Can you believe we're already halfway through the regular season? I say it all the time, but the season always seems to fly by but also crawl along at the same time. In any event, nine games are in the books for most clubs, the other half is on the horizon and we're less than 100 days to kickoff of Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. We have the best football in front of us, so let's put our best foot forward and try to make some cash along the way.
Week 9 was a bit of a mixed bag for us. On the one hand, we were profitable with an 8-6 ATS record for the slate, but I went just 2-3 with my locks of the week. I'll look to recalibrate that and get us back on track here in Week 10 starting with those handful of locks.2023 record
Locks of the Week ATS: 22-23
All NFL odds via SportsLine consensus odds.
Welcome back, Kyler Murray! The Cardinals have announced that they'll have their franchise quarterback under center on Sunday, marking the first time he's been on the field since suffering a torn ACL late last year. With Murray back in the fold, I expect Arizona's offense to be much more dynamic than it has been throughout the season. There's also an outside chance James Conner is in this game as the Cardinals are expected to open up his practice window this week as well, so we could be looking at two high-impact players being injected into this offense. While the Cardinals appear to be on the upswing, the Falcons continue to be one of the more frustrating teams in the league. Despite their talent, Arthur Smith seems to go out of his way not to utilize his top-tier skill-position players and it's resulted in two straight losses. Nothing suggests that'll change this week, so I like Arizona as a slim home dog to welcome back Murray with a victory. Also, Atlanta is 0-7 ATS in nondivisional games this season.
Projected score: Cardinals 24, Falcons 21
The pick: Cardinals +1
The Lions were on the bye in Week 9 and now travel to L.A. to face a Chargers team that is playing on a short week after going against the Jets on Monday night. That's quite the rest advantage for Detroit. While L.A. was able to get the win last week, the offense is still a bit clunky at times and could face similar problems against the Lions unit that is extremely stout on third down. On the critical down, Dan Campbell's team is allowing opposing clubs to move the chains just 32.6% of the time (second-best in the NFL). The Lions are also pressuring quarterbacks at the fourth-best rate in the league so far this season and should be able to give Justin Herbert fits. Meanwhile, Jared Goff shouldn't have too tough of sledding against a Chargers defense that is ranked the worst in the league, giving up 286 yards per game through the air. Everything is pointing to the Lions.
Projected score: Lions 27, Chargers 23
The pick: Lions -1.5
I love the spot for the Steelers. They're coming off a solid win over the Titans on Thursday and now have the rest advantage over a Packers club that has to travel into one of the toughest environments in the NFL with a quarterback in Jordan Love who has been inconsistent this year. So far this season, Green Bay has been plagued by slow starts, being outscored 91-36 in the first half which is the third-worst first-half scoring differential in the league. If that trend continues here, Pittsburgh's defense is going to slam the door shut on any comeback hopes. That type of game script would force Love to drop back and throw, which is where T.J. Watt (9.5 sacks this season) and Alex Highsmith (10 pressures in Week 9) should feast.
Projected score: Steelers 24, Packers 20
The pick: Steelers -3
Both of these teams are coming off of blowout wins, but I think the Ravens are simply on a different level. They were my preseason pick to come out of the AFC and they've made me look pretty smart through nine weeks. While much can be said about Lamar Jackson as a potential MVP candidate and their ability to gash teams on the ground, Baltimore's defense has been sensational. The unit is No. 1 in the NFL in points allowed (13.8) and yards per play allowed (4.1). Jackson did beat up on this Cleveland defense back in Week 4 and has routinely been a great bet against his division rival. The Ravens QB is 6-1 SU and ATS in his last seven games against the Browns. Cleveland is also 1-5 ATS in its last six road divisional games.
Projected score: Ravens 27, Browns 17
The pick: Ravens -6
You might be surprised to see the Bills up here. After all, they've been extremely untrustworthy so far this season, but I think this is a kitchen-sink game for them on Monday night. With the loss last week to Cincinnati, the Bills are currently on the outside looking in on the playoffs and needs to start stacking up wins before they hit the tough stretch of their schedule in a couple of weeks. With that in mind, this is an all-hands-on-deck sort of moment for Sean McDermott's team, which has performed well at home. In Buffalo, the Bills are 4-0 SU and averaging 31 points per game. They looked well on their way to a home cover a couple of weeks ago against Tampa Bay, but took their foot off the gas and let the Bucs sneak through the back door. I think they learn from that miscue and pile up on a Denver team that has been up and down