From the best NFL games to bet this weekend, to the ones you should steer clear of, check out Hank Gola’s guide to get you through the weekend a winner. Then check out how the rest of our crew of pigskin experts see this weekend’s action as they pick against the spread.
RAIDERS at GIANTS
1 p.m., Ch. 2, Giants by 7, 43½
HANK’S HONEYS: Go easy here. This year’s Giants shouldn’t be spotting many teams a touchdown. But Andre Brown’s return should give Eli Manning something he hasn’t had all year — effective play action — and seeing how Nick Foles and the Eagles ran through the Oakland secondary last week, Manning should have plenty of open downfield options. QB Terrelle Pryor should be able to play but not RB Darren McFadden. That will allow the Giants defense to come after Pryor a little bit and if not sack him, force him into some of the mistakes that he’s made against pressure this year. Factor in Oakland going on a coast-to-coast trip and that the Giants have a little momentum going.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Giants and the under.
COWBOYS at SAINTS
8:30 p.m., Ch. 4, Saints by 6½, 54
HANK’S HONEYS: There are the home Saints and the road Saints and the difference is huge. Drew Brees and his offense seem to operate just that faster on the indoor rug and when the points go up, the opposing offense has to take chances to keep up. That should work out very nicely for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who no doubt has an ax to grind against his former team. The Cowboys are a pass-first team and defending the pass is the strength of Ryan’s aggressive defense, which will be getting after Tony Romo from every angle. The Jets exposed the Saints’ run ‘D’ last week but do the Cowboys have enough patience to play that game? Nope.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Saints and the over.
JAGUARS at TITANS
1 p.m., Titans by 12, 41½
HANK’S HONEYS: The Jaguars should be just as bad in the second half as they were in the first. Let’s just say their chances of going 0-16 are a lot better than the Chiefs going 16-0. Jake Locker’s return has restored the Titans’ passing game while Chris Johnson last week broke out for the kind of day people have been expecting all year. The Titans are in good position to grab the second wild-card spot, with tiebreaker advantages over both the Jets and Chargers, and aren’t about to take a divisional rival lightly. Two years ago, they lost to the 0-13 Colts. Last year, they were one of the Jaguars’ two wins.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Titans and the under.
SEAHAWKS at FALCONS
1 p.m., Seahawks by 6½, 44½
HANK’S HONEYS: It’s a rematch of last year’s divisional playoff game except the Falcons hardly resemble the team that went to the NFC Championship Game. They are showing all the earmarks of a team that has quit on the season. You really have to wonder what’s going on with the Seahawks, who have barely sneaked by the Rams and Bucs the last two weeks, with their run defense a real problem. But running the ball requires attitude and right now, that’s not something the Falcons (last in rushing) have. With more to prove, it’s far more likely the Seahawks will get back to their physical mentality and be the team that pounds it.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Seahawks and the over.
BILLS at STEELERS
1 p.m., Steelers by 3, 43½
HANK’S HONEYS: It appears that E.J. Manuel will be back for the game and after watching Doug Tuel throw their upset bid away against the Chiefs, that is good news for a Bills team that has been in almost every game it has played. The Steelers’ defense can’t tackle. It ranks 31st against the run and has had big problems with running quarterbacks — see what Terrelle Pryor did against them — while the Bills bring the league’s seventh-ranked rushing attack to Heinz Field. Buffalo’s pass rush is outstanding, the Steelers’ pass protection is not. There’s also a question of how much fight the Steelers have left. They had enough to beat the Jets but the loss in Oakland killed that momentum.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bills and the under.
New York Daily News
Our first four experts pick the Week 10 games.
EAGLES at PACKERS
1 p.m., Packers by 2, 47½
HANK’S HONEYS: Aaron Rodgers had been holding the Packers’ decimated passing game together and now he’s not there. Seneca Wallace was awful in relief Monday night. But before panic sets in over the Pack’s chances, remember that Matt Flynn almost pulled off an upset of the Patriots after Rodgers was hurt in 2010. Mike McCarthy, a pretty good offensive strategist, simply changed the game plan around Flynn. The Eagles do seem better with Nick Foles at QB, although not seven TDs a game better. But with a decent running game and the home-field advantage, the Packers should be able to squeak out a win.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Packers and the over.
