Welcome back to The Degenerates Gambit! Once again, please remember that these articles are for fun, and while I love writing them and gambling on football, if you or someone you know is addicted and needs help, please get help or get help for them. The national helpline number is 1-800-522-4700.
So much for those under picks last week, eh? Watching Cleveland/Baltimore and then Pittsburgh/Green Bay put up points in the first half to a level previously unheard of was a bummer, to say the least. I typed and then deleted the phrase “it was a weird week” because let’s face the facts, folks: every week is a weird week in the NFL, and it’s lazy-ass sports journalism to have that as your lede. It’s literally the equivalent of a high schooler’s essay starting with “In this paper I will talk about…” I mean sheesh we’re getting paid for this, put some effort into it!
For the record, I don’t take a salary for these articles, because I spent a lot of time on Grindset Influencer TikTok and I want to HUSTLE for my money. Betting on sports lines is passive income, you see. That said, let’s hurry and get to the picks, I have to go collect rent on all of the many properties I own.
Arizona Cardinals +6 (-110)
It was the return of Kyler, and he looked pretty good! I think Atlanta is an underrated defense, and the Cardinals ended up pulling away with a W that by all pre-game metrics was an upset. Arizona couldn’t stop the run and went against a great running offense, Kyler was playing his first meaningful snaps in almost a year, and yet they took a team that was one game away from the lead in their division and broke their hearts. I love CJ Stroud, I really do (he was in my opinion the best pocket passing prospect in this draft), but Houston has punched above their weight all season. This game is going to be a barn burner, and I’m not confident in an Arizona win outright, but I think a six-point cover is totally reasonable.
Pittsburgh Steelers Moneyline (+104)
Speaking of QBs I loved in the draft process, Dorian Thompson-Robinson makes his second start, and the universe not only gifted him Baltimore in his first but Pittsburgh in his second. The Steelers are about to back their way into another playoff spot and I hate it, but winning at Minesweeper isn’t entirely about skill, and over the course of 17 games, neither is the NFL. Everyone is talented, and everyone is good at what they do, but sometimes the fates just bend in one direction. The line in this one is incredibly low at 32.5 at the time of this writing, and hey, I’m from the Midwest: when we see a team with black and yellow jerseys playing in a game with a combined point total under 35, we bet on the Iowa Hawkeyes Pittsburgh Steelers to win outright.
Chicago Bears/Detroit Lions Under 47.5 (-105)
Bears fan here, checking in to remind you of a couple of things: Justin Fields is back, and Matt Eberflus’ defense has quietly come on strong over the past 6 weeks. The turnovers haven’t been there, but from a yardage and points standpoint, the defense is shaping up to be back toward league average, which is unfathomable when you consider how they looked to start the season. I don’t think the Bears can keep up with the Lions, yet I also don’t think this game is the track meet we saw twice last season. The Lions are winning games on the ground, and for a team to try to pull off an upset, ball control will be paramount for the Bears as well. Take the under and let’s all appreciate the time we get to spend with Fields before Chicago’s management trades him to Atlanta or whatever for a 2nd so they can ruin another excellent QB prospect in the draft.
Long Shot Play of the Week: Minnesota Vikings Moneyline (+118)
Is anyone else kinda excited for the Sunday Night game this week? Minnesota and Denver both somehow still have playoff aspirations, and when teams are desperate they pull out all the stops. Any running back is going to do well against Denver, and Russ has quietly been cooking this year if you don’t watch any games and just look at the numbers. Similarly to the Bears defense that I mentioned, the Vikings defense is starting to be a much tougher matchup as the season progresses. Brian Flores has been a wizard back there this season, leading the league in both 3 man and 5-man rush packages. Drop 8 can be tough against a mobile QB, but Russ doesn’t have the juice to beat the spy like he used to. Josh Dobbs has taken this team and put them on his back, and Justin Jefferson may be back. Even if he isn’t, this should be a Vikings win.
Last Week: 2-2
Season Total: 23-17 (3-7 on Long Shot Plays)
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