Rivers will be playing with junk this week as he faces the Broncos
Photo Credit: Conman33
As a football handicapper, it’s important to remember these three cardinal rules:
1. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is
What i’m geting at here is that if you see a spread that clearly doesn’t correlate with the current situation in the NFL (like a 3-1 team at home off three wins in a row only giving up three points to a 1-3 team), you should be skeptical. After all, the bookies aren’t dummies, they know probably more than you do about the games, and their primary goal is to steal your money. So play it smart, if a spread is clearly begging you to pick a specific team, pick the other one. Now, there are certain situations where it is wise to pick the “obvious bet”, but from my experience, i find it beneficial to roll the dice on the opposite team, it has done me well in the past (Starbonell's editor note: Occhionero's mom has done me well in the past).
2. I don’t care if you could have sworn Team A was going to have a good year, live in the now!
Did you hear that a team was supposed to have a turnaround season, but isn't living up to their expectations. I’m sure you’ve said to yourselves, “they have to turn it around, this team is 'supposed' to be good." Please, get these thoughts out of your head. As a handicapper, you must live in the now. Don’t let the propaganda out there fool you..
This brings me to the final and most important point...
3. Make your own decisions
You hear a lot of information out there, whether it be about a team's defense, coaching changes, rumours, etc. The problem is that often these “reports” aren’t as accurate as they claim to be. The point in all this is to read the information, but analyze the situation yourself, and ultimately make your own decisions. This is the only way you’ll achieve success.
With that, here are my five Golden Picks for the week. I’m 2-2 on the season thus far. I’ll be keeping tally all year. I also add in a survivor pick for good measure.
More after the jump:
San Francisco -3 over Tampa Bay
Many are expecting Tampa to easily come away with a victory here, but i`m not too sure. Thus far, Tampa has not overly impressed me. Although they are 3-1, two of their victories have come against bottom feeder teams (Minnesota and Indianapolis) and all three of their victories have been won by no more than a TD. Keep in mind, that San Francisco is also 3-1, yet they are coming off an impressive win against Philadelphia. They also should have won the game against Dallas, which would have made them 4-0. Their defense is legit, and with their insane ability to stop the run, LeGarette Blount will have a hard time getting things going, forcing Tampa to air it out. As much as I respect Josh Freeman as a QB, he won`t be able to get it done by himself. Back the Niners who win outright.
Philadelphia -3 over Buffalo
This is clearly a bizarre spread. Buffalo is a 3-1 team, coming off a tough loss to the weaker Bengals. There is no doubt that they’re poised for a comeback performance. The Eagles on the other hand are 1-3, yet have been made the favorite in this game. There`s good reason for that. Although "struggling," signs point to greener pastures for the Eagles. After all, Michael Vick is coming off a plus 400 yard effort. The truth is Philly needs this game more, and I guarantee they will come out guns blazing against a Buffalo defense that has given up an average of 405 yards a game. Back the Eagles who win by at least a touchdown.
New York Jets +9.5 over New England
Yes, for the record I do expect New England to win this game, but this spread is a little ridiculous. The Jets may not be the same team from last year, but they always find a way to play tough against the Pats. Rex Ryan is no slump of a coach, and you can expect he`s going to throw everything he can against his division rival. The Pats may be the real deal offensively, but their defense is weak, and this game will thus likely be a lot closer than one may think. They will win this one by no more than a TD. Back the Jets
Jacksonville -2 over the Bengals
The first cardinal rule mentioned earlier applies in this situation. Cincinatti is 2-2, has the best defense in the league, and is coming off an upset victory over the Bills who are no slouch of a football team. As you can see, Jacksonville has been given the favorite nod, which is completely bizarre. The Jaguars have not been impressive thus far, and it`s clear that they aren`t a playoff caliber team. So why do I advise you to take them? For starters they are at home, always a good thing, but more importantly, the spread is practically begging you to take the points. The bookie is reeling you in folks, so be weary and back the Jags, who will pull things together and win this game by a late game field goal.
San Diego -4 over Denver
I understand that this is a divisional game, and San Diego has a knack for playing teams close, but let`s be realistic. Denver is a mess of a football team, concerned more with the Tim Tebow craze than with football right now. Even their fans have no faith. It`s also reassuring to note that despite the 3-1 record, San Diego and especially Philip Rivers have not reached their full potential. This is an elite team, and one that will not let other teams push them around. Last week`s performance against Miami is a sign of what is to come this week. Back San Diego, who runs away with this one.
Surviving Week 5
San Diego has already been taken here, so they are automatically out of the equation. Therefore, we're left with an interesting choice. The Giants are tempting but I have a bad feeling that the Hawks are not going to bow down easy. So I suggest you take the New Orleans Saints over the Panthers this week, who may not cover the spread but will pull out a victory in this one.
Now it`s your turn gamers, who are your locks for the week? Take it to the comments. For now, this has been your captain speaking.