Football betting: Top five contest picks of the weekend

·7 min read

With the rise in popularity of football betting contests, the Yahoo Sportsbook staff is offering its top football picks for this weekend’s slate. And much like those contests, these lines locked as of Thursday night, so they won’t reflect subsequent movement.

All lines from BetMGM.

Nick Bromberg

Season record: 7-8

Ole Miss at Alabama (Under 79)

This line is the highest of the weekend on the heels of Alabama’s 63-48 win in 2020. Alabama’s offense isn’t as good as it was in 2020 and Ole Miss’ defense is better. I think this game ends up something like 43-30 Alabama. If it goes over, it should at least be fun to watch.

Auburn at LSU (Under 56)

Auburn scored 20 at Penn State and didn’t get an offensive TD until the fourth quarter and after T.J. Finley had replaced Bo Nix at QB. Auburn has kept its starter under wraps this week, and no matter who ends up at QB, I think this game looks way more like an old-school Saturday night SEC defensive struggle than a shootout.

Kansas City Chiefs (-7) at Philadelphia Eagles

I really liked this line at six points ahead of Philly’s Monday Night Football loss. The Chiefs are 0-3 against the spread and are due for a cover. Plus I think KC is angry after what’s happened the last two weeks. KC’s defense finally gets a red-zone stop and the Chiefs roll.

New York Giants at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)

The Superdome should be rocking for New Orleans’ first home game of the season and the Giants are pretty putrid. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a boom game for Jameis Winston.

Baltimore Ravens (+1) at Denver Broncos

I’m still not sure what to think about the Broncos. Perhaps that’s some of my Kansas City-based bias showing here, but Denver is 3-0 and the three teams it has beaten are 0-9. I think Baltimore is the better team and I’ll happily take the point.

Frank Schwab

Season record: 6-9

Washington (-1.5) over Atlanta

Washington has done nothing to impress yet, but I did like it preseason. If it can't beat a bad Falcons team, I'll heel turn on it WWE style.

Chiefs (-7) over Eagles

Eventually the Chiefs are going to cover a spread. I feel like the Eagles are the unfortunate team that gets to feel Kansas City's wrath over a bad start.

Lions (+3) over Bears

The Lions have battled hard. They will know this is a game they can win.

Cardinals (+5) over Rams

It's scary to go against the Rams now, but that's usually a path to winning NFL bets. Go against public perception.

Browns (-1.5) over Vikings

If the Browns have truly improved on defense, they'll be an elite team. This is a great test.

Greg Brainos

Season record: 6-9

Seattle Seahawks (+3) at San Francisco 49ers

The last time the Seahawks lost in San Francisco by more than three points was 2012. My only fear in taking Seattle is that Kyle Shanahan will come to his senses and play Trey Lance a significant number of snaps.

Washington Football Team (-1.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Washington’s offense should have an easy enough time in this one and this is as good of a get-right spot for the defense as we’ll see all season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7) at New England Patriots

This is a terrible matchup for the Patriots. Their ground game isn’t going to work against a defense giving up only 3.1 yards per carry, and Mac Jones was just one of 11 on passes of 20-plus yards last week when he tried opening things up. Give me Tom Brady coming off a loss.

Indianapolis Colts (+2) at Miami Dolphins

Call me Willie Nelson, because I’m on the road team again. Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines will be too much for Miami to handle.

Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins (Under 42)

I told myself I would smash any number under 42. The Colts are one of the slowest-paced teams in the league and Miami’s offense is going to have trouble scoring against Indy.

Sam Cooper

Season record: 9-6

Iowa at Maryland (+3.5)

Iowa’s offense has not been good, and QB Spencer Petras has never had to start a game in a true road environment. The Maryland receiver room is really good and this could be a coming out party for QB Taulia Tagovailoa. I think the Terps can pull off the upset.

Minnesota at Purdue (Under 47.5)

Purdue has been rotating two ineffective quarterbacks and has a bunch of injuries at the skill positions. Minnesota’s offense is just gross. Take the under.

Army (-9) at Ball State

Army’s option offense is averaging 344.5 rushing yards per game. Ball State’s defense gives up nearly five yards per rush on defense and averages just 4.46 yards per play on offense (No. 123 nationally).

Washington State at Cal (-7.5)

Cal is better than its 1-3 record shows. The Golden Bears blew double-digit leads against Nevada and TCU, and lost in overtime last week to Washington. This is a get-right game, and I won’t be surprised if it’s a blowout.

Washington Football Team (-1.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Nothing about Atlanta’s win over the Giants impressed me. Washington got blown out by the Bills and needs a bounce-back game for what was expected to be a very good defense.

Pete Truszkowski

Season record: 4-11

Arkansas at Georgia (Under 48.5)

Not convinced Arkansas will be able to move the ball much, but its defense should limit explosive plays from Georgia.

Michigan at Wisconsin (-2)

Two one-dimensional offenses, but Michigan struggled to run the ball against Rutgers. The home team feels like the right side here in a potential trap game

Ole Miss at Alabama (Over 79)

I have a feeling this game goes over 100.

Texas at TCU (Over 66)

This version of TCU is not the typical Gary Patterson defensive juggernaut. It can score though.

Browns at Vikings (Over 51)

Cleveland should be able to move the ball at will whether it’s with Baker Mayfield’s arm or the legs of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. This line suggests that Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense will keep up.

Joe Garza

Season record: 9-6

Browns (-1.5) at Vikings

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski knows what flusters Kirk Cousins after their time together in Minnesota. It’s gonna be a Myles Garrett fiesta.

Washington Football Team (-1.5) at Falcons

If WFT doesn’t get it done here, the season is over for the Dan Snyder Junk Spiral Fan Exodus Experience.

Raiders at Chargers (Over 52.5)

It is a prime-time game, party people. You know what to do.

Raiders at Chargers (-3)

After doing my own research, I refuse to believe the Raiders are good. Take me down to Regression City, where the coverage stinks and they give up fiddy ...

Ravens (+1) at Broncos

The Ravens are a tad underrated, and the Broncos are overrated with a hurting WR corps. The Ravens’ let-down spot was last week and now they are ready to roll.

Cody Brunner

Season record: 5-10

Mississippi (+14.5) at Alabama

Like everybody else, I'm not a fan of betting against Alabama. But this line feels a little high considering the makeup of the two teams this year and the history between the coaches.

Arkansas (+18.5) at Georgia

The Bulldogs have the most loaded roster in the country, but Arkansas proven its mettle on the ground and on defense several times this year. I think the Hogs keep it in a reasonable 10-14 point range. 

Army (-9) at Ball State

The Black Knights are going to chew clock and should score at will against one of the worst defenses in the nation. Ball State has allowed 33 points per game and scored 17 to this point in the season. That may end up being the final score in this one.

Cincinnati (-1.5) at Notre Dame

The Irish are great at home and everybody knows it, but the Bearcats will be the more talented team on the field with several future NFL draft picks. Cincy should eke one out here.

L.A. Chargers (-3) vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Based purely off yardage, the Raiders have the best offense in the NFL through three weeks. But they still feel a little flimsy, needing late breaks to beat the Ravens and the Dolphins at home. I'm riding with the Bolts.

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