Few things cause the public to overreact like big wins and impressive records. Casual bettors tend to favor teams with superficial value. That value tends to come back and haunt many teams whose impending doom is only human.
This week will see a trend of talented, sometimes playoff-caliber teams in an underdog role. No other week in the NFL season may present such a slate of strong teams giving points.
San Francisco (+3) over New Orleans
The Saints are coming off a big win on national television and will be playing a San Francisco 49ers team that is among the NFL's best coming off losses.
As a favorite coming off a loss, the 49ers are 13-1-1 in their last 15 games. The 49ers have excelled in the big game under Jim Harbaugh, who is undefeated against teams that have a winning percentage of .700. The 49ers are plus-four in turnover differential, and the Saints defense has failed to force a single turnover in the last two games.
The 49ers' top-four rushing offense matches up perfectly against a New Orleans rushing defense that gives up the 10th-most rushing yards per game. Frank Gore and Co. will figure to keep Drew Brees on the sidelines for much of the game.
Harbaugh has beaten the Saints both times he has played them, with his last win coming last season in New Orleans.
Expect a hyperfocused 49ers team that has been nearly unbeatable off losses to cover comfortably.
Prediction: San Francisco, 27-13
Kansas City is coming off a bye week, where head coach Andy Reid is 14-1 (11-4 against the spread). For all the "fraud" talk about Kansas City, Denver has yet to defeat a team with a winning record.
A gimpy Peyton Manning will be playing behind a struggling Denver offensive line that has given up eight sacks in the past three games. That line will be playing against the NFL's top defensive line with a league-leading 36 sacks.
Kansas City's plus-15 turnover differential ranks as the best in the NFL. After not throwing a single interception through the first four weeks, Manning has thrown an interception in four of his last five games.
A well-prepared Kansas City team with a chip on its shoulder should manhandle its division rival at the point of attack, leading to an upset on national television.
Prediction: Kansas City, 28-24
Buffalo (+2) over New York Jets
The Jets are coming off a big win as a home dog where teams have been 4-20 against the spread this season. New York has been a favorite just one time this season and has never been a road favorite.
Each week, the Jets have traded wins and losses. Playing a divisional rival on the road off a big win should keep that trend going.
The Jets are fool's gold to some extent; they are the only team in the NFL with a winning record despite a point differential of minus-60 or less.
The Bills are 4-1 against the spread at home this season, and Buffalo's secondary should be able to take advantage of a mistake-prone, penalty-prone Jets offense with a turnover differential of minus-10.
The Jets will come back down to earth against a familiar opponent.
Prediction: Buffalo, 21-10
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