Top NFL Picks Against the Spread: Handicapping Wild Card Weekend

By Bart

Well, as far as the Bears go, I couldn’t think of a worse way to end the season.  I suppose if the Packers would have won and the Bears lost to Detroit, that might be worse.  What’s really going to be annoying is when the Packers pound the Vikings this weekend.  All of the Bears fans are going to be sitting around saying, “Why didn’t you do this last week?”  I guess that is the power of home field advantage.  Adrian Peterson isn’t going to be quite as fast at Lambeau this week as he was on home field turf.

As far as my picks go, it was nice to finish 4-1 to end the season on the plus side.  Again, football gambling is fun, but with the craziness that is the NFL, I personally wouldn’t make it my full-time job.  But how about that Seattle vs. St. Louis call?  I also am a little surprised that I ended up on the plus side when it came to picking Bears games.  I tried to take the “homer” disadvantage out of it and it helped my total.  All in all it was a fun season, but now it gets really tricky and Vegas analyzes everything and comes up with some really good spreads.  However, going into wild card weekend, I feel good about the games.  To add to the fun, I’m going to pick all 4 games including the over/unders, so let’s get it on:

Cincinnati -4.5 @ Houston/Over 43.5 – Houston has been favored for a long time and for awhile, it was easy to jump on board.  However, with some injuries on their Defense and some inconsistencies, they’ve struggled down the stretch.  Cincinnati on the other hand has finished strong, albeit against some lesser opponents (Kansas City, Oakland).  They did finish the season beating 2 divisional opponents including a win in Pittsburgh.  This will be the upset of the weekend as everyone is banking on Houston easily dispatching Cincinnati as they did last year in the first round (31-10).  Even if Cincinnati doesn’t pull it out, they can still keep it within 3 or 4 points which I’ll take.  I’m also looking forward to the Johnson/Green show as I’m predicting 3 touchdowns between the two of them.  Because of that, I’ll take the over as well as I’m looking at a 27-23 game…..Bengals win.  I’ll even take that score flip-flopped as well.

Green Bay -7.5 vs Minnesota/Over 46 -watching the line, the over/under line has dropped .5 since opening, which isn’t significant other than most people feel that it won’t be the same point battle as last time in the dome.  Mid-twenties weather is expected which shouldn’t impact the game that much, expect slow down the speed when compared to turf.  I still don’t like the Green Bay Defense which I think will be their eventual downfall, but it is also why I continue to like the over.  However, Green Bay has the much better ability to gameplan for Minnesota than vice versa.  You will see more wrinkles from Green Bay and more control. Expect Aaron to be his playoff self.

Colts -7 @ Baltimore/Under 47 – emotional storylines will be the talk of this game, but the game itself is an exciting matchup.  It will not be easy for the Colts to go into Baltimore and win.  The Ravens rested last week and are hoping to get Ray Lewis back on their Defense, which isn’t as dominant as it once was.  If the Ravens use Ray Lewis correctly, they should dispel the feel-good story of the year.  However, I rarely see it, so the Colts keep it close, but eventually fall to the Ravens on the road – but still cover.

Seattle -3 @ Washington/Over 46 – unbelievably, the most exciting matchup of the weekend.  A few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have predicted this game nor would I have looked forward to it, but since the Bears are out, this one will be fun.  You have to love the two rookie quarterback matchup.  My favorite ad has Russell Wilson standing at the line with the phrase: They passed on you, pass on them.  Although Seattle isn’t known to be good on the road, they are a more complete team than the Redskins.  The offenses will battle, but eventually the Seattle Defense will rise above the Redskins and shut down the Redskins one or two more times.  Seattle wins on the road in a high scoring affair.

LAST WEEK:  Pick 3:  2-1     Upset Special 1-0           Beloved:  1-0   

SEASON:    Pick  3:   22-25-1     Upset Special:  8-6-1      Beloved:  9-6-1   Thursday Night 4-3-2  =  43-40-5