So last week was a little weird. Mark Sanchez, not Nick Foles, led the Eagles to a big road win over the Texans. The San Diego Chargers, who many deemed a Super Bowl contender just a few weeks ago, got blown out by Miami. In a game that was almost certainly going to at least go into overtime, Colin Kaepernick fumbled at the goalline, giving the Rams a 3-point win. The Broncos, everyone’s alpha dog, lost by 22 points. And Ben Roethlisberger passed for six touchdowns for the second straight week. It shows that (and I know I stress this a lot) anything can happen in the NFL.
But what it showed me, at Week 10, we’re starting to figure out which teams are better or worse due to their strength of schedule. Take the aforementioned Chargers. Since Week 4, they’re 3-3, with their wins coming against the Jaguars, Jets, and Raiders. They did beat Seattle and Buffalo, but those teams aren’t world beaters at this point. Then you’ve got the Seahawks, who’s wins after their bye have come against Washington, Carolina, and Oakland (barely). They’ve started to fade off since a 2-1 start with wins over Denver and Green Bay. It’s things like these that should add yet another wrinkle into gambling. Make sure to consider them when making your bets.
Five Star Bets
RAVENS (-10) over Titans, Confidence Rating: 4/5
Coming off two losses and now in last in the AFC North, Baltimore needs a win here heading into their bye. In reference to my SOS theory before, Baltimore may not be as good as we thought they were. Their only good wins were against Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and that was before the Steelers started to take off. But look what they’ve done to bad teams like the Titans: 38-10 over Carolina, 48-17 over Tampa Bay, 29-7 over Atlanta. They take care of business against weaker competition, and I expect them to do so angry and coming off of two straight divisional losses.
Bet $20, win $19.04; Bet $100, win $95.23
LIONS (-3) over Dolphins, Confidence Rating: 3.5/5
This is an interesting game with two of the best defenses in the league squaring off. But one is in a much better spot, and that’s Detroit. The Lions are coming off a bye where they (hopefully) figured out why they could only muster the ugliest of wins over Atlanta, and they get Calvin Johnson back as well. Miami, however, is on a cloud. They’re the NFL’s new darling team, and you know there’s got to be a let down coming. Throw in the Dolphins looking ahead to a crucial Thursday night contest against the Bills, and I like Matthew Stafford and the boys in blue to cover this one.
Bet $20, win $18.18; Bet $100, win $90.90
Browns (+12.5) over BENGALS, Confidence Rating: 4.5/5
When this line came out, I init thought the Bengals. But then I rethought it and had a very different opinion. First off, this line on a neutral field would be Cincinnati -3.5, but are we sure they’re that much better than the Browns? Also, in their five wins this year, they’ve beaten Atlanta, Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Baltimore twice. The Ravens wins are nice, but both were decided in the last few minutes. It’s a shot in the dark to decide which AFC North team is the best, and if you spike that line up to +12.5, I’ll gladly take the Browns in this one.
Chiefs (+4) over BILLS, Confidence Rating: 4/5
This is a tricky game. Both teams are very solid, although I like the Chiefs a bit more. The reason why I’ll take Kansas City here is mainly because Buffalo should be distracted looking forward to their Miami divisional tilt four days later. And…yeah that’s probably the only reason. It wouldn’t be enough for me to bet on the normal line, but if you give the Chiefs points in this game, I believe they’ll give you money.
Broncos (-6) over RAIDERS, Confidence Rating: 4/5
Peyton Manning is going to be PISSED. As a reward, he gets to the hapless Raiders. Similar to the previous pick, there’s not a ton of thought here. The Broncos are coming off a blowout loss, and a team who many still consider to be the best in the NFL, they’re going to take it out on their next opponent. Because I don’t really betting against double-digit home dogs, especially after seeing Oakland cover in Seattle last week, I’ll tease it down and put my faith in the Prince of Papa John’s.
Two-team teaser: Bet $20, win $18.18; Bet $100, win $90.90
Three-team teaser: Bet $20, win $32; Bet $100, win $160
Panthers over EAGLES, Jets over STEELERS, 49ers over SAINTS, Rams over CARDINALS
This moneyline parlay is so crazy, it just might be crazy enough to work. Look, I understand that I’m 0-9 picking Carolina this year, but something’s got to give, right? Mark Sanchez taking over the offense, the Eagles looking ahead to traveling to Lambeau the following week, Cam Newton and the Panthers bound to turn this thing around. Like I said, maybe just crazy enough to work…Speaking of crazy, the Jets?!?! New York is such an annoying team at this point. They’ve had one of the toughest schedules in the league (all but one of their losses, Chicago, have come against teams above .500) and they’re bound for a bounce back more than any other team, while the Steelers are primed for a letdown more than any other team. If the Jets haven’t been so poisonous all year, I might have included them in my Five Star Bets…This is a kitchen sink game for the 49ers. If they lose this game, their season is probably over. Plus the Saints have been talked about by the media now plenty. San Francisco is a team that’s mentally tough enough to win in the Super Dome…The Cardinals have to loss one of these days. They’re a solid team, but they’ve gotten pretty lucky. They also haven’t laid an egg yet, which I feel may be coming this week. After winning “The Battle of the NFC” over Dallas last week and getting ready to play the Lions next week, this is a classic trap game against a frisky divisional opponent sandwiched between games against two contenders.
Bet $5, win $518.23; Bet $10, win $1,036.47; Bet $20, win $2,072.95