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 Brennan Rampe and newcomer Jason Wolf. We’re here every weekend throughout the season and we’ll crown our champion at the end.
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)
|Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)
|Jason Wolf (@J_Wolf_picks)
|Lions/Bears over 40.5
This line makes no sense whatsoever. There has to be a snowstorm or a mid-west hurricane in the forecast. Seriously, only 40.5? Something is amiss here. The Bears don’t have a great offense but Justin Fields always shows up against Detroit. On top of that, the Lions’ defense has struggled as of late. Just last week, they let the hapless Saints offense back into the game after falling behind by double digits early. While the Bears’ defense has been better, the Lions have weapons and may only need 24 points to get this one over. This feels like a trap, but I’m eating the cheese. DET/CHI O40.5
The Josh Dobbs magic has worn off over recent weeks, but the Vikings need it to come back to keep their playoff hopes alive. While the division may be too lofty a goal for Minnesota, a wild card birth is still possible. To be a playoff team in the NFL, you have to take care of the bad teams. Even on the road, this is a must-win game for the Vikings. Luckily, they should get a big boost on offense with Justin Jefferson’s return. He’s taken his time recovering and should be at full strength for the stretch run. I just don’t think the Raiders have the firepower to keep up with Minnesota, especially with the receiving corps at 100%. MIN -3.0
Maybe I’m buying too high here, but I don’t see why the Bengals can’t take care of the Colts at home. It’s no secret that Jake Browning isn’t Joe Burrow, but he was still able to move the ball against Jacksonville on Monday night. In his first start, the playbook was limited; Cincinnati threw a lot of screen passes and didn’t take many risks on offense. On Monday, they opened it up, allowing Browning to throw the ball downfield to his talented receivers. The defense is still questionable, but Gardner Minshew is hot and cold at quarterback. With Cincinnati playing at home, I think they can take this one from the Indy. CIN +1.0
The Detroit Lions are now 9-3, and it’s only a matter of time until they officially win the NFC North. The Chicago Bears were on their bye week. The last time we saw them, they won a game without scoring a touchdown. Despite getting a win, I don’t think anyone feels all that great about Matt Eberflus and Justin Fields. Detroit just barely won the first matchup as they committed tons of turnovers. I expect the Lions to play much better this time. I believe they’ll sweep their rival and win by at least a touchdown. DET -3.0
Inside the Numbers: The Lions are 11-4-0 in division games against the spread under Dan Campbell.
The Houston Texans beat the Denver Broncos in a close game, while the New York Jets lost to the Atlanta Falcons. C.J. Stroud is totally going to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, and Houston has a very good chance of making the playoffs despite having a rookie quarterback and a first-year head coach. It’s been an awful season for the Jets, as their offense can’t score enough points to win despite their defense playing amazing every week. Zach Wilson is the starter again after Tim Boyle played awful in the past two games, but it doesn’t matter. Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback who would play well on their roster, but he’s not coming back until next year. I really do feel bad for the team and their fans, as it was supposed to be a great season for the franchise. I like the Texans to win by a touchdown despite losing promising rookie Tank Dell for the year. HOU -5.5
Inside the Numbers: The Texans are 4-3-0 in conference games against the spread under DeMeco Ryans.
The Denver Broncos had their five-game winning streak snapped in their loss to the Houston Texans. The Los Angeles Chargers beat the New England Patriots 6-0 and were able to win by kicking two field goals. That’ll work against an awful team like the Patriots, but touchdowns are going to have to be scored to beat all the other teams in the league. Russell Wilson did throw three interceptions last week but has been playing better than last year. Denver is capable of making the playoffs and they have a shot at getting there as their schedule doesn’t look too hard. I think the Broncos will keep the Chargers offense in check and I’ll take Sean Payton to outcoach Brandon Staley, who will likely be fired at the end of the season. DEN +3.0
Inside the Numbers: The Chargers are 10-12-1 against the spread as the home team under Brandon Staley.
This was my favorite bet of the week and a smash play for me at the opening line of Jets +6. I still love it at 5.5 and I’ll love it at anything more than a field goal. I think the Texans are on upset alert this week as the Jets’ defense is nasty and can keep them in most games. The Texans just lost one of their most reliable offensive weapons in Tank Dell and are now asked to go on the road in a tough environment against an elite defense.
As incredible as he is, I am expecting the sledding to be tough for C.J. Stroud against the Jets. Houston’s run game is absolutely nothing to fear, even with Dameon Pierce back. Their run blocking is abysmal and will get stuffed, forcing their offense into a more one-dimensional game plan which will only increase the effectiveness of the Jets’ defense. Their offense will only have to play mistake-free, which Zach Wilson has shown he is capable of (at times). I think Breece Hall has a day and the Jets’ defense limits the OROY. Don’t be surprised if the Jets take this one straight up. NYJ +5.5
Two teams going in opposite directions. While both teams are 2-3 in their last five and have overall not looked as strong as most had thought coming into the year, the Bills are trending up while the Chiefs are starting to show cracks. The Chiefs were thoroughly beaten last Sunday night while the Bills had lots of extra time to sit around and stew over their heartbreaking loss to the Eagles.
Not only has the Buffalo offense been much more productive and efficient since they fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey but they come into this game with a massive rest advantage over K.C. Motivation will surely be high for both teams as both teams are looking to bounce back after tough losses. K.C. is fighting to stay in the hunt for the AFC’s #1 overall seed (and playoff bye) while Buffalo is fighting for their playoff lives every week. Buffalo’s improved play on both sides of the ball has coincided with the Chiefs looking vulnerable. This combined with Buffalo’s increased sense of urgency, I am rocking with the Bills and the points in what should be a great game. BUF +2.5
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s my approach for this game as this will be my third consecutive week betting against the Eagles (and hopefully my third straight cash doing so). The first two times worked out great with the Eagles’ secondary getting torched by both the Bills and the 49ers. I am expecting more of the same this week as other than Darius Slay, the Eagles are not getting reliable play in the secondary. Even Slay hasn’t lived up to his top cornerback billing this season as he isn’t graded as a top 50 CB according to PFF.
The Cowboys should have won the first matchup and now they are at home and in peak form as Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and the entire offense is rolling. The defense is doing their thing as well and in this current moment in time, the Cowboys are a more complete team than Philly. The hook makes this an uncomfortable bet but I’m willing to roll with the Cowboys keeping it going and beating the Eagles by more than a field goal. DAL -3.5
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)