After a quartet of mediocre weeks, I was the gambling equivalent of Will Fuller this past week, going 11-4 against the spread to improve to 43-35 on the season. Looking at this week’s schedule, I’m feeling just as confident as I did last week.
So without any further ado, let’s try not and get embarrassed!
(Betting lines via Caesar’s Sportsbook: last updated October #11th)
BYE WEEK TEAMS: Buffalo Bills (4-1), Chicago Bears (3-2), Indianapolis Colts (3-2), Oakland Raiders (3-2)
CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-2) [-2.5] vs. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-3)
These London games can obviously get a little tricky to bet, as it’s hard to know what team travels better, adapts more easily, etc. They often are a toss-up, especially when they’re a division game like this one. I really like Carolina in this matchup however. Kyle Allen has been good filling in for Cam, the defense has been playing extremely well, and Christian McCaffrey morphed into Jim Brown over the off-season. Toss in the fact that this ferocious Panthers pass-rush led by rookie Brian Burns gets to go against a Tampa Bay offensive line missing two of it’s starters, Carolina should continue their recent hot streak.
THE PICK: Panthers (-2.5)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-1) [-1.5] vs. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-3)
Listen, I get it. Even after getting their lunch money stolen from them by San Francisco Monday Night, the Browns are still the league’s “what-if?” team. The media and sportsbooks are praying for them to pull off a major upset, and they’re going to continue to get points just for their reputation.
But the disrespect is insane. Seattle is only a point and a half favorite? Thats’s ridiculous.
The Seahawks have an argument to be one of the top 3 teams in the entire league, and the Browns secondary surely won’t be the one that shuts down a white-hot Russell Wilson. Am I expecting Cleveland to perform better? Of course, but Seattle is playing too well right now to be slept on.
THE PICK: Seahawks (-1.5)
HOUSTON TEXANS (3-2) vs. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-1) [-4.5]
This one has the potential to be a good one. We get two of the league’s best gunslingers and two of the league’s more susceptible secondaries. Betting the over might be free money in this game.
We’re here to bet the point spread however, and this one is actually more lopsided than I thought. Kansas City is coming off of its worst performance of the Patrick Mahomes era, and Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller detonated all over Atlanta. I’m not worried about the Chiefs at all, but their defense hasn’t looked much improved this year under Steve Spagnuolo. This game’s gonna be a doozy, and feels like it has all the making of a close on until the end, but I have to go with Kansas City returning to form.
THE PICK: Chiefs (-4.5)
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (0-5) [-3.5] vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS (0-4)
I could use this section to talk about how, despite Washington’s season being in complete turmoil, I believe they’ll come out firing for interim coach Bill Callahan and am confident in a good defensive performance from that unit. Instead, I’ll just say this… (ahem)…
THE MIAMI DOLPHINS ARE SO BAD THEY ARE THREE AND A HALF POINT UNDERDOGS AGAINST A TEAM THAT HAS ZERO WINS AND FIVE LOSSES THAT JUST FIRED IT’S HEAD COACH AND IS STARTING COLT MCCOY IN 2019 AND THEY ARE HOME!!!
Trivia question of the week: How big of a favorites would these guys be over Miami?
THE PICK: Redskins (-3.5)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-2) vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-2) [-3.0]
A game that could have massive playoff implications down the line, both of these teams need a win to stay competitive in a stacked NFC. Carson Wentz has somehow become an afterthought during this season with so many great performances, but he has been elite this year carrying the Philly offense. Kirk Cousins had a nice bounce-back week against the Giants’ sieve-like defense, and Dalvin Cook had a good game also. This one might bite me in the rear-end, but I like Minnesota. They should be able to limit Wentz thanks to their elite secondary, and while Captain Kirk may not have the same success against the Eagles, but he should exploit the secondary enough to make some plays.
THE PICK: Vikings (-3.0)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-1) vs. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-3) [-1.5]
Wow. I mean, this game has a chance to be free money. It’s not like the Jaguars are coming off of some close, low-scoring loss to Carolina. The Panthers hung 34 points on them, and this week they face an arguably better offense even without Drew Brees. Teddy Bridgewater had his best game of his career against Tampa Bay this past week, and while the Jags’ defense is infinitely better, he showed he can still be a good starting quarterback in this league, whether thats in NOLA or somewhere else. Gardner Minshew II put forth an excellent effort in their loss, and Leonard Fournette had another good game, but the Saints defense has been top notch. This game is basically a pick ’em with the line being so minuscule, and I’m going to stick with New Orleans staying hot.
