I went 10-6 last week, but thought I was going have an even better week. I thought I was well on my way to one of my upset moneyline picks paying off, but the Browns coughed up the game. I probably jinxed it since I was already counting my money…then saw the update during the Colts/Bills snowball fight.
There are few too many double-digit point spreads this week. It’s common this time of the year, but was spoiled last week with a lot of competitive betting lines.
A couple teams have injury issues at quarterback and will need to rely on backups to keep them in the playoff race.
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 15 of the 2017 NFL season.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (+2.5) – My pick is Denver Broncos
A week ago, this line would probably be a pick’em, but since the Broncos shutout the Bryce Petty-led Jets team, they come in around a field goal favorite. Nothing really stood out in the Broncos win. Their defense was solid, but nearly every NFL team could beat this skewed of a one-dimensional team. The Colts are coming off a snowy loss at Buffalo. You can’t take anything away from that game. The teams played in nearly a foot of snow. The Colts haven’t won a home game since their overtime win vs the Niners in early-October. They have been competitive in most games, but they really struggle against defenses with top-ten talent. For that reason, I’m taking the Broncos to cover.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-5.5) – My pick is Detroit Lions
The Bears destroyed the Bengals 33-7. QB Mitchell Trubisky had his best day as a pro and they were able to run all over Cincinnati. How much does one glean from that game? Are the Bears now underrated? Are the Bengals just that bad? I think it’s a little of both. I wish this line was three or four points, but I’m still taking the Lions. QB Matthew Stafford has an injured hand, but still managed to beat the Bucs by a field goal last week. The Lions don’t have much of a running game, but Detroit has enough receiving threats to make up for it.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (+1) – My pick is Los Angeles Chargers
The Chiefs have won seven-straight games against the Chargers (5-2 ATS in those games). One of those games was early this season when Kansas City was on a roll. Their offense has picked things back up, but the Chargers defense is much better than they were to open the year. The Chargers has also been one of the highest-scoring teams over the last four games. Chargers QB Philip Rivers is actually one monster game away from being in the MVP discussion. The Chiefs secondary has their issues and defending WR Keenan Allen could he difficult. I’m taking the Chargers to beat the Chiefs for the first time since 2013.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (+7) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
In their earlier meeting this season, the Ravens made it impossible for Browns QB DeShone Kizer to complete a pass. He was 15 for 31 with three interceptions before being pulled for QB Kevin Hogan. Kizer has been better lately with the additions of wide receivers Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon, but I worry he will run into problems again. Baltimore did allow 506 passing yards vs the Steelers last week, so that is a bit worrisome. I don’t think the Browns can keep up with the Ravens on offense. Baltimore has scored a combined 82 points the last two games. I’m taking Balitmore to cover at Cleveland.
Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (-6) – My pick is Carolina Panthers
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was medically-cleared to start this weekend after healing up from a broken collarbone. They desperately need him since backup QB Brett Hundley was a mere mortal. It might be a little too late for the 7-6 Packers. Carolina is one of the best teams in the league when they are able to run the ball. Green Bay’s defense is gradually getting worse as the season progresses and I don’t see them being able to stop them in Carolina. I’m taking the Panthers to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Minnesota Vikings (-10.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
This is where the lines get ugly. The Vikings have played five out of their last six games on the road, the toughest road stretch any NFL team had to go through this season. They faced four playoff-caliber teams in all of those road games. They went 4-1 (4-1 ATS) and are glad to be back at home to play the struggling Bengals. Cincinnati benched QB Andy Dalton late in their 33-7 loss to Chicago last week. It looks like Dalton will start the game, but it wouldn’t surprise me if QB A.J. McCarron gets in the game if Dalton struggles early. The Vikings defense is stout and will cause issues for Cincinnati. I hate taking double-digit point spreads in the NFL, but I have to take Minnesota to cover.
New York Jets at New Orleans Saints (-16) – My pick is New York Jets
Oh man…this line is rough. The Jets are starting QB Bryce Petty and he has yet to look like he’s up to the level of talent to play in the NFL. The Saints have been one of the best teams in the NFL with top-shelf running game and an all-time great QB. Why am I not taking the Saints? Everything just about has to go perfectly for the Saints to cover this spread. The Jets will struggle in this game, but they have been decent against the spread on the season, 7-5-1 ATS. I’m 99% sure the Saints will win at home, but I just can’t lay a single penny on an NFL this large, so I’m taking the points.
