NFL 2019: Week #3 Picks
2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD
Wins — Losses — Pushes 8 — 7 — 0
Starting Bankroll: $ 8,296.
Current Bankroll: $8,431. (+ $135.)
Last Week’s Results: 5 — 3 — 0 (+ $295.)
This Week’s Wagers: Wagering $2,220. to win $1,950. on 9 bets.
TEASER: Jacksonville +8 with Minnesota -2.5 — Risking $240. to win $200.
Note: Jacksonville already covered the first part of the teaser. The Jacksonville pick was posted on Facebook. Please check Facebook prior to the Thursday NFL game, since some of my wagers will be posted there.
I’m doing a mini-teaser wheel with Minnesota this week, expecting the Vikings to take care of business at home against visiting Oakland. I’ve wheeled the Vikings on three teasers (see the other two legs below). Minnesota is an appealing bet for many reasons. Most sportsbooks currently list them as -9 point favorites. However, a few books have them at -8.5 which presents significantly improved teaser possibilities — namely capturing the win and cover on the key number (3). For those new to betting teasers, we are using Stanford Wong’s methodology first described nearly 20 years ago in “Sharp Sports Betting” to teaser favorites (or sometimes underdogs) over four key betting numbers in the NFL — 3, 4, 6, and 7. Hence, we reduce a big favorite down to a small favorite. Minnesota’s superiority over Oakland doesn’t need much evidence. Although both teams are 1-1, the Vikings bring the much better defense. Minnesota has been a strong bet at home under head coach Zimmer (covering in nearly 70 percent of home games during his tenure) and in the midst of a tough division and race won’t take Raiders lightly. Oakland simply lacks the talent to go on the road here without serious help (Minnesota turnovers, etc.), evidenced by losing 15 of their last 17 non-home games where they have gone a dreadful 4-13 ATS in those contests. Raiders play first road game after two at home, and face Minnesota coming off a tough loss at Green Bay. Vikings probably worth a look laying -8.5 and teased down to -2.5 they are simply too good a value to pass up as the spoke on the mini-teaser wheel.
TEASER: Green Bay -1.5 with Minnesota -2.5 — Risking $240. to win $200.
Green Bay is another attractive leg of the Wong teaser. Admittedly, this second consecutive home team for the 2-0 Packers looks like a possible letdown spot. There’s always such a danger. But Green Bay’s defense has been stellar the first two games and gets an opponent that shows serious offensive inconsistency. Denver has scored just 30 points in two games. QB Flacco has not been anywhere near the Super Bowl-calibre player of six years ago and there’s valid concern he’s not turning this offense around. Kudos to head coach Vic Fangio for going for the win last week (2-pt conversion) which showed real guts. But that opening home loss has to be tough to shake given the Broncos now face a much better QB threat, a defense perhaps as good, and a road game where the home-field advantage is certainly a factor. Packers are very attractive here as the play, teased down and laying less than a FG.
TEASER: Tampa Bay -.5 with Minnestora -2.5 — Risking $240. to win $200.
This is more of an “against” the NY Giants play than a confidence wager on Tampa Bay. At first glance, the Bucs shouldn’t be laying -6.5 to anyone. However, they do enter this game with some decided advantages. First, they get 10-days to prepare and come off a huge confidence-building victory last Thursday night versus a division rival. Moreover, Bucs defense which was expected to stink this year has played outstanding in the first two games. Now, Tampa Bay faces an anemic NY Giants offense which just benched longtime-starter Manning. While that was the correct decision, that sets up the punchless Giants for a bad spot going on the road against a rested and confident foe. I’m always nervous about backing QB Winston with my money. Recall he single-handedly gift-wrapped a victory for the opponent in Week #1 with three horrendous turnovers. Arians and Leftwich will keep Winston on a tighter leash here since it shouldn’t take a herculean effort to beat the floundering Giants. Bucs allowing an impressive 304 YPG. Giants defense allowing 445 YPG. Daniel Jones is a rookie, drafted in April. The Giants hoped he might be able to ride the bench and learn a few things before being thrown into the fire leading a bad offense with a porous offensive line. It’s hard to imagine a worse spot for the visitor here. Accordingly, the Bucs are being teased through some key numbers and laying just -.5 just need to win the game. I’ll like that prospect.
Detroit + 6 vs. Philadelphia — Risking $330. to win $300.
