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Saturday Dec 18, 2021
Both these teams are playing some good ball as of late, but ultimately we believe the Indianapolis
running game, powered by former Wisconsin Badger Jonathan Taylor, will make the difference.
On the season, the Colts are out-rushing opponents by 40 yards per game while New England is
out-grounding foes by nine YPG. And in the NFL, teams that win the ground battles cover the
spread about 65 percent of the time. So we like Indy here.
Free Pick: 
Take Indianapolis
Thursday Dec 16, 2021

These two teams are nearly identical offensively, but we give Kansas City the check-mark on defense because of that unit's great recent play and the fact that the Chargers rank 31st in the league against the run. So we like the Chiefs here, giving the short spread at a place with very little home-field advantage.     

Free Pick: 
Take Kansas City -3
Monday Dec 13, 2021

Not that beating a longtime thorn in their sides won't provide Arizona ample motivation and set them up for the big late-season run. At home, this has to be huge for them. But as far as regular season turning-point games, this is clearly "the one" for the Rams, and I expect them to perform accordingly. And while taking such a position could be steeped in fallacy given their recent form, along with what might be a half-cocked view of the Cardinals not being in top-flight, I see the Rams being hard to stop this week. I'll take the Rams.

Free Pick: 
Take the LA Rams +2.5
Sunday Dec 12, 2021

Our pick on this game really comes down to one guy, Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon. Three games ago, Mixon got 30 touches, the Bengals scored 32 points, won, and covered; two games ago, he got 32 touches, Cincy scored 41 points, won, and covered. Last week, though, Cincinnati fell behind right away, then Mixon got hurt. He's listed as questionable for Sunday. However, our guess is he'll play. We'll check his status Sunday morning, but from three days out, we like the Bengals to bounce back here.   

Free Pick: 
Take the Benglas +1.5
Thursday Dec 09, 2021

Usually, we'd consider Pittsburgh a good candidate for a letdown here, coming off that emotional win last week, and Minnesota, a good candidate to bounce back, coming off that upset loss. But this Minnesota team will probably be without RB Cook and WR Thielen and probably shouldn't be favored by 3.5 points over anybody. The Steelers found a way to win last week while the Vikings found a way to lose, and that's kind of the story with these two teams over recent seasons. So for a game that could well come down to a field goal at the end, we'll take the three and a hook with Pittsburgh.    

Free Pick: 
Take Pittsburgh
Monday Dec 06, 2021
I don’t think the New England surge is a smoke and mirrors show or just a byproduct of drawing some cooperative opposition. But a road-spot against Buffalo represents what could be a much higher level of difficulty than the recent contexts in which the Pats have been shining. And the kind of overall understated competence that the Pats have could put a crimp in the Bills high-flying ways. But I think the combination of a home-spot, overall urgency, and some better offensive weaponry will see the Bills through in this spot. I’ll take Buffalo.</p>
Free Pick: 
Take the Bills
Sunday Dec 05, 2021
Kansas City is winning games recently because it’s held its last four opponents to a total of 47 points. Meanwhile, we consider Denver a good candidate for a letdown this week, following that big divisional win at home last week. So while the line on this game is probably inflated by a couple of points we still like the Chiefs.
Free Pick: 
Take Kansas City -9.5
Sunday Dec 05, 2021

It's not hard to picture either team suddenly shifting into pretty much any form. Russell Wilson getting on a roll is not off the table, nor is the possibility that this latest surge from San Francisco has come to the end of the line. Expecting things to play out on a predictable continuum almost seems too easy when breaking down this spot. Taking Seattle might not be as wacky as it seems to those who are really sold on the Niners this week. I still see San Francisco evening the slate with Seattle this week, getting the win and cover on Sunday.

Free Pick: 
Take San Francisco -3
Thursday Dec 02, 2021

Despite the recent poor play and casualty lists for both teams, Dallas is just the better team in this match-up. Also, it looks like New Orleans is down to its 3rd-string quarterback. Plus, we expect the Cowboys to recover from this 1-3 stretch to go on and win the NFC East while our prognosis for the Saints isn't nearly as encouraging. We'll take the Cowboys minus the points.  

