By Brien O’Donal
Follow me on Twitter @ODonalsVanguard
Betting lines come courtesy of mybookie.lv on Wednesday night.
I had a decent Week 9 in betting. I went 8-5 in picking winners, 8-5 against the spread, and 9-4 on the over/under. There are only about 3 games I feel iffy about this week so I’m expecting more good results. The season is about mid way and teams are finding their identity. Now that we know who they are, we don’t have to let em’ off the hook. There were a lot of big trades this week but I don’t think they will have too great an impact with such a short time to learn the playbook. Next week will probably be the week to look for that.
Bye week: Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots, Steelers
Bills (5-2) at Jets (3-5)- Thursday 7:25 p.m. CT; NFL Network
Bills -3, O/U 42 1/2
The Jets are a pumpkin. Seriously. Just when you think you can count on them to fulfill your betting wishes they turn on you. This week they’re facing a divisional foe who has continually found ways to keep winning despite an offense that hasn’t caught up with the times. Now the Bills trade for a big receiver in Kelvin Benjamin? He won’t know the playbook, but I’m sure if they say run deep; he will run deep. I’m taking the Bills to win and cover the -3. And because the Jets do have some offensive life I will take the over 42 1/2.
Colts (2-6) at Texans (3-4)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Texans -13, O/U 49 1/2
No sweat, Texans -13. Their offense just proved to the world that they are legit. The Colts may have put up 23 on the Bengals but they didn’t keep an offense lesser than Houston’s from putting up 24. Deshaun Watson should have a field day against this defense, and I feel like he can put up almost 49 on his own on the way to a divisional win. Houston’s defense looked pretty vulnerable so I will give the Colts enough credit to put up a 2 or 3 touchdown effort when the game gets out of hand and take the over.
Bengals (3-4) at Jaguars (4-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Jaguars -5, O/U 39
The Bengals have found their way to a decent record only because they have talented players. It’s those few talented players that have gotten them to 3 wins. Sadly, they face one of the best defenses in the league so far and I don’t think that talent will carry them to a victory. I won’t take the Jaguars at -5 though. I think they still struggle on offense and the Bengals are no slouch on defense, I will take the under.
Buccaneers (2-5) at Saints (5-2)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Saints -7, O/U 50
I am sitting here like everyone else wondering what happened to all the promise Tampa Bay had going into this season. I thought for sure all the weapons they added on offense would get them in the playoff hunt all season. Apparently not. The Saints, however, are rolling. That’s 5 in a row for them. And shock to everyone, the defense has been the one getting it done. I will take them to keep it going at home and win while covering the 7 points. I don’t really know about this over/ under though and if I had a choice I wouldn’t play it. But since this column is about making choices on the lines I will take the under 50.
Rams (5-2) at Giants (1-6)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Rams -3 1/2, O/U 41 1/2
What a fool I am for thinking the Giants game against the Broncos was a revelation for their offense. They still suck and I don’t think they will do very well against a Wade Phillips defense and one of the best offenses in the league so far. The Rams are a surprise, but a consistent one. I think they will keep it up against a team they should beat if they want to be taken seriously. With the weapons they have I will take the Rams at -3 1/2 and just barely take the over 41 1/2.
Falcons (4-3) at Panthers (5-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Panthers -1, O/U 43 1/2
This seems like a perfect number. Either of these teams could pull a Jekyll and Hyde act making it a 50/50 pick to win. The Panthers just traded away one of their top receivers so I will count on some offensive inconsistencies to ruin their game plan and give the Falcons a win. I know the Falcons can’t really be trusted either, but I think they are motivated to get back on track and I will take them to cover the points. I have a feeling this game sneaks under the 43 1/2 though.
Broncos (3-4) at Eagles (7-1)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Eagles -8, O/U 43 1/2
Just over a touchdown? No way Jose! I won’t do it because the Broncos haven’t been bad long enough to consider full on trend. Maybe they come back to life this week against the best team in the NFL. That being said, I don’t think they win. I’ll take the Eagles to do that but not cover the 8 points. With that in mind, I will take the under here. I know it’s a low number but the Eagles’ defense is good enough and it may just barely stay under that number.