This line looks a little high. I love what I saw from the Eagles in the loss at Atlanta Sunday night. Despite the defeat and pointspead loss, Philadelphia showed some real ability to overcome adversity, including several injuries at key positions. Except for a fluke late 4th down catch and run for a TD by Julio Jones, the Eagles would have won. So, why am I fading them this week? Well, those injuries appear to linger and could be a factor this week. The Eagles have been notoriously slow starters in the first two games, falling behind to Washington (at home!) 0-17 and being down by double-digits to Atlanta. While QB Wentz has led this team to two impressive second-half rallies, something about the Eagles game preparation appears amiss. Meanwhile, Detroit should be 2-0 at right now. Coming off an impressive home dog win against the Chargers, the Lions were up by 18 points in the road opener and settled for a tie. I’m wary of backing Matt Stafford, who never seems to perform well in these key games, but the Lions do have solid wideouts and can certainly score points. I expect a close game where the +6 could be a factor.
Miami / Dallas Under 47.5 — Risking $330. to win $300.
By the same logic I bet the under in the NWE-MIA game last week, this looks to be a nearly identical situation. That game should easily gone under the high number (48), but two defensive scores gave us a late scare. Nonetheless, Miami’s silent offense won’t get any breaks this week playing a road game at Dallas, which also fields one of the league’s better defensive units. We can’t possibly expect Miami to produce many points given the ineptitude we’ve witnessed in the first two games, which make the Dolphins appear epically bad. That demands Dallas to score most of the points to make this game go over, which I don’t foresee happening. Unlike New England, Dallas is more of a rushing team which will keep moving the ball and eat up lots of clock. The Cowboys comfortably at 2-0 won’t need to get fancy here against an outmatched opponent. Moreover, with a road game in the New Orleans Superdome next week on Sunday night, Dallas won’t need to show much or take many risks. I’m looking for a workman’s approach by the Cowboys to this contest, getting the easy home win, and coming out injury-free for a much tougher stretch of games coming up. Also a slight factor, we get the win on a key number (47). Key numbers aren’t quite as significant in the last few years with rule changes. But I still like every little edge. I’m not a fan of QB Josh Rosen, who has looked completely lost as an NFL QB, dating back to games as a starter with the Cardinals last season. This is probably a regression from Fitzpatrick, making the Dolphins prospects for points even bleaker. Under looks like the play.
First Half: Cincinnati + 3.5 vs. Buffalo (at -120) — Risking $180. to win $150.
Taking a small flyer on the painful-to-watch Bengals getting more than a FG on the road against the perfect 2-0 Bills, who I’m not convinced deserve to be laying this much chalk. Bengals being thoroughly humiliated last week should inspire more focus and a better effort. Buffalo’s offense isn’t in the class (yet) of a team that deserves to be favored by this number. In fact, Buffalo could come into this game a little overconfident, in my view. Cincinnati has lit up the yardage stats with 700 yards passing in two games. Buffalo had the luxury of facing two of the most inept offenses in football and now arguably make a step up in class (hard to believe I just typed that referring to Cincinnati). I also think there’s some added pressure on the Bills now that wasn’t there before. I do like the road dog Bengals to cover the game. But the even stronger wager is taking these live cats in the first half.
First Half: Cleveland +1 vs. LA Rams — Risking $165. to win $150.
It’s tough for me to step onto the train tracks and bet against the Rams, who I respect in virtually all aspects of coaching and playmakers. But this looks to be a real down spot for the road favorite. LA Rams are certainly the superior team on paper. However, this primetime game (Sunday night) is the first in Cleveland in a decade and following the Browns’ awful home opener, this game becomes a focal point for the franchise. No doubt, the Browns will be fired up against a top-tier opponent. They came out of the Jets’ game relatively unscathed. LA Rams deserve to be favored and will likely win the game. This offense will wear out any defense. However, in the first 30 minutes, I expect the Browns to ride a wave of home emotion that keeps them close in this contest. Getting +1 in the first half is certainly a promising value.
Washington +4.5 vs. Chicago — Risking $330. to win $300.
First Half: Washington +2.5 — Risking $165. to win $150.
I have two wagers in the MNF game. The Redskins are the play getting points in both the first half and the game. Despite their 0-2 record, Washington has looked decent in their first two games — both against top-tier opponents (PHIL and DAL). The offense has moved the ball and scored points. There’s major concern about Washington’s porous defense, but they get a much softer foe here which has struggled badly to produce yards and points. QB Trubisky shows no signs of maturing as an NFL starter despite being in his third year. Reports are the Bears will “open up the playbook” in this game for the struggling QB, but in a road game on MNF that might not mean much. I think Washington can get to the 20-point mark here, and should also be more aggressive on offense. I’m not as convinced Chicago will suddenly shake off their offensive cobwebs and suddenly produce points. I’m taking the dog with the points until I see Trubsiky can produce as a legitimate NFL starter.
