Laces Out NFL Blog

Look between the lines: Handicapping NFL’s Week 10 slate

Laces Out

James Hernandez has more than 15 years in the sports handicapping industry and will contribute weekly for as our betting expert. Have comments or questions? Make sure to email him at James Hernandez, Contributor to During the NFL season, I will attempt to guide you to the winner’s circle more often than not. I consider a combination of statistical trends, my own personal player ranking system, and meticulous attention to various wagering techniques that allow me to analyze and formulate a plan of attack each week. Each week I will post my five favorite plays in order of preference, best on top and so on. All right, let’s get into it: Washington Redskins (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings It only took nine weeks for Washington’s defense to prove to the rest of the world that it could actually make a defensive stand when it mattered. After stopping the Chargers three consecutive times with their backs to the goal line, the Redskins defense was able to hold San Diego to a tying field goal instead of a game-winning touchdown. This allowed RG3 to rally his guys down the field for the winning score in overtime. With the short week bringing a matchup against the lowly Vikings, the Redskins will attempt to win consecutive games for the first time this season and inch closer to the top of a mediocre NFC East. The dynamic duo of RG3 and Alfred Morris have helped the ground attack average 146.3 yards per game and with the improving health of Pierre Garcon and the emergence of Jordan Reed this offense finally has the balance to be a threat running and passing the ball. Unless the great Adrian Peterson decides to treat the Skins D like they are the 2007 Chargers and go for another 296 yards, the Vikings offense will continue to struggle sustaining drives and putting up points. Washington should be able to dictate the pace of the game and grind out a cover as Minnesota continues to fall short despite playing some very competitive football. Detroit Lions (-2) over Chicago Bears Coming off the bye week, Detroit finds itself deadlocked with the Bears and Packers atop the NFC North. Unlike the other two teams, the Lions seem to be getting healthier and hitting their stride while both Chicago and Green Bay are just looking to stay in the race while Cutler and Rodgers are on the mend. With Stafford under center -- and not Seneca Wallace -- the Bears secondary should come crashing down to earth as they struggle to defend the versatile offensive assault the Lions bring to the table. Regardless of what you think of Ndamukong Suh the person, there is no denying his ability on the football field. Through his first three years in the league he has 22 sacks, including 10 in his rookie campaign. That’s incredible, considering he is an interior rusher and those sacks do not even begin to tell the story of the disruptive force he has become play in and play out. It's now or never for the Lions as they approach the home stretch of their schedule which is setting up perfectly for them to capitalize on injuries to division rivals and surge toward an NFC North crown. Detroit will have too much offensive firepower for the Bears to handle and will earn a road win and cover in a tough divisional road game. Be sure to get this game before the line gets up to 3; this game can easily come down to a game-winning field goal and the last thing you want to do is settle for a push when you could have had a win . Carolina Panthers (+6.5) over San Francisco 49ers In a week of full of great games, this has all the makings of an instant classic. Although Cam Newton vs. Colin Kaepernick has me drooling all over my keyboard, it's the matchup of the top 2 defenses in the NFC that has me mesmerized. Today's NFL generally features a matchup of explosive offenses trying to match score for score and it has become extremely rare to find a matchup where both teams hang their hat on the defensive side of the ball. Both teams come in red hot with Carolina winners of four straight and the 49ers winning five straight games. With both these teams expecting to see the postseason, this game becomes even more crucial to the overall mix of the NFC playoff picture as seeding is determined down the stretch. Quarterback play may be limited by the great defenses, but with two charismatic signal callers taking center stage you can't help but think that this game will come down to a late-game drive. Newton or Kaepernick will need to step up to decide a defensive masterpiece that should stay within the spread of 6.5 and give Carolina a fifth straight cover against the spread. But look for San Francisco to win the war and extend the teams winning streak to 6. Denver Broncos/ San Diego Chargers over 57.5 What can I say, if you haven't hopped on this trend by now you must not like money. I know I must sound like a broken record here, but the over on Denver games this season are 8-0. So you know if I am willing to play the over when the Broncos are going against lowly Jacksonville then you can imagine how fast I’ll back them on the over against the Chargers. Mike McCoy gets his first chance at his former employer on his turf and he will surely be eager to get his licks in against the quarterback he once talked strategy with. Philip Rivers will be eager to get past last week’s nightmare finish and the bye couldn't have come at a better time for Peyton Manning and his various injuries. A fresh Manning and a motivated Rivers combined with two age old division rivals will make for a back and forth affair that should light up the scoreboard. Two veteran gunslingers combined with a perfect San Diego afternoon and you have another easy over for backers of the most consistent winner of the 2013 season. Dallas Cowboys/ New Orleans Saints over 53 Under the lights in the Big Easy this potential playoff preview features two of the most productive quarterbacks in the league. With playmakers galore, both these teams boast versatile playmakers that are capable of stretching the field and turning any play into a house call. With Sean Payton back on the sidelines the loud house is once again one of the toughest venues to get a road win in the entire league. While this contest features two top 5 passing offenses, the defenses may be left in the dust. These are the games Tony Romo tends to shine in and lately when the stakes are highest he has risen to the occasion and brought his best efforts against the other elite signal callers in the NFL. Drew Brees on the other hand is as consistent as they come. That is just part of the reason he is in the discussion along with Brady, Manning and Rodgers as the best quarterback in the game. For quite a while Brees made the most of a mediocre supporting cast and now that he has the game’s premier tight end in Jimmy Graham and Swiss Army knife Darren Sproles he is taking Sean Payton's offense to the next level. This game has all the makings of an offensive onslaught with the team who has the ball last potentially being the winner. Romo and Brees will put the ball up early and often on the way to a combined total well into the 60's. Questions? Comments? Send them to and we might respond in our weekly mailbag!

Send feedback on our
new story page