Ravens (4-4) at Titans (4-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
If I was Vegas I would consider this a toss up too. Flacco got banged up last week and if he plays it may not be very well. The Ravens defense is coming off a shut out so they have to be pretty stoked for a team that hasn’t been an offensive firepower. The Titans on the other hand can get back on track with a home game against a very beatable team. If they run the ball the way they are capable of they might be able to dictate the game. Mariota is capable of putting the game on his shoulders and he does have enough to help him pull out a win, which I think he will do. I don’t know by how much though.
Cardinals (3-4) at 49ers (0-8)- Sunday 3:05 p.m. CT; Fox
Cardinals -2, O/U 39 1/2
If ever the 49ers were going to win a game this would be it. Arizona will be without its’ starting quarterback Carson Palmer and its’ most dynamic player David Johnson. Adrian Peterson is good, don’t get me wrong; but if that’s all they have going for them I don’t think they can do it. Palmer’s replacement Drew Stanton is garbage. He just is. Their other option is Blaine Gabbert and we’ve all seen that before. How do they get it to their receivers if no one can be counted on to make good throws? Then again it is the 49ers. I don’t even know the name of their quarterback this week since it has already been announced that Garappolo won’t be the starter. Maybe the Cardinals are worth 2 points. I doubt it though so I will take the Niners to win and cover the 2 points but I expect the total to be under 39 1/2.
Redskins (3-4) at Seahawks (5-2)- Sunday 3:05 p.m. CT; Fox
Seahawks -7, O/U 45
The Seahawks went out and added a left tackle to help solidify their offensive line so they must be looking to win now. That mentality starts by beating the tough teams in addition to the easy ones. The shootout with the Texans last week should have woken up their offense and the Redskins are surely vulnerable to that. There might be some regression this week so I will take the Seahawks to win but the Redskins to cover the 7 points. I will count on the Seahawks defense to play aggressive and not force another high scoring affair so the under 45 sounds good.
Chiefs (6-2) at Cowboys (4-3)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; CBS
Pick Em, O/U 51
When you can put a line of 1 point I don’t know why this is a pick em. Maybe they know something I don’t. I’m kidding. Of course they do. I’m taking the Chiefs to win. The total, on the other hand, that’s a horse of a different color. 51 points is a lot. The Cowboys will have to really lean on their passing game that just so happens to be a weakness for the Chiefs. The Dallas defense just wears down too quickly and can be caught off-guard with the big play. I think it may be a back and forth game so I will take the over.
Raiders (3-5) at Dolphins (4-3)- Sunday 7:30 p.m. CT; NBC
Raiders -3, O/U 44
Bounce back game for the Raiders here. The Dolphins offense is a mess and they just dumped their best running back. I don’t think this will be the week for their other backs to suddenly become the hero, so Jay Cutler will be forced to do it all on his own again. We all know how that turns out. The Raiders need this one to be taken seriously so I think they win and cover the 3 points. I also think they will put up enough to help push the Total over 44.
Lions (3-4) at Packers (4-3)- Monday 7:30 p.m. CT; ESPN
Lions -2 1/2, O/U 43
And finally we have a not so exciting Monday night match up. Maybe something else will be on. I doubt it since baseball is over. I’m a Packers fan so I will be watching anyways but I won’t force you to do the same. I despise the loss of Aaron Rodgers, not for myself, but for the entertainment he brings to the game. I don’t think this will be a great game but the Packers are coming off the bye week and I think a home game for Brett Hundley to settle into his newfound role of starting quarterback will give him confidence to be effective. The Packers still have great skill position players all over the place and the Lions are finding ways to be mediocre. That mediocrity won’t get them a win so I’m taking Green Bay to win at home. I will take the Lions to cover though. It should be a close game. I will also take the over in this one because I think there will be some dueling going on and the back and forth should get about three touchdowns apiece.