NFL Week #3 Picks
Last week, was brutal. I finished 3-6-1, for a net loss of – $1,070. Here’s a look back at the damage:
Indianapolis / Washington OVER 48 (-110) — Lost $330
Los Angeles Chargers / Buffalo UNDER 43.5 (-110) — Lost $330
[6-Pt. Teaser] Atlanta (Pick) / New Orleans -3 (-110) — Push
NY Jets -2.5 vs. Miami (-110) — Lost $330
Philadelphia -3 vs. Tampa Bay (-110) — Lost $330
New Orleans -9 vs. Cleveland (-110) — Lost $330
Jacksonville +1.5 vs. New England (-110) — Won $300
Chicago -3 vs. Seattle (-115) — Won $300
[First Half] Tennessee +1.5 vs. Houston (-115) — Won $200
[First Half] NY Giants +1.5 vs. Dallas (-110) — Lost $220
2018 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $8,845. [- $1,155.]
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 7 wins / 10 loses / 1 pushes
Okay, so I got my teeth kicked in. But, I can still bite. Let’s move on to NFL Week #3.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS:
[6-pt. Teaser]: Houston (Pick) / Dallas +7.5 (-120) — Risking $960 to win $800
Texans this week look to be the best teaser play of the young season, so far. Sure, Houston is 0-2, but those were two road games versus playoff teams from last season (NWE and TEN) and both games went down to the wire. This week, Houston plays its home opener against an opponent which is a steep drop in class. NY Giants problems were on full display last week at Dallas. This is a badly-coached team (new head coach has yet to win a game) with an absolutely horrid offensive line and a quarterback that looks to be on the downside of his career. This is certainly a must win for both teams, but you have to give a big edge to Houston which is still playing fundamentally good football despite the 0-2 start versus an opponent which has looked dismal offensively going back to last year. NY Giants should bottom out this week against a much better, more motivated team in their home opener. I’m also playing Houston as a side. ///// The Dallas +7.5 wager is a combination of factors. First, the Wong teaser applies. The Cowboys are a mediocre team, but they also don’t make many mistakes so long as they can run the ball. And Dallas should be able to outmuscle Seattle’s 23rd-ranked rush defense. Seattle looked lost offensively last week. This is one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Russell Wilson may be the best QB in the game given how weak his supporting cast is, but he’s not been productive out of the pocket, so far. If Seattle wins, it should be close. So, I think Dallas +7.5 has tremendous value in a game with a good rushing offense against a team coming off a short week (Seattle lost on MNF), which looks really bad offensively. For this reason, I’m making a larger than normal play on this teaser.
[6 pt. Teaser]: Houston (Pick) / Tampa Bay +7.5 (-120) — Risking $960 to win $800
See write-up above on Houston Texans ///// One of the fundamental tenets of betting the NFL is not to overreact to things we saw the previous week or two. However, it’s become clear that Tampa Bay was underestimated by just about everyone and looks to be a possible contender. Hosting a MNF game is the real test, yet Tampa appears to be getting no respect as a home dog. This line is based entirely on public images of the two franchises (Pittsburgh is a winner, Tampa is a loser). I’m happy to fade that. Steelers have been a mess defensively and now face a team that destroyed the last two defenses they faced, scoring 75 points in two games. Tampa also gets to stay at home a second straight week, brimming with confidence. I see no reason why Tampa’s offensive output shouldn’t continue with QB Fitzpatrick clearly in a hot zone. Pittsburgh has looked dreadful dating back to their loss at home in the playoffs versus Jacksonville. I don’t think they right the ship on the road against a team playing their biggest home game in years. If the game is close, I’m thrilled to Wong teaser this number up to +7.5.
Houston -6 vs. NY Giants (-110) — Risking $330 to win $300
The NY Giants are 1-8 straight up in their last 9 road games (since the start of 2017 season) and 2-7 against the spread. They’ve demonstrated no offensive firepower in two games this season. I don’t see the Giants changing their losing ways. Meanwhile, I believe Deshaun Wilson is the real deal and will enjoy a breakout victory here at home. Houston is the #1 ranked offensive rushing team in the NFL through two games (despite being 0-2!) which is a remarkable statistic given teams that are losing usually abandon the run and post poor rushing numbers. Read that last sentence again because it’s unfathomable. Losing teams simply aren’t great running teams. It doesn’t happen, except here. Houston averages 5.3 YPC and those numbers aren’t skewed by any long runs. Hence, we have home field motivation, a power running game, a terrible Giants offensive line, and get to fade a new unproven coaching staff. I’ll lay the -6 and look for Houston to put up a convincing victory this week.
