Great news, everybody: Scotch works.
After struggling for weeks to properly fade Kevin Wheeler’s football picks, I took Aaron Rodgers’ philosophy of dealing with my problems and poured myself a glass of scotch, then broke down the film.
The result? I went 4-2 last week, with one Eagles’ meltdown against the Cowboys on Sunday night from going 5-1.
My record against Wheeler still stands at the very horses–t tally of 16-18-1, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. One more good weekend and I’ll be on top, so let’s all pour a glass of scotch and get to this week’s picks.
NFL Week 9
Cowboys @ Browns
Wheeler likes the Broncos, who are my favorite play in Week 9, so I can’t fade him on the big Sunday night matchup. So I’ll take a shot on the winless Browns. The Cowboys just played the Eagles last Sunday night at home and will travel to Pittsburgh next week for a big showdown against the Steelers. Smack in the middle of those two games are the Browns, who are starting rookie Cody Kessler instead of sticking with veteran Josh McCown.
Cleveland has been competitive in nearly every game this season, which is a testament to the job coach Hue Jackson has done. The Cowboys have covered the spread in six consecutive games but perhaps they’re due to lay an egg and will overlook the Browns, who keep the game within a touchdown.
Wheeler: Cowboys -7
Stalter: Browns +7
Colts @ Packers
I want to believe in the Colts, I really do. I love Andrew Luck and don’t understand why many suggest he’s somehow overrated. The problem is that he doesn’t have much help around him and he’s no longer winning games virtually on his own.
The Packers have major injury problems but Aaron Rodgers played well in the loss to Atlanta last week and should rip an Indianapolis defense that ranks 29th in total yards allowed, 30th in passing yards allowed, and 27th in points allowed. Seven points with a hook feels like a lot to lay given Green Bay’s issues but the Pack should win by 10-plus at home.
Wheeler: Colts +7.5
Stalter: Packers -7.5
Lions @ Vikings
Call this one a hunch but I think the change at offensive coordinator will do the Vikings good. They won’t play as poorly defensively as they did on Monday night in Chicago and if Pat Shurmur can implement more of the short, quick passing game that made Sam Bradford and the Vikings offense effective at the start of the season, Minnesota should pull away in the second half. I’m not thrilled about laying six points on a Vikings team that has looked like crap two weeks in a row, but Minnesota will be both highly motivated and focused for its division rival.
Wheeler: Lions +6
Stalter: Vikings -6
College Football Week 10
Alabama @ LSU
I’m 0-3 in fading Wheeler when he takes Bama (which is every week, and who can blame him?), but I feel good about taking the points with the home dog on Saturday night. The key, however, is Danny Etling’s ability to take advantage of some of the one-on-one opportunities that he’ll have when Bama (presumably) stacks the box to stop Leonard Fournette. That’s one thing Brandon Harris didn’t do a year ago in Tuscaloosa and Fournette was shut down by the Tide’s outstanding front seven (which included a defensive line that flat whipped the Tigers’ offensive line). LSU has been more versatile offensively since Ed Oregeron took over for the dismissed Les Miles and promoted Steve Ensminger from quarterback’s coach to offensive coordinator. Plus, with Eddie Jackson out for the season with a leg injury, Alabama is down one of its best defenders for this matchup. For as good as Jalen Hurts has been this season, he’s a freshman that will be playing in one of the most hostile environments in the nation. Bama may win, but I’ll take the points with LSU.
Wheeler: Alabama -7.5
Stalter: LSU +8.5
TCU @ Baylor
Wheels wrote that this might be his biggest mistake of the week, but I understand why he would fade Baylor after the Bears lost outright as a small favorite last Saturday at Texas. That said, TCU’s quarterback situation is a mess and assuming the Bears are ticked off about suffering their first loss of the season, they should win by 10-plus against the Horned Frogs. TCU is 0-4 against the spread in its last four games and 0-5 ATS in its last five conference games, while Baylor is 29-11 at the betting window in its last 40 home games.
Wheeler: TCU +8.5
Stalter: Baylor -8.5
Oklahoma State @ Kansas State
This line doesn’t make sense. The Cowboys have reeled off four straight wins and are coming off an impressive 37-20 victory over previously unbeaten West Virginia to move into sole possession of second place in the Big 12. Now they’re an underdog against a good but not elite Kansas State team? And they’re the team that is ranked? That said, Bill Snyder usually has his team ready to play and Kansas State’s Jesse Ertz has emerged as a dual-threat at quarterback. Plus, the Cowboys are 0-5 against the spread in their last five games versus the Wildcats and are 1-5 ATS in their last six trips to Manhattan, so I’ll play into the weird line.
Wheeler: Oklahoma State +3
Stalter: Kansas State -3