Week 10: Saints at Bills
All bets are action regardless of injury or participation by individual athletes.
That’s a uniform rule of local sports books, and one some sports bettors may have learned the hard way last week. The Texans were bet up to as high as a 14-point favorites last Thursday ahead of their Week 9 home game against the Colts.
Then Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice, and all those tickets collapsed in value. Houston went off betting boards as a 6-point favorite behind Tom Savage filling in at quarterback, and couldn’t even come close to covering that number in a 20-14 loss.
Talking Points was among those saddled with a bad number, as the blog went with Houston minus-12 before Watson went down. The loss contributed to a 6-6-1 record picking every game against the spread, putting the season total at 68-61-3.
Read below for this week’s picks, which are separated as always into three confidence categories with attached records. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen side.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus-2.5 vs. New York Jets It’s time to sell on the Jets when they’re laying points on the road. The Buccaneers were 4.5-point favorites on the early line last week, meaning the betting market sees the drop-off from injured Jameis Winston to Ryan Fitzpatrick as worth seven points, which is entirely too much.
Cincinnati Bengals plus-5 at Tennessee Titans Willing to somewhat forgive Bengals’ three game against the spread losing streak considering the two outright losses came to two of the NFL’s top four defenses by Football Outsiders’ DVOA. They’ll find it much easier to move the ball against the Titans’ 22nd ranked defense.
Atlanta Falcons minus-2.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys Number will soar, necessarily or not, if Ezekiel Elliott is ruled out. Falcons are primed for a bounce-back performance either way in a desperate position at home against an opponent with a mediocre defense.
Buffalo Bills plus-3 vs. New Orleans Saints A road game in chilly Buffalo against an above-average defense would seem uniquely positioned to slow down New Orleans’ smoldering offense. Grab the field goal while available, because sharp money is likely going to drive the price down.
Green Bay Packers plus-6 at Chicago Bears In a rush to accurately adjust the Packers’ numbers for the loss of Aaron Rodgers, oddsmakers may have finally gone too far. The Bears haven’t been favored all season, and shouldn’t give a touchdown to any opponent.
Minnesota Vikings minus-1 at Washington Redskins Vikings continue to not get enough credit for being one of the most dependable teams in the NFL. Their lack of acclaim helps to explain the outrageous 37-19 against the spread record the team has posted under coach Mike Zimmer.
Seattle Seahawks minus-5.5 at Arizona Cardinals Resist the urge to overreact to the Seahawks’ shocking 17-14 loss to the Redskins at home last week. Seattle dominated the game — outgaining Washington by nearly 200 yards and 1.5 yards per play — but was doomed by Blair Walsh’s three missed field goals.
Miami Dolphins plus-9 at Carolina Panthers Panthers’ offense, which rates 26th in the NFL at 4.8 yards per play, is too tedious to trust laying this many points. The Dolphins should carry over some of the life they showed in last week’s 27-24 loss to the Raiders as 3-point favorites.
Denver Broncos plus-7.5 vs. New England Patriots Whether it houses a struggling team or not, Sports Authority Field remains one of the NFL’s best home-field advantages. The Patriots in particular have struggled there, losing three of their last four trips outright, to add to skepticism about a spread of more than a touchdown.
Indianapolis Colts plus-10 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Not the best spot for the Steelers, which come out of a bye week to travel and take on an NFL afterthought that’s played much better over the last couple weeks. Truthfully, there’s no such thing as a good spot laying double digits on the road in the NFL.
Jacksonville Jaguars minus-3.5 vs. Los Angeles Chargers Jaguars won’t continue to play as well as they have the last two weeks, in which they’ve won a combined 50-7, but this asking price isn’t high enough to stray away from them yet. There’s a comfort in backing the team that any meaningful measure rates as having the best defense in the league.
Los Angeles Rams minus-10.5 vs. Houston Texans There will come a time to capitalize on the Rams’ hype and short them, but this is not the week. Los Angeles is better Houston in every area, not the least of which is coaching, making it easier to lay a big number.
San Francisco 49ers plus-2.5 vs. New York Giants Can’t lay points on the road with a team as lousy as the Giants, even if they’re facing the 49ers’ nonexistent offense. San Francisco’s defense is significantly better, though, giving up 5.4 yards per play to New York’s 5.8.
Cleveland Browns plus-12.5 at Detroit Lions Although it’s a task to find any redeeming quality related to the Browns, this spread seems a bit on the high side. The Lions haven’t laid this many points since week 16 of 1995, when Barry Sanders led a 44-0 rout of the Jaguars as 13-point favorites.