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November 5, 2017

There are two NFL picks today.

#1: Take Tennessee Titans -3 spread against Baltimore Ravens for 3% of the bankroll.

The Ravens head to Music City with a long list of injuries. Many of them will suit up and attempt to play today but they are banged up and may not contribute much. The Titans, on the other hand, are coming off a bye-week and are the much healthier squad going into this matchup. The week off came at a great time for Mike Mularkey’s roster as several players were dealing with a few minor knocks of their own. Quarterback Marcus Mariota for example started the season averaging 29 rushing yards but was only able to run for 4 yards in each of the last two contests, since he was coming off a hamstring injury. Not having rested it for two weeks, it wouldn’t surprise us if he was back to being the elusive runner that he is! He stays in the pocket much more than in years past and rightly so but defenses have always respected his speed and that keeps them honest.

If Mariota can flash some of his speed early in the game (and we expect him to), it’ll make the day easier for Tennessee’s back-field duo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. That RB tandem is one of the best in the league and is able to hurt defenses with both speed and power! When you add Mariota’s ability to scramble and move the chains with his own legs as well as his arms, it makes the Titans’ offense a pretty unpredidctable and potent one. We believe they were limping into their bye-week and yet doing enough to win games but now that they are fresh and have had ample time to prepare for this game, you should see them be a little more explosive.

Joe Flacco will play after clearing the concussion protocol but there’s no doubt he took a major hit from Kiko Alonso in their previous game. He was dazed and confused and hasn’t been playing well this season even when at 100%. Now, when he and many of his receivers have been limited in practice this week, this struggling offense could have another tough day on its hands. The Ravens’ offense has done little this year outside of Alex Collins. Many of the points Baltimore has scored have actually come from defensive touchdowns thanks to timely turnovers! They’ve also gotten a lot of help from their special teams but you can’t continue to expect your defense to turn fumbles into TD’s nor for your punt returner to go all the way! Those anomalies will soon regress to the average and that will mean Flacco and company will need to find the end zone. That’s not been happening for them much this season and we expect them to struggle again, especially against what is a stout Titans’ front seven!

Baltimore does have arguably the best kicker in the game in Justin Tucker and coach Harbaugh may go to him often but ultimately we see these two teams trading touchdowns for field goals and that means the hosts should come out victorious and cover the short spread in the process. Keep in mind that Ryan Succop has been a revealation himself as an NFL kicker and recently even set a new record for makes within 50-yards! Both coaches have reliable kickers that can be counted on but one side has an athletic QB that is a dual-threat while the other has a banged up one with injury-prone receivers to go with it.

#2: Take Cincinnati Bengals +7 spread (buy half point) against Jacksonville Jaguars for 3% of the bankroll.

The Jaguars have made no secret of their offensive game plan this season. They ride their running backs, in particular, the face of the franchise Leonard Fournette hard and keep the ball out of QB Blake Bortles’ hands. That is a good formula when you have a stud running back and an error-prone signal caller but against good defenses that can stack the box, it can lead to problems. It also speaks volumes about the management’s complete lack of faith in its quarterback! That can’t do much good for Blake Bortles’ confidence, a player that has been known to doubt himself.

The Bengals leave a lot to be desired when it comes to costly penalties due to a lack of discipline! If they could fix that one area, they would be a much better team. It’s flags for bone-headed plays that frequently hold them back, otherwise they are a talented group on both sides of the ball. It’s worth noting that Cincinnati’s defense ranks #4 in the league! This is one of the better units out there and well capable of limiting the Jaguars. Sooner or later Blake Bortles will have to throw the ball, and at that point, we’ll see if his self-esteem is at the level it should be for a starting NFL signal-caller or not.

Cincy saved its season by securing a narrow 1-point win over the Colts last week! It was not an impressive display but the end result will have done wonders for the players’ confidence. They still dream of making the playoffs and with that ‘W’, their aims remained intact. And yet at 3-4 on the season, they know they have no time to waste. They must climb to a .500 record and keep the momentum going and we believe they have a chance of doing that in Florida today. This is a live underdog that is being spotted a full touchdown! Even if Jacksonville does win this game, we don’t see them running away with it. Given the ground and pound style of football they play, they chew up a lot of clock and limit possessions for both sides. We can see them having the lead and holding on to it as opposed to trying to extend it. The 7 points are a big bonus and likely to come into play if the Jags do win. We’ll side with the visitors knowing all the value is on the underdogs in this matchup.

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