When first analyzing the games this week, my initial thought was how many close lines there were in which the underdogs looked appealing. Is that a good thing? The underdogs have only covered four times in 12 games this season with a point spread of three or fewer points.
Maybe this week will be different.
We’ll pick the prime-time games, a premiere Sunday afternoon game, a pick of the week, an upset special in which the underdog is picked to win outright on the moneyline, and then a bonus player prop.
Last week’s record: 3-3 overall, 2-2 versus the spread; 0-1 in the upset pick on the moneyline; 1-0 on player props.
Season record: 7-5 overall; 5-3 versus the spread; 0-2 in the upset pick on the moneyline; 2-0 on player props.
Best Sunday afternoon game: Packers +1 at Buccaneers
As tough as it is to bet against Tom Brady, the Buccaneers’ injury report (combined with the one-game suspension of Mike Evans) is worrisome. They could play without Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, depleting Brady’s weapons against a defense that already leads the NFL in pressure rate (42 percent). The Bucs’ defense is also as good as advertised — No. 1 in EPA/play, only 13 points allowed in two games — but Rodgers threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns when they last played in January 2021. (He didn’t fare as well in the regular season that year.) The rosters are different since those meetings, but the Packers are getting healthier on the offensive line. The game is essentially a pick ’em with two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, so I’ll bet on the team with less expected roster attrition.