I really, really hate double-digit point spreads in the NFL…but they are unavoidable at this time of the year.
Vegas is really sticking it to bettors this week since nearly every favorite won last week and they have to make their money back.
There isn’t a Thursday game this week, so I delayed my post by a day. I was surprised all the betting lines were on the board since Week 16 and 17 games are often last-minute adds with injuries and other roster changes evaluated through the week.
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 16 of the 2017 NFL season.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-13.5) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are on a pretty good roll and have won four of their last five games and 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven games. They have been forcing turnovers and having success on third downs. The Colts allowed QB Brock Osweiler to score three touchdowns in relief of the injured Trevor Siemian. The Ravens offense should be able to carve up the banged-up Colts defense. I probably would even take the Ravens with this spread on the road in Indy, so the fact that they are at home, it’s a no-brainer.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (+9) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
I thought about this one for a while. The Vikings aren’t a really strong road team with 3-3 ATS record in those games. They did beat the Packers by double-digits in mid-October and they should have won by even more if they could move the ball better in the second-half. The Packers IR’d QB Aaron Rodgers this week, so they are back to Brett Hundley. They will try to limit him a bit, so I expect a lot from running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. I still think the Vikings will squeak out a cover. I don’t like the Packers defense and a motivated Vikings offense should do the job.
Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5) – My pick is Detroit Lions
The Bengals have packed it in on the season. The Lions on the other hand, is still very much in the race for the final Wild Card spot. Cincinnati is coming off back-to-back games in which they scored only seven points in each loss. The Vikings and the BEARS made them look like a minor league squad. The Bengals have been getting ran all over and even the Lions, which has been horrible running the ball this season, should do well in Cincy. The Lions have so many targets in the passing game that they could just stick to that too…so I’m taking the Lions to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears (-6.5) – My pick is Cleveland Browns
The Chicago Bears are apparently liking what they are seeing from their rookie QB this season. Mitchell Trubisky threw three interceptions last week against the Lions, but did complete 31 passes for 314 yards. I would have liked for them to get RB Jordan Howard more involved, but Chicago is just trying some stuff out. The Browns are in need of a win this season. They have been close twice this season with overtime losses and I think it’s time. They’re not going to win next week at Pittsburgh, so this is their last shot. If Cleveland QB DeShone Kizer can his WR Josh Gordon a few times, I think they keep this one close. I’m taking the points on Sunday.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-6) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
The Falcons beat the Saints in Atlanta 20-17 just two weeks ago. It’s odd that we have super recent stats to use in our bets. It’s unknown if Atlanta RB Tevin Coleman will get out of concussion protocol in time to play in this game, but it is looking like he could suit up. The Saints haven’t been very bettor-friendly since they ended their long streak of consecutive covers in mid-November. I still have faith they can cover this spread, knock off Atlanta and secure a playoff berth at home. They need running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to take over and keep turnovers down.
Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
The Chiefs have been looking pretttttttty good lately, well the last two weeks. I expected them to beat the Raiders at home two weeks ago, but their 17-point win versus the Chargers was a big surprise. I was just surprised they were able to score on the Chargers pass rush. This is a bit of an upset, but I like the Dolphins in this game. They have found something with RB Kenyan Drake. He’s having success on the ground and has good hands. Miami is in that weird spot where they aren’t bad enough to tank, so they are playing for their jobs next season. They should keep this one close and it wouldn’t shock me if they won the game outright….but not sure if I’m putting any jellybeans on the moneyline just yet.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-11) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
The Patriots beat the Bills by 20 points earlier this month. The only thing changed is a little Bill Belichick/Tom Brady’s odd doctor dust-up. New England seems to really play well when there’s distractions…and the Bills aren’t very good on the road. The Bills are fighting for their playoff lives, but this task might be a little too much to chew. The Pats are only 3-3 ATS at home and the Bills do have a running game to lean on if QB Tyrod Taylor struggles. This line is about a point or so too high, so I’m taking the points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-10) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bettors were treated with a lot of favorable lines last week. Vegas lost their shirt, so they are coming at us with these damn double-digit spreads. The Bucs are bad, but they haven’t been beaten by double-digits many times this season. The Panthers did beat them 17-3 earlier this season, but I don’t see it happening again. The Panthers are banged up and their secondary is allowing way too many yards. QB Jameis Winston threw too many interceptions last time he faced the Panthers. It’s a bit risky, but I’m taking the points here.
