Week 8 College and NFL Pick ‘Em: SportsChump vs The Wife Hates Sports vs The Wife

Bigger picture.

When picking your lines for the weekend’s action, it often helps to look at the season’s bigger picture.

Let’s take a few games last weekend and how they turned into winners with a little help from that bigger picture.

Nobody in their right mind had Denver at home beating Green Bay, which surprised me.  Sure, Denver is an atrocious football team that has underachieved ever since signing Russell Wilson.  But at least we thought they’d be good.  On the flipside, we weren’t sure about Jordan Love.  In fact, we still aren’t.  A closer look at the Broncos’ numbers shows they were heavily skewed thanks to their blowout loss to Miami.  A closer look at Green Bay found not a single impressive win.  I liked Denver.  That was a game they should have won and did.  It didn’t surprise me as it did so many others.

Same thing with the Minnesota Vikings who are, like the Broncos, a tremendously underachieving football team.  They cannot run the football, their superstar wide receiver is hurt, and we routinely talk about how long it will be before they move on from Kirk Cousins.  They were hosting the San Francisco 49ers who many had crowned Super Bowl champions.  What happened?  The Vikings beat the Niners handily.

Upsets are going to happen, it’s just a matter of finding them.  The Niners, with their second-year quarterback, finally showed vulnerability and the Vikings showed that, when they want to be, they have the talent to beat anyone in the league.

Gambling is a tricky endeavor.  Always be sure to gamble within your bankroll and scour statistics with a grain of salt.  Don’t be surprised when one team topples another for a reason that only you realized.

Now, on to our picks for the week…

$50 on Georgia Bulldogs at Florida Gators (+21 ½) in Jacksonville, Florida

What you have in Gainesville, Florida, are a bunch of hopeful fans.  They (we) keep waiting for the program’s return to dominance. Then reality sets in and they find themselves losing (again) to Kentucky.  This weekend will be Florida’s biggest measuring stick, and Coach Billy Napier’s most important game to date, the annual cocktail party against top-ranked Georgia.  Florida is in the middle of a nightmare they thought they’d never see, playing Georgia as two-time defending national champion.  Is this the end of Georgia’s run or is Florida disillusioned?  I can tell you that this line opened in some spots at over three touchdowns, the line I’m taking as I was waiting weeks for it to open.  Gambling sharps, Florida alum, or some combination of the two quicky bet it down to 14 ½.  I’m one of those disillusioned alum so I plan on betting Florida money line but at 21 ½, this line is too good to pass up.  Florida has too much talent on that field to get blown out and Georgia is missing its super tight end, Brock Bowers.  Saturday will tell us just how close or how far Florida is away from contending with the top teams in the nation.  I’m betting that distance is within three touchdowns.  I’m taking Florida to cover.

$40 on Minnesota Vikings (+1) at Green Bay Packers

Remember above when I talked about how Green Bay wasn’t as good as I thought and how Minnesota wasn’t as bad?  It’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is.  The Vikes are still without Justin Jefferson but that didn’t seem to matter last week as rookie Jordan Addison showed why Kirk Cousins is always smiling.  Addison worked overtime, hauling in 7 receptions for 123 yards and two scores.  It’s a good thing he did because Minnesota sure can’t run the football.  Did you know the Vikings are the only team in the NFL without a rushing touchdown?  They’re 30th in the league in rushing yards per game and their longest run is for 19 yards.  Green Bay isn’t much better.  They’ve only ran it in four times.  If neither of these teams can run the football effectively, I like the team with the better passing attack.  Minnesota is tied for the league lead in passing touchdowns and ranks top three in passing yardage per game.  That’s an obscenely unhealthy imbalance but it’s good enough to get a win in Green Bay.  On a short week, Minnesota rides the wave of beating San Fran.  Vikes cover the point they’re getting in Lambeau.

