The level of controversy in the NFL this season is been unprecedented. From Colin Kaepernick to concussions to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attempting a coup, it seems the circus act off the field is garnering more attention than the on-field product.
But we’re approaching crunch time so let’s focus on what really matter, finding juicy spread bets for this weekend’s action. As usual, Be A Better Bettor provides predictions for all the upcoming NFL picks, but let’s take a look at some of the most enticing.
The Eagles still sit atop the league standings and are showing no signs of slowing down, a proposition few predicted before the season began. Philly’s among the top four NFL favorites to beat the spread on Sunday.
Q: Who Are The Philadelphia Eagles Beating This Week?
A: Dallas Cowboys
Spread: Philadelphia at -3.5 will cover
Carson Wentz might not be Catholic, but he’s certainly the current Pope of Philadelphia after leading the Eagles to an NFL-best 8-1 record. Philly produces the second-most points in the league (31.4 PPG) behind the Los Angeles Rams (32.9 PPG!). The Eagles defense has been solid too, allowing 19.9 PPG, tenth best in the NFL.
Many consider Ezekiel Elliott as the most important missing piece in the Cowboys lineup, but Dak Prescott was sacked an incredible eight times against the Falcons last week. It’s not a coincidence that left tackle Tyron Smith was missing from the Dallas offensive line against Atlanta, allowing the Falcons pass rush free access to the Cowboys sophomore pivot.
If Smith misses another game, Philly should annihilate the spread. If Smith plays, the Eagles will still beat the spread, but by far less.
Q: Who Are The Cleveland Browns Losing To This Week?
A: Jacksonville Jaguars
Spread: Jacksonville at -8.0 will cover
Cleveland need to pat themselves on the back for remaining the only winless team in the NFL. This dismal display allows them to take control of their own destiny in the race for the top overall draft pick. All the metrics line up perfectly: the Browns are 31st in PPG, 30th in PPG allowed and -13 in turnover ratio, accumulating an impressive -10.8 point differential after nine games.
Jacksonville know a thing or two about being a bad franchise, but they’re riding the NFL’s stingiest defense to the top of the AFC South. Leonard Fournette’s one of the best running backs in the league when he plays, and Blake Bortles has performed well enough to lift the team to a 6-3 record.
The Browns won’t win this one, and considering their -10.8 point differential, the spread remains relatively secure too.
Q: Will The Detroit Lions Win Three In A Row?
A: Yes. And they will cover
Spread: Detroit -3.0
Numbers-based fans will appreciate the fact that the Lions and the Bears are 50-50 during the history of professional gridiron in the U.S. These teams also played to a single tie, ruining the supersymmetry between the two. Detroit has won seven of the last eight meetings against Chicago, with a 17-14 Bears victory in 2016 spoiling the win streak.
Chicago definitely haven’t improved this year, even if they play relatively inspired football at home. Meanwhile, Drew Stafford and the Lions are consistently decent, maintaining a stake in the playoff race by dismissing the Browns last week.
Detroit’s defense is nothing to write home about, but they’re averaging 27.1 PPG this season, ranking sixth in the NFL. Admittedly, the Bears defense is slightly above league average, but they score only 16.7 PPG, which makes the spread achievable for Detroit. Look for Detroit to cover in this one.
Q: Will The Oakland Raiders Make The Playoffs?
A: Nope. New England Patriots will twist the dagger this week.
Spread: New England at -7.0 will cover
The Patriots clashing with the Raiders is a rarely occurring phenomenon, despite these teams first playing in 1966 when Robert Kraft’s team was known as the Boston Patriots. These teams certainly won’t be spilling tea on Sunday afternoon – if anything, the Raiders are fighting for their playoff lives before being unceremoniously shipped off to Vegas.
Unfortunately for Oakland, they haven’t beaten Tom Brady and the Pats since 2005, losing four consecutive games against New England. In fact, the last two times these teams played in California, the Patriots have beaten the Raiders by an average of 17.5 PPG.
This year, Oakland is allowing 23.8 PPG while scoring 21.8 PPG. Bill Belichick’s crew has tightened up on defense, rising above the NFL average after starting the season near the bottom. There’s no stopping Brady, except the potential of a random injury, making a touchdown spread a very reasonable proposition.