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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: 5-1, +$295
I love this spot for the Chiefs. We're getting some rare value with Kansas City because the Texans beat up on the lowly Atlanta Falcons last week while the Chiefs not only lost to the Indianapolis Colts, but Patrick Mahomes hurt his ankle in the process. However, the injury doesn't appear to be serious, so there's no use overreacting to it.
Mahomes has just one touchdown pass in his last two contests after throwing 10 over his first three. Expect him to heat up again against the Texans' defense, which can't stop anyone through the air. Houston is giving up 270.4 passing yards per game and allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete over 70% of their passes. Good luck this week. Even if Mahomes is only somewhat healthy, he should torch the Texans' secondary.
The Texans will score, but the Chiefs will score more. I'll lay the short number with KC at home and go over 55, in what should be a 41-27 kind of shootout. I know these are huge public plays, but it's hip to be square this week.
Picks: Chiefs -4 ($75), Over 55 ($75)
Season record: 8-3, +$130
I don’t understand why some bettors automatically envision a low-scoring contest between arguably the NFL's two worst teams. Make no mistake, the offenses have been pitiful. Washington ranks No. 30 in the league in points per game and No. 28 in total yards, while Miami sits 31st and 32nd, respectively. But have we forgotten that both defenses are also atrocious? This game could get weird and it might be a matchup for the two offenses to finally catch a break.
Look for Washington to run the ball right at Miami's last-ranked rush defense, with Bill Callahan now in charge. The Dolphins' offense, meanwhile, has been a little better with Josh Rosen at quarterback. Take advantage and go over the low total.
Pick: Over 41 ($30)
Season record: 6-5-1, -$3
Christian McCaffrey has single-handedly carried Carolina's offense this season, but he'll have a stiff test against arguably the league's finest run defense. Tampa Bay faced McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley, and Alvin Kamara in consecutive games and allowed a combined 125 rushing yards and 139 receiving yards to those four stars.
Previous opponents found success against the Bucs through the air, though the Panthers don't pose the same passing threat as, say, the Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans Saints. Additionally, Carolina's opportunistic defense should have a field day with Jameis Winston and Tampa's middling run game.
Factor in the London lethargy, too: Five of the last seven London games went under, while all contests starting before noon ET are 11-5 to the under since 2000. These teams' last meeting was an ugly affair, and this one could follow a similar script.
Pick: Under 48 ($75)
Another under is brewing in Minnesota. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is an under wizard when coming home following a road win and when giving 4.5 or less as home chalk. Both defenses have played well as of late, and the Eagles have trended under when they can't get their run game going, which is a possible scenario against Minnesota's stout front. I've never seen a more 20-17 type of game in my life.
Pick: Under 44 ($50)
Season record: 5-4, -$50
Gardner Minshew returns to Jacksonville and should do so to a hero's welcome following a pair of really impressive road performances. Minshew has been carrying this team for a few weeks now, but I expect a much better showing from the defense at home against New Orleans' offense, which has a habit of going to sleep for long spells with Teddy Bridgewater under center. The Saints failed to score a single touchdown in 17 Bridgewater-led drives against the Dallas Cowboys and Rams, and they're in for a dogfight against the Jags. New Orleans finally loses a game without Drew Brees.
Pick: Jaguars -1 ($50)
The Seahawks are flying across the country for what is most certainly a letdown spot following a close win last Thursday over division rival Los Angeles. The Browns, meanwhile, return home eager to rid their memory of that beatdown suffered at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. Seattle doesn't pressure the quarterback well - nine of its meager 10 sacks on the season came against Andy Dalton and Kyler Murray. That will be the difference in this game as Baker Mayfield has enough time to find his receivers downfield and guide the Browns to their first home win of the campaign.
Pick: Browns +1.5 ($50)
This is a terrible spot for the 49ers. They're talented, but it's asking a lot for them to travel to Los Angeles on a short week to take on an angry Rams team coming off successive losses, with Sean McVay having 10 days to prepare. Another week and I'd give San Francisco a legitimate shot in this game, but the timing of this one couldn't be much worse. McVay schemes a way to get the ball out of Jared Goff's hands in a hurry as the Rams keep the Niners' pass rush at bay and get back to winning ways.
Pick: Rams -3 ($50)