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Steelers vs. Chiefs Week 6 NFL Point Spread Pick from Will Rogers: October 15th 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 6 NFL Pick: KC -4 points (October 15th 2017)

The set-up: The Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten team at 5-0 (also 5-0 ATS) and no one will need to remind Andy Reid nor his team that the last time the Chiefs lost a meaningful football game (we don’t count the preseason) was last January in the AFC playoffs, 18-16 at home to the team they’ll face this Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs welcome the 3-2 Pittsburgh Steelers to Arrowhead Stadium for this Week 6 contest, with Pittsburgh coming off a shocking 30-9 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, a game in which QB Ben Roethlisberger tossed five interceptions. The frustration of his performance prompted Big Ben to tell reporters after the game that “maybe I doesn’t have it in me anymore.”

Pittsburgh: I doubt many believe that Big Ben is through. Surely, KC’s Andy Reid doesn’t buy that Roethlisberger is anything less today than a year ago. “I think that was more just to back people off from the questions,” Reid said. “We get hit with a couple questions and that can be kind of a back off deal. I know we have to play against a heck of a player, a future Hall of Fame player. We got to get ourselves ready, we don’t think much about all those comments. KC’s QB Alex Smith added, “I know he was frustrated in the moment,” Smith said. “I know he said this and it is easy to make too much of it. I think he is still playing at a pretty good level from afar.” BTW…Roethlisberger completed 60 percent of his passes for 312 yards against the Jags, as well. Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled more than expected in 2017, despite boasting RB Le’Veon Bell and the league’s leading receiver in Antonio Brown, who has already recorded three 100-yard performances this season. However, that Steelers D allows 17.8 PPG (6th), struggling against the run (136.6 YPG ranks 28th) but leading the NFL in pass D, allowing only 139.6 YPG!

Kansas City: The Chiefs, simply put, have easily been the NFL’s best in 2017. KC is averaging a league-leading 32.8 PPG, as Alex Smith is delivering a “career year,” He’s completed 76.6 percent, while averaging 258.0 YPG (8th-best) and throwing 11 TDs with not a single INT in 158 attempts (125.8 QB rating is tops in the league). Rookie RB Kareem Hunt is running away (literally) with top rookie honors, rushing for a league–best 609 yards (6.3 YPC and 4 TDs), while catching 16 passes for two more TDs. KC ranks second in rushing at 156.2 YPG. Smith’s top targets are TE Kelce (29 catches) and WR Hill (25). KC’s defense has not needed to to great and it hasn’t, as the Chiefs come in allowing 22.2 PPG (17th) on 366.0 YPG (27th).

The pick: The key here is that Big Ben is 5-1 as a starting QB in his career against Kansas City and his 118.7 QB rating against the Chiefs ranks as his best against any team he’s played more than twice. Roethlisberger has thrown 13 TD passes and just three interceptions in his six regular-season meetings with the Chiefs. The Steelers handed Kansas City a 43-14 shellacking in last year’s regular season in Pittsburgh and then, as noted above, defeated the Chiefs 18-16 in the playoffs at KC, holding the Chiefs to only 227 total yards. Pittsburgh didn’t score a TD (just six FGs) but Big Ben threw for 224 yards and Bell ran for 170! So, does this mean Pittsburgh and Big Ben “have KC’s number?” Not this year’s KC team! Lay the points!

Week 5 NFL Pick: Covers betting the ‘Under’ in the Chargers vs. Giants game on October 8th 2017

Los Angeles Chargers vs. New York Giants
Week 5 NFL Over-Under Pick: Under 45 points (October 8th 2017)

My clients and I cashed a winning bet on the Giants Over the total last week, yet I’m recommending a play on the Under here.  What gives?  Let me start with an excerpt from my write-up last week:

“Facing Tampa’s banged up defense, Case Keenum looked like a pro bowler: 369 passing yards on 11.1 per attempts, 3 TD’s without an INT and a QB rating of 142.1 for the game.  That, folks, is Tampa Bay’s stop unit right now.   DT Chris Baker is dealing with a nasty bout of the flu.  CB Brent Grimes has a bad shoulder.  LB Kwon Alexander is out with a hamstring injury.  DT Gerald McCoy has a bum ankle.  DE Noah Spence is playing with a dislocated shoulder.  LB Lavonte David turned his ankle.

DE Jacquies Smith has been out since preseason.  Safety TJ Ward is dealing with an injured hip.  Defensive coordinator Mike Smith: “Unfortunately, we’ve got some guys that are down, but nobody is going to feel sorry for us — that’s for sure.”

