Thursday night games will be the death of me. I hate them and they clearly hate me. I’m not being hyperbolic. I’ve been so bad picking that game against the spread. I’m afraid to go back and see what my Thursday night record is this year. I know I have at least two wins, but can’t remember if there are anymore than that.
There are fourteen games on the schedule this week and we will have a full sixteen game schedule in two weeks.
There were only a couple double-digit point spreads this week. This is the time of year when we will see those more and more. We didn’t have any point spreads over two touchdowns.
Can the Patriots cover at Mile High?
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 10 of the 2017 NFL season.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (+6) – My pick is Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks didn’t have a very good game against Washington. They just have games in which they can’t score very easy…then they go nuts in another game. Hopefully Seattle sticks with RB Thomas Rawls and don’t try to sub him in and out. Rawls needs the reps and confidence. The Cardinals will be without QB Carson Palmer until at least Christmas Eve. QB Drew Stanton is just trying to avoid turnovers at the position. Arizona RB Adrian Peterson will need to have a monster game if the Cardinals hope to keep this game without a touchdown. This game is sort of a coin flip since Seattle’s offense can be so unpredictable. I still have to take the Seahawks…and please take it easy on me, Thursday Night Football God.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts (+10) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
The Colts need big games from WR T.Y. Hilton and TE Jack Doyle if they want to be a competitive team. Hilton will be covered by Steelers star CB Joe Haden, so he will be blanketed on Sunday. The Steelers haven’t been great against the tight ends, but I think Indy will need both guys to have a productive offense. Indy’s secondary is one of the worst in the NFL at the moment. I fear Steelers wide receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster will be open all day…and if for some miracle, the secondary does a good job, RB Le’Veon Bell will be there to ram the ball down the Colts front-seven. This is just a bad match-up for the Colts. I’m taking Pittsburgh to cover at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins (+1) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Redskins QB Kirk Cousins will have a hard time finding his mediocre wide receivers. On top of that, TE Jordan Reed is still dealing with an injury and could miss the game (although I think he will suit up). Redskins rushing attack is non-existent and must rely on short passes out of the backfield as a form of a run game. The Vikings offense isn’t too shabby either. It looks like WR Stefon Diggs will be healthy enough to participate on Sunday. That will be a boon to QB Case Keenum. They activated QB Teddy Bridgewater and put QB Sam Bradford on injured-reserve, but Keenum will still start against the Redskins. I don’t have much faith in the Redskins scoring much, so I’m taking Minnesota to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions (-12) – My pick is Detroit Lions
The Browns appear to be getting worse as the season progresses. I point to them losing LT Joe Thomas to a season-ending injury as the most recent disintegration. The issues start and end at the quarterback position. Teams are loading up the box and are forcing the quarterback, whoever the Browns pick to start, to beat them through the air. It’s a shame the Browns offense is such a wreck as they have a few stars on defense that I enjoy watching. The Lions looked great against the Packers on Monday Night Football. They actually had a run game on top of QB Matthew Stafford hitting wide receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones all game. This line feels like it could be a tad too large, but if the Lions force a few turnovers, which I’m literally betting on, they should cover at home.
New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) – My pick is New York Jets
The Bucs are 2-6 on the season and are a ghastly 1-6-1 against the spread. Their only wins game against the lowly Giants and a Mike Glennon-led Bears team. Their secondary is giving up the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Tampa Bay are also starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who hopes to have a little revenge against his old team. The Jets have looked pretty darn good the last couple weeks. QB Josh McCown is getting some chemistry with his wide receivers and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (who also wants to get some payback against his old team). The Bucs will have trouble scoring points and I fear Fitzpatrick will attempt to force too many passes, so interceptions could be key for a Jets cover. I’ll take them to cover on the road.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-5) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
The Packers come into this game losers of back-to-back games. They were beaten by the Lions 30-17 on Monday night. QB Brett Hundley hasn’t had the success expected when he was named the starter after QB Aaron Rodgers collarbone injury. The most shocking result in that game was the the inefficiency of rookie RB Aaron Jones. He had such a dominant performance the previous game against the Saints, so everyone just assumed he would do the same against the Lions. Green Bay needs Jones in order to take some of the pressure off Hundley. The Bears were on bye last week and it gave rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky another week to study his offense. The Packers have been very bad against the pass the last two weeks, but I don’t believe the Bears will open up the playbook and attempt more than 20 passes. I have to take the points.
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars sat star running back Leonard Fournette after he missed a team picture and were still managed to beat the Bengals 23-7. Running backs Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon filled in and were better than expected. Hell, QB Blake Bortles actually had a pretty good game with 259 yards and a touchdown. I was shocked that they let him pass the ball 38 times. I wouldn’t do that going forward, but they survived. The Jags got under the skin of Bengals Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green. Jags CB Jalen Ramsey got in his head with trash talk and frustrated Green with his elite coverage. After a Ramsey shove, Green grabbed Ramsey by the neck and took him to the ground. Both were ejected, but it made no impact on the rest of the game. The Chargers are coming off bye and have won three of their last four games. Their defense can really get to the quarterback and they were forcing mistakes. Also, Chargers RB Melvin Gordon is coming into his own as a versatile playmaker. I worry they will need to rely heavily on Gordon’s production since the Jags will cut off production of QB Philip Rivers favorite weapons. The Jags are the favorite in the AFC South and with Fournette back, they should cover.