THE PICK: Saints (+1.5)
CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-5) vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-2) [-11.0]
Another divisional game. The Bengals fell dropped their fifth straight game in a tough last second loss to Arizona. Three of the Bengals losses this season have come by a touchdown or less, and I still like some of their pieces on defense. The problem is their offensive line is abominable and they simply lack the star power to contend with the rest of the AFC. The Ravens surely didn’t look like an elite team, barely escaping the Steelers. Lamar Jackson has slowed down as well, throwing three picks in that game. I do think the Ravens will pull out the dub, but it’ll be much closer than the line suggests.
THE PICK: Bengals (+11.0)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (4-0) vs. LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-2) [-3.0]
This right here is my game of the week. Two of the best offensive minds in the league going head to head. If the season ended today, the San Francisco 49ers would be the #1 seed in the NFC , and the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams wouldn’t be in the playoffs. Forget about Jared Goff’s struggles for a second, the Rams defense has been disgustingly bad lately. The way the Niners offense has been playing, they should easily stomp LA.
The NFL is funny however. I think Sean McVay knows his team is on the ropes, and a loss here basically ends their chances for a division title, especially if Seattle takes care of Cleveland. I think the offense is going to have a monster day and people are going to be reminded what this team looks like at it’s highest potential.
THE PICK: Rams (-3.0)
ATLANTA FALCONS (1-4) [-2.5] vs. ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-3-1)
What a disaster percolating in the Dirty South. If not for a close win against Philadelphia in Week 2, we’d be discussing the Falcons in the same breath as the Redskins and Bengals of the world (Miami is their own special bad). So it goes without saying this is a must-win game for Atlanta, and despite Falcons owner Arthur Blank defending Dan Quinn, at some point the organization is going to need a fresh face. They ain’t going to another Super Bowl anytime soon.
As for the Cardinals, I wouldn’t be shocked if they pulled out a victory. Kyler Murray has a chance to have his best game as a professional this year, and David Johnson should be able to play this week according to Kliff Kingsbury. Still, I think Matt Ryan is going to have a great game in his own right and give the Falcons a much needed win.
THE PICK: Falcons (-2.5)
TENNESSEE TITANS (2-3) vs. DENVER BRONCOS (1-4) [-2.0]
Not only is this game your #StinkerOfTheWeek, it’s also one of the hardest for me to pick.
You can make the argument that the Broncos are the best worst team in the NFL. By that oxymoron I mean that their record is not entirely indicative of their skill. Joe Flacco has surprisingly been solid this year, Courtland Sutton looks like a star, and the defense is in great shape under Vic Fangio. A few blown calls go their way and they could be 3-2, even 4-1 right now.
As for Tennessee, I don’t know. When I think they win, they lose and vice versa. I might just vacate their existence from these articles at this point. If the Titans want any chance to win, they need Derrick Henry to go bonkers this game. I can’t see Marcus Mariota, although playing some clean football this year, dicing up this secondary.
All in all, I’ll take Denver. They have a more balanced offense, their defense is improving, and most of al- yeah, I’m gonna get screwed again, aren’t I?
THE PICK: Broncos (-2.0)
DALLAS COWBOYS (3-2) [-7.5] vs. NEW YORK JETS (0-4)
The only thing that should make this game watchable is the return of Sam Darnold from his bout with mono. Other than that, I’m of the belief that behind their division-mate Miami Dolphins, the New York Jets are the worst team in the NFL. Adam Gase can’t milk any offense whatsoever, the secondary looks like a Big 12 team, and they’re just a huge mess. Dallas, despite being on the road, should recuperate fairly easily against this team.
THE PICK: Cowboys (-7.0)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (1-4) vs. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-3) [-6.5]
What could’ve been an intriguing Sunday night matchup is somewhat ruined with Mason Rudolph doubtful for the game after his concussion. Pittsburgh now turns to Delvin Hodges, a UDFA out of Samford. Hodges is actually the all-time leader in DII passing yards, so he’s no slouch, but it still isn’t ideal for the Steelers. As for the Bolts, they were abused defensively by Denver and most likely see this game as a good way to get back to form. Melvin Gordon should look better in his second week back, but the Steelers defense has been much improved. This is one of those toss-up games for me (I wasn’t quite as high on LA coming into the year anyway), and I’ll be concerned if the Chargers lose, but this game should be close either way.
THE PICK: Steelers (+6.5)
DETROIT LIONS (2-1-1) vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-1) [-4.0]
I’m really intrigued by this Monday Night Football matchup. I’m not sure Aaron Jones will run all over the Lions like he did Dallas, and Green Bay has been cratering late in games this season. This has the potential to be a shootout in Lambeau, with Matthew Stafford continuing his strong start to the season and knocking off a division foe. Green Bay has actually dropped four straight against the Detroit, but this is a different Packers squad. I like them to win and continue their torrid start this year.
THE PICK: Packers (-4.0)