“Meanwhile The Giants defense was completely gassed by the fourth quarter at Philly last week; only the field for nearly 80 snaps in the heat.  This stop unit is not fresh – the G-Men have been losing the time of possession battle on a weekly basis – and they’ll be tested by the explosive Bucs offense in the heat and humidity of late afternoon in Tampa Bay.”

So what happened?  Despite red zone failures and missed field goals for both teams, the game still went Over the total.  And now, the betting markets have done what they do – react to last week’s games.  Lo and behold, this week’s Giants total is even higher than last week’s total.  Yet the conditions here are very different.  The Chargers defense is NOT banged up like Tampa’s D was.  And the Giants defense won’t be gassed the same way this week; only the field for only 62 snaps last Sunday, without Florida heat and humidity that wears defenses down as the game progresses.

LA has all the makings of an Under team right now, despite their playmaking weapons on the outside.   The Chargers pass rush, led by last year’s #1, Joey Bosa, has been strong; bad news for Eli Manning playing behind a very weak offensive line.  I’m not expecting the G-men to control the line of scrimmage here, bad news for their ‘hit or miss’ offense.

Meanwhile, the Chargers offense has looked flat out broken for first month of the season.  Like that of the Giants, LA’s offensive line play has been bottom tier, unable to generate any holes for their running backs.  That’s put all the pressure on Philip Rivers, whose accuracy has really declined over the past two seasons.  Rivers is very comfortable just chucking the ball up towards his receivers and expecting them to make a play on the football.  That strategy hasn’t worked all year and it’s not likely to work against the Giants rock solid secondary.  Expect a field goal fest here!  Take the Under.

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49ers vs. Cardinals Week 4 Point Spread Pick from Will Rogers: October 1st 2017

San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 4 NFL Point Spread Pick: Arizona -6.5 points (October 1st 2017)

The set-up: The San Francisco 49ers were 2-14 in 2016 (only the 1-15 Browns were worse and opened the 2017 season by losing 23-3 at home to Carolina 23-3 and 12-9 in Seattle. However, while the 49ers would fall to 0-3 with a Week 3 home loss to the Rams, the offensively-challenged 49ers put up 39 points in that Thursday night affair while losing 41-39 when they failed to tie the game on a late two-point conversion try. San Francisco will travel down to Glendale, Arizona on Sunday to take on the 1-2 Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals look like a vastly different team than the one that played in the NFC championship game just two seasons ago (in 2015, after a 13-3 regular season), opening 1-2 with their lone win coming 16-13 in OT against the Indianapolis Colts. That victory has been sandwiched between losses to Detroit 35-23 and Dallas 28-17.

San Francisco: The 49ers finally woke up on offense against the Rams, as QB Brian Hoyer passed for 332 yards with two TDs, after he had thrown for only 292 yards in the team’s first two games. After scoring just 12 points in opening 0-2, the 49ers scored 39 points and rolled up 421 yards. However, after allowing just 35 points in the season’s first two weeks (and coming off holding Seattle to just 12 points), the Rams ran up 41 points on the Niners and if LA hadn’t made some major mistakes down the stretch, the contest would not have been as close as it wound up in the final score.

Arizona: QB Carson Palmer finished 29-of-48 for 325 yards and two TDs against Dallas (WR Larry Fitzgerald had 13 receptions for 149 yards and a TD). Palmer has 925 yards passing (Arizona ranks 3rd in passing YPG at 284.0) but Chris Johnson is the Cardinals’ top rusher with just 61 yards on 23 attempts. It’s clear that the Cardinals are really feeling the absence of star RB David Johnson, who is out indefinitely after suffering a dislocated wrist in the season opener. Arizona is 31st in a 32-team league in rushing, averaging 59.0 YPG. The defense allows 309.0 YPG to rank 9th but unfortunately, ranks much higher in the more important points allowed category at 26th, allowing 25.3 per game.

The pick: No one (even San Fran themselves) expected the 49rers to do much in 2017 but for the Cardinals, this game could be described as a “desperate time which calls for desperate measures!” At 1-2, a home loss to the pathetic 49ers would all but doom Arizona’s season by Week 4. Arizona has won five of the six meetings in the last three years against division rival San Francisco, with the only loss coming in a meaningless Week 17 contest in 2014. The Cardinals are not the 13-3 team of 2015 but we’ll find out here if they have any designs on being a better team than last year’s 7-8-1 edition. Lay the points!