Football betting: Top five contest picks of the weekend

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With the rise in popularity of football betting contests, the Yahoo Sportsbook staff is offering its top football picks for this weekend’s slate. And much like those contests, these lines locked as of Thursday night, so they won’t reflect subsequent movement.

All lines from BetMGM.

Nick Bromberg

Season record: 32-18

Florida State at Boston College (-1.5)

Boston College is underrated and playing better on offense with QB Phil Jurkovec’s return.

Virginia (+14.5) at Pitt

I’m hoping that Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong is healthy enough to play in this one.

Nebraska at Wisconsin (-8.5)

Wisconsin is rolling right now and Nebraska isn’t. I’m stunned this line is under 10 given that it’s in Madison.

Indianapolis Colts (+7) at Buffalo Bills

This feels like a game the Colts could win outright, thanks to their defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

I feel the same about the Steelers. The Chargers’ performance has dipped lately as Mike Williams hasn’t been the terror on the outside that he was at the beginning of the season.

Frank Schwab

Season record: 23-26-1

Indianapolis Colts (+7) over Buffalo Bills

Even as someone who picked (and bet on) the Bills to win the Super Bowl, I’m left wondering why they’re getting overvalued in the market. It’s not like they’ve been great this season.

Chicago Bears (+5.5) over Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens haven’t been good against the spread this season. The Bears might not be good, period, but it’s a lot of points for a team that is seemingly making some strides.

Minnesota Vikings (+1.5) over Green Bay Packers

The Packers have covered every spread since Week 1, and the sportsbooks are betting you to take Green Bay with the spread at less than a field goal. The VIkings aren’t bad. They’re going to win.

Miami Dolphins (-3.5) over New York Jets

The less said about this game the better. And please don’t watch it. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make money betting against that horrible Jets defense.

Dallas Cowboys (+2.5) over Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs overreaction is back. One good game against the Raiders and we get a week of “The Chiefs are totally back!” talk. This line ignores that Dallas has been the much better team this season.

Sam Cooper

Season record: 23-26-1

Rutgers at Penn State (Under 47.5)

Penn State’s offense has been in a rut all year. Rutgers’ offense is just bad, but Greg Schiano’s team will be plenty motivated to go into Beaver Stadium and play a competitive, low-scoring game.

Washington at Colorado (+7)

Washington is having a really tough season. UW blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead last week and then its coach got fired the next day. Colorado has been playing better on offense and should be able to keep this within the number. The Buffs winning wouldn’t surprise me either.

UCLA (-3) at USC

UCLA has a really interesting and physical run game that will wear down USC over the course of four quarters. This game means something to the Bruins and it feels like USC is just trying to get through this season before hiring a new coach.

Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) at Chicago Bears

This feels like Vegas begging you to take the Bears. I like the Ravens to bounce back after last week’s TNF debacle and make things tough for Justin Fields and the Chicago offense.

New Orleans Saints (+2) at Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have been terrible at home the past two years, and the Saints have been great ATS as underdogs for years. The Eagles have been very reliant on their running game in recent weeks. The Saints have the best run defense in the NFL.

Pete Truszkowski

Season record: 18-31-1

Michigan State at Ohio State (Over 68)

Michigan State can’t rush the passer, which is bad news against the OSU offense.

East Carolina at Navy (+4)

ECU became bowl-eligible last week and has Cincy next week, so this is a sandwich spot. ECU also struggles stopping the run.

Florida at Missouri (Over 69)

Florida’s defense has quit, I believe. Missouri’s defense was never good.

UCLA (-3) at USC

One team cares, the other doesn’t. I also think the team that cares is better to begin with.

Wake Forest at Clemson (Under 56.5)

This line tells me Clemson is the right side, and DJ Uiagalelei ain’t winning a shootout. Clemson held Wake Forest to 13 points last season.

Greg Brainos

Season record: 20-30

Indianapolis Colts (+7) at Buffalo Bills

If you pitched me a conspiracy theory that claimed Jonathan Taylor absorbed Derrick Henry’s powers, I’d probably believe you.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (+2.5)

Kliff Kingsbury would be dumb to play Kyler Murray on a bad ankle one week before the bye.

Miami Dolphins (-3.5) at New York Jets

The Jets defense is equal to the ’85 Bears (current ages).

Washington Football Team at Carolina Panthers (-3)

Carolina has covered four of the five games Christian McCaffrey has played, Cam is an upgrade over Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker, this defense is still really good, and Washington had a lot of balls bounce its way last week.

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (Under 43.5)

Can I interest anyone in 70 combined rushes?

Joe Garza

Season record: 25-25

Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns (Under 43.5)

Baker is broke-down and the Lions are bonkers by believing in (Tim) Boyle.

Houston Texans (+10.5) at Tennessee Titans

The Texans stink, but the Titans’ offense smells just as bad.

San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5)

Oh please, 80% humidity, please do your thing against a team probably feeling a little too good about itself.

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (Under 43.5)

The Saints’ offensive injury report is the worst thing I’ve seen since Fergie singing the national anthem. #NeverForget

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+1.5)

Grabbed this earlier at +2.5, but nothing lasts forever — not the Pack’s ATS run or Aaron Rodgers’ dirty deception.

Cody Brunner

Season record: 20-28-2

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (-7)

Since laying an egg at home in Week 1, the Bills have won by an average of 22.4 points within the friendly confines of Highmark Stadium. If they don't let Jonathan Taylor get on track early, this shouldn't be a one-touchdown game.

Washington Football Team at Carolina Panthers (-3)

The Football Team deserves props for the upset over the Bucs last week, but that was a fluke. Gimme Cam and Christian all day against a defense that just lost its best player.

UCLA (-3) at USC

This Trojans team feels a bit checked out. The Bruins should grind out a win somewhere in the 7-13 point range.

SMU (+11.5) at Cincinnati

The Ponies have been competitive in every game they've played and can put up points in bunches. Their two losses were on the road and Cincy is definitely a level up competition-wise, but I think Tanner Mordecai and Co. keep this thing close.

Florida State at Boston College (-1.5)

I'm banking on Phil Jurkovec here. The Eagles are a different team when he's healthy. 

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