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: 4-6

Georgia at Vanderbilt (+35.5)

Let’s try this again with the Bulldogs. I think Georgia easily wins against Vanderbilt, but just like a week ago against South Carolina, this is a lot of points to give. I’m going with a late backdoor cover.

Clemson at NC State (Under 47.5)

Clemson is the only team in college football to not give up an offensive touchdown through the first three weeks of the season. Couple that with the Tigers’ own offensive struggles and I think this game goes under relatively easily.

Arkansas State (+14) at Tulsa

Tulsa is a weird team. It lost to UC Davis before putting up a fight against both Oklahoma State and Ohio State. Arkansas State’s abbreviation is not OSU and I think the Red Wolves are getting too many points after losing to a Washington team that took out a lot of frustration in Week 3.

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions (Under 50)

Baltimore is going to hit the under at some point this season and I think it’s Week 3. Both Ravens games have gone over so far while the Lions were a late TD away against the Packers from two overs to start the season. A 27-17 Baltimore win feels right.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-4)

I feel like the Cowboys are going to be playing close and wacky games all season long but this shouldn’t be one of them. The Eagles didn’t inspire much confidence after the game started turning against them against the 49ers in Week 2.

Frank Schwab

Season record: 5-5

Giants (-2.5) over Falcons

I can't figure out why the Falcons are getting any love. They've looked terrible. The Giants did play well at times last week, but mistakes cost them a win at Washington. The Falcons shouldn't be trusted.

Patriots (-2.5) over Saints

It's possible the Saints just had an off day last week. Missing several assistant coaches due to COVID-19 protocols didn't help. But I think if you can pressure Jameis Winston, bad things happen. I think Bill Belichick will know what to do.

Washington (+7) over Buffalo

It's hard to be lukewarm about a 35-0 win, but I didn't feel we saw the Bills' best game. Maybe they hit that level this week, but I'm hoping Washington's defense keeps them in the game. A few extra days of rest helps too.

Chargers (+7) over Chiefs

Is this the week the Chiefs finally blow someone out? Maybe, but it has been a while since we've seen that. The Chargers are a talented team. This will be close, like almost every Chiefs game since the middle of last season.

Eagles (+4) over Cowboys

Dallas got a big win last week but it was close. I figure Philly can at least cover and can't rule out a straight-up win. Don't forget the Cowboys still have injury issues. And they usually don't do great as favorites.

Sam Cooper

Season record: 6-4

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin (Under 46.5)

Wisconsin is going to play its usual ball-control, run-based offense and I’m not sure how well Notre Dame will be able to block in this game. I don’t like Wisconsin enough to take the spread, but an under feels right.

SMU (+9.5) at TCU

I think SMU has the offensive firepower to keep up with TCU, a team that has been terrible as a home favorite. The Horned Frogs are 9-20-1 ATS in their last 30 as a home favorite.

Cal at Washington (Over 46)

Washington’s offense is starting to play better. Cal’s defense is not very good, but it has been able to hit explosive plays on offense so far this season. It’s a bit counterintuitive relative to the recent history of these programs, but the number here is too low.

Saints at Patriots (-2.5)

That Week 1 result in Green Bay for the Saints is going to be looked back on as one of the most bizarre outcomes of the season. I trust a Bill Belichick-coached team to handle Jameis Winston and the Saints offense.

Packers (+3.5) at 49ers

With so many banged up running backs and Jimmy G at QB, is Kyle Shanahan really going to keep calling this many screen passes? I’m a little leery about Green Bay’s defense, but I’ll take the points.

Greg Brainos

Season record: 2-8

Colts at Titans (Under 47.5)

Bretty Hundley and Jacob Eason may be platooning at QB on Sunday. I guess this is Indy’s version of “two fives equals a ten.” Expect the Colts to try and drag this contest out on the ground and rely on their defense to keep them in the game.

Bucs at Rams (Over 55.5)

Can we just skip to the NFC championship and have these two play a best-of-seven series? Two elite offenses that play up tempo is a good recipe for an over.

Bengals at Steelers (Under 44)

Cincinnati ignoring its offensive line problems and drafting a skill player at No. 5 and then committing to the run is so funny to me. This is the “Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man” game.

Falcons at Giants (-2.5)

The Giants are coming off a long week that must feel like a month to jumpy defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. He’ll be in a better mood after his teammates Saquon Barkley and Danny Dimes have their way with the Atlanta defense.

Los Angeles Chargers (+7) at Kansas City Chiefs

The Chargers have always played the Chiefs tough in Kansas City and this is a better LA team than previous iterations. I’m putting my faith, trust, hope, and whatever other intangibles I can scrounge up in Justin Herbert.

Pete Truszkowski

Season record: 2-8

Kent St (+14.5) at Maryland

Maryland might be looking ahead to its big game against Iowa next weekend. I think Kent State can keep this close.

West Virginia at Oklahoma (-17)

The line looked big when it opened and it keeps getting bigger. When it makes no sense, the dog might have fleas.

Clemson at NC State (Under 47.5)

Clemson’s defense is elite. Its offense has been problematic.

Tampa Bay at LA Rams (Over 55.5)

Two tremendous offenses, and two defenses that might be a little overrated based on perception from last season.

Miami Dolphins (+4) at Las Vegas Raiders

The look ahead line saw this spread at 1. Not convinced Tua to Brissett is worth a 3-point downgrade.

Joe Garza

Season record: 4-6

Cardinals (-7.5) at Jaguars

I bought this at a better number a week ago, but I will continue to fade the Jags until they are double-digit dogs. The Jags are so bad you’d think Tyler Perry was directing them.

Bengals at Steelers (Under 44)

If cancel culture were really a thing this game would be on the chopping block.

Buccaneers at Rams (+1)

I am the only moron in America routinely fading Tom Brady.

Dolphins (+4) at Raiders

This is the game that reminds you that Jon Gruden is a legit donkey.

Colts at Titans (-5.5)

I’m hoping Carson Wentz plays because the only thing better than fading a bad player is fading a bad player with two bad ankles.

Cody Brunner

Season record: 3-7

Notre Dame-Wisconsin Under 45

With these two offenses, this game has 17-13 written all over it.

Rutgers (-20) at Michigan

I'm not convinced either of these teams are any good this season, but this bet is on Greg Schiano loading up the box to slow Michigan's No. 1 rushing offense and keep it close.

Arkansas (+4.5) vs. Texas A&M

Nothing I've seen out of Zach Calzada has impressed me. I'm banking on the Hogs grinding out a close win at AT&T Stadium.

Nebraska at Michigan State (-4)

Sparty has a legit running back in Kenneth Walker and Payton Thorne has proven more than capable at QB through three games. Scott Frost will probably try to run Adrian Martinez 50 times just to stay in the game, but I like the Spartans.

Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders (-4)

I'm fading a couple of my coworkers here, but the Dolphins looked all the way bad last week. 

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