Welcome back to another edition of Beating the Spread! I’m Jake Roy, and I’m leading the BTS team again this season. I’m joined by two-time Beating the Spread participant and Brennan Rampe and newcomer Jason Wolf. We’ll be here every weekend throughout the season and crown our champion at the end.
Happy Thanksgiving QB List family! I think I speak for the entire panel when I say we’re incredibly grateful that we have the opportunity and platform to talk about the NFL, and that’s thanks to all of our readers. We have a small board this week with several games taking place on Thursday and Friday, but there are still plenty of winners on the board. Jason remains in the lead, but it’s still anyone’s game with about a third of the season to go.
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)
|Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)
|Jason Wolf (@J_Wolf_picks)
|Ravens/Chargers over 46.5
We’ll start off in Atlanta, with the Saints and Falcons squaring off in a huge game in the NFC South race. While I’d hesitate to call either team “good”, they’re both relevant to the playoff picture as a whole. With a one-point spread, I’ll roll with the home team. The Saints are banged up. They lost Michael Thomas to injury, and Derek Carr missed some practice due to a concussion. He’s also dealt with a shoulder injury throughout the year. With the Falcons on a three-game losing streak, coming off the bye, and playing at home, I can’t pass them up. ATL -1.0
I’m never one to lay the points with a heavy favorite, but with the Chiefs coming off a tough loss, I think they’re the side to back here. Patrick Mahomes dominates the Raiders, and the interim coach bump is soon to wear off sooner or later. Given the number of drops last week, I expect Andy Reid to get back to the basics, keeping the ball on the ground and feeding Travis Kelce. Even if the offense still doesn’t fully click for Kansas City, I don’t see Vegas scoring many points with Aidan O’Connell under center. I’ll take the Chiefs on the road. KC -9.0
Are the Broncos for real? I think they just might be. The offense still hasn’t completely found its footing, but the defense is on a hot streak. For Cleveland, it’s a similar story. Just last week, the Browns threw the ball 43 times on the way to just 13 points. If Denver can contain the running game and keep Dorian Thompson-Robinson in obvious passing situations, they’re not going to be able to put up a big number. With Denver at home, I think their skill players can make some plays and get in the end zone a few times against a really good Browns defense. I’ll take Denver by a field goal. DEN -2.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers somehow have a 6-4 record despite an awful offense. After their most recent loss, the team decided to fire offensive coordinator Matt Canada. It was about time that happened. This team has solid talent on that side of the ball. The Cincinnati Bengals are 5-5, but sadly lost Joe Burrow for the year. He’s one of six starting quarterbacks to go down in this injury-riddled season. All of these guys getting hurt is bad for the league, and Burrow is a star at the position. He’s one of the best in the league, and Cincinnati is now finished. They’ll be starting some guy named Jake Browning, who has almost no experience. His first start will be against an excellent Steelers defense, and I’m sure he’ll struggle. I think that Pittsburgh’s offense gets a spark and I expect them to win by at least a field goal. PIT -1.0
Inside the Numbers: The Steelers are 7-4-0 against the spread after a loss since 2022.
The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off of a frustrating loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Marquez Valdes–Scantling had a critical drop that could’ve won the game, and these wide receivers are hurting this team with their inability to catch a football. Kansas City had a chance to win because of their fantastic defense and Patrick Mahomes. The Las Vegas Raiders suffered their first loss under interim head coach Antonio Pierce, as rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw three interceptions against the Miami Dolphins. Mahomes is 9-1 against the Raiders. The offense should get back on track, and the defense will likely overwhelm O’Connell. I have full confidence in Kansas City to get the road win here. I believe they will be back in Las Vegas in February. KC -9.0
Inside the Numbers: The Chiefs are 12-8-0 against the spread after a loss since 2018.
The Baltimore Ravens look like a contender in the AFC. They lead the competitive AFC North with an 8-3 record, and they are currently the top seed in the conference. The offense has some balance with the new additions at wide receiver. Losing Mark Andrews is unfortunate, but he could return if they make a deep playoff run. I think they’re capable of doing that, as their offense is efficient and their defense is one of the best in the league. The Los Angeles Chargers are the most disappointing team in the league. Justin Herbert plays great every single week, and he’s always let down by Brandon Staley’s awful defense. He’s a terrible coach who should have been fired after the collapse at Jacksonville. The playoffs are starting to get out of reach. They lost to the struggling Green Bay Packers, so I don’t see this team beating a Super Bowl contender. Staley won’t be around much longer. BAL -3.5
Inside the Numbers: The Ravens are 32-30-3 as an away favorite against the spread under John Harbaugh.
The magic of Bill Belichick might finally be fading but I am going to ride with him for what might be the last time. If there is one thing that BB has consistently done throughout his coaching tenure with New England, it is making life for young, inexperienced quarterbacks hell on the football field. Belichick almost never loses to very young quarterbacks, and although Tommy DeVito performed admirably against a pathetic Washington defense last week, I expect him to come crashing down to earth a little bit in this one. This pick is not an endorsement of the Patriots team as I have zero confidence in whoever is throwing the ball for them, however, this is the type of game that the Patriots win entirely on the backs of their defense. I’m expecting several sacks and perhaps multiple turnovers from DeVito as Belichick adds another young quarterback to his list. NE -3.5
I’m not convinced that the change in offensive coordinator is the be-all-end-all solution for Buffalo’s problems but you can’t argue with the results after one game. Buffalo moved the ball with ease on one of the best defenses in the league and made it look easy while doing so. The Eagles of course are coming off the massive win against the Chiefs but I wasn’t super impressed as the game could have been easily won by KC if their receivers remembered how to catch the ball. Buffalo is not as scary as they have been in the past couple of seasons but they match up well against the Eagles as Philadelphia’s secondary is one of the worst in the league. I expect the Bills to get a big statement win in Philly as the Eagles’ poor secondary and sparkling record start to normalize a little. The Eagles are certainly a top-three team in the league but I don’t believe they are quite as good as their record would indicate. This game is also sandwiched in between their Super Bowl rematch with the Chiefs and their huge conference showdown with the 49ers next week. Of course, the Eagles will want to win this game but an out-of-conference loss will sting much less than an intra-NFC loss to the 49ers on their home turf. I expect Josh Allen and the Bills to come out with everything they have and for them to be just a step ahead of Philly in aggressiveness and execution. BUF +3.5
I am expecting this game to pick up where the Thanksgiving matchups left off by bucking this season’s trend of primetime games going comfortably under. Baltimore is plenty capable of putting points up on the board as they have scored over 30 points in five straight contests. The Charges also happen to play little to no defense which should spell disaster against this dangerous Ravens team but this line is tighter than I expected as I would make the Ravens a 4.5-point favorite. I don’t think the Chargers are going to contain Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense even without Mark Andrews as I suspect his absence will only lead to Lamar Jackson making more plays on the ground and forcing him to look to his receivers, in turn opening up the offense. So the only way this game is as close as the line suggests is if the Chargers do some scoring themselves, which they are more than capable of when they are not too busy shooting themselves in the foot. Brandon Staley is sitting on a hot seat and needs a strong performance to fend off likely playoff elimination as well as his early termination, and I expect his guys to deliver for him by keeping up with the Ravens offense. BAL/LAC O46.5
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)