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.
Hand up, I took the Browns/Colts under last week. They almost doubled the total. Last week, I posited the theory that dropping to three picks would increase the quality of the picks. I immediately went winless for the first time all season. I even picked the Browns/Colts under, which lost by a very narrow 37 points. Brennan and Jason thankfully picked up the slack, each winning two of their three picks. No bye weeks this week, so we’ve got a full card to work with.
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)||Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)||Jason Wolf (@J_Wolf_picks)|
|Pick #1||Cardinals +8.0||Bengals +5.5||Broncos +8.0|
|Pick #2||Panthers -1.0||Ravens -8.0||Ravens -8.0|
|Pick #3||Steelers +2.5||Chiefs -8.0||Steelers +2.5|
Up until last week, favorites had dominated, and the public was cleaning up. Now it’s the perfect time to bet on the bad teams. You know how you see Kevin Hart on your TV ten thousand times every Sunday? That’s because the sportsbooks have millions upon millions of dollars to spend because the house almost always wins. It’s only a matter of time until the underdogs punch back, and the casinos get what’s coming to them. The Arizona Cardinals are the perfect team to continue that trend. Kyler Murray was taken off the injury report, but he’s listed as doubtful for Week 8. If Murray does suit up, there will be rust, but he’d still be an upgrade over Josh Dobbs, although the latter has actually exceeded expectations so far this season. The Baltimore Ravens are also coming off a huge victory over the Detroit Lions. It’s a classic buy-low, sell-high situation, and eight points is far too many to pass up. ARI +8.0
You know all that stuff I just said about betting on the bad teams? Read that again. Everything I know about football tells me to bet the Minnesota Vikings here. They’re a much better team, and really need a win to avoid falling out of the playoff race. I know this, you know this, and the oddsmakers know this. Still, they’re only favored by a point. Whenever a line seems too good to be true, it probably is. I’m not taking the Carolina Panthers because I like the Panthers. I’m taking the Panthers because Vegas is smarter than me, and they clearly see something I don’t. CAR -1.0
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers covering the spread at home. That’s a cliche, but it’s true. Since Mike Tomlin was hired, they’re covering as home underdogs 74% of the time. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the better team, but the Steelers have T.J. Watt. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Despite the Cleveland Browns giving up almost 40 points on Sunday, you can make the case that Myles Garrett won that game for them. T.J. Watt is a game-breaker, and just two or three plays could be enough to cover the spread here. There are poor weather conditions in the forecast; I like this to be a low-scoring, sloppy football game in Pittsburgh. In those games, I’m always taking the points. PIT +2.5
After a 5-0 start, the San Francisco 49ers have lost two straight games. Brock Purdy is in the concussion protocol. This means Sam Darnold is likely to start. He has had a mediocre career so far, but the 49ers are by far the best team he has been on. The Cincinnati Bengals started off 0-2 but entered the bye week at 3-3. Joe Burrow‘s calf should be feeling better, and Cincinnati still has what is probably the best wide receiver trio in the league. Darnold is decent, but he’s not Brock Purdy. The Bengals have beaten every other NFC West team and I think they’ll upset the 49ers. CIN +5.5
Inside the Numbers: The Bengals are 17-8-0 as an away underdog under Zac Taylor.
The Baltimore Ravens destroyed the Detroit Lions to improve to 5-2. They are in first place in the AFC North, and I think they’re the best team in the division. The Arizona Cardinals are 1-6 and they lack talent. Kyler Murray should return very soon, but Joshua Dobbs will likely be the starter this week. Lamar Jackson was phenomenal, and I expect him to play well again. Baltimore’s defense completely shut down the Lions, so they shouldn’t have too much of a problem with Arizona’s offense. The Cardinals always fight hard, but this game looks like it could be a blowout. BAL -8.0
Inside the Numbers: The Ravens are 32-29-3 as an away favorite under John Harbaugh.
The Chiefs started off 0-1 but have now won six consecutive games. Patrick Mahomes is looking like an MVP contender once again. Kansas City reunited with Mecole Hardman, but there are rumors they could add another wide receiver. The Denver Broncos did manage to win last week, but they’re 2-5. Denver hasn’t won a game in this rivalry since 2015! Patrick Mahomes is undefeated in his career against the Broncos. These two teams met for the first time in Week 6, and the Chiefs won 19-8. I expect Kansas City to score more points than last time, and the defense will likely give the Broncos trouble once again. KC -8.0
Inside the Numbers: The Chiefs are 24-19-1 as an away favorite since 2018.
Sometimes the only reasoning you need to make a pick is a feeling in your gut and whatever logic you tell yourself to justify that feeling. This week, that pick is the Broncos +8. Divisional game on the road for the Chiefs, they just played the Broncos two weeks ago (and were held to less than 20 points), and the Chiefs have covered the spread three weeks in a row. NFL bettors know that the Chiefs don’t usually cover spreads larger than a few points, and the perception of Denver being a dumpster fire (they are) gives us value on them against the NFL’s post-Tom Brady golden boy, Patrick Mahomes. This pick is not for the faint of the heart but rather one of those that you plug your nose going in and pray that you are on the “right side of the rig” so to speak. DEN +8.0
I’m going back to the Baltimore well after they came through for us last week. I’m not usually a fan of taking a team coming off of a huge win the previous week but this matchup is too good to pass up. The Cardinals (especially without running back James Conner) are one of the most offensively challenged teams in all of football and that will be a problem going up against arguably the top defense in the NFL. While the Ravens probably won’t run up the score the way they did against the Lions, they should have no problem putting up points while the Cardinals should struggle to do so. I don’t see the Cardinals breaking 20 here, and I see no reason why the Ravens can’t score 25+, a mark that four out of Arizona’s last six opponents have reached. BAL -8.0
The Jaguars are one of the hottest teams in the NFL after rattling off four consecutive wins including a surprise win over the Bills in London. The offense is clicking and the defense is coming up with important stops in crucial moments. On paper, I would expect the Jags to beat the Steelers on a neutral field as Pittsburgh’s offense has been struggling to find consistency all year; they might need some to keep up with the Jags. But this game is in Pittsburgh, and the crowd will be anything but neutral. The line is fishy as the Steelers are a fraudulent 4-2, but I’m expecting more football black magic from Mike Tomlin, who clearly makes ritual sacrifices to the football gods to ensure he finishes with a winning record. The Steelers somehow win this game in typical Steelers fashion by dragging Jacksonville down to their level and beating them with physicality and defense. PIT +2.5