Each week during the pro football season, Covers Expert Art Aronson looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+9.5) at Carolina Panthers
With three straight wins under its belt, sharps are once again quick to jump on undervalued Tampa Bay this week. This line opened at 10, dropped to 9.5, with 8.5's and 8's starting to make an appearance on the board now as well.
They say divisional contests are always the most difficult and, while the Bucs won't be playing in the postseason this year, there's no doubt they'll be looking to parlay their recent success and throw a monkey-wrench into the Panthers' playoff plans.
While Carolina did gut out the 20-16 win over the Fish last week, it was not the overall dominant performance that we've become accustomed to seeing over its previous six wins. With a game at division-leading New Orleans next week, there's no question that this contest sets up as a classic "lookahead / trap" game for the home side. If you can still get 9.5, I'd recommend you seriously consider grabbing it as fast as possible.
Spread to wait on
Cincinnati Bengals (Pick) at San Diego Chargers
If you think the Bengals can build off their 41-20 win over the Browns two weeks ago, I'd recommend waiting a bit closer to kickoff before getting down as the public jumps on the suddenly "hot" home side.
At 5-6, obviously San Diego is not where it hoped it would be at this point of the season. However, after a couple of subpar years, there's no question that its veteran QB Philip Rivers is having a resurgent season. San Diego went into its bye in Week 8 off back-to-back victories, only to lose three straight. Last week's 41-38 win in Kansas City has once again given the Bolts some life.
This line opened as a pick’em, but there are some 1's and 1.5's starting to creep onto the board as well. Bettors should also note that Cincinnati has struggled on the road this year, going just 2-4 SU and 1-4-1 ATS.
Total to watch
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (48.5)
Any total involving the Denver Broncos is interesting to me. These teams played two weeks ago in Denver and the Broncos would come away with the 27-17 victory, staying below the posted number of 49.
After 11 games, the O/U for Denver is at 9-2, including 4-1 on the road. And after playing to two straight Unders, the total soared above the posted number in its 34-31 collapse at New England last week.
On the other side of the field, the Chiefs came out of their bye and lost two in a row, including last week's brutal 41-38 blunder to San Diego at home. Before getting down on this one, take note that the total has gone Under the number in five of these divisional foes’ last six in the series.