NFL picks ATS: 1-0
The Seahawks put down the beating I expected on the Raiders in London last week and were able to cover the spread very easily. From here on out I will be giving two picks for the NFL weekly. Without further delay, let’s get in to the picks.
Chargers vs. Titans Chargers cover (-7)
We had good luck in London last week with the Seahawks, and to London we return. This week the Chargers take on the struggling Tennessee Titans. Bettors likely have nightmares when it comes to the Chargers, as they have blown leads, lost games and failed to cover spreads in a variety of hilarious fashions. I won’t tell you this is a new Chargers team, but I will tell you they are absolutely rolling right now. They suffered two early losses at the hands of the Rams and the Chiefs, which at this point I can’t seriously fault them for. Phillips Rivers has been playing like an MVP candidate, and is top ten in the NFL in a myriad of metrics. He is top-ten in play action differential for comp % and YPA, top-ten in PFF grade, first in passer rating under pressure, top-ten in adjusted completion % and finally, passer rating when clean. The offense has been rolling behind Rivers’ performance and Melvin Gordon’s dominance both running and catching the ball.
Turning to the Titans who were just thrashed at home by the Ravens, the only advantages I can find are in the offensive line. Their secondary and defense as a whole have been slightly above average, and I expect the offensive line to give the Chargers a little bit of trouble considering their run-defense isn’t the best and Bosa is still out. If analytics has taught me anything over the last two years, it’s that the most important aspects of the game are stopping the pass and being able to pass. In both of these the Chargers have a clear advantage while Mariota struggles to get healthy and the passing and run game both look lethargic for the Titans. As we’ve seen in the last year, and even last week, the best team in London tends to win, and tends to win big. I’d like it better if you could get it at 6.5, but I’m more than willing to take the chance on -7.
Final score prediction: 28-16, Chargers
Bengals @ Chiefs Chiefs cover (-6.5)
Look, I won’t belabor the point, but the Bengals are historically awful in prime-time games. They are missing their best coverage linebacker in Nick Vigil and already struggle to cover tight ends. Ebron got in the end zone for the Colts. Baltimore nearly came all the way back by shredding the Bengals with short routes by the tight ends. The Falcons used their backup tight end to shred the Bengals up the seam in the red zone for a touchdown. Vance McDonald seemed to truck a defender every time he touched the ball. If we’re being honest, the Bengals are one bad play in the Falcons game and one forced fumble away in the Colts game from being 2-4 instead of 4-2. The defense struggled to find ways to slow down the Steelers, Falcons and Panthers, and now they’re about to play the scorching hot Kansas City Chiefs coming off of a narrow loss to the Patriots on the road.
Can I take the Chiefs twice?
Honestly, the Bengals offense has been surprising this year and even more surprisingly the defense has struggled to slow opposing offenses down. Even with the Chiefs’ sub-par defense, I fully expect them to be able to stop the Bengals at home more frequently than the Bengals are able to stop the Chiefs. Tyreek Hill will give the defense fits over the top if they ever try to play single-high and Travis Kelce will punish them over the middle. Add Kareem Hunt and Mahomes to the mix and suddenly, winning but a touchdown seems very realistic. Kansas City is 6-0 against the spread this season. Keep riding the red-hot Chiefs.
Final score prediction: 34-24, Chiefs.