I was beginning to embarrass myself with a 15-12 record betting ATS going into Week 9, but my prognosticating is currently back at levels I'm used to hitting... well, kind of, I suppose; and it's reassuring to note that my written English is as sharp as ever.
I'm 6-1 over the past two weeks, including going 4-0 last week; I tipped the Seahawks at -5.5 versus the Jets and I'll include here that I wrote I had Seattle pegged as a touchdown favourite. Yes, of course hindsight is the perfect science, but how weren't we going to cover a line as skinny as 5.5?
Sure, the Jets had pushed the Patriots close on the road just three weeks prior to last Sunday, covering the spread (+10.5) with ridiculous ease in Foxborough, but, lest we forget one, no, two important factors: a) the journey to Gillette Stadium from NJ is like a stroll to the local corner shop compared to a cross country trip to the Pacific Northwest and b) the Jets dislike the Patriots. The Jets dislike the Patriots??? If you think the Ravens hate the Steelers or the Steelers hate the Ravens, then multiply that by whichever number your noggin is able to compute when gauging the opprobrium directed towards Bill Belichick and Tom Brady from the green half of the inhabitants of MetLife Stadium.
Rex Ryan's (insert your own adjective here) bunch laid everything on the line in New England, straining sinews they didn't even know existed and the same effort couldn't ever be expected to be replicated in Seattle. It wasn't.
The Seahawks were 4-0 both SU and ATS at home before last week so how was a ragtag, sorry looking lot from the East coast ever going to overcome the CLink? As a bettor/handicapper, it's rare for any NFL game to look easy. We might think such a fixture exists, on too many occasions to mention here, but the Jets in Seattle asking the Seahawks to cover by less than two field goals over sixty minutes? It really was like buying money and please tell me you were lucky enough to smile with both your head and your heart come Monday morning.
The 4-0 record posted last week inflates the overall record on the season to 21-13, or 61.9% to those of you who like your figures even harder.
This week's slate presents something of a dilemma as one of the bets of the week comes in the form of the one team Seahawks followers want to lose, and badly. Tampa Bay -1 in Carolina would ordinarily be included as one of my three or four to follow and would be my ‘Aaron Curry' bet, but the heart overrules the head on this one and I have to defer to my better judgement. The temptation to lump on a form team who are 7-2 ATS this season and 4-0 ATS on the road is ridiculous, but so is the notion of wishing that team to usurp the Seahawks in the wild card jockeying.
The pickings instead need to be plucked from elsewhere, but my inkling for Miami +2.5 in Buffalo on Thursday night is better off ignored so you never just read that. No harm was done as the wallet wasn't given an airing, suffice to say that the Dolphins are beginning to implode a little, which is very considerate of them considering the Seahawks turn up next week. Even more considerate is that Seattle can be backed +1...at the moment.
Being one to not be coy in backing a heavy road underdog, I like Jacksonville in Houston this week. The Jaguars can be had +15.5 and I lean towards them for a couple of reasons. The Texans saw off the Bears in Chicago last week on primetime in a possible Super Bowl XLVII preview, a statement game for the franchise if ever there was one and I'm frequently wary of a team coming off an emotional win. My other reason for liking the Jags has nothing whatsoever to do with them, namely Houston's schedule after this week.
Four of their last six games are on the road, including the next three in a row after this one, in Detroit, Tennessee and New England, the latter a Monday Night Football blockbuster. In addition, they square up to Indianapolis twice in three weeks to finish the season; they have much bigger fish to fry than the irritant that is Jacksonville this week. Then there's the visitor's record on the road ATS this season, a somewhat surprising 4-0. Yep, you read that right. The Jacksonville Jaguars are 4-0 ATS on the road this season. I'm sorry, I had to write that twice as I didn't believe it myself when I first typed it.
Houston shouldn't come anywhere near close to losing here and should they build a big lead, as expected, their upcoming schedule may see them allow the Jags a back door cover. The more I write about this one, the more I like this bet.
Maybe it's because the Jets are still fresh in the memory after last week or maybe it's simply because they've looked worse than terrible (aside from the pressure Russell Wilson felt last week) ever since they ran the Patriots close, but they look staggeringly over fancied in St. Louis, not that they actually are the favourite. The Rams are being asked to cover just a three point line, which looks way too skinny, and particularly after they should've walked out of San Francisco with the W last week.
I don't even feel as though the Rams need justifying here. The Jets weren't in any kind of shape before Seattle. Since then, they've not been out of the headlines all week and if only even one solitary Jets fan could say it was for positive reasons. The season now can't end quickly enough for them and without wishing a division foe any good fortune, they are tremendous value -3.
I want to like Baltimore -3.5 in Pittsburgh as Ben Roethlisberger's absence should probably be significant, but this rivalry is so intense that anything could happen and it probably will. I also want to like the Bengals -3 in KC, but it's so hard to ever trust Cincy.
Pickings are slim this week, but I do have three to lay your hard earned down for, only that three is only two due to the embargo on the Bucs.
Please gamble responsibly on an NFL weekend that just ain't the same this week.
In addition to contributing here, Rob runs his own blog, Rob's NFL Yard and contributes atThe NFL Injury Report, so make sure you head over to those sites and check out more of his work.
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