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.
New York Giants -6.5 vs. Oakland Raiders
It’s hard to feel too comfortable giving that many points with a Giants team that’s only 2-6, and while I don’t think the Raiders are as bad as they looked in giving up 7 TD passes to The Legendary Nick Foles last week… the Raiders still have a tough task traveling east for a 1pm start against a Giants team coming off a bye and looking to get Eli Manning and his receivers in a rhythm. Possible blowout alert here, Giants win going away and kick off a week of “Can the Giants make a run again this year” talk.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens UNDER 44
Points should be at a premium in this AFC North divisional battle. The Bengals look to put a strangle hold on the division and officially end the Ravens season (that already ended in Cleveland last week). Baltimore has not been able to get much offense going this year, and the Bengals have only shown flashes and has had less success on the road. This might already be Cincy’s division to lose, but I expect a classic slugfest resembling the 16-13 battles the Ravens used to play with the Steelers, albeit a sloppier version. The winds are gusting this morning in Baltimore, so we should see some missed FG’s and even more limitations on Joe Flacco’s and Andy Dalton’s downfield passing game and this one will stay well under the total of 44. I’m not sure who notches the win, but this one smells like 17-10 or 20-13.
Denver Broncos -7 at San Diego Chargers
Last week the San Diego Chargers went down to the wire in a tough loss at Washington. Their offense couldn’t punch it in from one foot out despite having multiple tries and time outs against a bad Washington defense. And then their defense gave up a long drive in overtime to seal the heartbreaking loss. For all the talk about how “the Chargers could be 6-2 if not for….” this play or that one here or there, maybe San Diego is who we thought they were: a middling team on the outside of the playoffs, who still have a decent record thanks to a resurgent Phillip Rivers. But coming off that disheartening road loss they now have to face a rested and focused Peyton Manning off a bye week. They will be looking to get back on track for the second half of the season and it will start with solid win at San Diego. Divisional favorites coming off a bye are stunning 21-4 against the spread; when you match that with Manning’s drive to get that home-field advantage and not overlook any opponent, the Broncos should have little trouble lighting up an over-matched Chargers squad and winning by at least 10 or more.
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