As they say in the betting industry, I smell a trend. I have been two games over .500 for the last three weeks. I followed up back-to-back 8-6 weeks with a 7-5-1 record in Week 7.
The tie, unfortunately, came on my “best bet.” I picked the 49ers (-7) over the visiting Seahawks. It wasn’t the tie that bothered me as much as how that tie occurred. There was a penalty in the end zone on a fourth-down Seahawks pass that came up short. A penalty in the end zone while the quarterback is passing results in a safety, which would have given San Francisco a nine-point lead. But, not wanting to give the Seahawks another possession, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh declined the penalty, leaving the 49ers with a 13-6 lead and snatching a winning top pick out of my hands.
It was a heartbreaking week for my “other top picks” as well. Three of my five losses came from my “other top picks.” I was a combined seven points off the line with the three “other top picks” I got wrong.
My goal is to improve my top picks this week while continuing to stay above .500 with my overall picks. My best bet is the Chargers (-2½) at Cleveland. The Chargers are coming off a bye, which has been a good indicator this season. Add in that the Chargers blew a 24-point halftime lead against the Broncos in the game before the bye, and I think that adds up to a Chargers victory.
Because of Thursday Night Football, I have to make my picks early in the week, but, even without knowing the injury status of Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert and running back Maurice Jones-Drew, I like the Packers (-13) over visiting Jacksonville.
As for the Eagles (-2½) hosting the Falcons, I agree with the line. The Eagles will likely hand the Falcons their first loss of the season, improving to 14-0 after the bye week with Andy Reid as head coach. But I can’t pick the Eagles to win a game by more than two points until they actually do it. The Eagles win on a late field goal … but don’t cover the spread.
The following are my complete Week 8 selections:
(Home team in CAPS)
(Winning team against the line in bold)
Bucs +6½ at VIKINGS
Patriots -7 vs. RAMS
TITANS -3½ vs. Colts
PACKERS -13 vs. Jaguars
Chargers -2½ at BROWNS
EAGLES -2½ vs. Falcons
LIONS -2½ vs. Seahawks
JETS -2½ vs. Dolphins
BEARS -7½ vs. Panthers
STEELERS -5 vs. Redskins
CHIEFS -2 vs. Raiders
Giants -1 at COWBOYS
Saints +6 at BRONCOS
49ers +6½ at CARDINALS
Best bet: Chargers -2½ at BROWNS
Other top picks: PACKERS -13 vs. Jaguars; TITANS -3½ vs. Colts; BUCS +6½ at VIKINGS; CHIEFS -2 vs. Raiders
Overall: 7-5-1 (52-48-3 overall)
Best bet: 0-0-1 (2-4-1 overall)
Other top picks: 2-2 (13-13-2 this season)