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Every Friday during the NFL season, theScore's betting writers release their best bets for the week. Each writer has been given an imaginary $1,000 bankroll to manage throughout the campaign. If you decide to follow any of the picks, please gamble responsibly.
Odds courtesy of theScore Bet.
Season record: 10-5, +$143
It initially made sense this total opened where it did. You’re dealing with two offenses that can make splash plays and defenses that have relapsed in recent weeks. But after digging deeper, I understood why my numbers came up well short of the opener of 53.5.
Both the Buccaneers and Cardinals have gotten into plenty of shootouts, but it seems as if they haven’t been planned. The two offenses are in the back half of the league in DVOA and it’s not as though the defenses are completely decrepit. Tampa Bay still leads the league in rush defense and can trap quarterback Kyler Murray and Arizona into a one-dimensional offense. The Cardinals' pass rush has a chance to dial up pressure on Jameis Winston, who's been terrible this season when he doesn't have a clean pocket.
This one might seem like a shootout on paper, but there are underlying stats that tell a completely different story.
Pick: Under 52 ($60)
Season record: 6-5-2, -$12
This feels like a good week to ride the Saints' offense. That's typically the case when a team faces the dumpster fire known as the Falcons' defense. Atlanta ranks 30 in points allowed, giving up an average of 31.3 per game. Teams have scored at least 27 points against the Falcons in six of eight games this season and three of the last four opponents have eclipsed 30.
The Saints are coming off a bye and the offense is starting to hit its stride, scoring 67 points in the last two games. With Alvin Kamara likely returning Sunday, the Saints will score at will against the Falcons' Swiss cheese defense. I'll take the over for the game and Saints team total here.
Picks: Over 51 ($75), Saints team total over 31.5 ($75)
Season record: 7-9-2, -$199
Everything about this game screams over: two high-volume passing attacks against below-average defenses with abysmal secondaries. Yes, please.
The Bucs have gone over in six straight games, and the Cardinals just put up 25 points on the vaunted 49ers defense in arguably Murray's best start yet. Yet, Arizona's coverage unit had one of its worst showings last week and now faces the two-headed monster of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
Don't be scared of the high total, either. This season, games with a total of at least 50 or higher are 10-6-2 to the over, including 3-0 when either of these two teams are involved. Bet on points in bunches with this game.
Pick: Over 52 ($75)
I'm a bit surprised the total isn't below 40 given the way these two teams have played offense as of late. Still, this number is telling you to bet low: when the total is 40.5 or lower, the under is a scorching 11-3 this year. Both defenses are good enough to trust the total here.
Pick: Under 40.5 ($75)
Season record: 8-10-1, -$234
Don't overreact to last month. Although these offenses have been putting up points at will, that was to be expected against a handful of struggling defenses. This week's showdown will represent the first real test for Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott since Week 4, when the Vikings and Cowboys combined for 16 points against the Bears and Saints.
These are the fourth- and fifth-ranked scoring defenses, and two of the most run-heavy offenses in the NFL. We get a really inflated line here as a result of their recent outbursts on offense, but points are going to be a lot harder to come by.
Pick: Under 48 ($60)
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. What about the fourth time? Does that make me bold or just plain stupid? I've bet against the Seahawks three times already this season and have yet to win one of those. I'm as stubborn as they come and remain as convinced as ever that this team isn't anywhere close to as good as their record indicates. They're giving up way too many yards on defense and the offense has feasted on weaker teams.
Throw everything the world wants you to know about Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson's record on prime time out the window. Seattle is about to be exposed in more ways than I care to count on Monday Night Football. The Seahawks will be on the road, against the league's best pass rush and secondary, No. 2 scoring defense and rushing attack, and the third-ranked scoring offense. Not even Wilson can save the Seahawks against the 49ers.
Pick: 49ers -6 ($60)