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans (+7) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are on a roll. They don’t need QB Jared Goff to do a ton with RB Todd Gurley dominating this season. The Titans secondary is one of the worst in the league, so it could be time for the Rams to give Gurley a bit of a rest and let Goff target wide receivers Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp. I don’t like the Titans at all on Sunday, so I’m taking the Rams to cover.
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets (+7) – My pick is Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers couldn’t get it done against the Chiefs last week. I’m still a bit shocked by the outcome since I was bullish on them going into the week. The Jets are starting QB Bryce Petty again and it could be a tough go. The Chargers are a better overall team and are still in the playoff race. The Jets were underrated when they had a passing game with QB Josh McCown in the game, but I don’t trust them at all with Petty in the game, so I’m taking the Chargers to cover on the road.
Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins (-3) – My pick is Washington Redskins
The Broncos looked like they were mailing it in until this little two-game winning streak. They destroyed the Jets and dominated the Colts the following week. The Redskins are better than either of those teams, but their record doesn’t show it. They have the ability to move the ball, but touchdowns aren’t coming easy for QB Kirk Cousins. The Broncos still have some nice pieces on defense, but not sure if they will go all-out on the Redskins horrible playing surface. Yes, I’m taking the Redskins due to their shitty grass and if players like Denver CB Aqib Talib and LB Von Miller were smart, they’d just go through the motions on Sunday and stay healthy.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers (+4) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
The Niners coming into this game on a rare three-game winning streak. QB Jimmy Garoppolo is now 3-0 as the starter for the 49ers. He will have a big task ahead of him since the Jags have the best secondary in the NFL. I also think the a one-dimensional San Francisco offense isn’t going to the do the job. As long as Jags QB Blake Bortles can keep from committing turnovers, they should be just fine and cover in the Bay Area.
New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) – My pick is New York Giants
The Cardinals are going with QB Drew Stanton after trying Blaine Gabbert in that position. He doesn’t have the best track record and I don’t like the pieces that surround him. I really don’t want to watch this game. The Giants and Cardinals have both been in some stinkers the last two months. This game is toxic and think these two teams are pretty even. I worry about Arizona’s offensive line, so I’m taking the points.
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-5) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
Seattle has lost two games in a row, but both to playoff teams. The Cowboys hopes to be in that grouping and a win at home against the Seahawks can help. Dallas isn’t on the same level as the Rams or Jaguars (the Seahawks last two opponents), but they could make QB Russell Wilson’s day, a long one. Seattle’s offensive line is atrocious and it hasn’t taken much to get to Wilson this year. It doesn’t help that the Seahawks have no threat in the backfield, so pass rushers can usually go on nearly every down…especially late in games. I have to take Dallas to cover at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans (+9) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers haven’t been able to cover any near-double-digit point spreads this season, but I like this match-up. The Texans secondary is the worst in the NFL and even without WR Antonio Brown, the Steelers have a potent passing attack with rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster picking up his slack. The Texans are a better team with QB T.J. Yates starting over Tom Savage (concussion)…but I don’t see this one being much of a game. This could be a pretty sad game on Monday evening, so give me the Steelers to cover.
Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles (-9) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
I haven’t liked the Raiders in some time. QB Derek Carr is still good, but the guy isn’t making the same throws he made last season. That early-season back injury really killed his entire year. Even without MVP-candidate QB Carson Wentz, the Eagles were able to beat the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Backup QB Nick Foles may not have thrown many yards, but he did pass for four touchdowns. As long as they use him to seal the deal in the red zone, they will be just fine. This feels a tad too high, but I’ll still take the Eagles to cover against the poor Raiders secondary.
*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