Our Founding Fathers may have granted us the right to freely express ourselves roughly 240 years ago, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t repercussions when certain expressions cut heavily against society’s grain. For instance, the Beatles may indeed have been middling musicians who recorded some of the most mindless music in history (“Yellow Submarine,” anyone?). But a music critic best never say so publicly. Just as a foodie can never admit that kale and arugula taste like dirt deep-fried in turpentine. Just as a baseball columnist can never call into a question a 37-year-old slugger battling over .700 in the World Series … even though that slugger’s career is tainted by a positive steroids test. (Actually, you can call into question an asshole named Barry Bonds; not a beloved teddy bear nicknamed Big Papi.)
Where am I going with this? Well, I’m about to state a fact that society at large would prefer I keep tucked under my tongue: The 2013 NFL season has been (gulp) … horseshit. No, I’m not talking about my NFL picks (hey, I’m 6-1 over the last two weeks!). Rather, I’m referring to the play on the field. Here’s your proof: Halfway through the season, only 13 of 32 teams are over .500—and three of those squads are 4-3.
The mediocrity is magnified this week, when exactly one game involves two winning teams (the 4-3 Bears visit the 5-2 Packers on Monday night). Let me also point out—at the risk of incurring a fine from Roger Goodell—that of the 13 games on the Week 9 slate, four feature teams without a winning record.
So when you look at the betting board for Week 9, you see chaos in the form of six road favorites (which will grow to seven if the Chargers-Redskins pick-’em line tilts in San Diego’s favor), plus five home teams laying at least a touchdown. Translation: This isn’t just one of the ugliest NFL slates in recent memory, it’s one of the most dangerous from a gambling perspective. So you’ll forgive me for treading lightly in the NFL this week, offering just one “side” selection.
Now, where did I put my Beatles box set, my kale-and-arugula soup and my David Ortiz jersey? … What, you didn’t think I was serious?
Lucky Seven: Ravens-Browns UNDER 41 (Best Bet); Falcons-Panthers OVER 43½; Bills +3½ vs. Chiefs; Clemson -17 at Virginia; Nebraska -7½ vs. Northwestern; Boston College +5 vs. Virginia Tech; San Diego State -15 vs. New Mexico.
Last Week: 5-2 (1-0 Best Bet). Season: 27-32 (14-15 college; 13-17 NFL; 1-7 Best Bets).
Says Scott Spreitzer (@ScottWins) from Pregame.com: I agree with the Bills. They’re healthy in the secondary and own the league’s seventh-best rushing offense, which should slow K.C’s ferocious pass rush. The Chiefs are averaging just 21 points in their last three games, and five of Buffalo’s games have been decided by three points or less. Grab the points.
Matt Jacob appears Wednesdays on Pregame.com’s First Preview, which airs 10-11 a.m. weekdays on ESPN Radio 1100-AM.