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NFL Betting: Free Picks Week 9
San Francisco 49ers (2-5) vs. Atlanta Falcons (1-6)
Sunday, November 4th — Georgia Dome, Atlanta — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Atlanta -3 (37)
After opening the season with hope and promise, the Niners have hit a five game losing streak. They have looked absolutely horrible during that stretch. Atlanta has not looked much better with their own three game losing skid, but they get the nod here from the oddsmakers because they’re the home team.
Alex Smith returned at quarterback for the Niners last week, but the rust showed in a bad way. He went 22-for-43 and threw a pedestrian 190 yards and one score. The only plus was that Vernon Davis actually had an impact on the game. The fault goes straight to the offensive line, which has not been able to protect Smith, nor open gaps for Gore to break through.
Atlanta has been misjudged by the oddsmakers, and has managed to go 4-3 ATS. But one rule of the betting season has been to never bet on Joey Harrington. The erratic passer will be facing the tandem of Walt Harris and Nate Clements whoa re shutdown corners that can take advantage of Harrington’s bad decisions.
The Niner’s are not a good football team, but their defense can rattle Harrington, whose confidence is already completely blasted. The Niners have a 2-4-1 record ATS and have been thrown to the wolves by the oddsmakers, but bet on them on the road as Frank Gore finds room to run against an Atlanta defensive line that simply won’t be physical enough without Grady Jackson holding down the middle.
NFL Free Pick: San Francisco 21 Atlanta 17
Denver Broncos (3-4) vs. Detroit Lions (5-2)
Sunday, November 4th — Ford Field, Detroit — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Detroit -3.5 (45.5)
The Broncos were gutted by a patented Brett Favre bomb in overtime last weekend after Jay Cutler threw a horrific bounce pass to Brandon Marshall. They continue to be the worst team to bet on with a 1-6 ATS record and have not shown any gusto on the road. Their twenty-seventh ranked offense, which manages a mere 17.0 points per game, will have to contend with a Detroit home crowd that will rabid for its team’s 5-2 SU start.
Detroit has yet to lose at home because the dome allows Jon Kitna to execute the aerial attack of Mike Martz to perfection. Detroit is rifling 243.4 yards through the air per game and the emergence of Kevin Jones at running back has brought balance to this offense. Jones was able to tear the Bears apart for 105 yards. Denver couldn’t even stop unknown Ryan Grant of Green Bay on the ground.
This is not the Lions of yesteryear. The 5-2 start is a bit surprising, but this offense has a lot going for it. Their betting faithful should stand strong behind this solid home team with a small spread that Denver simply can not hope to match. Despite the AFC-NFC parity, the Lions will win this game with ease.
NFL Free Pick: Denver 14 Detroit 27
San Diego Chargers (4-3) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
Sunday, November 4th — Metrodome, Minneapolis — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: San Diego -7 (41)
The future meets the present when Adrian Peterson gets to play opposite the reigning rushing king, LaDanian Tomlinson. Minnesota is the second-best rushing team with 155.3 yards per game, while possessing a stifling rush defense that holds opponents to 74.4 yards per game. But San Diego is simply far too strong for this team.
The Minnesota secondary is atrocious. It surrenders a league-worst 288.3 passing yards per game, and Phillip Rivers can exploit that with Antonio Gates shredding up the middle and the reborn Chris Chambers spreading the defense. The Chargers only pass for 197.1 yards per game, but they take advantage of their opportunities.
The Chargers are also no slouch against the run. They are ranked seventh, holding opponents to 88.9 yards per game. They will be able to game-plan around stopping Peterson, the only viable scoring threat on the Vikings. The Chargers, who are swelling with talent and have crushed their last three opponents with a combined score of 104-27. Don’t bet on Adrian Peterson being able to take over this game.
NFL Free Pick: San Diego 34 Minnesota 14
Washington Redskins (4-3) vs. New York Jets (1-7)
Sunday, November 4th — Giants Stadium, New York — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Washington -3 (37)
The Kellen Clemens Show premiers this weekend when the Jets host the Redskins at home. The Jets have been atrocious this year, and things are not going to get better with Laveranues Coles suffering post-concussion symptoms. Even if he plays, it will not be at full health and that hurts this anemic Jets offense.
Washington is a run-first team and averages 105.0 yards on the ground. They have a very favorable matchup because they will face a porous Jets defense that has given up 134.3 rush yards per game. Clemens has a strong arm, but Washington will simply be able to control this game all day long and that will spell disaster for the Jets.
The Redskins will also be out for revenge after getting demolished by the Patriots last weekend. The man who spurned The Wrath of Uncle Bill was Eric Mangini, the Jets head coach. Gibbs and company will be out for blood on Sunday.
