten up and Brock Osweiler has reverted back to normal after a good game against the Bears. The Jets have lost two straight and five of their last seven overall. Sam Darnold has struggled and the running game has been pretty close to non-existent. The defense has actually performed pretty well, but is on the field too much and is tiring towards the end of games. The Jets have covered just six of their last 20 road games. I think the Dolphins add to New York's misery on Sunday. SELECTION: Dolphins -3
Atlanta Falcons (3-4) at Washington Redskins (5-2), 1 p.m.
The Redskins continue to lead the NFC East without even playing their best football. They are on a three-game winning streak because of a very good defense and the revitalization of Adrian Peterson. The front line is really good and the addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will make the back end even better. They aren't even getting much from Alex Smith so if he figures things out then watch out. Atlanta has won two straight and is coming off its bye. I know I said above that I don't like fading teams off their bye, but I'm just not buying the Falcons outside of their dome. They lost in Philadelphia 18-12 back in Week 1 and 41-17 at Pittsburgh to start October. The defense is terrible against the pass and the run game has been bad. Matt Ryan is just not as good outdoors and I think Josh Norman can slow down Julio Jones enough to make the Falcons settle for FGs. Give me the home team in this one. SELECTION: Redskins -1.5
Houston Texans (5-3) at Denver Broncos (3-5), 4:05 p.m.
Two teams going in different directions as the Broncos host the Texans. Denver began the year 2-0, but then lost five of the next six. Case Keenum has been really disappointing and now Demaryius Thomas is on the other sideline with Houston. The Broncos' defense has been good though against teams outside of Kansas City and the odd, non-existent effort vs. the Jets. I like them to match up well with Houston, winners of five in a row. Deshaun Watson is playing fantastically and the defense has been awesome holding four straight opponents to 24 points or fewer. The under has hit in 24 of Houston's last 42 games, including 13 of the last 20 on the road. Denver has gone under in 22 of its last 40, including 11 of the last 20 at home. I think this one is a bit lower scoring than expected. SELECTION: Under 46.5
Note: I really wanted to take the Bills this weekend because I don't trust the Bears as much on the road. Chicago lost at Green
Bay and Miami and only beat the Cardinals by two points. The huge problem is that Nathan Peterman is starting for the home team so any thought about that went out the window. Still, if by some chance anyone other than Peterman starts, then consider the home team. Chicago's got Detroit and Minnesota up next so focus could be an issue.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.