I managed to win both of my pick ’em pools last weekend. However, I should have chosen my Best Bets column more wisely as I only went 3-2 with those picks and 10-4 overall outside of the blog.
I should have known better with the Browns missing both of their RBs (Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt) that they would struggle. Yet, Indy falling flat in the second half of the game was unpredictable. Still, we have reached the point where it is better not to rely on the 3-4 worst teams in the league to cover. Chances are they are playing for a top 5 pick in the NFL Draft rather than making a late-season run.
Now, this week, there are a plethora of games on the schedule that I feel confident about betting. Here are the top 5 Best Bets:
Browns -9.5 over Lions
I love betting on good teams coming off embarrassing losses. Even more so, I love when the public response is a knee-jerk reaction to fade them. The Browns are that team this week. Sure, Cleveland got annihilated on the road against New England and ROY candidate Mac Jones, but they were also without Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Add to the fact that they were coming off an emotionally-charged winning a week after releasing the disgruntled Odell Beckham, Jr., and you had to know they were going to fall flat.
The Browns should rebound this week at home and cover against the worst team in the NFC in the Lions. Detroit had a chance for its first win (and potentially only) win of the season last weekend against the Steelers with backup QB Mason Rudolph filling in for Ben Roethlisberger, but they blew it in OT on a botched field goal. One thing to note about Detroit is that the Lions have been inconsistent all season. They almost beat the Ravens, and the Rams, yet were completely blown out the following week. I expect more of the same here. Lay the points and back Cleveland.
Jaguars +5.5 over 49ers
I know, I know. I said in my introduction that I don’t recommend relying on bad teams at this point in the season. However, despite being in that grouping, Jacksonville still has quite a bit to play for this season. Not only have there been lingering questions about No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence’sLawrence’s ability at the professional level, but first-year NFL head coach Urban Meyer could not have asked for a more controversial start to his tenure in Jacksonville. Luckily for the Jaguars, they will be playing a Niners squad that just had its “Super Bowl” win of the season, defeating their division rival, the Rams, on Monday Night Football.
My three favorite rules about betting in the NFL are right here for me on a platter:
- Bet against the winner of the Monday Night Football game
- Bet against West Coast teams having to travel to play an early game cross-country
- Bet against teams coming off their “Super Bowl” win
I don’t have to explain much else. I fully expect the Niners to still edge one out on the road since they are in playoff contention, but they will lack their A-game on a short week. I suspect this game will be low-scoring and result in a win for whoever kicks the last field goal of the game. Either outcome, I’m taking the points with the home underdog and going against the public.
Panthers -3.5 over Washington
Again, I love betting teams coming off their “Super Bowl” win. The Washington Football Team did just that, defeating the defending Super Bowl Champions at home last week. Tom Brady and the Bucs were never competitive in the matchup, thanks to two costly interceptions in the first half. Add to the fact they were missing WR Antonio Brown and TE Rob Gronkowski, and it was clear the Bucs played more diminutively than their talent suggests.
The Panthers, too, had the fortune of opposing a Cardinals team without QB Kyler Murray, WR DeAndre Hopkins, and DE JJ Watt. Still, behind PJ Walker, the Panthers struck early and never looked back. Buoyed by the return of QB Cam Newton, who contributed with two TDs, the Panthers lived up to my prediction that it would be an upset and handed the Cards their second loss of the season.
I know the public is backing Cam’sCam’s return to Carolina this weekend, but I also am predicting Washington will fall flat after defeating the Bucs. WFT head coach Ron Rivera will want to exact some revenge on his former team, but you can bet Cam will want to prove he is fully capable of leading his team back to being a playoff contender. I don’t buy Washington as a good team, and I think Taylor Heinicke and co. will struggle against the Panthers’ stout defense. I’m taking the home team to win by a TD or more.
Ravens -6.5 over Bears
Unfortunately for the Ravens, it will be 10 days since their embarrassing loss to the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football by the time they take on the Bears in Chicago. Fortunately for me, this is a perfect time to bet on them while the loss is still evident in the public’s minds. The Ravens have been the recipient of much media criticism since then, so you know they will want to prove all the naysayers wrong, and what better way to do just that against the offensively-challenged Bears.
Sure, Chicago came close to upsetting the Steelers on Monday Night Football in Week 9, but Pittsburgh isn’t the same powerhouse it has been in past seasons. Rookie QB Justin Fields should struggle against the potent Ravens’ defense and be under pressure for most of the game. Nearly a TD is a lot of points to lay on the road, but I feel the Ravens are in an ideal position to bounce back with a convincing win against Chicago. Lay the points with the road team.
Seahawks +2.5 over Cardinals
Russell Wilson did not appear to be 100 percent last week, and it showed with some costly interceptions. Still, the Seahawks defense played well enough to keep the game intact for 4 quarters and give Seattle a chance to win. I expect Wilson will play much better at home this weekend against a division rival in the Cards. Keep in mind that if he returns, Arizona QB Kyler Murray will also not be 100 percent healthy and could struggle the same way Wilson did in his return.
Seattle is one of the toughest cities to play in for opposing teams, and this week should be no different. Whether or not Murray will play should not matter, as the Seahawks will be hungry for a win. I’m calling the outright upset, but take the points in case.