NFL Free Pick: Washington 21 NYJ 13
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-2) vs. New Orleans Saints (3-4)
Sunday, November 4th — Superdome, New Orleans — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: New Orleans -4 (40)
The Saints are on a roll having won their last three games in decisive fashion. Reggie Bush has emerged as the dynamic threat he was advertised to be, while Drew Brees has rediscovers his Pro Bowl form. Despite Jacksonville’s touted defensive reputation, they give up an enormous amount of yards. They make up for this by pinning opponents to 15.7 points per game.
The concern with the Jaguars is their offense, which has been unbelievably unimpressive with backup Quinn Gray at the helm. They beat Tampa Bay last week, but that was behind a devastating pick-six by Jeff Garcia. Brees will simply not give the Jacksonville defense the opportunities to score because he is a far better quarterback than Garcia.
Jacksonville is simply not a team that can keep up with a high scoring offense. Reggie Bush has not been scoring as much as his fantasy owners would like, but defenses are keying off of him which is exactly what the Saints betting investor wants. That frees of Brees to dismantle the defensive secondary with his solid stable of receivers.
The Saints are on a roll and the Jaguars are essentially designed to win tight game. When the Saints run away with the score in this one, Jacksonville will get left in the dust. Quinn Gray simply does not have the weapons, nor the talent, to keep up with the Saints at this point.
NFL Free Pick: Jacksonville 17 New Orleans 27
Carolina Panthers (4-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (5-2)
Sunday, November 4th — LP Field, Nashville — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Tennessee -5 (37)
Both teams are a betting nightmare. The Titans have only been beating teams by 4.0 points per game and are 4-3 ATS. Everyone expects Carolina to be a good team, and they have the potential. They just haven’t been living up to it. The key in this matchup is (obviously) Vince Young who has led the Titans to a 3-0 ATS in their last three games.
The Titans run the ball extremely well because the offensive line is monstrously strong. Carolina is nineteenth against the run giving up 113.0 yards on the ground, and LenDale White is coming of a career performance against Oakland where he posted 133 rushing yards.
On the flip side, the Titans are the best team against the run, holding opponents to 64.3 yards on the ground. That means David Carr will have to win this game for Carolina. Tennessee’s passing defense is average, but Carr is probably the worst starting quarterback in the league (Tavaris Jackson is a close second).
I’m never a fan of saying this, but Steve Smith is due for a big game. Carolina is also undefeated on the road while Tennessee is only 2-1 at home. The Titans are a strong football team, but this offense can not run the scoreboard. Carolina will play it safe and run DeAngelo and DeSean in to the ground and limit Carr’s touches, but look for them to get the ball in to Steve Smith’s hands as much as possible. While a Panthers victory is tough to predict, the Titans will let them hang around in this game to at least cover the spread.
NFL Free Pick: Carolina 13 Tennessee 17
Arizona Cardinals (3-4) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4)
Sunday, November 4th — Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Tampa Bay -3.5 (36)
Jeff Garcia made the obvious known against Jacksonville last week – if he plays bad, this team can not win. After a heartbreaking 23-24 loss to the Jags last week, the Bucs return to Raymond James to take on the Cardinals who are coming off a bye week. The Bucs have been losing to very good teams, while the Cards have gone 4-2-1 ATS this season.
You have to give Garcia the benefit of the doubt and assume that last weekend was an aberration. Arizona may be ninth against the pass allowing 195.6 passing yards per game, but Garcia will be able to expose a line-backer unit that does not pick up on coverage assignments very well. The Bucs throw a conservative 216.8 yards per game, but their rushing attack gains 106.9 yards per game.
Kurt Warner should be fully healthy which means trouble for Tampa because he is an efficient passer. The Bucs defense has not been able to create turnovers as much as it would like to, but it is still the second best against the pass allowing only 173.1 yards per game. Their porous rush defense is twenty-second overall, but won’t give up too much against a Cardinals offense that ranks nineteenth in the league.
Tampa Bay has had a tough schedule having faced Indianapolis, Tennessee, their former defensive line coach at Detroit and Jacksonville. The drop-off in talent to the AFC West and the Bucs will take advantage with a decisive home victory that will restore the faith betting community has begun to lose.
NFL Free Pick: Arizona 17 Tampa Bay 21
Green Bay Packers (6-1) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)
Sunday, November 4th — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Green Bay -1 (38.5)
Brett Favre must wear horseshoes under his jersey. After embarrassing Champ Bailey and Dre Bly, who are arguably the best corner back tandem in the NFL, he will face a much easier test against a KC defense that gives up 197.1 yards per game. Ryan Grant, who will start at running-back for Green Bay, will have trouble finding room to run against Jared Allen and a KC rush defense that only gives up 82.1 yards per game.
