A long NFL season got even longer in week 9 in my handicapping world. Baltimore's late touchdown thwarted a .500 day, putting me once again under .500 overall.
Thankfully, my underdogs haven't been too bad this season, so here's my week 10 NFL picks featuring the three best underdogs that will cover the spread.
Underdogs: 12-14-1 ATS
Overall: 20-32-1 ATS
Cleveland (+13) at Detroit
Cleveland's like a drug. I keep telling myself that I'm not going to fall victim to their losing ways. After a few weeks of staying off their drug, I get the urge to jump back on the Browns bandwagon.
So here I am again, backing the Browns as almost two-touchdown underdogs after Matthew Stafford looked like a surgeon Monday night against Green Bay's defense. Thankfully in week 10, my pick will have a much better defense than what Stafford saw last week.
Cleveland's defense actually isn't bad. The Browns only give up 4.9 yards per play, much better than Detroit, at 5.6 yards per play. The Browns also will compete against the pass, too, something the Packers weren't able to do in week 9. Cleveland has allowed just 6.5 yards per pass attempt in the last three games, which works hand-in-hand with its NFL-best 2.9 yards per rush attempt allowed per game.
Cleveland's problem rests with the offense. They can't pass and they can't run. However, there was a little glimmer of hope in week 8 (the Browns also are coming off a bye week), when Isaiah Crowell looked better.
Detroit is coming off a short week after a dominating Monday night performance where they exercised demons at Lambeau Field against a divisional rival. This has all the makings of a letdown.
The Lions are terrible in the red zone, so I'm banking on field goals, instead of touchdowns, allowing this to be closer than many believe. -- Go Against The Chalk with Cleveland
Dallas (+3) at Atlanta
The Cowboys are better than the Falcons. They may have been better last year, too, but that's another story.
Atlanta is reverting back to its old self, while Dallas continues to get better. The pass rush is nasty, which should disrupt Matt Ryan continuously. And the rushing game is good enough to keep the ball away from Atlanta's offense.
Both teams are fairly even statistically, but this game should come down to who can occupy the ball more on offense. Dallas averages more than two minutes more per game in time of possession than Atlanta, and that should be a major key to which team will win this game.
The Cowboys can control both the offensive and defensive lines, swinging the edge toward Dallas. You're getting the three points because this game is in Atlanta. That's a mistake. Since 2015, the Falcons are 10-9 straight up at home. Home-field advantage shouldn't be considered much of a difference-maker for a team with a better road record (13-8 SU) in recent years than at home. -- Go Against The Chalk with Dallas
Miami (+9) at Carolina
Miami isn't a great team, but I'm not sure if the Panthers should be more than a touchdown favorite over anyone at this moment.
The Panthers' offense is about as good as Miami's. And while the defense is superior, I'm not sure if the Panthers can score double-digits. On the season, Carolina scores 18 points per game. In the last three games, though, that number has dipped to less than two touchdowns.
That's not a good sign when staring at a nine-point spread. Carolina's average scoring margin is plus-1, and in the negative at home.
This team doesn't have much of a home-field advantage and can't move the ball consistently, much like the opposition. Watch for a low-scoring affair and for the Dolphins to keep this close. -- Go Against The Chalk with Miami
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH