NFL FOOTBALL PICKS ATS - FREE WEEKLY EXPERT PREDICTIONS
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This is not a pick made without trepidation. A Baltimore backer should be rightfully concerned about Derrick Henry and the overall Titans' mojo, with a particular indefinable ability they possess to play over their heads. It just seems like their scope for real success is so narrow, whereas any version of a near-peak Ravens team could make this one ugly. In wagering, there often is little upside in buying into the hype. But sometimes a team comes along that makes it the right move. This week at least, I don't think being a Baltimore naysayer will pay off. I'm taking the Ravens.
The Vikings caught the Saints on an off-day last week; they're probably going to run into a fresh and fired-up 49ers outfit this week. And home teams own a pretty good recent track record in the divisional rounds of the NFL playoffs. Finally, we put a lot of betting credence in time of possession, and San Francisco gets the check-mark in that department. We're giving the points here with the 49ers.
New Orleans is just the better and more complete team here. The Saints own a solid advantage in the QB comparison and posted the better marks against common foes. Also, we put a lot of betting credence in time of possession. So despite home teams' recent struggles in wild-card games, we like New Orleans here, minus the points.
This is dangerous territory for the Pats, as no team goes on winning forever. And when it ends, it's always an upset in a spot where you didn't expect it to happen. With their passion and different assets, the Titans aren't an altogether bad candidate. I just see this game as being important to New England, as they will be eager to remind people they're still a significant threat in this setting. Their pass-defense will make some big plays, while not allowing Henry to run wild. And against this Tennessee "D," I see them getting some late separation for the win and cover in Foxborough.
Having points in a game where scoring might not be rampant is a good feeling. And while it may be true that neither team is going to go far in this postseason, the Bills appear to be the better team. They at least have one thing they do really well, which makes them more-bankable in this realm. With six wins away from home this season, the Bills have shown they can do what they do well on the road. I see them covering the spread this week in Houston.
San Francisco's recent form on defense suggests that maybe a home Seattle offense can make it work. They did last time, and it all wasn't Chris Carson making it happen. I sense that the setting and urgency will usurp any side-issues, with a well-contested game ensuing. Seattle’s recent defensive form notwithstanding, the home environment and urgency should give way to better form. It's a tough game to pick from a straight-up standpoint, and while the general optimism this week on San Francisco is understandable, I'm inclined to take the points on the home dog in this one.
The urge is to bet Tennessee. But the book knows that. So there is no real debate where the value lies. In a one-game window, it might not mean a whole lot. After all, Houston could have a semi phone-in here, and then the Titans could make all Houston backers look silly. The component of urgency is an angle that tends to be overplayed in week 17 games, and I see a close match where Tennessee might struggle to win, much less cover a number on the road. I'll go with Houston and take the points.
Seeing Dalvin Cook leave with a shoulder injury on Sunday might be cause for concern, but he is listed as probable. I still see their pep on offense being a determining factor in this game, and we might see a Green Bay defense that doesn't look as crisp as it has the last few weeks. After watching Green Bay give up over 300 to Mitch Trubisky previous week, I look for a big game from Cousins, as they cross the finish line a nose ahead on MNF. I'm taking the Vikes.
Dallas is supposedly the better team here, but can they be trusted? Color us dubious. And after last week's great effort against the Rams, the Cowboys are probably candidates for a letdown. Also, Prescott is banged up. Finally, after getting clobbered by Dallas earlier this season, Philly should be looking for payback. We're going with Eagles here.
Buffalo owns the better running game in this match-up, and it's getting the better quarterback play as of late. Also, the meeting between these teams earlier this season came out 16-10 and there's no reason to believe this one won't play out along similar lines. We're betting the Bills here, plus the points.
You never quite know what you're getting with the Rams this season, and while there are some good excuses for the SF cooldown, something also seems a bit amiss. But to not get a win in this two-game homestand would be disastrous for the 49ers' morale, precisely at the worst time in the season for that. I see a full 60-minute effort from the Niners this week, as they pull away for the win and cover on Saturday night.
After watching Jameis Winston put up 456 yards against this Indy bunch on Sunday, I'm not sure how a second road game in a row against another vital aerial attack is supposed to help their predicament. With what they have now, they are at a major firepower deficit to the Saints. The best guys on the Colts offense would struggle to get playing time if they were playing on the New Orleans offense. Granted, the Colts did put up 35 last week, and the Saints defense is vulnerable. But I see better play on "D" along with enough fireworks from Brees and Company being enough to get the Saints over the hump for the cover on Monday. I’m taking New Orleans.
Buffalo owns the better running game, along with the check-mark in the quarterback comparison and a slight edge in the comparison of the defenses. Plus, we expect a bounce-back effort out of the Bills, after taking a tough loss against a tough opponent last week. We're betting Buffalo here.
Green Bay owns the edge on offense but not as much as of late. In fact, the Packers have been held under 200 total yards twice in their last five games and managed just 213 against Chicago earlier this season. Meanwhile, the Bears own a significant edge on defense, and their offense is better recently. Also, these teams have played a bunch of close games over recent seasons. We're betting Chicago here, and won't be surprised if the Bears pull the outright upset.
Again, when going against Baltimore, one can’t help but bristle a little bit. I just sense this is a spot where the combination of the Baltimore hype-train running amok and the Jets’ recent spurt being overlooked combine to make for a decent value spot. The one major drawback is the Jets’ offense and their prospects to thrive against this home Baltimore defense. But I see them doing just enough, with their defense playing well enough to allow them to nick the cover in Baltimore this week.
After last week, it isn’t easy to endorse the Eagles. I just like Carson Wentz at home a lot better and see this offense taking it to a Giants defense that seems to be waning. Guys like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, along with a playmaking secondary, could feast on the Giants' weak front, in addition to a mistake-prone Jones. I see Wentz being in a decent position here to take advantage of an aerial crew that has another week under their belt against a Giants' secondary that could suffer in this spot. Only so much is certain with this underachieving Eagles' team, but I prefer them in this spot.
Last January's AFC championship game played into overtime, and there's no reason to believe this game won't come down to one late score, too. Also, while revenge is not a reliable handicapping factor, it might play a part here. We're taking Kansas City and the points.
San Francisco owns the better running game and the better overall defense, but New Orleans holds the edge in the quarterback comparison and the better run defense. Plus, the Niners are playing on the road at a tough venue for the second straight week while the Saints are working on a few extra days off. We like New Orleans here giving the points.
Things can change on a dime in this league—often without warning or a whole lot of sense being behind it. Chicago is enough of a flawed entity in its own right that nothing with them is terribly bankable, either. But with Dallas, something is broken. It’s not working. It seems odd to say that about a team leading its division when it’s about to play a team that can only dream of getting in the playoffs this season. I think the Bears are closer to being the best version they can be than what is the case with the Cowboys. I'm taking Chicago.
I see some of the inadequacies of the Seattle defense coming to light this week. Between Dalvin Cook and the vital Minnesota aerial game, I see Seattle’s playmaking ability on “D” being overshadowed by their overall lack of stoutness. That’s hard to say coming off a road-game where they allowed nine points. There’s a chance they’re heading in the right direction. I just don’t see it being enough, as a Seattle team that has overachieved runs into a few harsh realities this week against the Vikings.