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: 20-10

Eastern Michigan (-3) at Bowling Green

Bowling Green’s win over Minnesota is one of the outliers of the season. The Falcons enter this game on a three-game losing streak and while Eastern Michigan is 1-2 in the MAC, those three games are against three of the conference’s best teams.

Northwestern at Michigan (Under 51)

Northwestern’s bad rushing defense and Michigan’s stellar rushing offense is a bad combination for the Wildcats. But all that running and the teams’ relatively slow tempos make it also feel a lot like a game that ends 30-7 instead of in the 50s.

USC at Notre Dame (Under 57.5)

USC hasn’t gotten the interim coach bounce it was looking for after firing Clay Helton, and Notre Dame’s strength has been its defense. The Irish’s win over Virginia Tech on Oct. 9 was the first time since Week 2 that a Notre Dame game had more than 54 total points.

Carolina Panthers (-3) at New York Giants

The Panthers’ pass rush should get after Daniel Jones, and I don’t have enough confidence in the Giants’ defense to keep this one close. Maybe Sam Darnold has a nice day in his first game back at MetLife Stadium.

Detroit Lions at LA Rams (Under 50.5)

The Lions have failed to score more than 17 points since racking up a bunch of garbage-time points in Week 1. There’s nothing that makes me think Detroit and Jared Goff will suddenly reverse that trend in Goff’s first game against the Rams.

Frank Schwab

Season record: 13-16-1

Carolina Panthers (-3) over NY Giants

I’ve been on the Panthers all seven weeks, and I’m not sure if there’s a support group to help me. Either way, I don’t like this Giants team and they’ll be getting a Panthers team with its back to the wall.

Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) over Miami Dolphins

I’ve done a 180 on this game since early in the week. The more I look at it, the more I don’t know how Miami beats a Falcons team that is rested and has played better lately.

LA Raiders (-3) over Philadelphia Eagles

The truth is, it’s a tough week in the NFL (and that’s the vast majority of my picks). Do I love the Raiders? Not really. But I do think they’re better than most people think and a field goal at home isn’t too much to give.

Chicago Bears (+12.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are some huge spreads this week, and the Bears are the best of the big underdogs. They’re not bad. The Bucs have been overvalued this season in the betting market.

Cincinnati Bengals (+6.5) over Baltimore Ravens

Little worried about fading the Ravens after last week. But the Bengals are capable, and it’s still a Ravens team that was feasting on close games through five weeks.

Sam Cooper

Season record: 16-14

Wisconsin at Purdue (+3.5)

Wisconsin has a good defense and this is a letdown spot for Purdue, but I still like the Boilermakers as the home dog. Purdue throws the ball more than any team in the Big Ten, and I like the matchup for David Bell vs. the Wisconsin corners.

Oklahoma State (+7) at Iowa State

Iowa State has been playing better lately but this is too many points. Oklahoma State has a really good defense, a consistent running game and is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games as a road underdog.

Oregon at UCLA (Under 60)

Oregon doesn’t have the personnel on offense to hit a bunch of explosive plays, but its defense should be able to slow down the UCLA running game to an extent.

LSU at Ole Miss (Under 76)

Ole Miss is dealing with a bunch of injuries on offense, and I think LSU’s rushing performance last week against Florida will be more of an outlier than a sign of things to come.

West Virginia at TCU (Over 56.5)

WVU has been a big disappointment this year but is coming off a bye and should be able to have some success against TCU. TCU’s offense has been quite good but the defense is one of the worst in the country.

Greg Brainos

Season record: 11-19

New York Jets at New England Patriots (-7)

Zach Wilson needs a bye year to fix what’s making him the lowest-rated quarterback in the league.

Bengals (+6.5) at Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati has a decent defense and the Ravens are susceptible to the deep ball, which Burrow has been throwing well. The Bengals will win, take the lead in the AFC North, and just as we’re wondering if we’re living in the matrix, the ad for the new “Matrix” film will pop up on our televisions.

Colts (+4) at San Francisco 49ers

What a disrespectful line. The Niners were league-average in pretty much every area when Kittle was playing and now he’s on injured reserve. That’s a huge blow to their passing and running game.

New Orleans Saints (-4) at Seattle Seahawks

Even with all the injuries on defense, the Saints rank third in completion percentage allowed and first in rushing yards allowed per carry. Kwon Alexander and Marcus Davenport were just activated off injured reserve. Seattle is going to need a 13th or 14th man to stay in this one.

Philadelphia Eagles at Las Vegas Raiders (-3)

This is a pretty bad matchup for the Eagles. The Raiders have been sneaky good against the pass, while the Philly offense has looked stale for most of the season. Derek Carr has thrown for the second-most yards in the NFL and should toast the Eagles linebackers and secondary.

Joe Garza

Season record: 19-11

New Orleans Saints (-4) at Seattle Seahawks

Remember that scene from “Avengers: Endgame” when all the good guys joined the battle to save the day? That was the Saints’ practice report this week.

Philadelphia Eagles (+3) at Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders’ rally over losing Jon Gruden will wear off faster than my infatuation with eating clean.

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers (-4)

This is a game of two low-key donkey coaches, but I am fading the guy who gave Jonathan Taylor just three touches in the first half last week. At least the other donkey whose favorite hobby is junking draft equity had a bye week to prepare.

Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers (-8)

“And here’s our Square Bear Play of the Week, brought to you by Borden 2 % milk, Stanley tape measures and a pile of No. 2 pencils …”

Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) at Tennessee Titans

The Titans are taking money after their emotional win Monday night. Fade accordingly. This is finally where the game script eliminates Derrick Henry.

Pete Truszkowski

Season record: 6-23-1

Illinois at Penn State (Under 45)

Sean Clifford’s status is uncertain, and I don’t expect Illinois to do much of anything against this Penn State defense.

Clemson at Pittsburgh (Under 48)

This Clemson team doesn’t score points, but it can still defend.

Temple (+2.5) at South Florida

Temple has been a better team with D’Wan Mathis under center.

West Virginia at TCU (Over 56.5)

TCU’s defense is terrible, but both teams can run the ball. Give me an old-school Big 12 shootout.

Georgia Tech at Virginia (Over 63.5)

Jahmyr Gibbs should feast against a team allowing 5.4 yards per rush, and UVA should also put up points.

Cody Brunner

Season record: 12-16-2

Oklahoma (-38.5) over Kansas

The Sooners have been light years more capable offensively since Caleb Williams took over. They should have this cover in hand before Spencer Rattler handles clean-up duty.

LSU at Ole Miss (Under 76)

The Tigers’ injuries and issues are well-documented. I’m sure they’ll play inspired knowing that Coach O is for sure on his way out the door, but I can’t see this turning into a shootout.

BYU-Washington State (Under 56.5)

Speaking of issues, Wazzu finally started piecing things together before Nick Rolovich’s selfish decision to submarine their season. Now they’re out three key offensive coaches. BYU has fallen apart as of late, so this has all the makings of a rock fight.

New York Jets at New England (-7)

The Pats worked the Jets over at MetLife Stadium earlier this season, 25-6. Zach Wilson may feel a bit more comfortable under center four weeks later and there are some points baked into the spread (presumably because of Bill Belichick’s record against rookies), but the Pats should still win by a healthy margin.

Detroit Lions at LA Rams (Under 50.5)

The Lions offense is atrocious. It’s not going to drastically improve on the road against one of the best defenses in the league. My only concern here would be the Rams putting up 40+ and nearly hitting the over themselves.

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