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Five picks against the BetMGM spread, that’s what we do in Throwing Darts. You can fade the picks, follow them, ignore them, offer your own. All I ask is that you tell me before the game who you like — afterwards, well, we all know what happened.
To the clipboard.
Chargers -1.5 at Eagles
I’m not quite ready to give up on the Chargers as a primary contender. Maybe they just drew the Ravens and Patriots at the wrong time. I do worry that Mike Williams is likely playing hurt, and he’s the downfield difference maker this offense needs. But I can’t think of anything I really like about Philadelphia’s offense, even though it just demolished the Lions. And we all know Jalen Hurts is the biggest fantasy-gap player — a good stat grabber, but not a reliable quarterback.
Bengals -2.5 vs. Browns
Cincinnati obviously is coming off an ugly loss, and the Browns might have the edge in the coaching department. But Cincinnati throws the ball better than Cleveland, and it also defends the pass better, and that’s a huge advantage given how football is played in 2021. I could only be on the Bengals here.
Packers +7.5 at Chiefs
Kansas City has been a lousy bet for a calendar year, and the line has adjusted plenty for the Aaron Rodgers/Jordan Love swap. Until the Chiefs offense gets its mojo and octane back, I’ll be auto-fading this team weekly.
Bears +6.5 at Steelers
Pittsburgh tends to play down to its level of competition, and at least Justin Fields showed signs of life last week, presented with a more proactive offensive game plan.
49ers -1.5 vs. Cardinals
San Francisco defended well enough to win the first meeting, but the offense gave the game away. I’m encouraged by Jimmy Garoppolo’s most recent start, and the Niners might get George Kittle back. Deebo Samuel is having the best offensive season that hardly anyone is talking about. Arizona could be hamstrung at quarterback, forced to play a dinged Kyler Murray or a backup in Colt McCoy.
The game is also more important to the Niners, and as Bill Parcells might say, when in doubt, take the more desperate team.