Gambling is a fickle pursuit — one minute you’re on top of the world, and the next everything is falling apart.
Case in point: In the midst of the best gambling season of my young career, last week I was just one game away from the worst gambling Sunday of my life, going an absolutely dismal 3-9-1 against the spread. There are excuses I could make — I lost two games by just a point each and another game by just two. Swing those the other way and we eek out a winning record.
But that’s not what the fates allowed, and one thing about gambling is that once your money is down, it’s down, and whether or not you get it back is only up to the gods.
So we’re back on the horse this week. Despite sustaining tough losses last week, we’re still ahead on the season, and with the Patriots and Browns both on bye this week, I won’t be pulled in by the Siren’s song that is betting against and on them respectively. Let’s find some winners.
All lines are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
LAST WEEK: 3-9-1
The pick: Jets +3
The logic: When these two teams met in Week 1 it was viewed as a laughable matchup. With both teams now outperforming expectations, it actually makes for a surprisingly feisty divisional matchup on a Thursday night. That said, it's a tough one to pick. I'd say my best bet on this game is Under 42.5, but if I have to take a side, give me the home dog.
The pick: Broncos +7.5
CBS Sports has eight writers and personalities that they cite as 'experts' who also pick against the spread on a week-to-week basis. One of my gambling rules is that whenever all eight of them agree on a game, I go the other way. This week they all picked the Eagles to cover.
It's admittedly a tough spot for the Broncos, playing their third straight road game against the best team in football right now. But the Eagles are likely due for a let down game and the Broncos defence is solid even if the team has been in something of a free-fall recently.
The pick: Titans -3.5
The logic: It's been announced that Joe Flacco will start on Sunday, but I find it almost impossible to believe after the brutal hit he took from Kiko Alonso last week. Watch that hit again and then think about putting money on that guy at quarterback. I hope Flacco feels better but there's no way I'm backing him just a week removed from getting demolished.
The pick: Giants +3.5
The logic: OK hear me out. There are just too many red flags here to take the Rams in this spot, even if it feels like the surest bet on the board. Who is going to stop Todd Gurley? I can't answer that. Who will block Aaron Donald? Probably no one. You're going to back a team that suspended its best defensive player because he didn't get back from vacation on time? Yes.
The Giants are home dogs and coming off a bye week. The Rams are travelling from the west coast for an early game with Jared Goff expected to cover a spread on the road. It's a perfect recipe for the Giants to randomly win a game.
The pick: Panthers +1.5
The logic: This Falcons team has not looked good and the Panthers are a good enough team that has struggled to put it all together a few games. Back the slight home dogs here even if it does feel weird that the team is dumping Kelvin Benjamin for almost nothing.
The pick: Jaguars -5.5
The logic: Last week the Bengals had to fight tooth and nail to get past the Colts at home. Travelling to Jacksonville on Sunday, Andy Dalton seems like the perfect prey for the Jaguars defensive backs to snag three or four picks from.
The pick: Colts
The logic: Before Deshaun Watson's season-ending injury was reported the Texans were about 13-point favourites in this spot, and I was taking the Colts then. With Watson out, my guess is this line settles somewhere around six or seven. Playing against Tom Savage, backing the Colts is still the play.
The pick: 49ers +2
The logic: I don't care if the Niners are winless this is my lock of the week. Drew Stanton is a road favourite. Don't overthink it.
The pick: Seahawks -7.5
The logic: The Seahawks weren't able to cover at home last week against the Texans and had to use every trick in the book to just win the game outright. But Seattle simply doesn't lose at home, and all four of the Redskins losses this season have been by nine or more points.
The pick: Chiefs +1
The logic: Andy Reid knows how to beat Jason Garrett. And with Ezekiel Elliott's suspension finally set to begin, chances are the Cowboys offence will be significantly more one-dimensional.
The pick: Raiders -3
The logic: Regardless of who starts at quarterback for the Dolphins, I can't bet them in this spot. They're likely the better team and everyone loves to take a home underdog in primetime, but my love of the Raiders and distaste for the presence of Jay Cutler (even if he isn't starting) are too much to overcome.
The pick: Lions -2.5
The logic: This is a dangerous game and I actually like the Packers quite a bit in this spot in that they are at home and coming off a bye week meaning quarterback Brett Hundley has had a full week of first team reps to figure out his game.
But if I know anything about the Packers, it's that they lose just long enough to make everyone panic about them making the postseason before winning their final five games straight to knock the Lions out of the playoffs. This is the perfect place to start that journey.
LAST WEEK: 3-9-1
Now check out our Week 9 power rankings to get a glimpse of where each team stands heading into the second half of the season
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