Big spreads are like a juicy steak that draws you in with the smell and sight of a tasty meal. It’s at that moment you feel completely satisfied with yourself.
Then, unexpectedly, that beef is stripped right out from under your nose and slapped across your face.
That’s how betting the big spreads and losing feels.
Don’t fear, though, because I have some worthwhile insight for you to consider when placing your weekly bets.
New England Patriots (-11) vs. Buffalo Bills
Despite only being separated by two games, these teams are going in completely opposite directions. A loss here would more or less knock the Bills out of contention in the AFC East division.
New England has been stout against the run this season but has given up some big chunks through the air as a result of that focus. That will shift the focus of the Buffalo’s offense from its excellent rushing game to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
If Fitzpatrick avoids a disaster like in the team’s Week 4 second-half meltdown, the Bills will be able to keep up with the scoring of the Pats and not only cover the spread but could pull off the Foxborough upset.
After all, New England trailed its divisional rivals by a 21-7 margin at halftime in that Week 4 collapse.
Miami Dolphins (-6) vs. Tennessee Titans
The Dolphins are not going to explode offensively against anyone, even the worst-ranked scoring defense in the league. That’s just not how they play.
Jake Locker is returning for the Titans, and just in time. Miami is giving up nearly 300 yards per game through the air, and Tennessee will benefit from having its starter back in order to exploit that matchup.
Yes, it’s true, the Dolphins have been excellent at stopping the run and the Titans have struggled at times to get going in that department. Still, over the past four weeks, the Dolphins have given up 97, 105, 162 and 80 yards on the ground. All it takes is one big run by Chris Johnson and the odds shift significantly in their favor.
If Johnson can break the century mark by averaging at least four yards per carry, the Titans and Locker may find themselves able to control the pace of the game and not only keep the game close, but contend as well.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-12.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
No one likes to be embarrassed on national television. The last time these two teams met on Sunday Night Football in 2011, the Chiefs kept things interesting and nearly came away with a win but fell just short by a final score of 13-9.
There’s a strong possibility of another close, low-scoring game like that on Monday Night Football this week.
One thing the Chiefs have in their favor is that head coach Romeo Crennel is familiar with the Steelers. He faced them biannually as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and last season as the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs.
Crennel has relinquished control of the defense after the team’s 1-7 start in which it allowed 30 points per game, according to ESPN. His staff will still be very familiar with Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s game plan. After all, he was the team’s head coach in 2011.
Pittsburgh is banged up all over its roster, but the most significant loss is wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown gives the Steelers a dual-threat for Ben Roethlisberger to exploit secondaries.
Without him, they’ll have to turn to Emmanuel Sanders and Jericho Cotchery, who are no slouches, but don’t have quite the all-around combination of speed and skills that Brown does.