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

All lines from BetMGM.

Nick Bromberg 

Season record: 29-16

Air Force at Colorado State (Under 45.5)

CSU averages 23 points per game and Air Force doesn’t allow that many. Couple a triple-option offense with a low-scoring opponent and it feels like a recipe for an under.

Miami at Florida State (Under 60.5)

I’ve seen little from the Florida State offense to make me believe that it’s capable of putting up a bunch of points. If the Seminoles win it’s going to be a low-scoring game.

Michigan at Penn State (Under 48.5)

I’ll be stunned if this game is a shootout. It feels like the first team to 20 wins.

TCU at Oklahoma State (Under 54.5)

Oklahoma State has given up just a field goal in its last two games, and I think TCU QB Chandler Morris has a bit of a reality check in his second start.

Western Kentucky (-18.5) at Rice

WKU scores in bunches. Rice doesn’t.

Frank Schwab

Season record: 21-23-1

Denver Broncos (-3) over Philadelphia Eagles

No, the 2021 Broncos won't ever be as good as they were last Sunday. But they might have gained some confidence and they're better than the Eagles.

Green Bay Packers (-3.5) over Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson is back, but I'm giving him a week to get back in the groove.

Carolina Panthers (+10) over Arizona Cardinals

This is not a fun pick to make. But it's a big line and how many times do we see a team rally around its backup QB?

Cleveland Browns (+2) over New England Patriots

I believe in the post-Odell Browns. They could get on a roll.

Tennessee Titans (-3) over New Orleans Saints

I just don't trust the Saints offense right now. Tennessee is still figuring out things without Derrick Henry, but it’s been red hot.

Sam Cooper

Season record: 21-24

Michigan at Penn State (Under 48.5)

Two good defenses in this one. Penn State is a boom-or-bust offense — a lot of explosive plays, but also a lot of three-and-outs. Michigan is mainly a ground-based offense. Feels like a 24-21 game.

Miami (-2.5) at Florida State

Miami’s offense has been playing very well over the last month or so. Florida State’s secondary gives up a lot of big plays, and I’m not sure the FSU offense will be able to keep up over 60 minutes, even with Jordan Travis back at QB.

Stanford at Oregon State (-12)

Oregon State has the best rushing offense in the Pac-12. Stanford has the worst rush defense in the Pac-12 and could end up starting its fourth different QB of the season. The Beavs roll and get bowl-eligible.

TCU at Oklahoma State under 54.5

Last week, TCU surprisingly started freshman QB Chandler Morris and caught Baylor flat-footed in a lookahead spot to this week’s Oklahoma game. Oklahoma State’s defense is legit and will bottle up Morris.

Washington State (+14) at Oregon

Even at No. 3 in the CFP rankings, I don’t trust Oregon to cover a big spread. WSU is coming off a bye and has covered in six straight games. Too many points.

Pete Truszkowski

Season record: 15-29-1

Purdue (+20.5) at Ohio State

The Spoilermakers might not win straight up, but I think they can keep it within three scores.

Stanford at Oregon State (-12)

Oregon State should run the ball down Stanford’s throat, and Stanford hasn’t proven it can score without Tanner McKee.

Carolina Panthers (+10) at Arizona

Backup quarterbacks have been money this season. Buying Carolina at its absolute lowest here.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (Over 49)

It feels like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are both entering this game with something to prove.

Kansas City (-2.5) at Las Vegas

This feels like the time of the year where the Raiders usually begin to fall apart. It’s hip to be square.

Greg Brainos

Season record: 20-25

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (Over 54.5)

Randy Gregory’s calf injury has left the Cowboys without their two best pass-rushers. Matt Ryan is PFF’s top-graded quarterback over the last five weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5) at Washington Football Team

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an extremely movable object?

Los Angeles Rams (-4) at San Francisco 49ers

The Niners have been getting bullied at home worse than Kevin McCallister. They’ve lost eight in a row at Levi’s Stadium and were outclassed by Colt McCoy from start to finish last week.

Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)

Golden god Justin Herbert is going to torch an ailing Vikings defense.

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders (+2.5)

I’ll continue betting against the Chiefs every week until they show me they can cover. They’re 2-7 against the spread this year and 4-16 over their last 20 games.

Joe Garza

Season record: 24-21

Cleveland Browns (+2) at New England Patriots

The “running backs don’t matter” train is filling up.

Eagles at Broncos (Over 45)

This matchup fits Teddy Two Gloves like … well … like a glove. He’s going to pass underneath all day and complete 80 percent of his passes.

Kansas City Chiefs at L.A. Raiders (Under 52)

So … y’all think the Chiefs are just gonna start scoring points?

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (Over 54.5)

A JerryWorld tradition like no other: Opponents coming in and piling up points like they're at an arcade, which isn’t too different from JerryWorld tbh.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+10.5) at Indianapolis Colts

Sing it with me: "I hurt myself today … to see if I still feel."

Cody Brunner

Season record: 19-24-2

Air Force at Colorado State (Under 45.5)

The Falcons are good for 14-20 points a game with a grind-it-out pace. The Rams are slightly better but this should still be an ugly mess of a game.

NC State at Wake Forest (-1.5)

I picked the Demon Deacons last week and they let me down. Sign me up for another helping of regret. 

South Alabama (+22.5) at App State

I was talked into this one by our own Pam Maldonado. See here for reasoning

Hawaii (-3) at UNLV

The Rebels won their first game seemingly ever last week and we're supposed to buy they're competitive now? This line opened at -1 and I'm surprised it hasn't moved more. 

UCF (+7.5) at SMU

The Black Knights have had a couple letdowns this season, but none have been recent. Meanwhile, the Mustangs are sliding, losing their last two. This should be a one-possession game. 

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