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NFL picks against the spread, Week 9: Bet against the Vikings

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Does losing Norv Turner really make the Vikings this much of a favorite against the Lions?

Ask yourself how much of a difference Norv Turner made for the Vikings. Personally, I thought at the start of the season he was a good match for Sam Bradford. But that was before the offensive line got so beat up it had to bring in Jake Long and whatever’s left of his knees.

Two straight losses later, Turner’s gone — and just days after he resigned, the suddenly teetering Vikings have a pivotal division game against the Detroit Lions.

Somehow, Minnesota is currently favored by six points, which tells you what Vegas thinks about Turner’s departure.

Or maybe it’s more faith in the fact that Mike Zimmer isn’t apt to let his defense play as crappy as it did last week against the once hapless Bears.

We know that with Pat Shurmur installed as the offensive coordinator now, the Vikings are going to be dinking and dunking opponents to death and hopefully running the football more to stave off the pass rush against a miserable offensive line.

I tend to think that will work OK this week. After all, Shurmur and Bradford have a history of making the passing game short, boring, and marginally efficient. But can they do that to the tune of a six-point spread? I’m not so sure.

I’m betting on the Lions to cover.

Lions (+6.5) over VIKINGS

And now for some other games this week. As usual, the home team is in all caps, and the odds come via OddsShark.

Eagles (+2.5) over GIANTS

I was legit surprised to see the Eagles as underdogs against the Giants. Sure, the Giants are 4-3, but it’s the most unconvincing four-win team in the league. If the Eagles don’t play as conservatively on offense as they did last week, they should walk away with a win.

Steelers (+2.5) over RAVENS

This line will change once we know for sure whether Ben Roethlisberger is playing. He’s officially questionable, but I’d be pretty shocked at this point if he didn’t play. Most people agree with that assessment.

Cowboys (-7.5) over BROWNS

Colts (+7) over PACKERS

Let’s look at the two biggest spreads of the week. The Browns have a new weapon on defense, Jamie Collins, who is a very good player. He’s good enough to be the kind of player who can help get the Browns their first win, especially if Cleveland is smart enough to play him at outside linebacker and let him go after the quarterback.

I just don’t think this is the week that happens. The Cowboys are a much better team, and they’ve beaten more talented groups than the Browns by more than a touchdown already this season.

On the surface, picking the Colts to beat the spread against the Packers at Lambeau seems just as absurd as picking the Browns to do it against the Cowboys.

Nobody should entertain the idea that the Colts have a real shot to win this game. No. Instead, I think the Packers are likely to get a big early lead, and force Andrew Luck to throw the ball a bunch against a Green Bay defense that really isn’t all that great. That should be enough to cover.

CHIEFS (-7.5) over Jaguars

DOLPHINS (-4) over Jets

Saints (-4) over 49ERS

Panthers (-3) over RAMS

CHARGERS (-4) over Titans

RAIDERS (-1) over Broncos

Bills (+7) over SEAHAWKS

What about the Seahawks offense — a team that’s scored just one offensive touchdown in its last two games — makes you think that they can beat the Bills by a full touchdown? Russell Wilson hasn’t accounted for a touchdown since Week 4. The offensive line is made of children’s clay poorly modeled into a group of five blockers.

We’ll see if this line changes between now and Monday, but if you can get a little dough on the Bills as seven-point underdogs, do it.