One of my favorite things that happened last week was the fact that a team on their bye managed to move into first place of their division. The Steelers sat at home with a 3-2-1 record and saw both the Bengals and Ravens fall to 4-3. In that, we saw the return of awful primetime Bengals against the Chiefs as well as Drew Brees complete the task of beating every NFL team at least once. We now have 19 teams with three or four wins in the league and because of that, there is still opportunity aplenty for teams to make a legitimate playoff run, even if they had a slow start. The Texans are a prime example who are now 4-3 after starting 0-3.
Thursday 10/25/2018 8:20 pm
Dolphins vs Texans (-7.5)
When you first look at this line it’s hard to think of the Texans as a two-score favorite. Yet, they’ve had a combination of good form and a little luck on their side over the past month. Then you dive into the matchups and all of a sudden it starts to feel like Houston should be able to beat up on a banged up Dolphins team. Primarily, the Dolphins have no one to slow down J.J. Watt and with Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson out, it’s looking like Danny Amendola would be the main target, but lining up across from Kareem Jackson isn’t a hope-inspiring matchup. I’ll take the Houston Texans to come in with a balanced attack and being able to move the ball while keeping Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins at bay.
Pick: Texans -7.5 (Medium Confidence), Score: HOU 27 – MIA 17
Sunday 10/28/2018 9:30 am
Eagles vs Jaguars (+3)
Weather: 44 Degrees 8% chance of rain
On paper, the Eagles should win this game and cover with ease, just based on current form and coaching. If this game was in Jacksonville or in Philadelphia, I’d be all in on the Eagles. Yet, this game is in London and no team has played more games in London than the Jaguars. In London they are 3-2, but winning their last three with scores of 34, 30, and 44. While Blake Bortles has been putrid over the last month, a trip to London could be just what he needs. With the Jaguars trend in London, I’m not willing to back the Eagles in a game I believe will end up being very close.
Pick: Jaguars +3 (Low Confidence), Score PHI 24 – JAC 23
Sunday 10/28/2018 1:00 pm
Ravens vs Panthers (+2)
Weather: 60 Degrees no chance of rain
I do believe the Ravens are the better team in this one, but Cam Newton is the variable that makes it difficult for me to trust they win this with consistency. The Ravens have been better throwing the ball this year and the Panthers defense has largely struggled in that department. The Ravens defense has shut teams down and gave up just 24 points to one of the best offenses in the league against the Saints. With that said, though, the Panthers are a team that plays considerably better at home. Because of that, I’ll expect a close to 50/50 matchup and side with the home team.
Pick: Panthers +2 (Low Confidence), Score CAR 23 – BAL 21
Broncos vs Chiefs (-10)
Weather: 57 Degrees 2% chance of rain
The Broncos get 10 days to prepare for their trip to Kansas City after destroying the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. The Broncos and Chiefs have already played in Denver, which was the Chiefs only game scoring less than 30. At home, the Chiefs have scored 38, 30, and 45 so far. While rain doesn’t appear to be in the forecast, the current forecast is calling for some heavy winds (as of writing). This is a matchup to watch. If the wind forecast dies down then I’m ready to go in on the Chiefs. If the winds end up being this high then it’ll be enough to detour me from backing the Chiefs.
Pick: Chiefs -10 (Medium Confidence), Score KC 34 – DEN 20
Browns vs Steelers (-8)
Weather: 56 Degrees 32% chance of rain
The Browns managed to battle to hand the Steelers a tie in the opening week of football. Tyrod Taylor was the quarterback then, and while the offense sparked under Baker Mayfield, it would appear that teams have started to figure him out at this point in the season. The Browns also traded away Carlos Hyde last week and are unleashing Nick Chubb in the running game. The one thing the Steelers defense has been very good at is defending the run. This means this game is going to come down to the Browns defense and the play of Baker Mayfield. With the Browns always playing the Steelers tough, I’ll expect a one-TD game, which just isn’t enough for the Steelers to cover.
Pick: Browns +8 (Low Confidence), Score PIT 27 – CLE 20
Seahawks vs Lions (-3)
Both of these teams are coming off of a bye and both have been in good form over the past few weeks. The Seahawks have had some solid play from their safeties, defensive line, and Bobby Wagner from the linebacker position. Yet, the cornerbacks are where the defense is struggling. While the Lions have finally found a run game with Kerryon Johnson, I do not believe that they’ve forgotten how to throw the ball. While I expect a healthy dose of Johnson, I also see Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay managing to get themselves open quite a bit. While the Seahawks will definitely focus in on running the ball, if the Lions offense opens up with some quick strikes, I just don’t see them mounting a comeback against this offense.
Pick: Lions -3 (Medium Confidence), Score DET 30 – SEA 24
Buccaneers vs Bengals (-4.5)
Weather: 48 Degrees 12% chance of rain
The Bengals woes in primetime have struck again in their matchup with the Chiefs and they now face another high-powered offense in the Buccaneers. The Bengals had a hot start to the season, especially on offense, but then they had a couple of weeks with high point totals thanks to their defense, followed by some disappointing offensive outputs. While the offense should rebound against the Buccaneers porous defense, I don’t think it’ll be a full return to form. While the Bengals defense is clearly better than the Buccaneers, it’s hard to fathom that unit being able to shut down Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, DeSean Jackson, and O.J. Howard on a consistent basis. The Bengals are still more likely to win this week, but I don’t expect it to be by more than a field goal.
