When you have kids, simple milestones become magical: first steps, first words, first day of school.
But it’s not just your children’s milestones that turn the simple into the sensational. As a parent, there are plenty of basic firsts that blow your mind: first hot shower in three days, first full-night sleep in weeks, and first time putting yourself first in like… well… forever.
Mrs. NFL Underdogs and I accomplished one of those marvelous firsts this week, when we went to the movies – together and without candy-crazed children in tow – for the first time in almost five years. She wanted to see A Star Is Born but caved into my excitement over Bohemian Rhapsody, knowing that I’m a massive, massive Queen fan. Two days later, she’s totally regretting that decision.
It’s been a non-stop power cord rumbling from the Amazon Echo ever since, with me strutting around the kitchen making lunches and unloading the dishwasher with the on-stage bravado of Mr. Fahrenheit himself - Freddie Mercury. The baseline from “Another One Bites the Dust” is on constant repeat in my head, randomly interrupted by the thumping kick drum of “Fat Bottomed Girls”. I had my kids doing the stomp-stomp-clap build-up to "We Will Rock You" at the breakfast table, sending milk and Multi-Grain Cheerios spilling over.
So, it’s with this we present a special edition of NFL Underdogs – with picks inspired by some of my favorite Queen songs.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-3, 46.5)
The easy road for this song pick would be “Under Pressure”, but that’s too on-the-nose. Jacksonville is, undoubtedly, under a lot of pressure to turn its 3-5 season around after playing for the AFC Championship last year.
One thing that worked for the Jaguars during that run to the conference title game was the play of running back Leonard Fournette, who has missed all but two games in 2018 due to injury. Last season, Jacksonville’s best performances came when Fournette got rolling - giving balance to this attack - and injecting him back into the mix against a sour Colts defense will help take some of the back-breaking load off QB Blake Bortles. God knows he can't handle it.
In fact, you could say Fournette and an efficient Jags ground game (that includes T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde) is Bortles’ best friend… that he’s ever had.
If the return of Fournette and the run isn’t enough, Jacksonville does take on an Indianapolis defense that allowed peashooter offenses like the Jets and Raiders put up big points and an offense that has given the ball away 13 times – seventh most this season. That careless play will help jumpstart a Jaguars defense missing its edge when it comes to creating turnovers.
Pick: Jacksonville +3
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-10, 50)
I’m sure when the final whistle blew on the Rams’ 45-35 loss to New Orleans Sunday, some members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins blasted “We Are The Champions” to celebrate another season as the NFL’s only undefeated team in history.
For sports bettors, that final whistle meant looking ahead to the Week 10 lines and the Seattle Seahawks rolling into La-La Land. Oddsmakers opened the Rams at -9.5 and early money was buying up the bounceback, pushing Los Angeles to -10. And that’s where we strike.
In sports betting, it’s about getting the best number – you have to “Play The Game” – and we are, snatching up the key of Seahawks +10 with some books already trickling down to -9.5 and even as low as -9.
Seattle was a dropped pass in the end zone (and a 2-point convert) away from tying the other L.A. team at the end of regulation last week and before that loss each of its three other defeats came by seven points or less. This defense has allowed 19 or fewer points in five of its last six outings (lost 33-31 to the Rams in Week 5) and that’s led the Seahawks to a 4-2 ATS mark in those games.
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Running back Chris Carson’s health and effectiveness are big questions Sunday, but Seattle does have the methodical pace and rushing chops to win the time of possession battle versus Los Angeles (which was bulldozed by 141 rushing yards by the Saints). The Seahawks also have two potential gamebreakers anxious for touches in Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise.
This is a tough situational spot for the Rams, coming off a huge game versus New Orleans and then looking ahead to next Monday’s trip to Mexico City to face Kansas City.
Pick: Seattle +10
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5, 44)
It’s no Lil Wayne song, but Queen’s “I Want to Break Free” could be the anthem for Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and this New York Giants offense.
Heading into the season, the Big Apple buzz around those playmakers was huge. But, here we sit entering the Week 10 Monday nighter with that offense topping 20 points just twice in eight games. This could be the stage for a breakout performance, with the G-Men traveling to San Francisco to face a Niners defense that's been gashed for big scores all season. The 49ers are getting far too much credit for their last two showings, in which they held Arizona and Oakland to a collective 21 points.
New York has played its best football on the road, losing by an average margin of under two points per game and posting a 3-1 ATS mark as a visitor. With an extra half-point hook showing up on spread, I can’t help myself: I want it all. I want it all. And I want it now.
Pick: N.Y. Giants +3.5
Last week: 2-1 ATS
Season: 19-8 ATS
Jason Logan is the Senior Industry Analyst for Covers.com. You can tell him how much his NFL underdog picks suck onTwitter @CoversJlo.