$30 on New York Jets/New York Giants (Under 37)

New York City supermarkets are expected to experience paper grocery bag shortage this weekend as the Jets play the Giants. Here’s hoping fans have enough sense to not cut the eyeballs out so they won’t have to watch what should be an unwatchable game.  Yes, I know everyone is back on the Jets bandwagon after their win against Philadelphia, but they still can’t score.  If they could out up points as well as they could defend, they’d be the San Francisco 49ers.  Instead, the Jets are dead last in the league in passing yards per game with their defense keeping them in every game.  This week, the Giants contemplated bringing back Danny Dimes but then realized playing the Jets might not be the best time to send their contracted quarterback back into concussion protocol.  With Tyrod Taylor starting, the G-Men beat Washington and almost beat Buffalo.  But they still can’t score.  The Giants have scored 54 points in their last five games and this week face one of the league’s best defenses.  This over/under is already low at 37 and that’s probably too high.  With two teams that can’t score, I’ll take the Jets/Giants to go under the number on a dark, dreary day in New York leaving all those in the stadium wondering why they didn’t just stay at home and watch Sopranos reruns.

$20 on Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers (+3)

It’s about time that we start asking ourselves a legitimate question.  How bad are the Carolina Panthers?  They’re 0-6 so far this season and only one of their losses has been within 7 points.  To be fair, they’ve played some pretty good teams, their last two losses coming at Miami and Detroit.  But is Carolina bad enough to go 0-17?  And if they’re not, which games on their schedule do we see as potential wins?  Enter the Houston Texans.  CJ Stroud has emerged as the leading offensive rookie of the year candidate while his counterpart in Carolina, Bryce Young, already has fans questioning whether they made the right decision at number one.  In other words, what we have here is a battle of the top two draft picks from last year’s class.  Considering Carolina hasn’t won anything for Young yet, they’ll want to.  The kid is in dire need of a confidence boost.  Look for vets like Adam Thielen and DJ Chark to make Young’s life a little easier while the defense steps up to frustrate Stroud.  Don’t get me wrong, the Carolina Panthers are bad, but not bad enough to not get this kid his first win against the guy who went one spot below him.  Yes, this game boils down to just that.  The Panthers are three-point dogs at home.  They’ll get the win outright, but I’ll take the three if I’m getting them. Panthers cover.

$10 on New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (-9)

Bill Belichick had seen enough.  Pundits everywhere were calling for his head, claiming the game had passed him by and that the quarterback he handpicked to succeed Tom Brady was a bust.  While all this may still be true, they weren’t last week as the Patriots finally found their mojo and beat division rival Buffalo.  The Patriots were 1-5 headed into that game, their only win against the Jets.  In their previous three outings, they’d scored a combined 20 points.  They had no business beating Buffalo in Buffalo.  I’m not sure what happened that day, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience for Bills fans who’d assumed victory was a foregone conclusion.  This weekend, the riding-high Patriots travel to South Florida to face that other division rival, the Miami Dolphins, who are coming off a tough loss to the Eagles where they were, in a word, out-physicalled.  The Dolphins learned a lot on their trip to Philly.  As good as they are, they understand it’s going to take a lot more than razzle-dazzle and Tyreek Hill’s quest for 2,000 receiving yards to win a Super Bowl.  They’re going to have to win the battle of the line of scrimmage, something they were unable to do repeatedly in Philadelphia.  A bad New England team is riding high off their win in Buffalo… but they’re still bad.  Miami is not as bad as that beatdown they received in Philadelphia and they’ll show that this week, even with a Hill who’s not 100%.  With a win this week, the Dolphins can keep the game distance between them and the Bills.  The Dolphins should be thanking New England for that win last week.  They’ll do that this weekend by beating them in Miami and covering the nine points.

The Wife’s Picks for the Week (Career 2-3, -$10)

$50: Kansas City Chiefs (-7) at Denver Broncos
 – I asked if it was because of Taylor Swift and she said “No – it’s because they are doing well” – and I’m trying to decide if I’m confused.

$40: Houston Texans (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers – She remembers me quizzing her and my son on the only team in the NFL that was currently winless.

$30: Philadelphia Eagles (-7) at Washington Commanders – when I asked why, she said “Because according to you, the ‘Commanderskins’ stink”. I mean, she’s not wrong.

$20: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (+1) – There’s a reason my family of mostly “Packer Backers” welcomed her in with open arms.