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-10.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
Texans QB Tom Savage was knocked unconscious for a second in their loss to the Niners on Sunday. Third-string QB T.J. Yates came into the game and had success. Every Texans quarterback to relieve Savage in a game this has has looked so much better than him. Yates is expected to start this week at Jacksonville. The Jaguars have been coasting since basically clinching the AFC South. The Texans secondary is really bad right now and it wouldn’t surprise me if Jags QB Blake Bortles had a good fantasy week. I’m taking Jacksonville to cover at home.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (+7.5) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles will be without MVP candidate QB Carson Wentz for the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in their win over the Rams last week. Nick Foles is at the helm in Philly again and I think he will have a lot of success. He has one of the best backfields in the NFL behind him and he’s mobile enough to make up for the blitzes the Giants will throw at home. I have to take the Birds to cover at MetLife Stadium.
Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins (-4.5) – My pick is Washington Redskins
I have to admit, the Cardinals haven’t looked half-bad with QB Blaine Gabbert. It would be nice if he had an offensive line or RB Adrian Peterson back from injury…but Gabbert may have won himself another backup job next season. The Redskins may not have a very good win-loss record, but they have been trying to fix issues on offense. They haven’t given up on the season. RB Samaje Perine might be the future workhorse for the Redskins and they found out that wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson can be trusted. Washington has been a good home team and Arizona was blown-out in their only East Coast road game this season. I’m taking the Redskins to cover at home.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-3) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
It appears that the Bills will start QB Tyrod Taylor this weekend at home against the Dolphins. QB Nathan Peterman will still suit up after clearing concussion protocol, so will Taylor be on a short leash? The Dolphins are coming off their upset win over New England on Monday Night Football. Miami always seems to give New England fits. Miami doesn’t have the same energy when they play at Buffalo, as they are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings there. This will be a letdown game for Miami…and SOMEHOW the Bills will still be in the playoff race.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
Seattle homefield advantage isn’t as daunting as in previous years. They have lost two out of their last three home games. Seattle is dealing with injuries and haven’t been consistent on either side of the ball. The Rams offense had to defend with RB Todd Gurley being a multi-faceted player and can hurt you in many ways. Seattle will miss having large safety Kam Chancellor if Gurley gets into the second-level, . I don’t see anyone in Seattle’s secondary able to tackle him without some help. The Rams have also been spreading the ball around since WR Robert Woods left with an injury a couple games ago. WR Sammy Watkins has been revived and is turning into a big play receiver. I’m taking the Rams to cover in Seattle.
Tennessee Titans at San Francisco 49ers (-2) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
The Titans secondary is one of the worst in the league. New 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo should have a lot of success on Sunday. The Niners have won both of his starts this season and think they will win three-in-a-row. Titans QB Marcus Mariota is worrying me with his turnovers. They rely too much on the run and when running backs Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray can’t get the kind of yards per carry they need, they struggle on third downs. Mariota has been trying to help with his own legs, but at times he isn’t patient enough to let his receivers get open. The Titans are a bad road team and I don’t trust them on the West Coast.
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots were embarrassed by the Dolphins on Monday Night Football. I was beyond shocked since Miami has been so inconsistent. Pats QB Tom Brady even had a rare bad game. Miami relied on a great game from QB Jay Cutler and RB Kenyan Drake played like he was Marshall Faulk with 193 total yards. The Steelers have been scoring points this season, but hasn’t been bettor-friendly. They are often overrated and are 1-4 ATS in their last five games…but 5-0 outright in those games. They are on an eight-game winning streak. This will be a high-scoring game and think Steelers WR Antonio Brown will have another crazy game. I’m taking the points.
Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders (+3) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
It took Dallas a few games to deal with RB Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, but they have played great the last two games. Running backs Alfred Morris and Rod Smith are now taking care of Elliott’s missing production. Morris is taking care of running the ball and Smith is the pass-catching threat. Dallas QB Dak Prescott has been making safe passes and has five touchdowns and no interceptions the last two games. The Raiders look like a team that has packed in in for the season. Oakland QB Derek Carr isn’t himself and the Raiders should think about benching the young gunslinger and protect their long-term investment. The Raiders defense can be ran on and Dallas should do just fine and cover at Oakland.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6) – My pick is Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have bounced back from a mid-season slump. They have won four of five and went 4-1 against the spread. Atlanta beat Tampa Bay by fourteen points just three weeks ago and not much has changed. Atlanta RB Tevin Coleman is dealing with a concussion and is a game-time decision, but RB Devonta Freeman should be able to pull double-duty. I don’t like the Bucs right now and think the Falcons should cover this spread against a division foe.
*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