The Sunday slate for Week 9 of the 2013 NFL season is finally upon us, leaving little time for gamblers to get to the sportsbook and place their last-minute bets.
Fortunately, there are still a few hours to read over the update lines and make an informed decision before pulling the trigger on a wager.
Let’s take a look at my picks for each game and a closer look at two teams that are almost guaranteed to cover.
|Away Team||Home Team||Line||Prediction (ATS)|
|Atlanta Falcons||Carolina Panthers||CAR -7||CAR|
|Minnesota Vikings||Dallas Cowboys||DAL -9.5||DAL|
|New Orleans Saints||New York Jets||NO -6||NO|
|Tennessee Titans||St. Louis Rams||TEN -3||STL|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Buffalo Bills||KC -3.5||KC|
|San Diego Chargers||Washington Redskins||-1||WAS|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Oakland Raiders||OAK -2.5||OAK|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -14.5||SEA|
|Baltimore Ravens||Cleveland Browns||BAL -1.5||CLE|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||New England Patriots||NE -6.5||NE|
|Indianapolis Colts||Houston Texans||IND -2||IND|
|Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||GB -10||CHI|
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-6.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
The 6-2 Pats are looking to ring the death knell on the 2-5 Steelers’ 2013 season this Sunday and are almost a touchdown favorite to do so.
While New England’s once-prolific passing offense has been sputtering, this team has built an identity upon the rushing game and defense.
The Patriots have conceded an average of just 215.5 yards per game through the air and consistently abuse the opposing “D” for over 120 yards per game.
With Pittsburgh averaging a mere 68.7 yards per game on the ground and conceding 121.9 yards a contest to opposing rushers, this matchup is ripe for a blowout in the home team’s favor.
The Steelers haven’t fared well away from Heinz Field this year, winning just a single road game against the up-and-down New York Jets. That isn’t going to change at Foxborough, where the Pats haven’t lost in the regular season since Week 15 of the 2012 campaign.
Don’t be surprised if head coach Bill Belichick dials up plenty of running plays and has his AFC East-leading squad use basic, smashmouth football to obliterate the competition and cover the spread.
Indianapolis Colts (-2) over HOUSTON TEXANS
The Colts are a surprisingly slim favorite over their slumping AFC South rivals, the Texans, on Sunday Night Football.
Considering Indianapolis has vanquished the likes of the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, it’s hard to imagine lowly Houston—currently in the midst of a five-game slide—winning in this nationally televised showdown.
Both teams are coming off a bye in Week 8, which should mean relatively equal footing in terms of rest.
While the season-ending injury to superstar receiver Reggie Wayne will certainly hurt Indianapolis, young talents such as T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey are more than ready to step up and replace the veteran.
As long as Andrew Luck is under center, he’s going to make this Indianapolis receiving corps productive and look good doing it.
That is in stark contrast to the nightmare scenario the Texans are having at the quarterback position in 2013, as Case Keenum has been named the starter for this game—despite the fact that Matt Schaub has returned to practice after missing time with an ankle sprain.
Which team will cover?
The unproven former third-stringer performed well in a close game against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, but he’s far from being the game-changer the Texans need to save their season.
Expect the Colts’ ferocious defense to capitalize on this opportunity, creating a number of turnovers and three-and-outs that will have the offense in position to hang a myriad of points on the board. The chalk will easily cover this foolish spread, so hammer the line before it moves.