This week features games with some huge divisional implications and a couple that could have an impact in January in the NFC.
The Indianapolis Colts look to be the only team capable of knocking off the Titans, and they head into Tennessee desperate for a win. The Chargers are looking to be relevant and going into Kansas City will be the truest test of where they’re at. Sunday’s late window of games will include four teams viewed as the top threats to represent the conference in the Super Bowl as Tampa Bay heads to L.A. to face the Rams and Green Bay travels to San Francisco to play the 49ers.
Carolina (-420) at Houston (+320)
Houston simply isn’t a good team and they will be facing long odds in most of their games. Carolina seems a bit oversold as a 7.5-point favorite (Carolina -115, Houston -107), but I’m not going to be on Houston to win anything all season with the potential exception of their rematch against Jacksonville. Take the Panthers and lay the 3.5 points (-115).
Chicago (+250) at Cleveland (-320)
Chicago is likely ready to make the switch to Justin Fields sooner than later, because the Bears have struggled out of the gate. The Browns are 6.5-point favorite (Chicago -102, Cleveland -122). Cleveland has a banged-up receiver corps, but their plan will likely be to run Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt 35 times, which typically ends well. I wish the spread was a point or two lower for confidence’s sake, but take the Browns and lay the points (-122).
Cincinnati (+145) at Pittsburgh (-180)
The Bengals are improving, while the Steelers offense looks too much like it did late last season. Pittsburgh is favored by 3.5 points (Cincinnati -120, Pittsburgh -105). I think the Steelers will win the game, but it will probably come down to the last possession, which makes the cushion on the point spread look better, because this would be a statement win for the Bengals if they pull it off. Take the Bengals plus 3.5 points (-120).
Los Angeles Chargers (+225) at Kansas City (-290)
The Chargers have the offense to hang with Kansas City’s suspect defense and this one has the makings of a shootout the Chiefs pull away from in the second half. The Over/Under is 54.5 (-108 Over, -112 Under). Typically the best advice is to stay away from the Over when the point gets up into the middle 50s, but both teams are capable of lighting up the other’s defense. Take the Over of 54.5 (-108).
Arizona (-340) at Jacksonville (+260)
The NFC West is going to fatten up on teams like Jacksonville and Houston, which makes the Cardinals being a 7.5-point favorite (Arizona -105, Jacksonville -120) make sense as the oddsmakers try to get people to jump on Jacksonville. I would have set the line closer to 10 and still not bite on the Jags. Take the Cardinals and lay the 7.5 points (-105).
Baltimore (-420) at Detroit (+320)
Detroit is coming off a short week after collapsing in the second half Monday at Green Bay and now face a Ravens team coming off a defining win against the Chiefs. The Ravens are an 8.5-point favorite (Baltimore -112, Detroit -108) and should run away from Detroit, like most quality teams do. Take the Ravens and lay the 8.5 points (-112).
Atlanta (+125) and New York Giants (-155)
Is there a way to bet both teams to lose? The Giants are 2.5-point favorite (Atlanta +105, New York -130) and the only factor that has me leaning the way of the Giants is being at home and being rested after playing last Thursday. Take the Giants and lay the 2.5 points (-130).
Washington (+310) at Buffalo (-410)
The Bills were unimpressive in their first home game of the season, but it was because they went up against a quality Pittsburgh defense. They’re facing another quality defense in Washington and have an Over/Under of 45.5 points (Over -108, Under -112). Buffalo has the offense to put up enough points to hit this number, but Washington will likely give them all they can handle. Take the Under at 45.5 points (-112).
Indianapolis (+190) at Tennessee (-240)
The Titans made a statement winning in Seattle last week and come home to face an Indianapolis team that is 0-2 out of the gate. Tennessee is favored by 5.5 points (Indianapolis -110, Tennessee -110). The Titans have leaned heavily on Derrick Henry when they need a win and creating separation between themselves and the rest of the division makes this game fit into the “must-win” category. Take the Titans and lay the 5.5 points (-110).
New Orleans (+125) at New England (-155)
The Over/Under on this game is surprisingly low at 42.5 points (Over -108, Under -112), but both teams have enough playmakers on offense and defense that the point is too low. It wouldn’t be surprising if there was a defensive/special teams score (or two) and that may be necessary. Take the Over at 42.5 points (-108).
New York Jets (+420) at Denver (-600)
The Broncos are the most prohibitive favorite of the week at 10.5 points (New York -120, Denver -105), but the Jets defense has been surprisingly stout despite an offense that turns the ball over too often. If the Jets can simply hold the ball and not commit critical turnovers, that spread will be hard for Denver to cover. Take the Broncos plus the 10.5 points (-120).
Miami (+165) Las Vegas (-205)
The Raiders have proven they’re a legitimate playoff contender and come up against a Dolphins team without Tua Tagovailoa, who is sidelined with a rib fracture. The Raiders are a 3.5-point favorite (Miami -107, Las Vegas -112), which seems a little low for a team going up against a quarterback who didn’t get first-team reps all summer and into the regular season. Like it or not, the Raiders are legit. Take the Raiders and lay the 3.5 points (-112).
Seattle (-120) at Minnesota (+100)
It’s hard not to take Seattle since Russell Wilson has a 7-0 career record against Minnesota, but this could be the game the Vikings have to win to end that streak and save their season. That being said, this has all the makings of a one-score game decided at the end. The Over/Under is 55.5 points (-105 Over, -115 Under). Both Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins are capable of scoring 27 or more points. Take the Over (-105).
Tampa Bay (-125) at Los Angeles Rams (+102)
This is another game that has a very high Over/Under of 55.5 points (-110 Over, -110 Under), especially considering how good the defenses are for both teams. The offenses are going to press the issue, but this game will need seven touchdowns and three field goals to hit the Over. With as strong as both teams are in their front seven, that doesn’t seem realistic – far from impossible, but not realistic. Take the Under (-110).
Green Bay (+145) at San Francisco (-180)
The 49ers are a 3.5-point favorite (Green Bay -120, San Francisco -105). I was struggling with not taking Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on the moneyline, because it isn’t often you win more than you’re willing to lose betting on Rodgers. However, being given 3.5 points and Rodgers is just too hard to pass up. Take Green Bay plus the 3.5 points.
Philadelphia (+155), Dallas (-190)
Dallas has dominated the rivalry over the last six years, but the Eagles have won two of the last three. This is a tough one, because Dallas is capable of blowing out Philly, but I don’t believe the reverse is true. Dallas is favored by 3.5 points (Philadelphia -108, Dallas -112). It’s a spread that makes sense, because there hasn’t been a game between these two that has been decided by less than six points in their last 10 meetings. If you think Philly is going to win, bet the moneyline. But, I’m with Dallas in this one. Take the Cowboys and lay the 3.5 points (-112).
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