Sunday Spreads Vol. 6: And Then There Were Four
I'm not sure where or if I put this down in writing, but my Super Bowl pick at the beginning of the season was Chiefs beating the Saints. I really thought that Drew Brees was going to have a swan song campaign in which he and Michael Thomas became the league's most dynamic passing duo and make it all the way to the big game. Then Russell Wilson happened.
As much as I'm still confident in the Chiefs winning it all this year, there are definitely a few unexpected teams that are keeping this league wide open well into Week 6. For this week's Sunday Spreads, here's a prop bet for each undefeated team playing on Sunday, as well as how I think the game will end against the spread.
All game times are in EST. All are according to the MGM Grand Sportsbook. Check your book for the most recent lines. The Seahawks are on a bye this week.
Houston Texans (1-4) at Tennessee Titans (4-0)-1 PM
I was really expecting the Bills to be the first team I talked about in this week's column, but Ryan Tannehill and his illegal forward passes made sure that didn't happen. Yes, I know that the game was decided by then, but not if you had the under.
I really want to give the Texans the benefit of the doubt and say that their poor start was due to the incompetence of Bill O'Brien, but despite their win against Jacksonville, more cracks are starting to show in this Houston organization.
In terms of betting on this game, the biggest red flag for Houston is their run defense. So far this season, the Texans have allowed both the most rushing yards and rushing first downs this season, which bodes very well for Tennessee own beast in Derrick Henry. One of Tannehill's top 2019 targets in the form of A.J Brown returned on Tuesday against Buffalo, so the offense may be a bit spread out, but considering the spread is a little too close for comfort for me, relying on the Alabama alumnus will be your best bet.
My Pick: Derrick Henry OVER 103.5 Rushing Yards (-121)
ATS: Ten -3.5 (-110)
Cleveland Browns (4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0)-1 PM
Big Ben is having a weird season. Although pretty efficient, with a completion percentage of over 70 percent and a touchdown-interception ratio of 10-1, he hasn't been throwing the ball very far. In Pittsburgh's first four games this year, ESPN Stats and Info reports that Roethlisberger ranks 30th in average air yards this season, with nearly sixty percent of his throws longer than twenty yards missing their targets. Luckily, Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner have been carrying this Steelers offense.
Luckily for Big Ben, Pittsburgh has been just as good on the other side of the ball, with some pundits claiming a new era of the "Steel Curtain." Currently, Pittsburgh leads the league in rushing defense, allowing only 256 yards total. In their first four games, Pittsburgh has held some incredible running backs to very low numbers; Saquon Barkley with 6 yards, David Johnson with 23, Melvin Gordon with 53. The only thing that would help Cleveland in their ground game is the injury report, as both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham are listed as questionable. However, look for Kareem Hunt to struggle against this tight Steelers defense.
My Pick: Kareem Hunt UNDER 64.5 yards (-115)
ATS: Steelers -3.5 (-106)
Green Bay Packers (4-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)-4:25 PM
Before I get into my pick, I just want to say that this is a game where you should ABSOLUTELY avoid the spread.
There are three things in life that are inevitable; death, taxes, and Rodgers-Brady being the best matchup of any given NFL season. While this will be the first time the classic rivalry is played while Brady isn't wearing a New England jersey, I don't expect the quality of this Quarterback duel to be anything less than what it's been in the past few years.
The Buccaneers defense has been a little mediocre this year, and I think it will be the difference maker in this game. So far this season, they have given up the fourth most receiving yards to running backs this year, and with someone like Aaron Jones at the RB position for Green Bay, expect him to get a lot of targets. Davante Adams is likely to make a return, so don't expect Jones to be the difference maker, but given how well Tampa controls the ground game, I would expect Jones to get a few targets in there. Regardless, Rodgers is going to have plenty of weapons at his disposal to sling some deep passes against a weak pass defense.
My Pick: Aaron Rodgers OVER 303.5 Passing Yards (-115)
ATS: Packers -1 (-110)