It’s been a tough year for pro-football bettors everywhere. Another year of shortened training camps led to a wild early part of the season, clearing the way for too many underdog victories to count. The traditional powers — Patriots, Seahawks, Steelers — have shown weakness, meaning there are no sure things. Meanwhile, my traditional “bet-against” coach — Andy Reid — appears to be the best in the league. But every week is another opportunity. And here we are with a slate of lopsided spreads. So, if you are feeling like taking a big swing, go ahead and parlay all those high numbers and see if you can have, for once, an enjoyable Sunday in 2017. Make sure to do it responsibly, of course.
Patriots/Jets — over 47.5
New England has had extra time to prepare for this game against New York. That doesn’t bode well for the home team. My only question is whether they’ll be able to score all 48 points necessary to hit the over against the worst defense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus’ rankings. Also, the Pats apparently can’t defend anyone. I don’t believe that’ll matter in this one, but if Josh McCown’s unit can slap seven or 10 points on the board, it wouldn’t hurt.
Green Bay helped my “the Packers are the best team in the NFC” by going on the road last weekend and beating the Dallas Cowboys. Now, they face divisional rival Minnesota Vikings, who will be without Sam Bradford again. Aaron Rodgers traditioanlly struggles against their stout defense. But they’d be the first to do it this season. And in a matchup of Rodgers vs. Case Keenum, I’ll take Rodgers 101 times out of 100.
Say what you will about the Detroit Lions. Like, it’s the worst franchise in the history of pro sports. That’s fine. But the Matthew Stafford-led version of this team keeps games close. And against a bad New Orleans defense, I can’t imagine a scenario where he doesn’t have a solid output to keep the score tight — win or lose.
Arizona has one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Tampa Bay has the worst pass rush in the league with just four sacks on the year. The Bucs could easily double this number against Carson Palmer — as the 49ers did earlier this season — but I’m just not sold on Jameis Winston making enough plays to undo a first-class Arizona secondary. This game will stay tight, so the faint of heart should play the spread — but I want those odds and believe the underdog, playing at home, could take it.
Steelers/Chiefs — under 47
Usually, the story is that Ben Roethlisberger is miserable on the road. Last week, he threw five interceptions at home, and then admitted he might not have “it” anymore. And like a bull running head first into a brick wall week-after-week, I’m going to wager that this is the time when Andy Reid’s Chiefs finally find their regression to the mean. It’s a high point total with two respectable defenses on the field. All you need is one offense to crumble to ensure the under hits.
Week 5: 2-3
MATCHUP SPREAD MONEYLINE OVER/UNDER
Cleveland at Houston HOU -9.5 CLE +380, HOU -475 +/- 46.5
New England at NYJ NE -9.5 NE -500, NYJ +400 +/- 47.5
Miami at Atlanta ATL -12.5 MIA +600, ATL -900 +/- 46.5
Detroit at New Orleans NO -4.5 DET +190, NO -220 +/- 50
Green Bay at Minnesota GB -3 GB -160, MIN +140 +/- 47
Chicago at Baltimore BAL -6.5 CHI +250, BAL -300 +/- 40
San Francisco at Washington WAS -11 SF +450, WAS -600 +/- 46.5
LA Rams at Jacksonville JAX -2.5 LAR +125, JAX -145 +/- 42.5
Tampa Bay at Arizona TB -1.5 TB -125, ARI +105 +/- 45
Pittsburgh at Kansas City KC -4.5 PIT +180, KC -210 +/- 47
LA Chargers at Oakland
NYG at Denver DEN -12 NYG +500, DEN -700 +/- 39.5
Indianapolis at Tennessee
Lines courtesy William Hill; updated Friday, Oct. 13
On bye week: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle