Brandon Lang, whose life as a professional sports handicapper was depicted in the 2005 movie Two For The Money, offers picks that he says can turn a profit over the long-term for his clients. His full picks are available exclusively at his web site, www.BrandonLangExperts.com, and he's also offered us three picks for free here at FanHouse
Jaguars (+5.5) vs. Colts
The Colts are so banged up that the organization convened an emergency meeting this week to discuss switching out the team's famed horseshoe logo for a Red Cross symbol. In addition to quarterback Peyton Manning (who's playing on a gimpy knee), Indianapolis' walking wounded includes four of its five starting offensive lineman; Pro Bowl caliber tight end Dallas Clark; and hard-hitting safety Bob Sanders, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. It's gotten to the point that, instead of audibles, Manning is going to bark out a telephone number soliciting donations when he comes to the line of scrimmage this week.
Now, I know the Jaguars have their own injury concerns, particularly across the offensive line. But without Sanders - the game's premier run-stuffer - launching himself into the backfield, Jacksonville's men up front only need to stay upright for running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew to finally get rolling. After all, even with Sanders on the field, the Colts' defense has yielded an average of 181.5 rushing yards through two games. At the same time, Joseph Addai and Indy's running game is generating just 39 rushing yards per contest. Toss in the fact that the Colts are 2-8 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 divisional games and 1-5 ATS in their last six at home, and I'll take the points with what is clearly a most desperate - yet talented - Jaguars squad that needs a win to save its season.
Packers (+3) vs. Cowboys
Gee, do you think Aaron Rodgers is walking around Green Bay these days with both hands thrust in the air giving the single-fingered salute to all the Favre lovers in Packerville? The guy has been near-perfect in his first two NFL starts, completing 42 of 60 pass attempts - that's 70 percent for you math majors - for 506 yards with four touchdowns and nary an interception. Now Rodgers gets to pick apart a Cowboys defense that got torched by Donovan McNabb on Monday night; the same Cowboys defense that Rodgers lit up last year in Dallas when he subbed for an injured Favre and went 18-for-26 for 201 yards. If the guy can come off the bench stone cold and put up those kind of numbers - on the road, no less - how do you think he's going to do at home with a full week of preparation under his belt?
Put it another way: If the Cowboys are giving up nearly 40 points to a divisional rival at home, how many are they going to give up in a hostile venue - under the lights and playing on a short week - against an offense that's averaging 36 points and 382 total yards per game? Honestly, the only thing this week that surprised me more than this pointspread was Bill Belichick actually smiling. I went against Dallas on Monday night, improving to 11-1 with my football best bets this season, including 4-1 in the NFL, by cashing in with the Eagles as a 20 dime release, and I've got to go against the Pokes in this spot as well. There are simply too many factors in the Packers' favor.
Green Bay is on ATS streaks of 19-7-2 overall, 16-5-2 against the NFC, 6-1 at home and 7-0 in September, while Dallas has failed to cover in six of its last seven games. What's more, these teams have met 16 times in the last 27 years, and the home team has won 14 of those 16 games, including the last 10 in a row. The host has also cashed in each of the last seven meetings! Wrong team is favored here, my friends. Play the Packers.
Giants (-13.5) vs. Bengals
Here's how bad things have gotten in Cincinnati: The Bengals this week submitted a formal request with the federal government to bail them out! Not only that, but Chad Ocho Cinco is trying to change his name again, this time to Chad Get Me The Hell Out Of Here. All kidding aside, here's what the Bengals have done in two weeks: They've scored 17 points (total) and given up 41; they've gained 369 yards on offense (153 on the ground) and given up 753 on defense (406 on the ground). And QB Carson Palmer, who not long ago was widely considered a Top 5 NFL passer, has completed just 26 of 52 passes for 233 yards with no TDs and three INTs.
Now this dysfunctional unit is going to the Meadowlands to face the defending Super Bowl champs, who have crushed their first two opponents by the combined score of 57-20 and outgained those two foes by an average of 193 yards per game (398-205). If I'm Cincy coach Marvin Lewis, I slip a Benjamin to the pilot of the team plane and ask him take a detour to Bermuda - but not before opening the hatch door and dropping his gutless players into the ocean. Bottom line: It's taken a few years, but the Bengals, who are 7-14 SU and 8-13 ATS going back to late in the 2006 season, have done the improbable and reclaimed their title of Joke of the NFL.
There's no way in hell the Bengals compete against this enormously confident Giants team that's 16-4 SU and ATS in its last 20 games that have mattered - with half of those 16 wins coming by double digits! I used New York as my very first best bet this season against the Redskins on opening night. The only mistake I've possibly made this year - and there haven't been many considering I'm 11-1 with best bets so far - is not backing Big Blue in last week's road rout of the Rams. This Sunday, back at home with a bye on the horizon, I won't repeat that mistake as I'm all over New York.