Humility is not my strong suit, so when I start 5-0 in a best bets column, people are going to hear about it.
I could not do this alone, of course. I’d like to thank my wife and my editor for always believing in me. I must also thank Los Angeles Rams Coach Sean McVay for having Brett Maher kick a game-ending, 38-yard field goal, despite trailing the San Francisco 49ers by 10 points with four seconds left. That decision meant the Rams covered the point spread — and made my pick a winner. The Arizona Cardinals played like heck against the New York Giants and almost won outright, showing they might not be tanking after all. Arizona, I always believed in you. And a special shout out to Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence for completing 22 of 41 passes for 216 yards in a loss to the Chiefs, leaving him way under his prop total of 251.5 passing yards and giving me another perfect week.
Betting on a quarterback going under his passing yards prop isn’t rocket science; it’s the new normal. Offensive philosophies prioritize short, precise passes, and the average air yards per attempt has been on the decline for the past four seasons. Defenses have adapted by focusing on the pass rush and coverage, pressuring quarterbacks to release the ball even earlier, thereby encouraging even shorter passes and the highest overall pressure rate since 2017. Meanwhile, personnel groupings featuring multiple wide receivers and a single running back have become more prevalent, again encouraging quicker passes to exploit favorable matchups in open space. The net result: If current numbers hold, NFL teams would average the lowest passing yards per game since 2008.
Picks were made against the consensus point spreads as of Wednesday morning; odds that have since changed have been updated in bold type, but picks are locked in at the earlier odds. Be on the lookout for a player prop (or two) later this week when those lines are released. Generally speaking, the public takes overs early in the week, while professional bettors wait until closer to game time to bet an under.