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We still gotta give Rodgers and Green Bay the edge in the quarterback match-up, but San Francisco owns the much better defense. The 49ers stop unit ranks No. 2 in the League, holding foes to just 253 yards per game, while the Packers D ranks 28th, giving up 385 YPG. That's 30 YPG worse than last year, and Green Bay's defense stunk last year! We're siding with San Francisco here.
Seattle's playing the better ball as of late and owns the edge in the quarterback match-up. The Seahawks are also coming off their bye week, and we're guessing they're using the extra practice time to work on ways of getting newcomer Josh Gordon the ball. Meanwhile, missing some key pieces on offense, Philadelphia is only averaging 19 points per game its last five times out. We like Seattle here, for the win.
Even if you don't take recent history too much to heart, Indy in this spot getting points might be the superior overall betting value. I think Houston's defense having depreciated will cost them here, as will the state of their substandard O-line. Whether it's the understated balance Indy has on defense or how well their aerial attack thrives against the Houston secondary, there are specific matchup quirks within this pairing that point to Indy getting points being a sound move. I'll take the Colts.
Granted, the Chargers seem to be at their most dangerous when you're expecting them to fall on their faces. With this being in the high-altitude setting of Mexico City, it just adds another layer of funkiness to the equation. And there could be some big offensive production against a Chiefs' defense that has shown itself not to be ready for primetime. I suspect, however, that we will see a Chiefs' offense starting to resemble the terror of not too long ago—to enough of an extent where the Chiefs get out of Estadio Azteca with the win and cover.
This game stands a good chance of becoming a grinder. New England's offense is really only average at the moment, while Philly's offense is missing some key people. Meanwhile, these are two top-eight defenses. So 3.5 points could come in really handy. We're taking those points with the Eagles.
The part of this matchup that stands out most could be the Steelers’ defense. They have played a huge role in getting this thing turned around, which seemed so unlikely several weeks back. After scrapping and toiling so hard to right the ship, now is a weird time to relinquish their grip. The Steelers’ offensive output is a concern here, but I see some big plays manifesting on the other side of the ball, as the Steelers emerge from FirstEnergy Stadium with the big cover.
This isn't about the 49ers not being tested or being overrated. It's not about the Seahawks having a tougher road to this spot or that they've overcome more. There might be some matchup components on both sides of the ball that could shake out well for Seattle. I see this as being a competitive game where picking a winner isn't very easy. In cases like that, I'm inclined to take the points. I'll take the Seahawks.
Detroit is better than its record indicates. The Lions "coulda/shoulda" won three games they lost this season, and they came a yard away from forcing overtime last week. If they can just keep their heads, they can play their way back into playoff contention. Chicago, on the other hand, is a mess. The defense is still solid, but if you can't move the ball until the other team goes into prevent mode, what good is that? We like Detroit here, for the win.
These two teams are very evenly matched, and this game could easily come down to a late field goal, one way or the other. And in cases like this, we like the dog and the extra field goal. Also, we expect a bounce-back performance after the loss last week by Minnesota, while Dallas is playing on a short week, after winning Monday night. We're taking the Vikings and the points here.
I think this one comes down to dependability and expectations. Betting on the Chargers the last two weeks is the best time to play them—when expectations are low, and they are in a position to overperform, preferably against favored opposition. Some of that might apply here, but the Raiders are at home and typically get more out of what they have. I see this as being a spot for a potential Chargers’ letdown. I’m taking the Silver and Black.
The prospects of facing a rested Dallas team that appeared to shake off its funk with a 27-point win over Philly might elicit some fear from a potential Giants backer. And it should. I think that while the Giants fall short of a winning team at this point, things have maybe started to turn in the right direction for them. And until we see different, they will be a team that can spring a surprise here and there, while being resilient enough in spots like this to cover some spreads. With the Giants' defense making more plays, being at home, and playing a little more-stout overall, I see their offense doing enough to keep pace with the Cowboys on MNF.
Despite last week's outcome, the Chargers are more apt to find a way to lose a game this season, while the Packers are finding ways to win games. Somewhere along the line, we expect Rodgers to come through with a big play or two, while Rivers seems prone to making mistakes. Also, Green Bay ranks third in the League with a +7 turnover ratio this season, while San Diego ranks 23rd at -3, and the Packers rank fifth in a time of possession at 31:55 while the Chargers rank 19th at 29:19. We're backing the Pack here for our free NFL pick.
We don't expect Mahomes to play Sunday, and while Moore wasn't bad last week, it's just not the same. Meanwhile, Minnesota owns the better running game and the better run defense. We're going with the Vikings here for our free NFL pick.
Philadelphia seems rejuvenated after last week's win in Buffalo, while Chicago must be down after last week's excruciating loss. But the NFL can be a strange place and attempts to psychoanalyze teams often prove futile. Ultimately we view these two teams as very equal, neither great nor bad, and very susceptible to the weekly ups-and-downs most NFL teams experience. That's why we're betting the Bears here, plus the points.
The 49ers haven’t beaten the Cardinals since 2014, so sure that may give them the motivation needed to cover this spread. That said, they are coming off a complete massacre of the Panthers, have a short week to come down to earth, and have an important foe in Seattle on deck. The total is the way to play this game. San Francisco ranks second in the league in scoring defense, allowing 11 points per game and first in total yards allowed per game (224.4). The 49ers are all about running the ball, and while Tevin Coleman looked fantastic in place of M. Breida, it was one game. The Cards' most glaring weakness on defense is in the secondary, and that is not something that SF hasn't proven that they can exploit. Arizona scored nine points last week against the Saints; the third time this season that they have scored 17 or fewer points. My numbers have the Niners scoring 20 to 23 points and the Cards 10 to 14.
I don’t question that Miami is showing more life or that this isn’t a spot where they can thrive against a Steelers’ team that is compromised. Plus, this Steelers team, as large favorites, leaves something to be desired. There just seem to be some matchup areas where it’s going to be hard for Miami to negotiate. Against a Steelers’ defense that has gotten its act together the last few weeks, I see their stiffness and big-play ability being enough to turn this one in their favor. I see the Steelers seizing on some mistakes and getting out of this one with the win and the cover.