This is the time of year when sample size of the current season really matters, and you are what your record says you are. Unless maybe you’re some relatively unknown sports betting writer from New Orleans.
Maybe it’s the realist in me. Maybe it’s all the years from following the Saints and Cubs. Maybe it’s because it’s impossible for anyone to go through a full NFL season with a 71.1 winning percentage in best bets against the spread.
But gosh darn it, if you get a chance to toot the horn, blow that dang thing till they hear it in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
So if we’re using trends, we’ve been 4-1 for two consecutive weeks, in five of nine and 3-2 in the other four weeks. If it comes crashing down now, I have only myself to blame, because there’s an old adage not to “talk about a heater” when you’re on one. However, as I mentioned, I have followed too many losing teams throughout my life not to enjoy the good times.
Take the ride with me. Jump on the winning train while it’s still full steam ahead. (But don’t hate me if it crashes soon after you buy your ticket.)
Let’s see if we can keep it rolling in Week 10. (Is it really the second half of the season already?) And PS, does that first line of the column that talks about trends really matter? We really mean that part. Wink, wink.
Any comments, questions, gratitude or hate mail is welcome at [email protected].
NOTES: All spreads, money lines and over/under totals (as of Wednesday) are provided by Caesars Sportsbook. We started the season with a mythical bankroll of $1,000. Our totals for the past week and the season are at the bottom of this column.
THE WEEK 10 BEST BETS
HOME TEAM in CAPS
Byes: Baltimore, Cincinnati, New England, NY Jets.
1 / Teaser, SAN FRANCISCO -1 over LA Chargers and TENNESSEE +3.5 over Denver
WHEN: Both games Sunday. 49ers-Chargers at 8:20 p.m. ET; Titans-Broncos at 1 p.m. ET THE BET: $36 to win $30.
Teaser explanation: At most books, a bettor can parlay two teams in a “teaser” and get 6 points of cushion for each bet. However, it costs -120 to play and – like a parlay – both legs must hit to cash the ticket.
If you have read this column more than a couple of weeks this season, you know what we have been doing with the teaser. We’re gonna go to the well until it dries up.
Reminder, we love going through the key numbers of 2.5, 3 and 3.5 with teams we think will not only win but cover, and both the 49ers and Titans hit that mark here.
San Francisco is coming off a bye, and Christian McCaffrey is playing his third week for the Niners with an extra week to study the playbook. It should be a good one for him against the 29th-ranked rushing defense that has yet to defeat a team with a winning record.
Also, the 49ers have won two of their past three off that bye week.
For Tennessee, which continues to be disrespected by the oddsmakers and the sharps, it sure looks like Ryan Tannehill is going to make his way back into the lineup, and we’re going to take advantage of this line now before it creeps up to 3.5 or 4 (which would make the teaser number 2 or 2.5 – big difference).
Denver has lost six games in a row when they covered the spread in their previous game. Their offensive line is a mess, and they won’t be able to move the ball effectively on the ground against the league’s second-ranked run defense. While the Titans have struggled at times against the pass, Russell Wilson has shown that shouldn’t be a problem.
SCORE PREDICTION: 49ers (-7) 33, Chargers 23. (Over 45.5.)
SCORE PREDICTION: Titans (-2.5) 23, Broncos 12. (Under 38.)
2 / NY GIANTS -5 over Houston
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET THE BET: $33 to win $30.
Week after week, the oddsmakers – and the public – continue to underestimate the Giants. Now, in their first home game in nearly a month following a bye against the worst team in the NFL? They’re laying less than a touchdown?
Sign me up.
This will be the first game all season the Texans will play a road game against a team that currently has a winning record, and while it may seem on the periphery their defense has done a decent job, the ranking that jumps out is the run defense. As in, they are worst in the NFL in defending the run.
In other words, Saquon Barkley should have a field day. Meanwhile, the Giants are fifth overall in rushing defense and have gone for more than 230 yards on the ground three times this season, which should limit rookie Dameon Pierce.
SCORE PREDICTION: Giants 26, Texans 10. (Under 40.5.)
3 / Dallas -4.5 over GREEN BAY
WHEN: Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET THE BET: $22 to win $20.
Mabel?? Calling Aunt Mabel?? You aren’t in the kitchen making fruitcakes. You aren’t at the grocery store stocking up on pecans. Where are you? OHHH, you’re at Caesars Sportsbook putting your Social Security check on the Cowboys.
