For whatever reason, this week's lines seem particularly hard to call. Vegas is certainly in midseason form and very few of the lines really jump off the page and scream, "Bet me, please!"
As always, though, a few do. Those are the ones we'll talk about here.
Maybe a team is getting just a little too much love from the oddsmakers. Maybe a few home teams are being given a bit more credit than they deserve. Whatever the case may be, the following three games are excellent ones to focus on when deciding which matchups to exploit.
|Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Tennessee Titans||Colts|
|Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Bucs|
|New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-1)||Jets|
|Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers||Lions|
|Washington at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)||Eagles|
|San Diego Chargers (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins||Dolphins|
|Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears (-3)||Ravens|
|Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6)||Browns|
|Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-7)||Raiders|
|Arizona Cardinals (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars||Cardinals|
|Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-8.5)||Chiefs|
|Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-13)||Vikings|
|San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-3)||Saints|
|Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (-5)||Packers|
|New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)||Patriots|
All lines via Vegas Insider
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Tennessee Titans
Divisional games are always tough to predict, and Thursday Night Football throws a few wrenches into the mix too, but I really like this line for the Colts—even on the road.
The Titans are just 2-3 at home, the Colts are coming off easily their worst and most embarrassing loss of the season and, oh yeah, Ryan Fitzpatrick is now Tennessee's starting quarterback.
I mean, if the Titans can't beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, are we supposed to believe they can beat a motivated Colts team?
I know, I know, any given Sunday—er, Thursday—but this is a game the Colts should win by more than a field goal. The Colts are 3-1 on the road, won both meetings last year and responded to their previous losses by beating the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos in the following week.
In other words, the Colts respond to losses in style.
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-13)
I know the Vikings stink. I know the Seahawks have won 12 games in a row at home—and make no mistake, it will be 13 in a row after this contest—but I think you have to take the points with the Vikings in this game.
For one thing, the Seahawks have won just three games by 13 or more points this season. For another, they've been vulnerable against the run, allowing 111 rushing yards per game—15th in the NFL. In other words, they should have plenty of problems dealing with Adrian Peterson, who will single-handedly keep the Vikings in this game.
And don't expect the probable return of Percy Harvin to spark too crazy an offensive outburst, as I expect he'll be somewhat limited.
The Seahawks are an extremely safe pick straight-up, but laying 13 points?
Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sure, the Lions are the road team here, but I love this line for them. The Steelers aren't particularly good at home (2-2) and the Lions are pretty good on the road (3-2), so I don't think the home-field advantage will be a major factor.
This matchup just isn't favorable for Pittsburgh.
The team is fifth in pass defense this year and has a pretty good cover corner in Ike Taylor, but Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson are each having huge seasons and the Steelers allowed Tom Brady to throw for 432 yards and four touchdowns against them two weeks ago.
The Lions aren't a great running team (103.3 yards per game, 21st in the league), but the dynamic Reggie Bush should have a field day against the Steelers' 29th-ranked run defense.
This game looks likely to become a shootout, and I'll side with Stafford, Megatron and Bush being at least three points better than Pittsburgh in that scenario.
Lines courtesy of Vegas Insider.
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