Come all ye office-pool players, casual bettors, wiseguys, and degenerate gamblers: the NFL Picks Against The Spread column is here to help you win mountains of cash and/or bragging rights. They say you need to win at least 53% of your games to actually make a profit betting on NFL games. Well you and I know that I’ll probably only hit about 45% at the most, so go ahead and play the opposite of all my recommended Best Bets and you’ll be sure to make some money.
Broncos -8 at Cowboys, Over/Under 57.5
Denver has become the most intriguing team in the league, thanks to 45 points per game behind otherworldly quarterback play from Peyton Manning (whose performance is most often called “surgical”).
Well the patient Dr. Manning will be cutting up this Sunday is a Dallas Cowboys defense that just got shredded by Philip Rivers. BREAKING: Peyton Manning is better than Philip Rivers.
Now, 8 points is a lot to give on the road in the NFL. And while the Broncos might go 16-0, they probably won’t go 16-0 against the spread (ATS). But I’m not gonna bet against them hoping this is the week they struggle. Denver is 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games and that huge new stadium in Dallas hasn’t been much of a home-field advantage: the Cowboys are just 5-13 ATS at home over the last 3 years. Go ahead and lay the big points, even on the road.
Denver’s pass defense can be exploited, so I’d also recommend playing the Over on that ridiculously high total set at 57.5. If the Broncos score 38 (a TD below their average), you just need Dallas to get to 20 for this game to go over the total. Whether it’s a shootout and the Cowboys are hanging with the Broncos, or they’re getting blown out and Romo/Bryant are doing damage in garbage time, Dallas should manage at least 20 points or more.
Other Best Bets and Week 5 NFL Picks Against the Spread:
New Orleans -1 at Bears
Seems like a lot of people like the Bears in this one, since they are at home and the Saints aren’t quite as dangerous in road games as they are at home in the dome (and New Orleans is on a short week after playing Monday Night). The Bears still have the reputation of having a good defense, but did you know they’re giving up 28.5 points per game? Other than last week at Detroit, the Bears haven’t exactly played offensive juggernauts (Bengals, Steelers, Vikings). Meanwhile, for once the Saints actually have some defense (yielding less than 14 ppg). But this is all about Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, and Jimmy Graham and the fact that they basically just need to win, no real spread to cover. I don’t care if they play this game in Chicago or Hagerstown or on the moon. Gimme the Saints.
Panthers -2.5 at Cardinals
They’ve only played 3 games, so it’s hard to tell if the Panthers are any good. But they’re coming off a bye and playing a marginal Arizona squad who barely squeaked by a bad Bucs team that was playing a rookie QB in his first game. The Cardinals are decent at home, but they still haven’t fixed their offensive line issues and the Panthers can bring pressure. Take the Panthers giving less than a field goal.
Lions +7 at Packers
OK, so Green Bay under Aaron Rodgers has been very good ATS following a bye, and the Packers are 4-0 straight up and ATS in their last 4 vs. the Lions and are 15-5 ATS vs. Detroit since 1992. But those were all different teams, and those trends favoring the Packers are likely already factored into this point spread. I just think 7 points is a lot to be laying in a division game against a Lions team with explosive weapons like Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson on offense. Meanwhile, Green Bay has been giving up 30 ppg. Also, that Detroit defensive front should be able disrupt Rodgers. The Packers might be in a must-win situation at home after some extra rest, but this is too many points. Take the Lions +7.
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