That creaking sound you hear is Iron Mike whistling contentedly after emerging from a challenging NFL week nine virtually intact, as we hit all three tips last week, and a fourth winner if you followed my strong suggestion for taking the first half under (20.5) for the Eagles/Bears: given the Bears managed nine whole yards of offense in that half, it was a super easy cover. The Eagles tried to allow the Bears back into the game in the second half, but Mitch Trubisky had ideas about that, and they wound up covering the 4.5 spread easily.
'Easily' wasn't the word I'd use for Tampa at Seattle; in fact that was a good beat for me and a bad beat if you're one of those who considers it sharp to always bet against my picks. In case you weren't involved, Seahawks' kicker Jason Meyers missed a 40 yard field goal as time expired; that would have won the game by three and the Bucs would have covered. But it went to overtime, Seattle scored a TD, won by six, and made me look smart. I also said I was considering the under of 52.5 in this one, which they covered easily. This will happen when Jameis Winston isn't throwing picks (though he did fumble twice).
Finally, I was extremely pleased to suggest the moneyline, at 11/10 for the Chiefs against the Vikes. They won with a field goal as time expired, so the 3 point spread would have been a push, and if you took the Ravens on the moneyline at 13/8 you would have had a pretty profitable five out of six from this column. The bad news is, this week is looking even less sure than last, but ain't that always the way?
Back the Pack to outwit Panthers
Best Bet: Green Bay -5.5 at 10/11 v Carolina
Yes, the Packers got wrecked by the Chargers last week, but I think that back in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field they ought to put themselves together. There is a worry that Christian McCaffrey will be able to do what the Chargers' three tailbacks did to the Pack: combine for 24 carries and 157 yards, with eight catches for 59 more. But I am not sure the Panthers' D, good as it is, will be able to harry Aaron Rodgers with pass rush as the Chargers managed. This is a fascinating chess match of a game, as ever depending on Rodgers making a few big plays, or at least more of them than McCaffrey. I am also thinking about the first half under again, 23.5 at 17/20.
Buffalo D can hold out against Browns
Value Bet: Buffalo +2.5 at evs at Cleveland
How often does a 6-2 team get points against a team with their palindromic matching record (2-6, in other words). Yes they are on the road, and yes Josh Allen is an incompletion machine, but this duel of 2018 draft QBs may rely more on who has the better defense, and Buffalo's is likely to keep the Browns, and Nick Chubb, under control. It is Chubb, not Baker Mayfield, who is the key to this Browns' offense. I hesitate to take the Bills outright because Cleveland is due to put a few things together at some point, and if they can get a couple of scores with individual brilliance the Bills are not designed to play come from behind. If they don't, the under of 40.5 at 10/11 might attract you.
Giants can edge Big Apple battle
Outside Bet: New York Giants -2.5 at 10/11 at New York Jets
Sure the Giants have only two wins, but that's twice as many as the Jets have, and though this is a home game for the Jets, it's played in Giants Stadium, only the NFL doesn't call it Giants Stadium when it's a Jets game. Confused? Think of how the pass interference rule makes them feel! The Giants may have seen enough in the way the Dolphins played the Jets to keep them under control, while the Jets will be hoping LeVeon Bell can do to the G Men what Zeke Elliott did on Monday night. Yes, the Giants are playing off the short week, and yes they have a rookie QB, but I think the stars are aligned for a big game from Saquon Barkley.
If you'd like another outsider, how about going over 51 at 10/11 with Atlanta at New Orleans. I'd jump on this one in Atlanta, and Matt Ryan is back, but in New Orleans against a good Saints D, I am not convinced the Falcons will be able to play their part to help the score over the half-century.