No, no, I am not betting against you this week just to bet against you. Even you can’t keep me away from fading the Packers now. They are just that gosh-darn bad.
I was one of those stubborn, pigheaded dudes who kept saying over and over that Aaron Rodgers HAS to be better than this. He has to find a way, even if he clearly misses Davante Adams. Well, I guess we can forget about that now.
And to go with it all, Rodgers clearly isn’t right, and we have to wonder if there are some injuries we don’t know about. Oh, and his offensive line is a mess, their best weapon (Aaron Jones) is in a walking boot, rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs could miss the remainder of the season with a high-ankle sprain and stud linebacker Rashan Gary is also done with an ACL tear.
Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off a bye week, a spot they have won three games in a row – all on the road. Injury-wise, they are on an opposite trajectory than the Packers, as even Zeke Elliott could be back to help Tony Pollard in the red zone.
I rarely make a best bet out of something I am fully with the public, but in this case, this could be the final time the oddsmakers give Green Bay more respect than they deserve, as I think this line should be closer to a touchdown.
SCORE PREDICTION: Cowboys 24, Packers 17. (Under 43.)
4 / Cleveland +3.5 over MIAMI
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET THE BET: $11 to win $10.
These teams haven’t played very much as of late, as the Browns won the last meeting by 17 in 2019 in the only game between them since 2016. What it comes down to is this: Cleveland is successful when they can pound the ball down an opponent’s throat, and the Dolphins have a mediocre run defense, allowing 117.4 yards per game.
Thing is, though, Miami proved last week with Justin Fields making his way all over the field that when a team actually tries to run against them, they can be had.
The Browns are a better team than their 3-5 record, while the Dolphins (6-3) seem to get a bit too much love as their 4-5 ATS record suggests. That extra hook makes this pick much more valuable, and we’ll take it.
SCORE PREDICTION: Browns 26, Dolphins 22. (Under 48.5.)
5 / Minnesota at BUFFALO under 43.5
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET THE BET: $11 to win $10.
As we type this, it is uncertain if Josh Allen will play for Buffalo, but one can bet the team will be ultra-conservative if they think there’s even a chance Allen’s elbow injury could be as serious as some insiders have portrayed this week. (The line and the total suggests Vegas and sharps think he won’t play.)
In other words, there’s much greater than a 50-50 shot that Case Keenum will be starting for the Bills on Sunday. And what happens when a great team has a backup quarterback behind center? An equally solid defense knows it needs to step up, and I think that will be the case here.
While it could very well be a close game, it looks like it will be cold and windy in Buffalo, which has the fourth-best overall defense.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has underperformed on offense, despite having some of the top skill players in the NFL. They showed that last week by scoring just 20 points in Washington (and needing help from the Commanders to do that).
I still think the Bills will find a way to win the game, but this could be a physical struggle throughout.
SCORE PREDICTION: Bills 22, Vikings (+4) 20.
THE REST OF THE SLATE
(No bets for the following)
Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET
Atlanta (-2.5) 20, CAROLINA 10: Speaking of picks that just missed my best bets, I will be playing this spread, and I am even more confident with the total. Although they played in a shootout just two weeks ago in one of the craziest games of the year, this one will rely much more on the run game, especially for Atlanta, which is a different team with Cordarrelle Patterson back.
Even if the Falcons get to 27, which I think is their ceiling in this one, it’s tough to see the Panthers finding a way to score more than 10 with their inept play at quarterback and mediocre running back corps, in which Chuba Hubbard is banged up with an ankle injury. (Under 42.)
Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET in Munich
Tampa Bay (-3) 30, Seattle 24: By no means do we think the Bucs “are back” following their comeback victory over the Rams last Sunday. However, while I won’t play this game at all and likely will sleep well into the second half, I can’t take Geno Smith over Tom Brady no matter how well Smith has played this season.
Brady has thrown for a nearly 70-percent completion rate in his four games against Pete Carroll and the Seahawks throughout his career (including the Super Bowl victory), and that’s when the Seattle defense was good. Lastly, in his two games across the Atlantic Ocean, Brady has won both by an aggregate score of 80-14. Fun game for those watching live NFL football for the first time in Germany. (Over 44.5.)
Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
New Orleans (-1.5) 27, PITTSBURGH 19: Unlike Monday night, this is a good matchup for the Saints, as the Steelers are mediocre in run defense, which should open things up for Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill. In turn, this will take pressure off of – speaking of mediocre – Andy Dalton.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh will be playing its first game since trading Chase Claypool to Chicago, which is a huge deal. The Steelers are worst in the league in yards per pass attempt and third-worst in yards per pass attempt against them. They are worst in QB rating, last in yards after catch and have thrown only six touchdown passes all season, which is fourth-worst in the NFL.
