Five picks against the BetMGM number, what’s what we do with Throwing Darts. Here is this week’s order, including four underdog tickets.
49ers -4 versus Colts
San Francisco defended Kyler Murray very well two weeks back and the game was there to be won, but the 49ers offense was a mess. Trey Lance simply isn’t ready. Assuming Jimmy Garoppolo is ready to start, he’s the better option for the Niners right now. Carson Wentz is a negative quarterback when it comes to sack avoidance, and it takes just 1-2 late or poor decisions to swing an outcome.
Seahawks +4.5 versus Saints
While home-field advantage has become muted in most NFL cities, the Seahawks get a boost from their venue. Of course, the Seattle offense has to unplug with Geno Smith at the controls, but it’s not like the Saints let Jameis Winston play with his hair on fire. I’ll also explore the first-half under in this game — the Pittsburgh/Seattle start might repeat here — but for the sake of this column, put me down for the home underdog. I might explore the money line as well.
Bears +12 at Buccaneers
This is a ton of points to give to a Chicago team that is probably not a punching bag; the Bears at least boast a top-10 defense. Justin Fields remains a work in progress, but the Cleveland game was his only poor start; there have been optimistic signs since. Tampa Bay’s leaky secondary will keep the back-door cover open, even if the Buccaneers offense hits the high end of its range.
Dolphins +2.5 versus Falcons
It was hard to look away from Tua Tagovailoa’s ugly interception against Jacksonville, but Tua did move the offense, too — the Dolphins rolled up 23 first downs and 431 total yards, their best showing of the year. The Falcons don’t look any better than the Dolphins on the metric sheet (both teams are buried in total, offensive, and defensive DVOA), but this line probably favors Atlanta because the Falcons are rested while Miami recovers from the London trip. I suspect the adjustment has gone too far — the number suggests Atlanta would be about a 5-point favorite on a neutral site, and I see the teams as much closer.
Titans +4.5 versus Chiefs
You worry about the Titans having an empty emotional reservoir after the dramatic Monday win over Buffalo, but we surely expect Derrick Henry and the Tennessee offense to show up — the Titans ended Monday’s game with six straight scoring drives. A.J. Brown’s snappy second half is an encouraging sign for the passing game. Kansas City’s defense isn’t close to being fixed; last week’s performance told us more about Washington’s scuffling offense than Kansas City’s leaky defense. Mike Vrabel’s crew will hang around again.