RAMS at COLTS
1 p.m., Colts by 10, 43½
HANK’S HONEYS: There isn’t double-digits worth of difference between these two teams except the Colts win the close games and the Rams lose them. It’s worth noting that the Rams are 2-0 both times they were underdogs by nine or more points this year, and while the Colts are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games, the Rams are 7-3 ATS on the road. Andrew Luck has been taking too many hits and this is another team that can get after the quarterback. Kellen Clemens has been playing at a relatively high level and Zac Stacy has had two straight 100-yard games.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Rams and the over.
BENGALS at RAVENS
1 p.m., Bengals by 1½, 44
HANK’S HONEYS: If the Bengals take care of business against the Ravens and Browns the next two weeks, they’ll effectively sew up the AFC North. They’ve had 10 days to get over Thursday night’s defeat against the Dolphins and the loss of All Pro DT Geno Atkins. It’s the Ravens’ last stand, but they’ve been playing important games every week and losing them. They can’t seem to get anything done offensively and can’t match up against the Bengals from a playmaking standpoint. Unless Andy Dalton turns in two bad games in a row, the torch, it appears, is about to be passed.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bengals and the under.
BRONCOS at CHARGERS
4:25 p.m., Ch. 2, Broncos by 7, 57½
HANK’S HONEYS: No way the Chargers should have lost last week, six inches from victory at FedEx Field. That’s just their historical MO. That said, they should be charged up, so to speak, for a John Fox-less Broncos team that continually must mask its defensive flaws. Peyton Manning usually makes it a moot point, but Philip Rivers and his receivers match up quite well against this defense, Danny Woodhead in particular against the Broncos LBs. In other words, this has all the makings of a shootout that could go to the wire. With the Chargers at home against a divisional rival, we’re banking it’s a lot closer than what the oddsmakers say.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Chargers and the over.
LIONS at BEARS
1 p.m., Pick em, 51½
HANK’S HONEYS: It’s more of a hunch than anything else, even with the Lions’ bye and the Bears’ short week. The Lions dominated the first meeting but in the NFC North, these things have a way of evening out, especially at Soldier Field with its slower track. Jay Cutler has been cleared to play and even though Josh McCown did a good job of holding the fort, Cutler is better suited to attack the weak spot of the Lions’ defense, their corners. Cutler has been efficient most of the season and the three INTs he threw in the first meeting seem more like the exception to the rule. The Bears should have a better answer for Reggie Bush, who killed them in the first game. Plus, we’re not ready to trust the Lions yet.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bears and the under.
New York Daily News
The rest of our experts round out the Week 9 picks.
BEST OF THE REST
TEXANS at CARDINALS
4:25 p.m., Cardinals by 2½, 41½
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Cardinals and the under.
DOLPHINS at BUCS
Monday, 8:40 p.m., Dolphins by 2½, 41½
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bucs and the over.
LOOK DON’T TOUCH
PANTHERS at 49ERS
4:05 p.m., Ch. 5, 49ers by 6, 42½
HANK’S HONEYS: We’re about to find out if the Panthers are for real, making a cross-county trip to face a well-rested opponent that has been rounding back into a preseason Super Bowl favorite. As impressive as Cam Newton has been lately, the best thing about Carolina is a defense that has allowed a league-low 13.2 ppg. They should be able to play the 49ers’ physical-style game. But you never know. Although the Niners’ offense has been totally unbalanced in favor of the run, Colin Kaepernick could get it going this week with the expected return of Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree.
CAN’T HELP YOURSELF: Panthers and the under.
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
Titans: The Jaguars are bad. Nothing else needs to be said.
LAST WEEK: 4-9
BEST BETS: 2-7