This just missed my best bets, but I feel confident about it, and likely will put it in my weekly 5-team money-line parlay.
KANSAS CITY (-9.5) 38, Jacksonville 17: Remember when I told you sharps love the Jags? Even they don’t like them here. I can’t put this in my best bets because I am allowed just one Aunt Mabel game per week, and the public also is all over KC.
This is the fourth game of five in which the Chiefs will be at home, and they finally made it through a ridiculous gauntlet of a schedule at 6-2 and are in better shape than many predicted. A team that has been able to sleep in their own beds for the better part of a month and knows how to stop the run should be successful in what could be the fourth time this season Kansas City scores 40 or more. (Over 50.5.)
Detroit (+3) 32, CHICAGO 23: All of a sudden, the Bears have become this “darling of America” kind of story, and Justin Fields is turning into that quarterback worthy of a first-round pick. Gimme a break. As bad as the Lions are, the Bears are worse, especially on offense.
I am not buying any kind of resurgence, and the fact remains they have lost five of their past six. Meanwhile, the Lions could have a great day on the ground – with or without D’Andre Swift – against the third-worst run defense in the NFL. (Over 48.5.)
Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET
LAS VEGAS (-6) 24, Indianapolis 10: I get that teams often fare well when making a change at coach midseason, but the Colts are a dumpster fire who had to hire an ex-player in Jeff Saturday who was a TV analyst this time last week to come in and finish out the season for Frank Reich.
I don’t have a lot of faith in Vegas, but how can anyone bet on Indy (which has scored 29 total points in the past three weeks) until they show us something? (Under 42.5.)
Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET
LA RAMS (-1.5) 30, Arizona 20: Speaking of dumpster fires, when do we think Kliff Kingsbury will be gone? Maybe after this one if they get embarrassed? (Completely possible.) For a team in the Rams that needs a get-right game in the worst way, this could be it.
And do you like to bet with trends? The Rams not only have won 11 of the past 12 games in the series, including the playoffs, but they have won all 11 of those games against the spread, as well, dating back to 2017. (Over 41.5.)
Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET
PHILADELPHIA 24, Washington (+11) 19: Here’s another game I want nothing to do with, as I will say again one has to expect the Eagles to come back to Earth at some point in the near future, despite playing the easiest schedule in the NFL. (I don’t know why I am still not convinced.)
The Commanders’ defense is good enough to keep this one tight, and this is the first time in Eagles history they have been a double-digit favorite in three consecutive games. Forget the first one between these two – a 24-8 Eagles victory in Week 3 when Carson Wentz was QBing Washington – the Commanders will find a way to put up enough points to cover (and maybe even pull an upset). (Under 44.)
HOW WE DOIN’?
Note: TIES ARE NOT COUNTED IN MY RECORD, which could result in a different total of games in the “straight up” and “against the spread” categories, as well as with totals.
AGAINST THE SPREAD
Week 9 best bets: 4-1 (+$52.40). Season best bets: 32-13 (.711; +$254.50 on season). Week 9 all picks against the spread: 9-2. Season all picks ATS: 71-61 (.538)
STRAIGHT UP (no spread)
Week 9: 9-4. Season: 77-58 (.570).
Week 9: 5-8. Season: 76-59 (.563).
(click on week to view)
Week 9: 4-1 best bets (+52.40); 9-2 ATS; 9-4 straight up; 5-8 over/unders.
Week 8: 4-1 best bets (+$69); 9-6 ATS; 13-2 straight up; 6-9 over/unders.
Week 7: 3-2 best bets (-$5); 5-9 ATS; 6-8 straight up; 9-5 over/unders.
Week 6: 4-1 best bets (+$62.60); 9-5 ATS; 8-6 straight up; 6-8 over/unders.
Week 5: 3-2 best bets (+$2); 10-5 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders
Week 4: 4-1 best bets (+$37); 9-6 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders
Week 3: 3-2 best bets (-$5); 5-11 ATS; 8-8 straight up; 8-7 over/unders
Week 2: 4-1 best bets (+$57); 7-9 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 12-4 over/unders
Week 1: 3-2 best bets (-$15); 8-8 ATS; 6-9 straight up; 10-6 over/unders