Broncos (-3) over CHARGERS
Like I said: not the sharp side. Serves me right.
DOLPHINS (+7.5) over Steelers
At this time last week, the Steelers were laying 4.5 points to Miami. One week later, they’re suddenly favored by more than a touchdown. It’s obvious to anyone that’s watched even one snap of Dolphins football that they’re the worst team in the league, but Pittsburgh isn’t exactly a juggernaut away from Heinz Field. Ben Roethlisberger, for example, has averaged 312 yards and 2.5 touchdowns at home over the last three seasons. On the road, those averages have plummeted to 283 and 1.2. There’s also the fact that Adam Gase finally had enough of his own team, outright cutting his own starting left tackle (Billy Turner) and guard (Dallas Thomas) earlier this week. For Miami, there’s now an aura that everyone is essentially playing for their jobs. It would be a travesty if the Dolphins don’t somehow cover here.
Bengals (+8.5) over PATRIOTS
When this line initially opened in April (prior to Tom Brady’s suspension), the Patriots were favored by four points. The Bengals admittedly haven’t looked like the playoff contender we all thought they would be, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Fact is they haven’t looked like anything just yet. No one has any clue what this team’s identity is, which makes them an extremely dangerous matchup on the road. They’re certainly not as bad as they looked on Sunday, and they likely aren’t as good as they performed against Miami two weeks ago. Something’s gotta give.
GIANTS (-3.5) over Ravens
SAINTS (+2.5) over Panthers
The Panthers began the season with James Bradberry, Robert McClain, and Bene Benwikere as their three starting corners. All three are out this week (Benwikere was cut earlier in the week). Cam Newton averaged 646 yards and threw for seven touchdowns against New Orleans last season, but it’s an even better matchup for Drew Brees due to Carolina’s injuries. As mentioned time and time again, the Saints’ offense is also unstoppable at home.
BEARS (-2) over Jaguars
The Jaguars will definitely be a sharp play this week, but I can’t in good conscience shy away from the home team laying less than a field goal — especially when said home team is still starting their best options at quarterback (Brian Hoyer), running back (Jordan Howard), and wide receiver (Cam Meredith).
49ers (+9) over BILLS
This line is clearly inflated so that the books can protect themselves against Bills teasers — multi-team bets that involve trading six points in your favor for lower odds. (In this particular case, a teaser would allow you to lay three points with Buffalo rather than nine.) Either way, there’s an outside chance the 49ers cover outright. With Marcell Dareus missing from the middle of Buffalo’s defensive line this week, San Francisco should have no issues running the ball, which is something they do on 51 percent of their offensive plays. I don’t expect them to stop Buffalo defensively, but they should be able to keep up (and, in turn, cover).
LIONS (-3) over Rams
Browns (+7) over TITANS
Since when did the Titans earn the right to lay a touchdown over anyone?
WASHINGTON (+2.5) over Eagles
For the second consecutive week, books have favored Carson Wentz, a rookie, on the road. And for the second straight week, the wrong team is favored. There’s no denying that Ryan Mathews (health permitting) should have a spectacular day rushing against the league’s worst run defense, but Washington should be able to cover as an inexplicable home dog.
Chiefs (-2) over RAIDERS
Andy Reid is 15-2 SU following a bye.
SEAHAWKS (-6) over Falcons
Cowboys (+4) over PACKERS
By now, you’ve heard that Green Bay has the league’s best rushing defense, suffocating opposing backs to the tune of 2.0 yards per attempt. Whatever the case, that statistic is slightly overblown. The Packers have yet to play even a mediocre rushing offense, facing T.J. Yeldon (3.2 YPA this season), Adrian Peterson (1.6), Theo Riddick (3.4), and Orleans Darkwa (3.7) to date. Green Bay’s defensive line penetrates consistently enough that they warrant some respect, but it should still be an easy day at the office for Ezekiel Elliott and Dallas’ offensive line.
TEXANS (-3) over Colts
Jets (+7.5) over CARDINALS
Let’s assume for a moment that the Cardinals and Steelers were facing one another on a neutral field this week. What would the line be? Steelers -1? -2, or even -2.5, maybe? Well, Pittsburgh was favored by 7.5 points over the Jets just last week. Needless to say, the Cardinals haven’t shown anything that warrants them being favored by the same total over New York.
This Week: 0-1
Last Week: 4-8-1
Season: 39-37-2, 48.6 percent