Sides I Like
Jaguars (-2.5) over Steelers: It’s time to sell the 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers. They have had very fortunate home wins against the Browns and Ravens, and won two other close road games against the Raiders and Rams where they had a majority of the fan support. The Steelers have a -24 point differential and their reliance forcing turnovers to win games isn’t sustainable in the long term.
The Steelers still have issues on offense with OC Matt Canada and haven’t scored a first-half touchdown in the last three games. Even after having extra time to prepare because of a Week 6 bye, the Steelers came out last week and scored only three points in the first 30 minutes. A T.J. Watt interception to start the third quarter ignited the team and they were able to put some drives together late in the game against a below-average Rams defense.
Coming off wins against the Ravens and Rams, it’s a perfect time to fade the Steelers even though the Jaguars have moved from -1 to -2.5 as a road favorite. Jacksonville has impressed me the last two weeks with wins over the Colts and Saints over a five-day span. They last played on Thursday of Week 7, so that should give QB Trevor Lawrence time to rest a knee injury he played through last game. The Jaguars have a bye next week, so they will be fully focused on the game plan as they try to improve to 6-2 on the season. Take the Jaguars at -2.5 or better.
Panthers (+3) over Texans: The headline of this game is No. 2 overall pick CJ Stroud playing against No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. Stroud has been by far the better of the rookies, and there was a time early in the draft process that it seemed like he would be the Panthers preference over Young. Carolina ended up going with the Alabama QB and they have started the season 0-6. However, the Panthers offense has shown some life recently and HC Frank Reich decided to use last week’s bye to give up play calling duties to OC Thomas Brown. I like the idea of this switch and giving Brown two full weeks to prepare for this game.
The Texans have been a lot better than I expected with a 3-3 record in large part because of Stroud. I didn’t doubt the former Ohio State QB’s talent, but thought he would have more growing pains in his first year with a banged-up offensive line. I still have Houston rated as a below-average team and only a slight favorite on the road in this game. So at +3, the Panthers were a bet for me and I recommend playing it at that number.
Sides I’m Considering
Commanders (+6.5) over Eagles: This is a quick rematch of a Week 4 game in which the Eagles only won 34-31 in overtime at home. Philadelphia closed as a nine-point favorite in that game, so it makes sense we are at this current point spread when flipping home field to Washington. After all, there will be a lot of Philly fans at this game. It also seems like the Commanders have found some kind of matchup edge against the Eagles. They almost won earlier this season and they were the first team to beat the 2022 Eagles last November in Philadelphia.
The Commanders are coming into this game off a loss to the Giants after being bet out to a field goal favorite on the road. Washington is a team I want no part of as a favorite, but will consider them as an underdog. I like the Commanders to bounce back and keep this game close against a potentially banged-up Jalen Hurts and the Eagles. I haven’t bet it yet, and will hold out hope for a +7 on the home underdog.
Rams (+6.5) over Cowboys: I believe this number is inflated and would be on the Rams if it got to +7. The Rams are better than I expected with QB Matthew Stafford healthy and Cooper Kupp back in the lineup. They have the offense to play catch-up against the Cowboys if they fall behind.
The spot for the Cowboys off a bye would seem good, but I don’t think highly of their offensive coaching staff at all. While some coaches would use the extra time to prepare for the upcoming weeks, giving HC Mike McCarthy and OC Brian Schottenheimer that extra time means very little. The line in this game ticked up from the opener, so if it continues to move up, I’ll have a bet on the Rams.
Packers (+1) over Vikings: Hours before the Vikings played on Monday night, the point spread for this game went from Packers -1.5 to -2.5. I thought it was an intriguing move since the Packers were coming off a loss to the Broncos a day before and the Vikings still hadn’t played their Week 7 game against the 49ers. Minnesota went on to beat San Francisco as almost a touchdown underdog at home and the Vikings are now a short favorite.
As bad as the Packers offense has been, they are the only side I could consider in this game because of the recency bias towards the Vikings. Minnesota has won two in a row, but I expect a game where their offense feels the loss of WR Justin Jefferson. It could be this week at Green Bay and would expect the Packers to play better back at Lambeau Field.
Buccaneers at Bills (-8.5): Early in the week there were some sportsbooks that only had the Bills as a seven-point favorite for this Thursday night game. I would’ve had interest in Buffalo at that number, but would pass on betting them now. The Bills would make a good six-point teaser leg if they stay at -8.5 or better.
Saints at Colts (PK): I don’t think highly of the Saints, but I still think they should be a small favorite in this game because QB Gardner Minshew has struggled taking care of the ball as the starter the last two games. Not trusting the Saints on the road will keep me off this game.
Patriots at Dolphins (-9.5): Before Week 7 games where played, the line for this game was Dolphins -12.5. The Patriots upsetting the Bills and the Dolphins losing by 14 points to the Eagles in primetime has been one of the reasons for the point spread adjustment. Miami is dealing with a number of injuries, but their offense is explosive enough to cover big numbers against below average teams. I’m off this game at the current odds even if Dolphins WR Tyreek doesn’t play with a hip injury.
Jets (-3) at Giants: The Giants are listed as the home team, but I’m not giving them anything for home-field advantage since the Jets play in the same stadium. If I was forced to bet this game I would take the Jets off the bye, but think the number is fair and will likely pass.
Falcons (-3) at Titans: The Falcons are out to a field goal favorite on the road, as Titans QB Ryan Tannehill will be out and a combination of rookie Will Levis and Malik Willis will take snaps for Tennessee. Falcons HC Arthur Smith was an assistant coach for the Titans between 2011-20 and was Mike Vrabel’s OC in 2019 and ’20 before taking the Falcons job.
I would give the edge over the Titans in that matchup because Vrabel will know what to expect from a Falcons offense that is underwhelming on the field. I just can’t get there on the Titans because of not knowing what Will Levis will look like.
Seahawks at Browns (-3.5): I would bet the Browns as an underdog in this game if QB Deshaun Watson was healthy. But P.J. Walker is going to draw another start and I haven’t been impressed with his play despite leading Cleveland to two wins the last two weeks.
Chiefs (-7) at Broncos: These two teams played on Thursday night two weeks ago and the Chiefs won 19-8 after closing as a 10.5-point favorite at home. I would say this line is fair and can see the Broncos improving as the season goes on.
Bengals at 49ers (-3.5): The 49ers were a 5.5-point favorite in this game until Wednesday when Kyle Shanahan announced that QB Brock Purdy was in concussion protocol. That would mean Sam Darnold would start and I think a two-point drop-off from Purdy to Darnold seems about right, so I have no opinion on the game for now.
Ravens (-8.5) at Cardinals: The Ravens answered a lot of questions last week about some recent struggles with an offensive breakout. They averaged 9.1 yards per play against a popular underdog in the Lions. I believe the Ravens are very likely to win this game, but I’m not looking to lay this many points with any road team in the NFL.
Bears at Chargers (-8.5): Situationally, I would be interested in the Chargers coming off two losses to the Cowboys and Chiefs. Plus, they are facing an undrafted rookie QB in Tyson Bagent, who was fine in his debut at home against the Raiders, but I can see him struggling in a road game on a Sunday night. I just don’t trust the Chargers as a big favorite at home, so I have to pass.
Raiders at Lions (-8.5): I like the idea of taking the Lions to bounce back and they could be a six-point teaser option if the point spread stays in this range. The big question is if QB Jimmy Garoppolo will return for this Monday night game after missing last week with a back injury.
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