Rough luck again: last week put my Best Bets at 2-3. The Niners apparently forgot that Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were injured because they allowed the tandem of Colt McCoy and James Conner to tear apart the defense. I don’t think anyone had the Jaguars embarrassing the Bills, and I should have known that Cleveland would come out swinging on offense after releasing the disgruntled Odell Beckham Jr.
No matter. A week to rebound from last. Here are the top picks for the weekend:
Colts -10 over Jaguars
I love fading teams coming off their “Super Bowl” win. When Jacksonville upset Buffalo in an ugly 9-6 matchup, I knew I would bet whatever team set to face the Jaguars in Week 10. Not only do we get a superior team in the Colts, but also a squad who will be playing on extra rest since they played last Thursday. Carson Wentz and the Colts rebounded from their devastating OT loss to the Titans by demolishing the Jets a few days later. Now, they have the fortune of opposing one of the worst teams in the league. I usually hate surrendering double-digit points in a division matchup, but I suspect the Jaguars will come out flat following the hype of defeating the Bills. Lay the points.
Vikings +3 over Chargers
The Vikings lost back-to-back games that should have resulted in wins. They looked disinterested on Sunday Night Football two weeks ago playing against the Cooper Rush-led Cowboys and squandered a double-digit lead to the Ravens this past weekend. However, I think their fortunes change this weekend when they take on the Chargers in Los Angeles. Led by second-year QB sensation Justin Herbert, the Chargers have been a tough team to handicap all season. They were hailed early in the season, defeating powerhouse teams like the Chiefs. However, they were blown out by the Ravens, defeated by the Patriots, and barely scraped by the Eagles in the past three weeks.
Both teams, in my opinion, match up evenly in this matchup. That being said, I tend to take the points, especially when I’m getting a field goal in contests between similar teams. Add to the fact that both of these teams tend to keep games close, and I’ll hedge my bet that this comes down to whichever squad has the last possession of the game. Please give me the points with the road team.
Saints +3 over Titans
I had this game circled before I even saw the spread. Picking the Falcons to at least cover last weekend against New Orleans was one of my top bets. I knew the Saints would fall flat after defeating the Super Bowl Champion Bucs. Furthermore, Trevor Siemian was making his first start at a Saint, and while he was impressive taking over for Jameis Winston against Tampa Bay, I surmised he would struggle early on against the Falcons.
The Titans, meanwhile, surprised most bettors by defeating the Rams outright in their first game without the services of Derrick Henry engineering the backfield. While the score may say different, Tennessee was actually outplayed and outgained in the contest. The public may have missed that Rams QB Matt Stafford was listed as questionable to play before kickoff and didn’t look right under center.
The public is pounding the Titans right now, but I love going against the popular bet like I usually do. The Saints are a solid squad, and Sean Payton should outsmart Mike Vrabel in the matchup. Look for the Saints to rely more on Alvin Kamara to tear through Tennessee’s defense and for New Orleans to force Ryan Tannehill to throw. The Titans will surely be missing Henry this week. Take the points.
Cowboys -9.5 over Falcons
Full disclosure: I dislike the Cowboys. I’m a Giants fan, after all. So, to put my money on Dallas under any circumstance, I have to be over 100 percent confident in my pick. This is yet another contest where the public seems to have a knee-jerk reaction to what transpired the week prior. Sure, Dallas played abysmally against the Broncos, and the Falcons had an emotionally-charged win against their division rival Saints, but let’s look at the facts.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott did not appear ready to play coming off an injury against the Broncos, which showed in his inaccuracy. After another week of rest, I expect Prescott to play much better – and you know I love backing solid QBs rebounding from a terrible performance. On the other side, Matt Ryan and the Falcons benefitted from the Saints needing to rely on journeyman Trevor Siemian at QB. New Orleans was also a week removed from upsetting the Bucs in what could amount to their “Super Bowl” win.
This contest is a no-brainer for me. Sure, there’s always the chance of a backdoor cover, but I’m not worried about that this week. Prescott and the Cowboys will be looking to silence their critics and put pressure on the Falcons early. The spread may seem high, and Vegas is begging you to take the points with Atlanta, but go the other way and lay them with Dallas.
Browns +1.5 over Patriots
I mentioned I should have known that the Browns would play with a purpose after a drama-filled week that ended with the release of disgruntled WR Odell Beckham Jr. They did just that by routing the Bengals in Cincinnati 41-16. While I usually like to fade teams following an emotional win, I will take exception this week when Cleveland travels to New England to take on Mac Jones and the Patriots.
The Patriots have back-to-back impressive wins against the Chargers and Panthers on the road, but I think their luck runs out this week. Though Browns QB Baker Mayfield and Panthers QB Sam Darnold were in the same draft class, Mayfield is the more established QB at this point in their careers. Darnold has been a disappointment for Carolina after the Panthers acquired him in the offseason, and he has a history of “seeing ghosts” when he squares off against Bill Belichick.
This game should be a defensive-oriented, low-scoring affair as both teams boast stellar defenses despite being limited at times on offense. That being said, I am going to go with the QB with more experience in these situations. Baker also seems to play better with a chip on his shoulder, and you know he will want to continue to show his critics why he doesn’t need Beckham to win. Browns win outright.