But the Packers defense is no pushover. Their line-backer set of A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett steady the coverage of the run and the pass, meaning that the Chiefs primary receiver, Tony Gonzalez, will have trouble finding room to be effective in this game. The Packers give up 226.6 yards per game and have two excellent corners. Damon Huard is efficient, but will have trouble throwing against the Packers.
That means that this game is squarely up to Larry Johnson, who is averaging 3.6 yards per carry and is coming off back-to-back 100 yard performances. The Chiefs are beginning to hit their stride, but the Packers are undefeated on the road. Brett Favre is simply not letting this team lose games and his canon gives the Packers and Mason Crosby plenty of chances to get on the scoreboard. The Packers defense will bang it out with Larry Johnson and keep Brett Favre in this game long enough to pull off few more miracles.
NFL Free Pick: Green Bay 20 Kansas City 17
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Sunday, November 4th — Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Buffalo -3 (43.5)
Do you take the Bengals, who are winless on the road this season? Or are your betting dollars safer in the hands of J.P. Losman? Cincinnati has the sixth ranked offense in the league with 25.3 points per game, but the Buffalo’s defense is greedy and tougher than the typical fan thinks.
Buffalo plays incredibly smart ball. They run the ball down your throat in an effort to control the clock. Losman or not, this offense knows how to efficiently move the ball on teams, and no team makes that job easier than the Cincinnati Bengals defense which allows a whopping 385.4 yards per game.
The problem is that Buffalo’s pass defense gives up 253.4 yards and Carson Palmer is still one of the best in the game despite the team’s woeful 2-5 record. The trends are leaning towards Buffalo who have a steady 5-2 ATS record and Cincinnati has not won on the road. However, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are too good for this secondary and Carson Palmer will be able to get the ball off fast despite Buffalo’s fast and agile defensive line.
Buffalo has squeaked out wins against teams with anemic offenses like the Jets and Ravens. But they can not beat teams with good offenses because their own offense fails to score efficiently. And you can not feel safe with your betting dollars in Losman’s hands.
NFL Free Pick: Cincinnati 24 Buffalo 17
Seattle Seahawks (4-3) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-3)
Sunday, November 4th — Browns Stadium, Cleveland — 4:05pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Cleveland -1 (47)
Seattle leads the AFC West while Cleveland is pressing hard to challenge the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North. The Seahawks are coming off a bye week while Cleveland rocked St. Louis 27-20 last weekend. The return of Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett gives Matt Hasslebeck the versatility he needs at receiver to take pressure off of Shaun Alexander, who is averaging a terribly average 3.4 yards per carry.
Cleveland will rely on the punch of Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow to set the scoreboard on fire. Derek Anderson, for all of his previous short comings is absurdly good at running the score for the Browns. Seattle’s passing defense allows 212.7 yards per game and the secondary is a glaring weakness that Anderson can expose.
On the flip side, however, the Browns defense is simply awful. They allow opponents to steamroll them for 139.4 yards on the ground while surrendering 270.7 yards per game. But they have played extremely strong at home since losing to Pittsburgh 34-7 in the season opener while Charlie Frye was still at quarterback.
The Seahawks play punchless football, but are still a good team despite how boring they are to watch. Cleveland, however, is simply much better. They showed the most fight against the Patriots this year and Anderson is on a roll that can not be ignored. The Browns betting investors who were smart enough to get on this bandwagon early will be rewarded again as they take Seattle down at home with a tight spread that favors them slightly.
NFL Free Pick: Seattle 24 Cleveland 31
Houston Texans (3-5) vs. Oakland Raiders (2-5)
Sunday, November 4th — McAfee Coliseum, Oakland — 4:15pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Oakland -3 (42)
Forget about everything I ever said about Houston’s marginal improvements this season. They still can not protect their quarterback. Matt Schaub is nursing sore ribs, a bruised hip and is suffering from a concussion. Sure, he’s a huge step up talent wise from David Carr, but nobody can throw the football when they are picking turf out of their face mask. Both Oakland and Houston will be looking to snap three game losing skids.
Josh McCown gets the nod at quarterback for Oakland after Daunte’s uninspiring performances. But Oakland will have to lean on the rush to win this game. They average 138.1 yards per game and Houston gives up 120.6 rush yards per match. It’s a very favorable matchup for Oakland.
Houston has gone 0-5 ATS in their last five games and have simply fallen apart with injuries to Ahman Green, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub. After their bye week next week, they may be healthy enough to warrant your betting attention. For now, however, they will get steamrolled by a strong Oakland rushing attack and will ask McCown to do very little.
NFL Free Pick: Houston 10 Oakland 17
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