Pick: Buccaneers +4.5 (Low Confidence), Score CIN 27 –TB 24
Jets vs Bears (-7.5)
Weather: 48 Degrees 63% chance of rain
The Jets defense has been very good this year (outside of defending the slot), but the Bears defense has been one of the best (well, when Khalil Mack is healthy). If Mack is back to relative health this week, then I don’t see Sam Darnold fairing too well on the road against this defense. While the Jets defense has been good, they haven’t faced a quarterback who runs as much as Mitch Trubisky has been in the past month. It appears head coach Matt Nagy has figured out how to work with Trubisky’s skill set. One thing I would hope to see is Allen Robinson running routes out of the slot this week. If Robinson is lining up in the slot, I just don’t see how the Jets could slow him down considering how poorly they’ve played against slot receivers.
Pick: Bears -7.5 (Low Confidence), Score CHI 27 – NYJ 17
Redskins vs Giants (+1)
Weather: 58 Degrees 0% chance of rain
This is a tough game to figure out. On paper, the Redskins are clearly the better team and many of the metrics point to them winning by well more than a point. Yet, when I look at this matchup my gut tells me it’s going to be a close NFC East rivalry matchup that the home dog could pull a victory out in. The Giants have the offensive weapons in Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., and Sterling Shepard to win this game, but it all comes down to how well Eli Manning can get them the ball. While the Redskins sit atop the NFC East, the offense has been largely unimpressive from week to week. Essentially this game comes down to if the Redskins can shut down the Giants enough for their own offense to get some solid field position. I’m going to say the explosiveness of Barkley and OBJ get them just enough to win this game.
Pick: Giants (Low Confidence), Score NYG 24 – WAS 23
Sunday 10/28/2018 4:05 pm
Colts vs Raiders (+3)
Weather: 66 Degrees no chance of rain
The Raiders just traded away their best offensive weapon in Amari Cooper and recently lost their best running back to injury for the time being. The Colts aren’t blowing teams out of the water, but they have been competitive in many of their games and have the offense to never truly be out of a matchup. With Marlon Mack healthy, the Colts have also found their run game and have a T.Y. Hilton who is another week healthier. This is coming into question with Mack missing Thursday’s practice, Andrew Luck has shown that he can win games through the air as well. The Colts may be the road team, but short of a Raiders team that suddenly bands together and significantly raises their game, I just don’t see this Raiders offense be able to keep up with Luck and the Colts when their defense just doesn’t seem to have the ability to stop them.
Pick: Colts -3 (High Confidence), Score IND 33 – OAK 20
Sunday 10/28/2018 4:25 pm
49ers vs Cardinals (PK)
The Cardinals are an interesting team right now. Sure they are still awful overall, but with a change in offensive coordinator, we could see a spark in this offense. Keep in mind new play-caller Bryon Leftwich was a holdover from the Bruce Arians regime. This means he’ll likely have a different offensive style to his play calling than what we saw from Mike McCoy. What we are all hoping this means is that David Johnson will get used in space as opposed to receiving carry after carry up the middle. The 49ers are the one team the Cardinals have beaten, and with them at home and with a new (and most likely better) play caller, I believe the Cardinals will do it again.
Pick: Cardinals PK (Low Confidence), Score ARI 27 – SF 24
Packers vs Rams (-9.5)
Weather: 83 Degrees 0% chance of rain
At first glance, it seems crazy to think of the Packers as nine and a half point underdogs, regardless of who or where they’re playing. Yet, look at how the Packers have played at times, along with the herculean efforts from Aaron Rodgers they needed for a couple of wins. Once you’ve done that, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so crazy when they’re going on the road to face one of, if not, the best teams in the league. With that said, they’re coming out of a bye week, healthier than they’ve been since Week 1 and they do still have Aaron Rodgers. I’ll still say the Packers cover, but I don’t think it’ll necessarily be by much.
Pick: Packers +9.5 (Low Confidence), Score: LAR 34 – GB 27
Sunday 10/28/2018 8:20 pm
Saints vs Vikings (PK)
The Vikings have been playing better as of late, but the Saints have been playing lights out football for weeks now. We’ve seen both of these offenses be able to get it done, especially through the air. While both defenses have started to come on as of late, they’ve also shown they have their weak points. While both of these teams have a lot going on for them I still believe the Saints are the better squad, even on the road. The Vikings have been good against the run, but Alvin Kamara as a receiver is just as deadly, and Michael Thomas is one of the best wide receivers in football right now. Granted, Adam Thielen also has a stake for that claim, but I don’t know if he and Stefon Diggs will be enough to overcome this Saints offense. I expect a high-scoring affair where the Saints finish things off with a win.
Pick: Saints PK (Medium Confidence), NO 34 – MIN 30
Monday 10/29/2018 8:15 pm
Patriots vs Bills (+14)
Weather: 37 Degrees 24% chance of rain
If you take the teams out of it and look at just the scenario of a home team in a primetime Monday Night Football game getting a two-touchdown head start, it seems sort of ludicrous. Yet the Bills are likely the worst offense in the league at this point. Even more so with LeSean McCoy potentially missing and another week of Derek Anderson at the helm. The Patriots have been able to score more than their fair share of points, yet they enter this game with question marks of their own. Rob Gronkowski may be healthy enough to play, but even so how much would they push him in a game they should win handily? Sony Michel is likely to miss this game as well. While James White has been spectacular this year, he’s not a full-time workhorse back. The Patriots will win this game, but the situation makes it too tough to give up two touchdowns.
Pick: Bills +14 (Low Confidence), Score NE 27 – BUF 16
Kyle Kontos is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Kyle, check out his archive.