I try to keep a certain level of variety in this column. I've made picks against the spread, over/under, and prop bets for nearly every offensive position. This week's structure is one that I've wanted to do for a while, but held off on. If you were looking for the Kicker's special, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to hold on for a bit longer. Anyway, here's my pick against the spread for EVERY Sunday game. May the odds be ever in our favor.
1 PM Timeslot
Kansas City Chiefs vs Miami Dolphins
This might actually be the toughest call of the week in betting terms. Miami is currently on a tear both ATS and straight up, posting a 7-1 record in both categories over their last eight games. Fighting for one of the three wild card spots in the AFC, the Dolphins are the best team in the league this season at 9-3 ATS and 8-4 SU. The key factor in these records has been their defense, which ranks second in the league allowing just 17.7 points per game, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers by a tenth of a point.
Their greatest test so far comes today, as they face off against the second best offense in the league in the Kansas City Chiefs. We know what Patrick Mahomes can do, and while I don't think he'll have his best offensive performance of the season, Mahomes is going to lead the Chiefs to victory. The Dolphins are one of the best defenses against early down passing, where Mahomes and his receivers excel, so look for them to keep it close and a final score that looks something like 28-24.
M/L: Chiefs (-350)
ATS: Dolphins +7 (-105)
Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The Titans have a lot more to lose in this game than the Jaguars after dropping a game to Cleveland last week. Actually, a loss for the Jaguars would kind of help them as well, keeping them alive in the race for the first pick. No team outwardly strives for that, but their fans might.
If it wasn't the Titans, I would actually consider picking Jacksonville to cover this week. Mike Glennon hasn't been too bad under center for the Jags, posting a passer rating of 96.7 against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago. However, Jacksonville's league-last defense will not play anywhere close to the level they need to match Glennon's performance on offense, letting Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill to cruise to a nice win to stay competitive in the AFC South.
M/L: Titans (-350)
ATS: Titans -7.5 (-110)
Dallas Cowboys vs Cincinnati Bengals
I'd say this is the worst game of the week, but considering how weak both teams have played as of late, it might actually be entertaining to see who doesn't play worse. Dallas sits dead last in the NFL ATS at 2-10, and while the Bengals sit at a comfy 7-5 in that same category, keeping up with a few solid teams, but are 1-3 ATS in their last four. Look for the Cowboys to win in a war of attrition. Considering how poor these teams have been offensively, it could come down to a field goal, resulting in a push if Dallas wins. Pushes are lame, so take the points on Cincy.
M/L: Cowboys (-165)
ATS: Bengals +3 (-105)
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
This is a fun one. The New York Giants have emerged out of nowhere as a potential playoff team, winning their last four to head to the top of the NFC East, including an upset last week with Colt McCoy at QB against the Seahawks. The Cardinals are on a four game skid, losing four of their last five. With Daniel Jones likely to return tomorrow, Giants fans are hoping to continue the momentum of their playoff push and win against Arizona. However, their is one factor in Arizona's favor that will prevent that, and his name is Chase Edmonds. I may be a little biased, considering I spent my first two years at Fordham watching Chase Edmonds light FCS defenses up every Saturday, but you can't deny how he heat up when playing in New York. Four touchdowns in two career games against New York teams so far, with only seven in every other game he's played, Edmonds is going to want to put on a show for his former home.
Expect a win for Cards fans and for Fordham Pride.
M/L: Cardinals (-155)
ATS: Cards -2.5 (-115)
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
Oh, how the Bears have fallen. After a commanding 5-1 start to the season, Da Bears have dropped six in a row in what could only be described as some cruel scheme devised by the football gods in order to force Dan Katz into hiding. The Texans, whose season can best be described as meh, took a pretty big blow after Thanksgiving following the suspension of Will Fuller after he violated the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. With a line set at 1.5 between two of the worst betting teams in the league, it's really anyone's game. Chicago has failed to cover in their last four, so hopefully that can be the one thing they keep consistent this week when I pick the Texans.
M/L: Texans (-125)
ATS: Texans -1.5 (-110)
Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers
These two teams are a lot like Cincy in that while they are by no means very good, they're solid teams ATS, both with a record of 7-5 so far this year. The Broncos are second-to-last in the league in scoring, but Carolina is yet to cover this year as a favorite, and with a Broncos defense that is surprisingly effective against the pass, they could severely limit a Panthers offense that continues to be without Christian McCaffrey. I'll take Denver in this one.