New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills (+3) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
I’ve been riding New Orleans and Buffalo for most of the season. The Saints are 6-2 against the spread and the Bills are 5-2-1…so I am not happy they are facing each other. The Saints have been winning games on the ground and on defense, an odd New Orleans team. The Bills are solid on defense and QB Tyrod Taylor has improved a lot this season. He is becoming a better passer and is more decisive about his ‘tuck & run’ plays. I did see something in the Bills Thursday night loss to the Jets…they do have issue stopping the run late in games. Jets running backs Matt Forte and Bilal Powell had a productive game. The Saints backfield is more talented and versatile. The Bills have really only faced two teams with pass-catching running backs. Atlanta RB Tevin Coleman had success against the Bills, but Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey had a below average game against them in Week 2. The Saints have covered in six-straight games and their point spreads aren’t ridiculous yet. There’s still some value left in a Saints cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-4.5) – My pick is Tennessee Titans
The Bengals are coming off an embarrassing loss against Jacksonville. They were just dominated at every level and seeing WR A.J. Green lose his cool was not a good look. Cincinnati is in huge need of a win, but they are a bad matchup against the Titans. Tennessee loves to move the ball on the ground and use TE Delanie Walker as their #1 target. The Bengals allowed Colts TE Jack Doyle to catch 12 balls for 121 yards just two weeks ago. Walker should have a huge day. I’m taking the Titans to cover at home.
Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams (-11) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
Man, I’m loving the favorites this week. The Rams offense is clicking on all gears. RB Todd Gurley is having a career year and QB Jared Goff looks like a stud in his second season. The Rams defense might even be more talented than their offense. DT Aaron Donald might be the best defensive tackle in football. Don’t forget about LB Connor Barwin, LB Mark Barron and DE Michael Brockers who could all make the Pro Bowl along with LB Alec Ogletree and LB Robert Quinn …their D is stacked. The Texans played like garbage against the Colts last week and all the finger pointing is at QB Tom Savage. No one thought he would put up Deshaun Watson-like numbers, but the dude couldn’t even hit open receivers. The Colts secondary is piss-poor, so that is a huge red flag. I would love this spread if he were single digits, but I’ll still take the Rams to cover this line.
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (+2.5) – My pick is New York Giants
I feel sorry for the local fans that have to suffer through this game. It looks like QB C.J. Beathard will be starting for the Niners with QB Jimmy Garoppolo on the bench. I’m sure they would love to start their new toy, but quarterback is not a position that can play right away, especially when they have other able bodies that know the offense. Beathard failed to complete over 50% of his passes, but still nearly had 300 passing yards. A big chunk of his completions were short passes. If the Niners had an NFL-level QB last week, they would have beaten Arizona. The Giants are playing like trash right now due to injuries and random suspensions in the secondary. The good news is they are playing one of two other teams that are worse than them. It appears that Giants head coach Ben McAdoo has lost his team, but they should still have enough talent to cover against the Niners.
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-3) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys could be without RB Ezekiel Elliotts, WR Dez Bryant AND WR Terrence Williams for this game…but I still think they’ll keep it close. I may even lay a few jellybeans on the Dallas moneyline. As long as the Cowboys offensive line is healthy, they’ll open up holes for RB Alfred Morris and keep QB Dak Prescott off his back. The Falcons are coming off a 20-17 loss to the Panthers. The most shocking thing about that game is that Panthers out-rushed the Falcons by 148 YARDS! Carolina hasn’t been able to run the ball at all, until last week. That makes me worry about Atlanta’s front-seven. Atlanta has also lost five-straight games against the spread. The Falcons are missing covers by more than a touchdown nearly every week. They are playing well under their ability. I have to take the points here.
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (+7.5) – My pick is New England Patriots
The Broncos are another team on an ATS losing streak. They have lost four-straight games against the spread…and a few of those games weren’t even close. They were out-classed last week by the Eagles in a 51-23 loss. The change of quarterback did not help Denver in the slightest. QB Brock Osweiler completed 50% of his passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. It’s time for them to start QB Paxton Lynch, but it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon. The Patriots will use a lot of similar plays that the Eagles used against the Broncos last week. They have versatile running backs that can do everything and the Broncos couldn’t even stop Eagles RB Corey Clement. I had the extra half-point, but I feel pretty good about a Pats cover in Denver.
Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers (-9) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
Yikes, this could be a dud of a game for ESPN. Carolina is such hit or miss on offense this season. They so inconsistent and trading away WR Kelvin Benjamin did not help them. Panthers QB Cam Newton did make some plays that reminded me of his MVP season. He was able to run the ball on designed plays and a few times when no one was open. The offensive line had a very good game. The Dolphins looked just fine with RB Jay Ajayi. QB Jay Cutler was more active and completed 34 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Running backs Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams combined for 83 rushing and 47 receiving yards. Miami hasn’t really been able to put it all together for an entire game this season, but they can stay with just about any NFL team (unless the game is in London). Cutler will be fine and the Dolphins can move the ball in different ways. This line is a little too high and don’t think it should be higher than a touchdown, so I’m taking the points.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob