We’re officially past Week 9 of the 2018 NFL season. And what a weekend we just witnessed in the NFL. The thriller in New Orleans with the Rams and Saints may have been the most entertaining game of the season. Jared Goff and Drew Brees combined to make an absolute joke of the 57 point total to the tune of 80 POINTS – in a 45-35 New Orleans win over Los Angeles.
The Patrick Mahomes train rolled into Cleveland and did some heavy damage to the Browns – and to the bookmakers in Vegas. On Sunday night Tom Brady got the best of Aaron Rodgers in a 31-17 win for the Patriots over the Packers in Foxborough.
On the college side, Alabama destroyed LSU in Death Valley on Saturday night 29-0 officially locking up the SEC West and likely also a spot in the NCAA Playoff. Another team on track for the playoff – Clemson – won a laugher over Louisville 77-16. Notre Dame held on thanks to Ian Book’s sweep to the end zone to win by a convenient 10 points in the Irish win over Northwestern. Couldn’t have just settled for a field goal, huh Ian?
Fortunately for all the tough losses we take, there’s another new week ahead and another solid slate of games to pique your interest.
As always keep in mind any picks the Roundtable gives are based on the weather forecast and current lines at the time of writing. Check out The Chalk and all of us on Twitter for more picks each day.
Sean’s Pick (@Sean_Trader) – Carolina Panthers (O/U 51) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) (Thur. 11/8 – 7:20pm CST)
The pick here is OVER 51. Ben Roethlisberger is historically way better at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh is ranked 22nd in defensive DVOA while the Panthers are in the middle of the pack at 17 – both suggest points will be easy to come by.
On the flip side, both teams are in the top 10 in with the Steelers checking in at 8th and the Panthers at 5th. The average total for NFL games this year is hovering right around 48 and the talent both these teams have makes me think beating that by more than a field goal shouldn’t be much of a struggle. This one does have some weather concerns so definitely make sure to keep an eye on conditions prior to kickoff.
Pick: OVER 51
Joe’s Pick (@abes34) – #9 LSU Tigers (-13.5) @ Arkansas Razorbacks (O/U 47) (Sat. 11/10 – 6:30pm CST)
I’m jumping on board with Sean and focusing on another over/under although this one on the college slate. 47 should have no problem being toppled on Saturday Night in Fayetteville with LSU’s offense seemingly coming out with some anger after being shut out at home by top-ranked Alabama.
Arkansas is giving up 34 points per game and although LSU has a highly regarded defense and the top secondary in the nation, they have to be gassed after getting dragged up and down the field by Bama QB Tua Tagovialoa. The Tigers and QB Joe Burrow should have no problem moving the ball up and down the field both on the ground and through the air against the Razorbacks.
Pick: OVER 47
Jeff’s Pick (@RealJeffKerr21) – Jacksonville Jaguars (O/U 47) @ Indianapolis Colts (-3) (Sun. 11/11 Noon CST)
Andrew Luck is having a fantastic season coming back from missing all of 2017 with a shoulder injury. RB Marlon Mack has given the Colts another threat for opposing defenses to deal with since his return from injury. The Colts have won back-to-back games and should add a third here.
Coming back stateside even with a bye afterward can still be a challenge for any team in the first game back after their annual trip to London and Jacksonville is not immune from that. The Jaguars, losers of four in a row have questions both with injuries to their backfield and ineffective play from QB Blake Bortles. Infighting on the defensive side of the ball combined with the trade of DE Dante Fowler has made things even more difficult on their talented but perhaps a tad overrated defense.
Pick: Indianapolis -3
Matt’s Pick (@schools_01) – #23 Fresno State Bulldogs (-3) @ Boise State Broncos (O/U 54) (Fri. 11/9 9:15pm CST)
Blue turf. Friday night. Home underdog. And the public backing Fresno State at a 79% clip according to The Action Network. The line was 2.5 points at the time of opening and the public has already pushed it out to a field goal. I absolutely love the Broncos is this one. On top of Boise State always being tough to beat at home, they have won their last four games – two of those on the road.
They are playing outstanding football as usual on the offensive side of the ball racking up over 465 yards per game. They can throw the ball with some of the best teams in the country on the back of senior QB Brett Rypien and his 24 TD’s so far this season. Fresno State is 8-1 ATS this season and I can’t see that trend continuing as the Bulldogs may be looking ahead to a vital matchup next week with San Diego State as they fight to lock up the Mountain West Conference’s West Division.
Pick: Boise State +3
The Chalk Roundtable Consensus Pick – New Orleans Saints (-5.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (O/U 54) (Sun. 11/11 Noon CST)
The New Orleans Saints may be the best team in the league right now. Their offense is cruising behind Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas. The Bengals are banged up with star WR A.J. Green already being ruled out. But something smells off in this one. The public betting numbers are favoring the Saints at a whopping 78% currently according to The Action Network and you know the bookmakers need a big win coming off last weeks debacle. The Saints are in the midst of a gauntlet in their schedule having faced the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins followed by a bye week before games against the Ravens and Vikings on the road.
Follow that up with last weeks thriller against the Rams and then let us remind you they also have the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles next week. A road game against a beat-up Bengals squad is a complete trap game for the Saints coming off an emotional win against another Super Bowl contender.
Bengals RB Giovani Bernard is trending to make his return to backup Joe Mixon in the run game and also contribute in the aerial attack to help spell the loss of Green. The Bengals are coming off a bye and are desperate for a win to maintain their spot in the AFC North hunt and a playoff birth. The Saints are primed to be picked off here this week. This game is great at its current 5 to 5.5-point spread for the underdog here but if the public keeps hammering the Saints that number could go up even further. If this game gets to six points it’s a must bet on the home underdog.
Pick: Cincinnati +5.5 (watch this number as it gets closer to kickoff)
Follow The Chalk Roundtable guys on Twitter for more picks: @Sean_Trader; @RealJeffKerr21; @abes34; and @schools_01