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Heading into the second half of the NFL season, our best bets are sitting at exactly 50% – a number that certainly leaves something to be desired but still keeps us in the running in the Westgate SuperContest.
Still, we have to get hot, and we’ve been trending upwards of late after two straight winning weeks. Let’s keep the positive money rolling and get right to our picks.
Take a look below for our best five bets against the spread for this Sunday (and one early winner we locked in on Thursday), plus a few other wagers to consider making this weekend.
Home teams get the asterisk.
Pittsburgh Steelers* (-4) over Carolina Panthers
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Started with a big win!
The Steelers were rolling coming into Thursday night’s matchup against the Panthers, and faced with an especially brutal slate this weekend, it was worth including them as one of our SuperContest picks, even though it meant submitting our picks earlier than usual.
The moved worked out! Feels good to start 1-0 on the week, let’s keep the good times rolling.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers* (-3) over Washington Redskins
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The Washington Redskins were on a hot run but got smacked by the surging Atlanta Falcons last weekend.
Now, they’re down three starting offensive linemen and facing a Buccaneers team that is experiencing a resurgence of FitzMagic. This is the week Washington falls off, and the Eagles retake the lead in the NFC East.
Detroit Lions (+6.5) over Chicago Bears*
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The Lions are a tough team to diagnose this season, but getting almost a touchdown against the Bears feels like a safe bet.
The Chicago’ offense has been a fearsome force over the past few weeks, and the Lions’ offense will likely miss Golden Tate after trading him away from the Eagles. But this still feels like too many points to be spotting a talented Detroit team in a divisional game.
Oakland Raiders* (+9.5) over Los Angeles Chargers
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The Raiders are an embarrassment and this is probably not a smart idea. But Oakland is almost a 10-point underdog at home on Sunday, and it feels like they just have to show up for the Black Hole sometime before the season is out.
Oakland lost by at least 14 points for four straight weeks, but last week’s embarrassment at the hands of Nick Mullens and the 49ers had to be a low point. Even if they are losing all game, there might be an opening for a late backdoor cover to save our bet.
Philadelphia Eagles* (-6.5) over Dallas Cowboys
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This was one of the first bets we locked in, and though it’s a side that public bettors are on as well, it feels like a winner.
The Eagles are playing a home night game in their all-black uniforms. While clothes don’t matter to your play on the field, every Philadelphia fan (including me) swears by them.
They’re coming off their bye and taking on a Cowboys team that has looked broken in recent weeks. If there was ever a moment for the Eagles to re-establish themselves as a force in the NFC and potential Super Bowl contenders, this is it.
LAST WEEK: 3-2OVERALL: 22-22-1
Eliminator Lock: Kansas City Chiefs
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Teams used: Saints, Rams, Vikings, Chargers, Panthers, Texans, Colts, Patriots, Bears
Feels good to still have the Chiefs around this week, as they are at home facing a hapless Cardinals team.
If you’ve already cashed in your Kansas City ticket for the year though, there’s plenty of other big favorites on the board that should be able to safely get you through the week.
Money Dogs: New York Giants (+155), Buffalo Bills (+260)
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Two options for your moneyline underdog pick this week, neither of them pretty, but both of them potentially profitable.
First, the New York Giants are +155 to win against the San Francisco 49ers. Nick Mullens looked fine in his debut, but Eli Manning is all but playing for his job at this point, and still has plenty of weapons at his disposal if only he can get them going. If you’ve seen enough of the Giants this year and need to pass, totally fine, but from a pure talent perspective, it feels like there’s value on New York.
Paired with them, the Buffalo Bills are also an interesting value on the moneyline at +260. We all know Nathan Peterman is basically an interception-throwing meme at this point, but if you can get past that, the Bills should be live to win this game.
According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings, Buffalo has the second strongest defense in the league. Meanwhile, the Jets’ snap situation was so bad last weekend they had to swap out centers mid-game just to get the ball safely into their quarterback’s hands. If Peterman can avoid throwing a pick-six, the Bills could take this one.
Parlay them both and it pays 8-to-1.
Weekly Tease: Patriots (-0.5), Eagles (-1), Jaguars (+9)
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Our teases have been on fire of late, so we’re getting greedy with a 3-team, 6-point teaser to see if we can keep the hot streak going.
First, we bring the Patriots down to just a half-point favorite over the Titans. It’s a road game for New England which might be dangerous, but Bill Belichick is usually good for it.
Then we bring the Eagles down to 1-point favorites over the Cowboys – basically just win the game and they’re good.
Finally, we’re taking the Jaguars up to 9-point underdogs against the Indianapolis Colts – I’m not sure that Jacksonville wins the game, but their defense is still one of the best on paper in the league, even against a rejuvenated Andrew Luck.
Monday Night Chaser: Giants @ 49ers Over 44
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Every game seems to go over these days. This is an ugly game and is probably a stay-away for me, but if you have to bet it, hit the over and hope for some defensive breakdowns.
Now check out our best bets of the college football slate this weekend.
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