Hopefully your fantasy teams survived byenado part 1. The good news is that only four teams, the Broncos, Texans, Vikings, and Ravens, are on bye this week.
Last week was a nightmare Sunday for the house – boo hoo, right? Per Sports Insights, teams who received the majority of spread bets went 11-0 both against the spread and straight up, meaning that if you bet with the public, you probably made some money. I’m making a point to say this because sometimes bettors will go out of their way to fade the public and look for “value,” which isn’t a bad strategy, but it won’t always work out.
My midseason tips to you are, 1) don’t get cute, 2) use common sense in tandem with news/analytics/advice from experts, 3) don’t overreact to wins or losses you take throughout the season, and 4) remember to enjoy yourself. It’s objectively the best 17 weeks of the year.
Please keep in mind that by the time you’re reading this, the line may have shifted depending on breaking news during the week, or money flowing through the market. Good luck in Week 10 and let’s get this bread!
Thursday 8:20 PM EST
Carolina at Pittsburgh, -4.5
The Panthers scored a record 35 points in the first half of last week’s game and are tied with the Chargers for first in the NFC wild card race. They’ll face a Pittsburgh team that has really started to heat up, winning five of their last six and covering four straight against the spread. The Panthers have also covered three straight games and have quietly become a very strong offense. I think this is a game the Panthers could win outright, so I am taking the Panthers as underdogs to cover the spread.
Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Buffalo at NY Jets, -7.5
Both starting quarterbacks are coming into this game having thrown three interceptions in their last game. Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman even made history by throwing the most interceptions ever in a player’s first 100 pass attempts and is certainly in the conversation for the worst of all time. This is a huge line for a Jets team that has only put up 16 points in their last two games. That being said, they’ll be home for the first time in three games and I think this is a get right game for rookie Sam Darnold. I’m at the point where I refuse to back any Nathan Peterman spread, so I’m going with the Jets to win and cover the points.
Detroit at Chicago, -6.5
The Lions looked lost during their Week 9 game against the Vikings and allowed quarterback Matt Stafford to be sacked 10 times. They’ll face a strong Bears pass rush, which will hopefully have outside linebacker Khalil Mack back in time for the game. This is an important NFC North divisional game for both teams, but with this game being played in Soldier Field and the Lions’ with their backs against the wall, I’m finding it hard to envision a way that they keep this one close. I will take the Bears win this game by at least a touchdown and cover the points.
Washington at Tampa Bay, -2.5
The Buccaneers dropped to 3-5 and last place in the NFC South with their Week 9 loss to the Panthers. They look somewhat improved with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, but their defense has shown no ability to stop anything all season. That said, Washington was decimated with injuries after last week’s game and will be without guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao, and wide receiver Paul Richardson for the remainder of the season. They may still be in the playoff race in a very soft NFC East division, but with all these injuries to key players, I think the Buccaneers ultimately win the game and cover the 2.5 points.
Arizona at Kansas City, -16.5
This is the biggest line of the week and it surprisingly does not involve the Bills. The Cardinals are coming off of a Week 9 bye and recently made the change at offensive coordinator to Byron Leftwich. Hopefully Leftwich will be able to reignite this offense by getting David Johnson more involved in the passing game, and continue to develop rookie quarterback Sam Rosen. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are coming off of another dominant showing against the Browns and will go home to Arrowhead this week. They’re 8-1 against the spread this year, but this number just leaves too much room for a backdoor cover. I’ll take the Cardinals with the points.
New England at Tennessee, +7.5
Hey, remember when we were all freaking out about New England at the beginning of the season? Well, Tom Brady is now laughing at his critics, as they have turned things around quickly and have begun to look like a dominant team once again. They bested the Packers in primetime without running back Sony Michel and tight end Rob Gronkowski by getting weapons like Cordarrelle Patterson and Josh Gordon involved heavily. The Titans also came away with a Week 9 win against the Cowboys, but expect New England to put up much more of a fight than Dallas. I think this line would have been much higher had the Titans lost on Monday night and I’m not sure we learned anything from them beating up on a bad Cowboys team. With New England clearly gaining momentum as the season has progressed, I like the Patriots to win and cover the spread.