M/L: Broncos (+165)
ATS: Broncos +3 (+110)
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Welcome to the Wild Card Race, Tom Brady. Feels weird, doesn't it? At 7-5, second in the AFC South, Tampa Bay tries to keep their playoff hopes alive against Minnesota, who is also clinging onto a playoff spot with one pinky left one the monkey bar. Minnesota actually took it to the wire against some big teams like Seattle and Tennessee, losing both of those games within a score. The Vikings are 4-1 ATS as an underdog, while Tampa is 4-4 ATS as a favorite. I've seen some action on the line shift in Minnesota's favor, so if you can get a line at +6.5 or less take it. MGM currently lists the matchup at +7, so I'd avoid it altogether.
M/L: Buccaneers (-350)
ATS: Buccaneers -7 (-110)
4 PM Games
Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders
How 'bout them Colts? In a tight race for the AFC South, Indianapolis takes on a Raiders team that's deep in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. Derek Carr and Phillip Rivers are each having career years, with passer ratings of 104.1 and 96.0, respectively. Each QB is bolstered by an excellent receiving staff, with Darren Waller making the case for best tight end in the league, and T.Y Hilton coming off a week in which he set season highs for receiving yards (110) and catches (8). With a spread set within one field goal, the books are looking for a shootout. The Raiders are coming off of two lackluster weeks in which they lost to the Falcons and barely scraped by the Jets, so look for Indy to take advantage of that.
M/L: Colts (-165)
ATS: Colts -3 (-110)
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks
The Jets suck so bad. Instead of betting on this game, find literally anything else to do with your time. Read a book. Ride your bike. Do a puzzle if you want, just don't bet on this game.
M/L: Seahawks (-1100)
ATS: Seahawks -15 (-110)
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
The Packers are hot right now. 8-4 ATS for the season, Green Bay are coming off two victories decided by more than two touchdowns each, while Detroit's last two losses were decided by similar margins, including a 20-0 loss to Carolina in Week 11. Green Bay routed Detroit in their first meeting of the season 42-21, and with a new head coach, I just don't think Detroit is prepared for an Aaron Rodgers whose looking to make a potential last-ditch effort for a Super Bowl campaign. If this line shifted into the double digits, I'd consider Detroit, but unfortunately I don't think it's going to happen.
M/L: Packers (-450)
ATS: Packers -9 (-110)
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers
Atlanta is in a lot better shape at this point in the season than I thought they'd be, mainly to the credit of interim Head Coach Raheem Morris. 4-3 SU in his tenure as HC, the Falcons have yet to lose to in a row with him calling the plays. However, I think this is going to change this week, as rookie QB Justin Herbert will look for a good performance after two tough losses. Both teams are choke artists, and Atlanta is 4-3 ATS as an underdog, so take them to at least lose by one.
M/L: Falcons (-105)
ATS: Toss-up (AVOID)
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
This is actually an exciting game, if only for the fact that we'll get to see QB Jalen Hurts in his first start to the Eagles after losing four in a row with Carson Wentz behind center. How this move wasn't made a month ago is beyond me. The Saints are the first team in the NFC to clinch a playoff berth, so some may expect them to take it a bit easy in this game which might let the Eagles sneak a cover in there. The line is currently set at 7.5, so I don't think that's going to happen, but I wouldn't judge you if you took Philly with the points. Michael Thomas is back, so New Orleans offensively could put up a lot and prevent the Eagles from keeping it close.
M/L: Saints (-400)
ATS: Saints -7.5 (-115)
Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers
The Football Team is SOO HOT right now, after taking down the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers last Monday, and in a division where a 7-9 finish could get you into the playoffs, they are still very much alive in the race for an NFC East title. Despite being last place in the West, the 6-6 Niners are still in the hunt for a wild card spot. San Francisco is 6-1 against Washington in their last 7 meetings, and considering the Football Team is playing a second consecutive game on the road, they're going to be a little rusty. Look for the Niners to take it in a close one.
M/L: 49ers (-155)
ATS: 49ers -3 (-105)
Sunday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
The Steelers were eaten alive by NFL fans and pundits last week after dropping one to the Football Team. It was a bad game for them, and it shows that they're not invincible, but it's no reason to hit the panic button yet. Their first game after that loss is no cakewalk, though, as they're going up against Josh Allen and the best Buffalo Bills team we've seen in in the past quarter-century. Buffalo is on a 4-1 tear against the spread, and coming off of a performance in San Fran in which he threw for 375 yards and 4 touchdowns, Josh Allen is as hot as he can be. The Steelers are playing their third game in twelve days, so the Buffalo secondary can easily take advantage of a tired Chase Claypool and Juju Smith-Shuster.
M/L: Bills (-135)
ATS: Bills -1.5 (-110)