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: 11-9

Penn State at Iowa (Over 41)

I struggled to find a lot of games I liked on the college slate this week. Iowa’s defense gets a lot of credit for forcing so many turnovers so far this season, but we also know that turnover luck can be a thing. That’s why I like Penn State in this game where both teams could break 20.

Georgia at Auburn (Under 47)

Another Georgia game for me, and I am going with the under solely as a tribute to a defense that has given up one offensive touchdown through the first five games. Georgia’s D is preposterously good and did you see how many crazy plays Bo Nix had to make against a significantly worse LSU defense last week?

Boise State at BYU (Under 56.5)

If BYU wins this game, Boise State will have four losses in a season for the first time since 2015. The Broncos have only lost more than four games once in the 2000s. I think BYU QB Jaren Hall starts this game after missing last week’s contest, but no matter who is at QB for the Cougars, this one should be relatively low-scoring.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (Under 49.5)

Neither team’s last two games have hit this current total and they combined to score 21 points a week ago. This has the feel of a game with a total somewhere around 40 and not 50.

Tennessee Titans (-4.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Titans could get AJ Brown back on Sunday and they can’t lose to the Jets and Jaguars on back-to-back weeks, right? It’s hard for me to buy into anything Jacksonville right now, and the Titans should win this game by more than three.

Frank Schwab

Season record: 10-10

Bills (+3) over Chiefs

Get this one before the line moves back to 2.5. Or better yet, take the moneyline. This is the Bills’ statement game.

Packers (-3) over Bengals

Some lines feel like a trick. It feels too square to take Green Bay here. The NFL is never that predictable. But home-field advantage is practically gone, and the Packers are the better team … I’ll fall into the trap.

Panthers (-3.5) over Eagles

See above. The Eagles have looked bad the last two weeks, particularly on defense. That Falcons win in Week 1 doesn’t exactly look impressive anymore. I like the Panthers, and a loss to the Cowboys doesn’t change that. Seems too easy.

Chargers (-2.5) over Browns

I’m sold on Brandon Staley. I’ve pointed this out: The Chargers have faced Washington, Dallas, Kansas City and Las Vegas. All are either good offenses or have shown some flashes. And they all had their worst games of the season against the Chargers. Baker Mayfield didn’t look good last week and his struggles might continue here.

Penn State (+2.5) over Iowa

Rare college play for me, but I think Penn State is the superior team. I’ll ride with that PSU defense as an underdog.

Sam Cooper

Season record: 11-9

Oklahoma (-3.5) vs. Texas

Just because it’s not routinely putting up 500-plus yards doesn’t mean the Oklahoma offense isn’t good. It is, and the Texas defense gives up way too many big plays and struggles on third down.

Oregon State (-3.5) at Washington State

I’m wondering why this spread is only 3.5, but I’m OK taking the bait. Oregon State has lost seven straight in this series, so I don’t think the Beavs will have a letdown here.

LSU at Kentucky under 51

LSU can’t run the ball and needs a win. Kentucky can’t throw the ball and could have a bit of a hangover effect from the win over Florida.

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers over 45

The Panthers defense is good, but it’s not as good as its statistics suggest. I don’t think the Eagles will struggle to move the ball, and I won’t be surprised if they pull off the upset. I think the over is the safer play, though.

Buffalo Bills (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs

The Eagles moved the ball with ease last week vs. the Chiefs but routinely failed in the red zone, including having multiple TDs called back due to penalties. The Bills will be able to convert when it matters.

Greg Brainos

Season record: 9-11

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-10)

The Lions’ defense is softer than cashmere toilet paper. Justin Jefferson’s legs may fall off from doing “The Griddy” too many times.

Chicago Bears (+5.5) at Las Vegas Raiders

Chicago has the most sacks in the NFL, while the Raiders have given up the fifth-most sacks. The Bears are going full Revenant on Derek Carr come Sunday.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5)

The funniest thing that could happen is the Jags win and Urban Meyer sets up a postgame live stream at home where he’s just hanging out and drinking milk.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (Over 56.5)

Kansas City is playing defense at an NBA All-Star Game level. Buffalo should be good for at least four or five touchdowns and we may see this one hit the 70s.

New York Jets (+3) “at” Atlanta Falcons

The Jets win back-to-back games against depleted teams, and Zach Wilson gets knighted by the Queen.

Pete Truszkowski

Season record: 5-15

Michigan State at Rutgers (+5.5)

I believe Greg Schiano will have his team ready to rebound at home after their blowout loss to the Buckeyes. Michigan State has struggled defensively.

West Virginia (+2.5) at Baylor

You can keep your points, WVU wins straight up. Baylor’s offense looks like it’s not very good.

Michigan at Nebraska (+3)

I think Nebraska is a live home dog here.

Chicago Bears (+5.5) at Las Vegas Raiders

Matt Nagy isn’t calling plays anymore, and I still think the Raiders are overrated.

San Francisco 49ers (+5) at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals aren’t going to win forever, and I’m excited to see what Kyle Shanahan schemes up for Trey Lance.

Joe Garza

Season record: 13-7

New Orleans Saints (-2) at Washington Football Team

Sean Payton and the Saints know they were big dummies — some would say “donkeys” — last week. They’ll play to win this time instead of whatever the hell they were doing against the Giants last Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers (+5) at Arizona Cardinals

Arizona is overrated, cannot stop the run and Kliff Kingsbury will fully live up to his “fake sharp” label.

Tennessee Titans (-4.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Titans are mad about losing last week and Derrick Henry is basically from Jacksonville and has a history of chewing up the host Jags. Also, do you think Urban Meyer is on Tinder?

Buffalo Bills (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs

Look, I don’t know how good the Bills defense is, but I do know the Chiefs defensive unit couldn’t stop Theodore Donald Kerabatsos Elementary on fourth-and-3.

New York Jets “at” Atlanta Falcons (Over 45.5)

A London over? In this economy? I know the Falcons don’t have any receivers, but replace-level talent can score on the depleted Jets secondary. And who knows? Maybe Kyle Pitts will finally dry those Falcons tears and look like a generational top-five pick.

Cody Brunner

Season record: 7-13

Texas (+3.5) over Oklahoma

The Horns almost always play their rivals tough and now they have a competent coach. Additionally, the Sooners have been riding on brand recognition alone this season, eking out wins over mediocre programs. Texas could win this going away, but I'll take the points to be safe.

Georgia (-14) over Auburn

I bet against the Dogs last week and they absolutely took Arkansas to the woodshed. I won't make that mistake again. 

Penn State at Iowa (Over 41)

I know Iowa's defense is great and all that, but the Nits will put up points regardless. Iowa will keep pace and we'll get something like 24-21.

Michigan (-3) at Nebraska

This feels like a trap for me because I enjoy Nebraska's failures, but the Wolverines are winning games by about four touchdowns and have one of the strongest run games in the country. 

Green Bay Packers (-3) over Cincinnati Bengals

The last time I picked the Packers, they got blasted by a bad Saints team. So, yeah, I'm high on my team again. 

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