Every week, we will give three bets against the spread to monitor for that slate of NFL games: one we like (Bet It), one we love (Hammer It) and one we are staying away from (Don’t Touch). Without further ado, here are the best and worst bets for NFL week 10.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) over Jacksonville Jaguars
The Colts have become a regular on these bets. For this game, it is a matter of teams going in opposite directions. Whatever the reason may be, Jacksonville is in a complete nosedive. They have scored at least 20 points in just three games out of eight, with none of those coming in the last four. Three of the last four games have been double-digit losses. The supposedly vaunted defense recently allowed 40 to the Cowboys, for crying out loud.
And while the Colts are not exactly elite, they have won back-to-back games against miserable opponents. More importantly, they have scored at least 34 points in four of their last five. While the defense is often come-and-go, Indianapolis has proven they can run in offensive shootouts, thanks to stellar offensive line and quarterback play. Jacksonville has not proven to be a shutdown defense and there is no way they hang with Indy in a shootout, so I like the Colts by at least a touchdown.
New England Patriots (-6.5) over Tennessee Titans
Tennessee is as confusing a team as there is. They are 4-4, right in the thick of playoff discussion, despite constantly getting in there own way. Like their quarterback, Tennessee can flip between miserable and excellent at a moment’s notice. As talented as they are, I simply cannot trust them to hold up their end against the best of the best moving forward. Sure, they hung with the Chargers two games ago. But the Patriots have a little something extra working to their advantage. And that is Malcolm Butler.
There may not be a corner having a rougher time right now than Butler. He surrendered two touchdowns against Dallas, of all teams, and currently leads the league in touchdowns allowed in coverage with seven. Butler is as exploitable as they come right now, and guess who is coming into town? The team that saw his decline before anyone else did. The Patriots may be just 2-2 on the road this year, but I would be surprised if they do not win by at least a touchdown in Nashville.
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
Traditionally, this spot has been reserved for games between more inept teams. But this time, I am staying away from picking between two of the hottest offenses in the game. Cam Newton is playing arguably better than he did during his MVP season, Christian McCaffrey is proving to be the ultimate Swiss Army Knife and Norv Turner is utilizing weapons to their fullest potential. By the same token, Pittsburgh is feeling no ill effect of Le’Veon Bell‘s absence, thanks to four-straight 100-yard rushing performances from James Conner.
The extra half point gives me added pause. Carolina is typically much better at home, so it makes sense that they are getting the hook. But were this at just minus-three, I would probably lean Pittsburgh. As is, this one is a toss-up for me, so it will be, for once, a fun stay-away.
–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.