Other Games and Thoughts:
I lean strongly to INDY -3 hosting ATL. Frank Reich can flat out coach and Luckless offense led by QB Jacoby Brissett have played two strong games on the road. They get a softer opponent here who has struggled badly on the road in recent years. Despite ATL’s big win over PHILA on Sunday night, one could see the cracks in this team. They simply aren’t very good. QB Ryan continues making inexplicable downfield throws (recall his mindless int. early in 4th qtr into triple coverage last week that would have iced the victory). Atlanta isn’t running the ball well, which is the Colts’ defensive weaknesss. I’ll take a gutsy team overcoming adversity playing its home opener against a soft opponent and laying a reasonable number. Keep in mind the Colts were projected as a playoff team this season (before Luck’s retirement). The Falcons were not. So, the Colts laying -3 still shows that Indy might not be getting the respect they deserve. However, before boarding the Colts’ train, I want to see them one more week. I had them in Week #1 and faded them in Week #2. With more attractive wagers on the board, I’m taking a hard pass on this contest.
KC is laying -6 to -6.5 versus BALT. That’s the correct line. Remarkable that BALT is the NFL’s top-ranked offense at the moment, but that’s entirely due to facing a couple of weak defenses (MIA and ARZ). They should regress some here in a tough environment where the Chiefs will be up for the first home game since last season’s AFC Championship. Two 2-0 teams with exciting young QBs promises to be the week’s best game and perhaps most intriguing matchup. I also liked what I saw from QB Jackson in this spot last season, where the Ravens didn’t win or cover but still showed they can bring it on the road against top competition. Still, the Ravens have not really been tested yet. KC has won two road games, both covers by double-digits. This looks like a great game to be a spectator, but not a bettor. Only lean is to Under 54.5 based on the prospect BALT will try to grind the clock with lots of running. BALT can’t win a shootout with KC on the road, so they should dictate a slower-paced game. Then, there’s certainly the prospect that the Ravens defense could slow down the Chiefs. Under is the only attractive option for me.
NWE gets another softie this week hosting the helpless NYJ who are probably starting Richard Todd at QB. Laying nearly 20 points with a game total around 43, it’s hard to predict what the Patriots will do. They could win 55-3 or go through the motions and scrap out an ugly win but non-cover. Jets have traditionally played Patriots tough, but that’s a bygone era now with new coaches and non-existent QB. Given the Patriots’ stellar defensive play in first two games, it’s hard to see how NYJ score many points. But I’ve given up trying to predict what secret motivations exist for head coach Belichick or what will be called from the Patriots’ thick playbook. These two teams have played five straight unders. Lean to the under again, but didn’t bet it this week because total declined 5 points from last week’s similar matchup (MIA-NWE). Too much volatility for me to pull the trigger again, but seriously — how will the Jets score any points?
CAR is was laying -2 to ARZ, then we learned that struggling starting QB Newton is out, which swings the game line in the Cardinals’ favor, now laying -2. Panthers are 0-2-0 ATS and SU through two games, which includes a -7-point differential. Meanwhile, ARZ is are 2-0-0 ATS with a +4.0 differential against the spread. Methinks this line might have adjusted just a little too much. Panthers with 10-days prep time are a strong lean. But I sure love the energy and coaching I’ve seen from the Cardinals sideline, so far. Pass.
NOR is getting +4.5 at SEA. Terrible spot for the Saints playing two tough opponents on the road, crippled by loss of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. Backup Bridgewater is experienced and should perform better this week with more prep time. But SEA is always a tough place to play and I sure didn’t like seeing the Saints manhandled on both sides of the ball last week. NOR defense does not look good. Moreover, NOR is once again starting another season slowly (0-2 ATS). It’s SEA or nothing here. No opinion on the total which is now down to 44.5.
LAC are giving -3 to HOU. Intriguing matchup between two 1-1 teams. I can’t explain the LAC lifeless offensive effort last week at DET. HOU also looked flat at home, despite the win over JAX. Line looks about right. Hard to see any edge here, although I considered taking Texans in 1H getting points. Better options exist elsewhere so this is a pass.
Finally, SFO — darlings at 2-0 both ATS and SU face the league’s most disappointing team, which just lost their leader. Roethlisberger gone for the season for Steelers. I incorrectly lambasted 49ers as being a fraud last week and the went out and pasted the shit Bengals. What impresses me most is SFO won two games on the road, which is never easy in the NFL. I think SFO’s stadium and home field is a joke, but I’m slowly coming around to the 49ers being legit. I’ll wait another week and watch to see how they respond to a desperate team with a new starter. A critical must-win game here for PITT. No bets for me on this one.
PICK THE WINNER CONTEST [NO POINTSPREAD] — $200 entry fee
Season Record To-Date: 21-12-1
Week #3 Picks:
CINCY over BUF
DAL over MIA
GREEN BAY over OAK
INDY over ATL
KC over BALT
NWE over NYJ
MINN over OAK
PHILA over DET
CAR over AZ
TB over NYG
HOU over LAC
SFO over PITT
SEA over NOR
CLE over LAR
WASH over CHI
BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]
211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51. — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed