Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton leads the team in rushing touchdowns (four) and has thrown 15 touchdowns through the air. (Nell Redmond/Associated Press)

A slew of injuries and two defensive breakdowns cost us two wins last week.

The Washington Redskins lost two-fifths of their starting offensive line — guards Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff — during the game against the Atlanta Falcons and surrendered 491 total yards to Coach Dan Quinn’s offense. Running back Tevin Coleman had a huge day, carrying the ball 13 times for 88 yards plus added 68 yards and two touchdowns catching passes out of the backfield.

The Los Angeles Rams had a defensive meltdown of their own, surrendering 45 points to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense, suffering their first loss of the season.

Prime pick success rate: 9-13-1

Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
Pick: Carolina Panthers +3.5

The Panthers are an anachronism, rushing the ball rather than relying on the pass. They have run for at least 121 yards in seven of eight games and their quarterback, Cam Newton, has almost as many rushing yards (432) as their primary back, Christian McCaffrey (502). Newton leads the team in rushing touchdowns (four), too, in addition to 15 passing touchdowns.

Pittsburgh has had trouble with the strengths of Carolina’s offense this season. They have allowed 5.3 yards per carry to quarterbacks in 2018, the sixth-most this season, and four touchdowns and no interceptions to tight ends, an ominous sign considering Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is a three-time Pro Bowl player with a three-game touchdown streak.

Miami Dolphins at Green Bay Packers (-10)
Pick: Miami Dolphins +10

The Dolphins have (mostly) held it together while starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is sidelined with an injury to his right shoulder. Yes, the team couldn’t muster more than six points against the Jets last week with Brock Osweiler under center but give Gang Green’s defense credit: The Jets were ranked as the 10th best defense by Football Outsiders headed into that game.

The Green Bay Packers’ defense, on the other hand, is ranked 24th after Week 9 and might be even weaker with the recent trade of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, one of their best defensive backs in pass coverage per Pro Football Focus, to the Redskins at the deadline.


The two games above represent my best plays of the week because my analysis shows the point spreads are divergent from what I expect to happen once the teams take the field. One reason the house wins so often is because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. This makes trying to pick every single NFL game something of a fool’s errand. The odds should be in my favor in the games above, which is why I think they’re worth a bet. Below you’ll find our chart predicting the betting edge for every game.