New Orleans at Cincinnati, +4.5
Drew Brees and the Saints faced their toughest matchup of the season against an undefeated Rams team and came away with a win to move to 7-1 on the season. Their offense is scary-good, and their defense seems to be improving somewhat as the season progresses. Meanwhile, the 5-3 Bengals are coming off of a Week 9 bye and are still very much in the AFC North race. They’ll be without star wide receiver A.J. Green for this game (foot) and have failed to cover their last three games. New Orleans, on the other hand, have covered their last six games in a row, which is why I like the Saints to win and cover this spread easily.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, -3.5
Both of these 3-5 teams had a Week 9 bye, meaning they’ll be well-rested coming into this AFC South showdown. The Colts have put up 79 points in their last two games for a positive 46-point differential and quarterback Andrew Luck looks to be trending in the right direction. On the other side of the ball, Blake Bortles wasn’t bad enough to be benched in Week 8, but completed only 24 of 41 passes for one touchdown and will continue to be on thin ice. The Jaguars dealt defensive end Dante Fowler to the Rams, and stars Jalen Ramsey and Calais Campbell have looked pedestrian of late. This line suggests it would be a pick em on a neutral field and with the Jaguars failing to cover their last four games, give me the Colts to win and cover the spread.
Miami at Green Bay, -9.5
The Dolphins picked up a win last Sunday despite only scoring 13 points, and moved to 5-4 on the year. Quarterback Brock Osweiler attempted 24 passes for 139 yards, and their only touchdown of the game came from safety T.J. McDonald. They’ll go on the road to Lambeau Field to face the Packers, whose season hangs in the balance after losing to the Patriots on Sunday night and have now dropped to 3rd place in the division. I have serious questions about coach Mike McCarthy’s play calling and whether we’re overvaluing this team because they’re the Packers. I think you have to lean with the value you’re getting with the Dolphins in this spot.
Atlanta at Cleveland, +4.5
The Browns have fallen to 2-6-1 after a loss to the Chiefs last week, but appear to be at least somewhat improved offensively under the new coaching regime. Meanwhile, Julio Jones finally scored a touchdown and the Falcons looked dominant in their win against the Redskins last week. This line is probably low because of Matt Ryan’s history outdoors on grass, but he is quietly having an MVP-caliber season, and this Falcons team could legitimately make a run for the last wild card spot. I’m glad Cleveland finally moved on from Hue Jackson, but I think the Falcons win by at least a touchdown in this game and cover the spread easily.
Sunday 4:05 PM EST
LA Chargers at Oakland, +9.5
The Raiders looked absolutely pathetic in their Thursday night showing and were bested by undrafted third string quarterback Nick Mullens 34-3. They are proving to be the GOATs of tanking, and I don’t see that changing as they compete for the No. 1 draft spot. Meanwhile, the Chargers got a surprise win against the Seahawks last week and are now 3-1 against the spread on the road. These are a lot of road points, but I can’t see this game being in the least bit competitive — Chargers win and cover in Oakland.
Sunday 4:25 PM EST
Seattle at LA Rams, -10.5
The Rams suffered their first loss of the season against the Saints, but will face a much softer divisional opponent in the Seahawks this week. These teams met in Week 5 of this year with the Rams coming out on top of a 33-31 game. I think the Rams are a much better team and are still the best in the NFL, but these teams tend to play each other tough as we saw earlier in the year. I have faith that Seattle can keep it within the number, so I am picking the Seahawks with the points.
Sunday 8:20 PM EST
Dallas at Philadelphia, -6.5
The Eagles will be well-rested coming off of a Week 9 bye to face the Cowboys at home. They are 4-4, but are very much in the hunt for the NFC East divisional title, which has been left wide open, especially with all the injuries to Washington. Meanwhile, Dallas looked bad on Monday night against the Titans, which makes you wonder if trading away a first round pick for Amari Cooper was really the right move to get them over the hump this season. I think Philadelphia is about to run away with this division — Eagles win, Eagles cover.
Monday 8:15 PM EST
NY Giants at San Francisco, -3.5
We have been blessed by the football Gods with this lovely Monday night matchup between two teams that have a combined 3-14 record and appear to be fighting for a high 2019 draft pick. The Giants may be coming off of a Week 9 bye, but all the rest in the world probably can’t help this team, which is in total disrepair. For San Francisco, quarterback Nick Mullens, who had to fill in for C.J. Beathard last minute, has been named the starter after exceeding expectations on Thursday night against the Raiders. With both teams in tank mode, who knows what happens, but I’m leaning towards the 49ers to win and cover.