Sides I Like
Saints (-2) over Jaguars: There are several QB injury situations to consider when handicapping the NFL this week, including one in the Thursday night game. Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence is dealing with a knee sprain that has caused this line to fluctuate since it opened. The number got as high as Saints -3, then dropped back down after Lawrence practiced the last two days.
Even before the Lawrence injury, I was considering a fade of the Jaguars in this game. It’s another very difficult spot for Jacksonville, who played back-to-back games in London on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8. Last week they returned home and played the Colts, and now have to travel again to play their fourth game in the last 19 days. If Lawrence suits up and the point spread is in this range, I would recommend a bet on New Orleans.
Chargers (+5.5) over Chiefs: The Chargers have consistently been a team that plays up or down to their opponents’ talent level and all five of their games this season have been decided by seven points or less. I’m expecting another close game involving the Chargers against a Chiefs offense that has struggled to separate from most opponents.
The Chargers have played the Chiefs close each of the last two seasons. The teams split their series in 2021 with the Chargers winning at Arrowhead. Last season, the Chiefs beat the Chargers by three points both times in games that LA could’ve easily won if a play or two had broken their way. The total in this game has been bet down, which correlates to this being a tighter game where getting 5.5 with the Chargers is a valuable bet.
Eagles (-2.5) over Dolphins: Early-week money was on the Dolphins due to the Eagles injury report. Star RT Lane Johnson and three defensive backs left their Week 6 loss to the Jets with an injury. Those secondary issues would be worrisome even before you realize they already didn’t have Darius Slay this past week and have to go up against the Dolphins passing game. However, the Eagles had a positive injury report on Wednesday, so I bet Philly.
This is a good buy-low spot for the Eagles after they lost a strange game against the Jets on Sunday. It felt like Philadelphia was in control for the first 58 minutes of the game and then Jalen Hurts threw a costly interception that led to the game-winning TD for the Jets. I wouldn’t put too much stock into that loss for the Eagles.
The Dolphins have had some impressive offensive performances this season, but most have been against some of the worst teams in the league. They are coming off home wins and covers against the Giants and Panthers, but the lost to the Bills the week before in a game that wasn’t competitive in the second half. Miami is overvalued because they have beaten up on bad teams, and I still have questions about how they will perform against a step up in class. Take the Eagles at -2.5 or better for this Sunday night game.
Sides I’m Considering
Falcons (+2.5) over Buccaneers: Right when I thought Desmond Ridder and the Falcons might be able to turn the corner, they lost 24-16 to the Commanders at home last week. It was an odd game in which Atlanta had a 402-193 edge in total yards, but Ridder had three interceptions.
I still believe the Falcons are evenly rated with the Buccaneers, and home-field advantage in Tampa Bay is minimal for the Buccaneers, so there’s some line value on the Falcons in a game with a low total of 37. The Buccaneers are a team I want to sell going forward, so I’ll consider the Falcons on the road this week.
Giants (+2.5) over Commanders: I mentioned above that the Commanders got outplayed in the box score last week and benefitted from turnovers in a win over the Falcons. While the Commanders are playing better than I expected this season, you’re not going to win many NFL games only gaining 193 total yards. Now they are a road favorite against Giants this week, which is a big leap for a team I’m not high on.
The Giants are off to a disappointing 1-5 start and coming off a demoralizing 14-9 loss to the Bills in which they almost pulled off the upset as a 15.5-point underdog. It was a game Giants HC Brian Daboll put a lot of effort into since he was the OC in Buffalo from 2018-21, so I do have concerns about how New York responds after the way they lost this past week. I’m going to see if this game moves to +3, and might bet the Giants at that point.
Steelers (+3) over Rams: This would be an ugly bet given how fortunate the Steelers have been this season. They are off to a 3-2 start, but they’ve been a tough watch offensively and had improbable wins over the Browns and Ravens. However, the matchup and spot favors a Steelers team off the bye.
As bad as the Steelers offense has been under OC Matt Canada, this is a soft matchup for that unit against a below average Rams defense. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers pass rush could be an issue for a Rams offensive line that has had trouble this season.
Just like most Rams games, they don’t have a home-field advantage and the Steelers will have an edge because of how well their fans travel. I will consider Pittsburgh at +3 or better.
Raiders (-3) at Bears: This is a game with QB injury situations on both sides. Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo was taken to the hospital with a back injury during their Week 6 game. The injury doesn’t sound too serious, but might be enough to keep him out of this week’s game.
The Bears will likely be without QB Justin Fields. Undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent from Division II school Shepherd is in line to start. I have no idea what to make of this game and will not bet it.
Browns (-2.5) at Colts: Another game with a QB injury consideration, as Browns QB Deshaun Watson hasn’t played since Week 3. Watson is hopeful to play on Sunday, but did not participate in practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury. I could see myself on the Colts after the Browns had an all-in effort to upset the 49ers as 10-point underdogs with P.J. Walker under center. But I’ll wait until the uncertain QB news is figured out.
Lions at Ravens (-3): My initial thought was to consider the Lions facing a Ravens team that just played in London and aren’t taking their bye this week. But then I looked at the weather report because the total in this game dropped from 44.5 to as low as 41 on Monday. Heavy wind is in the forecast, which is not good for Lions QB Jared Goff, who has historically struggled in these kinds of outdoor games. I think this game is priced fairly, so I’ll pass.
Bills (-8.5) at Patriots: I believe this line is a little too high, especially if Josh Allen’s shoulder injury is more serious than we think. I just can’t get behind betting on this Patriots team, so I’m going to stay away.
Cardinals at Seahawks (-8): My point spread in this game is Seahawks -8.5, so I think this number is fair. The Cardinals are beginning to fade after playing better than expected to start the season and the Seahawks are coming off an unlucky loss last week. Seattle is likely to win this game, but not interested in betting on them to cover a big spread.
Packers (-1) at Broncos: We haven’t seen the Packers play much recently (they’ve only had one game since Sept. 28), but everyone watched as Jordan Love struggled in their Week 5 loss on a Monday night. The Packers had a bye after that game and now face a Broncos defense that has made a lot of offenses look good this season. I want more information on the Packers injury report before betting this game.
49ers (-7) at Vikings: This game is on Monday night, so I will be need time to monitor the 49ers injury report after several key players were banged up in their first loss of the season to the Browns last week. For now, I think this point spread is correct, so I would need the line to drastically move to get involved.
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