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Palmer’s Picks: Backup QBs start, bettors should bang unders

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Brock Osweiler will be making another start today. That should be a convincing argument to bet the under in that game. (Courtesy Jeffrey Beall/Flickr)
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Brock Osweiler. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Case Keenum. Brett Hundley. Mitchell Trubisky. Jacoby Brissett. DeShone Kizer. Tom Savage. CJ Beathard. Jay Cutler.

All of those players are projected to start for actual NFL teams today. It’s going to be a rough day to watch RedZone, but not to bet the under.

It’s not a great move, in general. It’s kind of like betting against the roller at the craps table, because it ensures that you’ll be having fun while everyone else is miserable.

But when money can be made — and you’re going to watch pro football all Sunday regardless of the quality of the games — it’s advisable to suck up your pride and be an insufferable winner.

If you win big, don’t expect people to celebrate with you. But what do you need them for anyways? Besides, it’s not your fault quarterback play is going to be poor today.

Bears -5.5

Before Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, the Green Bay Packers were the best team in the NFC. Now, they’re getting boat-raced by the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in a primetime game. This team — and its head coach — has been average at best for years but has been bailed out by a generational talent at quarterback. Hundley isn’t going to solve any of the problems, and the defense — for what feels like the 10th-straight year — is subpar. Chicago head coach John Fox has his team playing tough defense and running the ball to great effect. This game will be unwatchable, but it should be an easy cover as long as running back Jordan Howard can get into the end zone.

Bengals +4.5

Marcus Mariota is a good quarterback, but he hasn’t shown it much this season. Cincinnati owns one of the best defenses in the league, allowing the fewest yards per play in the NFL. I’m not sure the Bengals defense can muster enough points to win, but I believe it’ll be a close — and, stop me if you’ve heard this before — low-scoring contest.

Saints/Bills — over 46.5

Two top-10 quarterbacks meet in upstate New York, where the Bills will look to rebuild after allowing the New York Jets to torch them last Thursday. The New Orleans defense has been solid this season, but has shown weaknesses in stopping the run, creating a situation where LeSean McCoy could have a prolific game. But, really, I’m making this play because both play-callers can be trusted.

Cowboys ML

This week — and the five that follow — we’ll learn if the Dallas offense thrives because of Ezekiel Elliott or because of the offensive line. My instincts tell me the latter gets less credit than it’s due. On the other side, the Falcons have lost four of their last five — and barely covered the spread in their win over the Jets. I like favorable odds on Dak Prescott and Dallas not missing a beat than expecting Atlanta to turn it around now.

Patriots/Broncos — under 46

Out of all of the passers I listed, Osweiler is the worst. Since starting the season as one of the worst defenses in the league, New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has turned things around — saving his job in the process. The Pats allowed 33 points to the Panthers in
Week 4 and have surrendered a combined 51 in their next four games. And those were against teams that have actual pro quarterbacks. Give Bill Belichick an extra week to prepare, and you wonder if Osweiler and the Broncos will be able to avoid being shut out. On the other side, I trust the Denver defense to keep Tom Brady from putting 46 points on the board himself.

Week 9: 3-2

2017: 18-27

MATCHUP SPREAD MONEYLINE OVER/UNDER

Minnesota at Washington MIN -1.5 MIN -125, WAS +105 +/- 42.5

Green Bay at Chicago CHI -5.5 GB +210, CHI -250 +/- 38

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis PIT -10 PIT -500, IND +400 +/- 45

LA Chargers at Jacksonville JAX -4.5 LAC +195, JAX -230 +/- 41

NYJ at Tampa Bay NYJ -2.5 NYJ -140, TB +120 +/- 43

Cincinnati at Tennessee TEN -4.5 CIN +190, TEN -220 +/- 40.5

New Orleans at Buffalo NO -3 NO -145, BUF +125 +/- 46.5

Cleveland at Detroit DET -11.5 CLE +450, DET -600 +/- 44

Houston at LA Rams LAR -11 HOU +475, LAR -650 +/- 46.5

Dallas at Atlanta ATL -3 DAL +145, ATL -165 +/- 49.5

NYG at San Francisco NYG -2.5 NYG -140, SF +120 +/- 42

New England at Denver NE -7.5 NE -340, DEN +280 +/- 46

MNF

Miami at Carolina CAR -9 MIA +360, CAR -440 +/- 39.5

Lines courtesy William Hill; updated Friday, Nov. 10

On bye week: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia

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