Chalk was the theme of the week last week and there were few surprises in the other games.  It took a missed chip shot field goal to eliminate a few people this week who went with the Bucs over the Giants. The Eagles were upset by the Lions but we recommended to avoid that game as the Eagles were without Jeffery and Jackson.  As we start getting into bye weeks and having less teams to choose from, the picks will be getting a little more difficult.  On the other hand we are getting a better read on the teams and can make our picks with a little more history behind them.

We start with our home favorites who are 7 point favorites or more.  That gives us the Rams over the Bucs at 9.5, the Ravens over the Browns at 6.5 (dropped to 6.5 at Westgate on Wednesday, still 7 at several other sportsbooks), and the Colts over the Raiders at 7.  We have used the Ravens in week 2 so they aren’t consideration for my pick this week but we’ll still evaluate the game in case you haven’t used them. 

The Rams face a devastated Tampa team who lost on wide left field goal attempt as time ran out after Jameis Winston hit Mike Evans on a long pass to get them in position to win the game. Tampa has to travel to the west coast and faces a tough Rams defense who played well on the road against the Browns.  The Rams have a 75% chance of winning this week and make an excellent choice.

The Colts played a good game against the Falcons at home last week without their star second year linebacker Darius Leonard .  The Falcons made the game close in the second half, but the Colts hung on for the win.  The Raiders are improving but were no match for the Vikings in Minnesota last week. The Vikings used the running game to dominate and the Colts have been running the ball well with Marlon Mack so far this season.  Mack was questionable last week but made the start and averaged almost 5 YPC and had a touchdown.  A healthy Mack, another trip east for the Raiders and the potential return of Leonard have given the Colts a 74% of winning.

The Ravens fell behind to the Chiefs last week and couldn’t recover.  They play the Browns at home who have struggled to start the season.  Even though this matchup meets our home/point spread criteria, it has our avoid divisional games tag.  I haven’t been impressed with the Browns so far this year and the loss of their best linebacker doesn’t help.  With the talent the Browns have on offense, the questions have arisen about Freddie Kitchens’ play calling and the ability of Baker Mayfield who was called overrated by Rex Ryan.  The Ravens are given a 65% chance of winning the game, but I took them in week 2 in order to avoid them in this spot.  Use at your own risk.

One of the things we are going to look at every week is who is playing the Dolphins?  The Chargers are the biggest favorite of the week.  We’ve been down this road before with such a large road favorite over the hapless Fins.  Taking a peek at the rest of the Chargers schedule, I don’t see a better spot to take them than this week.  The spread is 15.5 and we saw in week two that no road favorite has ever lost as a 17 point road favorite.  It’s close enough to consider it in this category and they have a 79% chance of winning, which is the highest of the week. The Chargers couldn’t muster a running game against the Texans, but the Cowboys ran all over the Dolphins and I expect the Chargers to be able to do the same.  With Rivers to Allen also heating up, this should be an easy win for LA.

The pick this week is the CHARGERS.  Their schedule doesn’t look like there is another good opportunity to pick them so I’ll take them here even though it’s a road game. At some point will the Dolphins win a game? If they do, that’s a week you hopefully don’t pick against them.  As the season wears on, we will be looking at times to fade the team playing the Dolphins. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I’ll be looking at that angle in the weeks to come. The Colts would be my second choice, but I’m saving them when they play the Dolphins at home in November.  The Rams should also win, but they get the Bengals at home in two weeks and may be targeted there.  If you don’t want to go chalk, and hope for the upset, Houston, New England, Pittsburgh and Atlanta can be considered.

So far we’re alive having used the Eagles, Ravens and Cowboys.  Let’s keep it rolling with the Chargers this week.