It was a frustrating Week 9 that resulted in a 2-5 record for me. I picked the Lions, Cardinals and Patriots because of the line moves throughout the week. Unfortunately, the Bills, Panthers and Cowboys just missed the cut — and all three covered rather easily.
This week I’m changing the format of the article. I’m going to categorize the games into “picks I’m considering” and “I need more information” because COVID-19 and injuries are starting to take a toll around the NFL. We’ll see if the new format continues after this week…
As always, I’ll use lines from the Las Vegas SuperContest, a popular football challenge hosted by the Westgate SuperBook. The point spreads for the contest come out Wednesday evening and are locked at those numbers for the rest of the week.
I’m in a contest where I pick seven sides a week using the SuperContest’s lines, so in this weekly breakdown I will unveil my first impressions of the games and point spreads. I hope this can be a guide for people who are in similar NFL pick’ems or looking to bet games.
Note: My picks could change based on information and any news that is not factored into the contest line. I will discuss and finalize these picks on a Periscope show I host called Weekend Warriors. The show will be live for an hour on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on Stadium’s Periscope channel or Stadium’s Twitter. After the show, I will tweet my seven picks for the contest from my Twitter.
Here are my thoughts for Week 10.
Picks I’m Considering
Eagles (-3.5) over Giants: Now is the time to buy the Eagles. They really benefitted from the timing of last week’s bye, with running back Miles Sanders, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and offensive lineman Lane Johnson hopeful to be back on the field. The Giants had a nice win in a tough spot against Washington last week, but the win is less impressive given that New York won the turnover battle 5-0. The Eagles have underachieved so far this season, but I think they get on track this week with a healthier squad.
Cardinals (-1.5) over Bills: The Bills caught the Seahawks in a bad scheduling spot last week and took advantage with a statement win at home, while the Cardinals dominated the box score against the Dolphins in a 34-31 loss. I’ll consider Arizona as an under-a-field-goal favorite in a game I expect Kyler Murray to shine in against Buffalo’s struggling defense.
49ers (+9) over Saints: On Sunday evening, right before the Saints dominated the Buccaneers in primetime, the spread for this game was Saints -6.5. After that performance, the number climbed to over a touchdown and is trending toward reaching double digits. I want to fade the Saints in this game with New Orleans coming off their performance of the year against what was perceived to be the best team in the NFC. The 49ers suffered a loss on Thursday night to the Packers, but I’m not going to take much from that game because of the injuries and COVID-19 issues they faced on a short week. I like Kyle Shanahan and San Francisco to keep this game within the number.
Chargers (+2) over Dolphins: I really like the Chargers as a teaser leg up to +8, so I’m going to consider them in the contest. The reason to like them in a teaser is that they always play close games; Los Angeles has lost all six of their games by seven points or less. The last two weeks, LA lost on the last play of the game to the Broncos and Raiders. Before that, they blew big leads to the NFL’s elite teams in the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Saints. If the Chargers won a few of those games, they might be a favorite at the Dolphins, so I lean to that side.
Bears (+2.5) over Vikings: Compared to the look-ahead line before Week 9, there’s been a flip in the favorite in this game. The Bears were a two-point favorite when this line opened last week and now the Vikings are giving points on the road on Monday night. While the Vikings are a revitalized unit with Dalvin Cook leading their offense, they still have injury concerns on defense and Kirk Cousins has struggled in primetime. I think there could be an opportunity to buy the Bears at their lowest point, but I want to track their offensive line injuries first. This is another game where a teaser on the Bears to +8.5 makes a lot of sense in a game with a low total of 44.
I Need More Information
Colts at Titans (PK): This is a very good Thursday night football game this week with a lot of implications in the AFC South race. I’m going to stay away from betting the spread because I think the line is correct.
Bengals at Steelers (-7): I need more information about Ben Roethlisberger’s status before making a pick here. He was placed on the COVID-19 list on Tuesday, but still has a chance to play in this game. The Steelers were -10 on the look-ahead line and that spread moved after they narrowly beat a Garrett Gilbert-led Cowboys team in Week 9. The Bengals are coming off a bye, so that also likely factored into the early money on Cincinnati.
Washington at Lions (-4): Lions QB Matthew Stafford left last week’s game early after a big hit, but he’s cleared concussion protocol, meaning he likely plays. Regardless, this game would probably be one to avoid with Alex Smith now starting at QB for Washington.
Texans at Browns (-3): I want to make a case for the Browns coming off a bye and getting important pieces to their offense back from injury. The most notable name is running back Nick Chubb, who is the centerpiece of Kevin Stefanski’s rushing attack. Kareem Hunt is a very good backup, but it helps to have both players healthy. The Texans struggle to stop the run, but I’m wary of picking against Deshaun Watson as an underdog against a Browns defense that has struggled this season.
Jaguars at Packers (-13.5): I want to make a case for the underdog here. The Jaguars lack talent, but they still play hard and don’t quit. The Packers might overlook an opponent like the Jaguars, but I also have trouble backing a Florida team that’s playing an outdoor game in the Midwest in November.
Buccaneers (-5.5) at Panthers: On Wednesday morning this line was at Buccaneers -4.5 and then reports revealed that Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey is not expected to play due to a right shoulder injury. The line moved to Buccaneers -5.5, which I don’t agree with because RB Mike Davis has proven himself to be a capable backup. However, I don’t want to bet against the Buccaneers coming off a humiliating primetime loss.
Broncos at Raiders (-5): The Raiders are 5-3 despite being the underdog in six of their first eight games. Now they are laying more than a field goal against the Broncos, so it’s an unfamiliar spot for Jon Gruden’s team. In the last two weeks, the Broncos have entered the fourth quarter trailing 24-10 and then 27-6. Even though they fought back in both games, those early deficits signal a bad team, so I have trouble coming around to backing Denver here.
Seahawks at Rams (-1.5): The Seahawks are an attractive bet as underdogs coming off a terrible defensive performance in Buffalo last week. I thought it was a tough scheduling spot for them, so I can see a bounce-back in an important division game. Or maybe the Rams are ready to play after their bye? I think this is a good game to watch and enjoy without a bet either way.
Ravens (-7) at Patriots: Even though the Patriots are a very different team this season, it’s odd seeing them as a seven-point home underdog in a Sunday night game. I think this line is right where it should be, and I’ll likely stay away from this game unless there’s a big line move in either direction.