It’s an against the spread world and that’s how we roll in this column — ATS picks only. Pianow’s selections use the current NFL line as drawn from the Yahoo app at time of publishing.
• Patriots -2.5 at Steelers: New England was in a trap game, a look-ahead game, at Miami last week. That outcome means nothing to me, and you can argue, it didn’t matter much to the Patriots. This game is basically the AFC No. 1 seed game, and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have a ridiculous track record of bouncing back after a loss.
• Bills -3 vs. Dolphins: Going to sell off the Dolphins after the line may have overadjusted for their last two games. Bills are a completely different team when Tyrod Taylor is able to play, and I like fading the warm-weather team now asked to play in the cold.
• Washington -4 vs. Arizona: Both teams are banged up on both sides of the ball, common for a December game. But I get a major quarterback edge — Kirk Cousins over Blaine Gabbert — and Washington is several slots higher in my power ranks. I would have made this spread six or seven.
• Buccaneers +6 vs. Falcons: Tampa Bay has been impossible to trust all year, but the Falcons aren’t much different. This is a big number for a home dog on Monday night, and I’m thinking this turns into an emotional all-in game for Tampa, its last chance to play a game that matters. How will Steve Sarkisian throw away points this week?
Last Week: 4-1
This Week: 1-0 (thanks, Brock Osweiler)
Yahoo Noise Speaks Up:
#TeamHuevos Total of the Week – NE/PIT OVER 53.5. Combine the forces of the entire Marvel Universe and face it off against D.C. Comics superheroes and you have a back-and-forth brawl of fantastical proportions. The NFL equivalent, my fellow degenerates, is what will occur this week in Pittsburgh. Both teams possess explosive offenses. Both teams feature seriously flawed defenses (PIT: 8.5 ypa allowed since Week 8; NE: 271.2 pass yards per game allowed on the year). Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady should slice through the opposition with the execution and steady hand of a renowned surgeon. Full disclosure, the betting trends don’t support a shootout. Pittsburgh has gone under in 25 of its past 37 games against AFC foes and the series has fallen shy of the proposed total two of the last three meetings. Still, Brady, off a mammoth letdown in Miami, and Big Ben, off a 500-yard dissection of Baltimore, function uninhibitedly. Fearless Forecast: New England 34 Pittsburgh 31
#FadeTheNoise ATS Pick of the Week – San Francisco -2. Jimmy G is an appropriate nickname for Garoppolo. His excellent efforts the past two weeks will soon be rewarded with multiple thousands in the bank account. Against Chicago and Houston he compiled an impressive 8.9 yards per attempt and completed 65.7 percent of his passes. Though he and Marquise Goodwin are attached at the hip, the ascending passer accomplished that with a largely vanilla arsenal. Logan Ryan has stepped up his game the past few weeks, but Tennessee, for the most part, remains a beatable pass unit (249.5 yards, 1.9 pass TDs per game allowed). Add that to the Niners’ remarkable turnaround defensively the past five weeks, thanks to Reuben Foster, along with Marcus Mariota’s bum knee/floundering play and laying action on a basement-dwelling team at home doesn’t seem outrageous. Bank on the Gold Panners winning outright for the fourth time in five games. Fearless Forecast: San Francisco 20 Tennessee 16
Dalton Del Don To Close:
Supercontest: We’ve gone 11-4 over the past three weeks, but admittedly, I found this slate especially difficult, ultimately settling on the Eagles (-7.5), Saints (-15.5), Washington (-4), 49ers (-2) and Cowboys (-3). As they say, underdogs are for squares and suckers. Or something like that. Just remember to blame my partner if things go south.
Bet of the Week: For the second week in a row, I’m taking the 49ers. On one hand, it’s odd to see a 3-10 team favored over an 8-5 squad. On the other, this line looks small considering the Titans are frauds (they’ve been outscored by 21 points this season) with a QB who sports a 3:11 TD:INT on the road this year and up against a Niners team that’s played far better defense lately and have Joe Montana 2.0 at quarterback. Las Vegas has been too slow reflecting both, and Jimmy G should have no problem picking apart Tennessee’s secondary. This is one of my favorite bets of the year. Take 49ers -1.5 BET = $220 to win $200