$10: Georgia Bulldogs (-14) at Florida Gators – She remembers the Georgia fan in our neighborhood that gave out tons of candy on Halloween and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t realize where the SportsChump’s allegiance lies. Hey Chump, at least it’s at the bottom of her list.

The Wife Hates Sports’ Picks for the Week

$50: Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill is out this week. Statistically, he hasn’t been all that impactful this season, but he’s a veteran QB that can run the offense efficiently. The Titans will reportedly roll with a combination of Malik Willis and rookie Will Levis at quarterback. The Falcons rank third in total defense (285.4 ypg allowed). The talk all week has been focusing more on Atlanta RB Bijan Robinson not appearing on the injury report. It should instead be the Tennessee QB situation and Robinson not being used enough. I think that changes this week and the young QB’s of the Titans struggle. Falcons cover on the road.

$40: Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) at Arizona Cardinals

My brain has Admiral Ackbar’s line “It’s a trap!” running through my head over and over again. So as I push that aside, my focus remains on how juicy this line appears. Yes, it’s a road game and a long way to travel for the Ravens. But Baltimore is coming off a dismantling of the high-octane Lions. The Ravens are 2nd in the NFL in total defense (271.7 ypg allowed), only trailing the Browns. Arizona QB Joshua Dobbs has struggled over his last three games: 1) vs Cincinnati (QBR: 9.8), 2) at LA Rams (QBR: 17.1), 3) at Seattle (QBR: 42.2). Add in the element and versatility that Lamar Jackson provides on the other side, and well…it’s hard to not love Baltimore here. Ravens cover on the road.

$30: Indiana Hoosiers (+31) at Penn State Nittany Lions

I feel dirty picking against my alma mater. Perhaps I’m still salty at the Nittany Lions. The wounds from another big-game collapse are still fresh. Certainly, I trust Drew Allar and love his accountability and passion speaking after last week’s loss to the Buckeyes. I still don’t trust the Penn State receivers. There is no clear second option. Mike Yurcich’s offense is more vanilla than a soft serve cone at Dairy Queen – and that still surprises me considering the offensive numbers he put up at Texas and Ohio State. The Hoosiers – despite being blown off the field against those sign-stealing Wolverines – have kept most games somewhat respectable this year. So while I think Penn State wins comfortably, it won’t be by five TD’s. Give me the Hoosiers and the points on the road.

$20: Clemson Tigers at North Carolina State Wolfpack (+9.5)

Boy, the dominance of Clemson became a thing of the past rather quickly. It’s kind of like grabbing fast food on a road trip. You go in thinking you’ll just eat normally, but you shovel it in faster than the SportsChump serves drinks at his bar. That’s how fast Clemson football has faded. So I like N.C. State as a home dog this week. Defensively (in yards allowed), the Wolfpack rank 27th against the run and 63rd against the pass. My concern lies with the pass game, where the ‘Pack have thrown more picks than TD’s. But my gut is sticking with this pick, because Clemson is no longer dominating teams in its conference. Give me the Wolfpack and the points at home.

$10: Cincinnati Bengals (+5) at San Francisco 49ers

The Bengals have been a shell of themselves this season, but on paper, they are much healthier than the Niners. Two weeks ago, the question was when San Francisco would lose (and if they would lose). That was followed abruptly by back-to-back losses, including last Monday night in Minnesota. Christian McCaffrey (oblique) is banged up, but lined up to play – and that worries me considering Cincy ranks 29th in the NFL against the run (142.8 ypg). However, Brock Purdy is questionable and in concussion protocol. OL Trent Williams is also questionable. WR Deebo Samuel has already been ruled out, leaving a gaping hole in the WR depth chart. Sam Darnold may start. These injuries combined with short rest leave me to believe this game will be close. Give me the Bengals and the points on the road.

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2 Replies to “Week 8 College and NFL Pick ‘Em: SportsChump vs The Wife Hates Sports vs The Wife”

  1. Heard about the shootout . I hope all is well with you and the crew. Take care my friend.
    May peace be with you.

  2. We made it thru, Deac, altho Tampa’s City Council has compounded the issue with some over-reactionary policy.

    That’s why the Chump, along with countless others in the service industry community, had to represent.

    I was ready for my close up. I even have footage if you’re interested.

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