It was a shaky first week for all of the Bay Area Sports Guy contributors in our first week picking against the spread. No one finished better than 8-8, and poor Bay Area Duck Guy did his best impression of the 1980s Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 2-14 finish.
All we can do is move on with humble hearts, which should be pretty easy. Perhaps one or two of us will get hot and break out of this prison of mediocrity, or perhaps the best we can hope for as a group is to provide a warning to the kids out there who think gambling is cool. It isn’t. It’s a dangerous scourge on society, and destroys lives and local radio segments.
Onto this week’s picks!
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-5.5)
**Packers won 23-10**
Bay Area Sports Guy:
East Bay Sports Guy: Packers
Bay Area Stats Guy:
Ruthless Sports Guy: Packers
Bay Area Duck Guy: Packers
Oakland Raiders (-1.5) @ Miami Dolphins
Bay Area Sports Guy: In the 1970s this would’ve been the game of the week. Instead, it’s a battle of franchises that haven’t produced evidence in years that they have the foggiest idea what they’re doing. After watching the Raiders bore us to tears on Monday against San Diego, I have a hard time believing they should be a favorite any time they travel to the eastern side of the U.S. — even against a team as bad as Miami. Pick: Dolphins
East Bay Sports Guy: There are plenty of reasons to dislike the Raiders, the least of which being their week 1 performance. The Raiders must make a cross-country trip on a short week, which is obviously problematic. They were also beat handily by a very similar Dolphins team last season. Still, there are even more reasons to dislike Miami. The Dolphins weren’t able to stop the short-area passing attack of the Titans last week, and I don’t think they’ll be able to stop it this week. Pick: Raiders
Bay Area Stats Guy: I have the Dolphins winning this game about 52% of the time and with how the Raiders looked last week and then having to go on the road I feel pretty good about that. The projection model says that the Dolphins will win by a filed goal with the average margin of victory of 1.5 points. Pick: Dolphins
Ruthless Sports Guy: Hopefully the Raiders’ defenders have been watching Hard Knocks and doing their snap count homework. Do I really have to pick against the spread here? I’d rather bet the under. Home dogs cover – that’s all you’re going to get from me. Pick: Dolphins
Bay Area Duck Guy: After losing to the Chargers at home, I don’t have much faith in the Raiders. But they’re playing the Dolphins. Pick: Raiders
Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers (-7)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Since these teams last played, the 49ers have gone 10-3, with their only loss at home coming in overtime in the NFC Championship Game. Meanwhile, the Lions have gone 6-6 (2-4 on the road) since the handshake/backslap extravaganza. Defensively, the challenge is the same for the Niners — contain Calvin Johnson without ignoring Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew. In last year’s game, Detroit focused defensively on Vernon Davis, who ended up with only 2 catches for 8 yards. If the Lions come in thinking the 49ers are running the same one-dimensional offense they were a year ago, this one could get ugly early. Pick: 49ers
East Bay Sports Guy: There are a few reasons why I like the 49ers. For one, the Lions’ receiving corps pales in comparison to that of Green Bay. I realize the physical prowess of Calvin Johnson is unparalleled. But outside of Johnson, the Lions don’t posses the same caliber of receivers as the Packers do. Further, while I’m certain that Calvin Johnson will have his day (he certainly did last year), I am equally as certain that the 49ers can weather it. My chief reason for choosing the 49ers: I think Alex Smith is a better quarterback than Matt Stafford, and I believe this will be exemplified on Sunday. Pick: 49ers
Bay Area Stats Guy: This is tough and it makes me glad that I am not doing this where my heart will get me into trouble. Eight points is just too much, I like the 49ers to win but I expect it to be a close game. I have the 49ers winning 56% of the time but the average victory is just 1.8 points. The Median margin is 3 and the most common outcome was 24-20 in favor of the 49ers, so I think that the Lions will keep it close. Pick: Lions
Ruthless Sports Guy: When this line opened up at (-6.5) I said I would take the 49ers if they were favored by anything under a touchdown. The line has since moved to 7, and the movement may be reactionary – the 49ers may not be as good as they looked last week, and the Lions may not be as bad as they looked. The 49ers will win, but if Detroit’s late comeback against the Rams says anything, they will make this a close game. Pick: Lions
Bay Area Duck Guy: I was impressed last week by San Francisco’s play against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on the road, so I’ve got to take them beating a lesser team at home. Pick: 49ers
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles (-1)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Not only are the Ravens better, but Michael Vick’s I’m-not-going-to-swear-so-I-can-help-my-image performance while mic’d up in Week 1 gives me another (totally irrational) reason to go against Philly. Was I dreaming, or did he really say, “We gotta put the pedal to the metal on these dudes”? Pick: Ravens
East Bay Sports Guy:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of football score,
Though applauded, hands a-clapping, the Ravens victory is worth unwrapping,
As their victory was a trapping, trapping because the Bengals defense is a bore.
“‘Tis premature,” I muttered, “they only beat the Bengals.
Only this, and nothing more.”
But then my insight, thinking boldy of the Ravens undefeated but unjustly, spoke to me one word, with one word it did predict the score.
Nothing further did it uttered – more in language than in numbers,
“Pick the Ravens, Nevermore.”
Bay Area Stats Guy: This one should be a very close match up and if I was betting real money this is a game I would stay away from. The Ravens are projected to win 51% of the time but the margin is just 0.6 points. The most common score is 17-14 Eagles so by no means do I feel good about this bet so I will cross my fingers and go with the Ravens. Pick: Ravens
Ruthless Sports Guy: So let me get this straight: The Eagles played hands down the sloppiest game of the week against the god awful Browns; meanwhile, the Ravens beat up on the division rival Bengals convincingly. Now they face off in Philadelphia, and the Ravens are GETTING a point? The Ravens should be favored in this game; I don’t like it one bit. This smells like Vegas trying to pull a fast one. Pick: Eagles
Bay Area Duck Guy: Although the Ravens are on the road, their defense will best the Eagles by stopping McCoy and Vick’s running attack. Pick: Ravens
Season to Date