Free Pick: 
Take Dallas -6 (Zank had this at -4.5)
Sunday Nov 28, 2021
It would be very understandable for one to defer to the 49ers' recent dependability in this spot over the Vikings' more explosive but far more-erratic winning formula. And for some reason, being 5-5 is more impressive for the Niners with all they've faced than it is for the Vikings, who have really underachieved until very recently. Still, with a Minnesota offense that seems to be clicking, I sense some of San Fran's shortcomings will come more to light this week, as the Vikings ride their superior weaponry to a cover at Levi's Stadium on Sunday. I'll take the Vikings.
Free Pick: 
Take Minnesota +3
Sunday Nov 28, 2021

Normally we'd consider Indianapolis a good candidate for a letdown in a spot like this, coming off a big divisional road win, but one big thing that helps fend off letdowns is a great running game and the Colts got one of those. Also, Indianapolis is 6-2 over its last eight games, and both losses came in overtime. Also, we just think Tampa is too reliant on the pass; Brady's throwing the ball 42 times a game! We like the Colts here to win outright on the money line.       

Free Pick: 
Take Indianapolis +140
Thursday Nov 25, 2021
Buffalo's the better team in this match-up, and we expect a bounce-back performance, following a really lousy performance last Sunday. Also, New Orleans is seriously banged-up. So we're betting the Bills, playing on the road, where spreads tend to be friendlier.
Free Pick: 
Take Buffalo -5.5
Monday Nov 22, 2021

I think the recent Bucs slide could be a little mental, with a lot of mistakes and turnovers helping things get a little ragged in the last few games. I'd expect that to get at least partially cleaned up, with some more pointed urgency being evident for this game. Tampa should be able to render the Giants a bit one-dimensional. And if looking to have an aerial slugfest, Tampa has a pronounced advantage. I see this manifesting on MNF with the Bucs cruising home with the win and cover. I'll take the Buccaneers.

Free Pick: 
Take Tampa Bay -11
Sunday Nov 21, 2021

We consider that Dallas loss to Denver a fluke. The Cowboys lead the NFL in total offense, and their defense is much improved over last season. Kansas City, meanwhile, is simply not the team it was the last couple of seasons. Also, Dallas is out-rushing opponents this season by 39 yards per game, while the Chiefs are getting out-rushed by four YPG. And teams that win the ground battles in the NFL cover the spread about 65 percent of the time. We like the Cowboys here to win this game outright.  

Free Pick: 
Take Dallas +2.5
Thursday Nov 18, 2021

New England is coming off a 38-point victory, while Atlanta just got beat by 40 points. But the NFL can be a strange place, where what's hot one week is not the next, and vice versa, and that's the vibe we get while researching this game. The Patriots took advantage of a short-handed Cleveland team last week while Atlanta got victimized by a Dallas team prime for a rebound. Now, it's the Falcons turn. Also, we never mind betting against the public flow. We're not calling for the outright upset here, but we do like Atlanta getting the points as a home dog. 

Free Pick: 
Take Atlanta +7
Monday Nov 15, 2021

It's a close call. Taking the points and the Niners is understandable. They're at home, the Rams are coming off by far their worst game on the season, and if that game was any indication, Jimmy Garoppolo can make this work even with a less-than-ideal cast. I'm more in the spirit of deferring to the Rams' urgency and how they'll be eager to get this back on the right track. They want to get back to the business of building toward something rather than spending this time of the season trying to get back on track. I'd suspect a lot of energy gets funneled into nipping whatever happened Sunday in the bud. I don't see this as being a trouble-free ascent, as the Rams will need to overcome something in this game. In the end, I see them getting the little bit of separation they need to get to the win and cover on the road.

Free Pick: 
Take the Rams -3.5