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Every Friday during the NFL season, theScore's betting writers will release their best bets for the week. Each writer has been given an imaginary $1,000 bankroll to manage throughout the campaign. If you decide to follow any of the picks, please gamble responsibly.
Odds courtesy of theScore Bet.
Season record: 4-1, +$195
It's only once a decade that I lay more than 10 points in the NFL, but this feels like a good situation to exploit. The Redskins are coming off back-to-back ugly losses and the players are likely counting down the days until Jay Gruden gets fired. Luckily for them, they shouldn't have to wait much longer. This is an especially bad week for Washington to welcome the Patriots. New England's offense struggled last week in Buffalo. Tom Brady's passer rating was 45.5 - his lowest in 13 years - so there's little chance the future Hall of Famer and Co. come into this matchup unmotivated.
Teams need to have either strong quarterback play or a good defense to beat the Patriots. The Redskins have neither. Gruden admitted earlier this week that the team doesn't have a plan at quarterback, and Washington's defense ranks 27th in the NFL, allowing just under 30 points per game.
The Patriots' defense has allowed one touchdown in four games. I don't care who they've played, that's darn impressive. Look for the boo birds to come early in Washington and Gruden to get fired on Monday after another blowout loss.
Pick: Patriots -15 ($100)
Season record: 7-3, +$90
Seven in a row. I might never lose again. OK, onto this matchup, which involves a pair of offenses coming off terrible performances at home. Atlanta has been underwhelming virtually the entire season, but after last week's dud against the Tennessee Titans, how do the Falcons not pull out all the stops? The same goes for the Texans, who mustered just 10 points against the Carolina Panthers. These offenses have serious talent and I don't know how you can keep either down for long. It's about time they put that talent to good use, preferably this week, so we can cash another best bet.
Pick: Over 49 ($40)
Season record: 4-3, -$24
The Chargers are 2-2, but there's nothing wrong with their offense. It ranks fifth in offensive DVOA without Melvin Gordon, who should have a large role on Sunday. The only issue has been keeping Philip Rivers clean in the pocket, but that won't be a concern against the Broncos. Denver has a paltry five sacks this season, and now Bradley Chubb is out for the season. Chargers pass-rusher Melvin Ingram is also out. Those are two huge blows for a pair of defenses that rank 27th and 28th in DVOA. This total is way too low. Brace yourself for a shootout in L.A.
Pick: Over 44.5 ($60)
With all the drama going on in Minnesota this week stemming from its offensive struggles, the Vikings can thank their lucky stars that they face the brutal Giants secondary. Kirk Cousins beats up on weaker opponents, and he's going to be asked to throw, throw, and throw some more to appease Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. New York won't get much pressure on Cousins, who will have open receivers scattered throughout a porous secondary. We get a deflated price here, as well, given the hype surrounding Daniel Jones and his 2-0 start.
Pick: Vikings -5 ($40)
Season record: 5-5, -$28
The Ravens' offense ranks first in the NFL in points per drive, thanks in part to a versatile receiving corps and bullying run game. The Steelers' offense ranks 25th, and its defense is still incredibly vulnerable, even if a drubbing of a lousy Cincinnati Bengals' offense may trick you otherwise.
The Ravens laid an egg last week against the Cleveland Browns but were coming off a tough loss in Kansas City. It looked like they never got off the bus, as Baltimore went down early and couldn't recover. The Steelers beat up on an awful Bengals team Monday night. Given the recency bias of last week's outcomes, we are getting value with the Ravens on Sunday. Expect Lamar Jackson to bounce back and have a good game against a suspect Steelers secondary. Baltimore is a much better team, so lay the field goal on the road.
Pick: Ravens -3 ($75)
Washington has no plan at quarterback, as Gruden freely admitted earlier this week, and the Patriots' secondary is one of the best in recent memory. The Redskins managed three points against a bad Giants defense; will they even score Sunday? Maybe a field goal.
Pick: Redskins team total under 14 ($25)