Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
NFL 6-point Teaser (-120)
San Francisco from -6½ to -0½
Buffalo from -7½ to -1½
8:15 PM EST. We'll kill two birds with one stone here because it makes too much sense. Two of the NFL elites are off a loss and they're heavy favorites on Monday Night and Thursday Night Football, and they're both better value in a teaser. At most sportsbooks, a two-team ML parlay would cost a bettor around -140. By using a six-point teaser, we can bet down the 49ers and Bills to very slight favorites, through the most integral key numbers (3, 6, 7) for a price of just -120. That's the value we like.
Let's start with Monday Night Football. Last Sunday it felt like the ceiling was collapsing on the 49ers, fresh off an incredibly dominant win against the Dallas Cowboys just one week prior. Brock Purdy looked human, for once, and somehow he only mustered 125 yards passing. Until last Sunday, Purdy had never lost a game as the Niners' starter, carrying an impeccable 11-0 record into their contest against the Browns. An all-out defensive effort from Cleveland in the windy and sloppy conditions of Cleveland Browns Stadium was the perfect recipe for a shocker. Even worse for San Francisco, three of their most important stars (LT Trent Williams, RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Deebo Samuel) all left the game to injury. The 49ers were untouchable, unflappable, damn-near perfect until Week 6, and suddenly the NFL's most steady ship was facing rocky waters.
Fast forward 8 days later and the picture isn't as bleak. Trent Williams is doubtful for MNF but his timetable to return won't be too far out. Deebo Samuel won't play in Weeks 7 or 8 but he didn't incur a serious injury, either. Christian McCaffrey is expected to suit up on Monday night, and San Fran might get back another one of their star-linebackers, Dre Greenlaw, who's listed as questionable. Fortunately, the Niners dodged a worst-case scenario, and now they'll look at Minnesota to exact their revenge.
The Vikings are the same team they were last year in many ways, they're just not having the same luck this season. A one-score darling in 2022, Minnesota is just 2-4 in the same category this season, and the only teams they've beaten are two of the NFL's worst; the Panthers (0-6) and the Bears (2-5). Maybe we should throw out a "congratulations" to Kirk Cousins and the Vikings for surviving in Chicago last week and getting another win, but it's hard to be impressed. Chicago hasn't done much right this season, and last week they lost Justin Fields in the second half. Rookie QB Tyson Bagent, a D2 Cinderella story, took Fields' place and even granted the Vikings a nice fumble-touchdown to give Minnesota separation. The Vikings only won by one-score (19-13) against a train-wreck Bears' team, and they were out-gained 275-220 in the process.
Purdy is out to redeem himself after his first truly poor performance, and the Niners will come to Minnesota angry after their first loss of the season. Minnesota has the home crowd at their back and Brian Flores is a legitimate defensive coordinator who gives them a shot to somewhat limit the Niners, especially considering their injuries, so a line of -0.5 feels more comfortable in what's a second-straight road game for Kyle Shanahan's team.
Thursday night presents a very similar setup for the favorite. The Bills will return to Orchard Park after a truly head-scratching performance by Josh Allen and his team. In truth, the Bills haven't looked great for three straight weeks. They tripped over themselves in London, they barely survived and probably should have lost at home against the Giants in Week 6, and New England barely let Allen and the offense get off the ground in Foxboro. In the first half, the Patriots held the Bills to just 113 yards and 3 points. Allen was up to his usual antics, forcing risky balls down the field, and the Buffalo offense had virtually no run-game to help the ailing QB. Just 64 yards were gained by their running backs.
The Bills' opponent on Thursday night is not one to overlook. Although Tampa lost this past Sunday, falling to an inspired Falcons' team, Baker Mayfield is the on-field leader their offense needs and they have a very formidable defense. Many thought Tampa, who was favored on Sunday, would be the butt of NFC South jokes this season but it hasn't come to be. A team full of veteran talent, the Bucs can beat good to average teams and give the elites a run for their money, especially if almighty NFL variance goes their way.
One good sign for the Bills is that Tampa's run-defense hasn't been as stellar as previous years. Even without Bijan Robinson, the Bucs let the Falcons run all over them in Week 7 (156 yards on 4.1 yards per carry), which freed up Desmond Ridder and an Atlanta passing attack that desperately needed an advantage. Buffalo is in a similar boat. If they didn't have Josh Allen, who's ran for 148 yards on 5 yards per carry through 7 games, the Bills would be in the bottom tier of rushing stats.
Regardless of the Xs and Os, Buffalo can be scary at home. We've seen it before, like when they annihilated the Dolphins in Week 3, and a pedestrian Bucs' offense should find it supremely challenging if Allen and the offense can rediscover their rhythm. The Bills have been one of the most consistently dominant teams for the last three seasons, so this is something we can count on. We hate the number, though, at a ripe -7.5. That puts Buffalo at a disadvantage above all three of the most important key numbers, so this is a perfect situation for more reduced chalk to solidify the second leg of our teaser.
San Francisco/Buffalo 6-pt Teaser -120 (Risking 2.4 units - To Win: 2.00)