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 are locked as of Thursday night, so they won’t reflect subsequent movement.

All lines from BetMGM.

Nick Bromberg

Season record: 51-29

Arkansas (-2.5) vs. Penn State

Penn State has too many opt-outs, especially defensively. I think Arkansas wins this fairly comfortably.

Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts (Under 44.5)

I’m surprised this total isn’t a couple points lower given the uncertainty surrounding the Colts’ QB situation.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Washington Football Team

I wonder if the Cowboys game made Washington check out for the final two games of the season.

Detroit Lions (+7) at Seattle Seahawks

I’m applying that same philosophy to Seattle. The season is now basically over after that Bears loss, and Russell Wilson has been bad since returning from his finger injury.

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-7)

I’m banking on a mediocre performance by Kirk Cousins in this one.

Frank Schwab

Season record: 46-33-1

Arizona Cardinals (+6) over Dallas Cowboys

This is the recency bias bowl. The Cowboys aren’t necessarily the 2007 Patriots because of one great performance, and the Cardinals aren’t as bad as their three-game losing streak.

L.A. Rams (-4.5) over Baltimore Ravens

I don’t know how the Ravens can defend the Rams’ passing game. I’d be shocked if the Rams don’t score 30.

Detroit Lions (+7) over Seattle Seahawks

The Lions are still playing hard and covering spreads. I think they win straight up.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) over Washington Football Team

Washington might come out and play well after being embarrassed. But I wonder how much gas is left in the tank. Meanwhile, the Eagles are chasing a playoff spot.

New Orleans Saints (-6.5) over Carolina Panthers

The Panthers couldn’t be more of a mess right now. Starting Sam Darnold again doesn’t help.

Sam Cooper

Season record: 39-39-1

Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame (-2)

I just really don’t trust Spencer Sanders, and Notre Dame will be fired up to win in Marcus Freeman’s debut. I’m surprised this is under a field goal.

Kentucky vs. Iowa (+3)

I’m having visions of multiple Will Levis interceptions. He has thrown at least one INT in nine of UK’s 12 games and the Iowa defense leads the nation in INTs.

Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans (-3)

Tennessee has been struggling offensively, but I think Miami’s winning streak ends here. The return of A.J. Brown makes such a big difference for the Titans, especially on third down.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team (Under 44.5)

The Eagles are without Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard is banged up and Jalen Hurts hasn’t been running the ball since he hurt his ankle. And with WFT’s QB issues and Antonio Gibson potentially missing this game, I’m not expecting many points.

Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens (Under 46.5)

I think Matthew Stafford is overrated. I also feel like Vegas is suckering you into taking the over after Baltimore gave up 41 to the Bengals last week. I’ll go the other way.

Greg Brainos

Season record: 36-44

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-13.5) at New York Jets

The worst quarterback in the league when under pressure vs. the team that blitzes the most.

Denver Broncos (+6.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers’ run D is terrible and Javonte Williams breaks tackles like Orson Welles broke bread.

Detroit Lions (+7) at Seattle Seahawks

Fulfilling my oath as president of the Dan Campbell Fan Club to bet the Lions.

Los Angeles Rams (-4.5) at Baltimore Ravens
I can’t tell if this line is overly respectful to the Ravens or overly disrespectful to the Rams.

Cleveland Browns (-3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Fading the “Big Ben’s last home game” narrative and riding the full Chubb against Pittsburgh’s league-worst run defense.

Pete Truszkowski

Season record: 33-46-1

Cincinnati (+13.5) vs. Alabama

My New Year’s Resolution is to stop doing dumb things. I’m getting it all out of my system by fading Alabama.

Georgia (-7.5) vs. Michigan

I think people have forgotten just how dominant Georgia was prior to the SEC championship game.

Utah (+4.5) vs. Ohio State

I just feel like one of these teams cares a lot more about this game than the other.

Arizona Cardinals (+6) at Dallas Cowboys

Is this a bad stretch for Arizona or a total collapse? I’m going with a bad stretch.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5)

Big Ben’s potential last home game ever, and I’m getting over a field goal against an offense that isn’t very good at all.

Joe Garza

Season record: 42-38

Kansas City Chiefs (-5) at Cincinnati Bengals

Me to the Bengals: “Donny, you’re out of your element!”

Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Green Bay Packers

Kirk Cousins was already bad last week, this is too many points, the Packers’ O-line is struggling, and the Vikes need to win this one so they can lose to the Bears at home in Week 18.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Washington Football Team

Not only is WFT bad, but it will likely be missing more of its bad players.

Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans (-3)

The Dolphins are the league’s biggest paper tiger. They were fortunate to be leading the front-of-house staff at Ruby Tuesday 10-3 at halftime in New Orleans on Monday night. No, I’m not bitter.

Los Angeles Rams (-4.5) at Baltimore Ravens

Dear Rams: Watch the Bengals game, then just do that again.

Cody Brunner

Season record: 34-44-2

Utah (+4.5) vs. Ohio State

Admittedly a homer pick for my alma mater. I also think the Utes will be the only team on the field that cares because it’s their first Rose Bowl and Ohio State is used to playing in the CFP this time of year.

Cincinnati vs. Alabama (-13.5)

I like the Bearcats. I really do. But Nick Saban’s had four weeks to game-plan for a Group of Five opponent.

Georgia vs. Michigan (Under 45.5)

This should be ugly and I’m excited for it.

Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (Over 44)

The Falcons are still fighting for a playoff spot and the Bills can put up points in bunches. I honestly want to take Atlanta +13.5 too but can’t pull the trigger.

Arizona Cardinals (+6) at Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have looked great against bad QBs the last four weeks or so. Kyler Murray is not a bad QB.

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