Cincinnati +3 vs. Carolina (-110) — Risking $330 to win $300
Carolina was hit by the injury bug this week. Their offensive line has serious problems and will face a better than average Bengals unit. Cincinnati also has 10-days rest. The 2-0 Bengals offensive line is playing terrific, so far. Just two sacks allowed in two games. Carolina Cam Newton is the flashier player, but Cats’ Anthony Dalton may have more weapons on his side this week, with AJ Green already with 4 touchdowns in just two games. I see a close game where the points could matter. I was high on Cincy coming into this season (I’m perhaps the only person on the planet who said the Bengals will be a playoff team). After a 2-0 start and given the pedigree of talent which may not be great but is certainly above average, I’ll take this rested road dog versus an opponent missing its All-Pro tight end (Olsen) and a patchwork offensive line.
Miami -3 vs. Oakland (-115) — Risking $345 to win $300
What a ridiculous line! Sure, if the game was 45 minutes long and played as three quarters, the Raiders might be undefeated. But the second half is when good coaches and players rise to the occasion. Oakland remains in a funk, led by a below-average QB with no long-ball capabilities. The line -3 suggests these are two equal teams (3 points is the standard adjustment for home field). Anyone who thinks the Raiders are equal to the Dolphins at the moment must be guzzling Kool-aide. Oakland plays a second road game this week, and must go coast-to-coast for an early start. That’s an obvious disadvantage. But the real Dolphins’ edge comes along the offensive line. QB Tannehill may not be flashy, but he’s 9-1 in his last ten starts [that’s the best record in the NFL the last ten games]. He’s playing well and faces an pass rush that’s almost non-existent. So far, Raiders have just two sacks in two games. Look for Miami to move the ball well versus an Oakland front which kept things close in previous games but now faces an under-the-radar opponent getting no respect. This line should be -4 and perhaps -4.5 at a minimum. Add some historical factors about Miami as a very solid September team, and this becomes a must play for any serious bettor seeking an edge. BTW, public is all over OAK, so that’s even a better reason to play this home team getting no respect.
Washington +3 vs. Green Bay (-110) — Risking $330 to win $300
[First Half] Washington +1.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
I love betting on teams playing back-to-back home games following a humiliating defeat. Washington punished Arizona on the road in the opener and then looked horrible hosting Indianapolis last week. Which team is the real Redskins? Who knows — probably somewhere in between. However, a motivated home team is someone I want to back versus a fraud which should be 0-2 on the season, except for some extraordinary luck and magic from QB Aaron Rodgers. There’s very little to like about Green Bay, expect the QB spot. This line suggests the Packers are -6 better than Washington on a neutral field, which I’ll call as bullshit. Give me the home team off a disappointing loss, against an opponent which has played two home games, is 0-2 against the spread, and has been very fortunate to be where they are. Redskins +3 is the play. I’m also taking the home dog in the first half, as Green Bay has not looked well-prepared early in either of its first two games.
Chicago / Arizona UNDER 38.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
[First Half] Arizona +3 (even) — Risking $220 to win $200
Arizona +6 vs. Chicago (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
Sometimes, you have to be counterintuitive when betting the NFL. Arizona has looked dismal, scoring just 6 points in two games. But since when does Chicago deserve to be laying nearly a touchdown on the road? Keep in mind, Chicago (and Cincinnati) were my two surprise picks in pre-season forecasts. But the Bears don’t merit laying this high number on the road against anyone, especially off a short prep week and a huge MNF victory. It’s a stretch to make a positive case for Arizona, but the Cardinals defense has played somewhat well under the circumstances. It’s expected the Arizona running game, which is burdened with David Johnson’s obscene $36 million contract will force feed him the ball, grind lots of clock (good for the UNDER), and win the time of possession. I see the possible Chicago emotional letdown factor playing into a close, low-scoring game, which swings 20-17 either way. Getting anything above +4 is good for a contrarian wager, but all the way up to +6, this becomes even stronger. Also playing the home dog Cardinals in the first half. So far, Bears’ offense has not proven consistent enough to be laying points, especially on the road. This line is simply overreacting too much based on the Bears’ good showings in primetime.
OTHER GAMES AND THOUGHTS:
PHL laying about -6.5 to -7 to INDY is a game I want no part of given Eagles’ offensive questions. PHL game plan last week was the worst I’ve seen since Pederson took over as coach. However, INDY traveling two straight weeks is a situation I avoid. If forced to play a side, I’d take INDY so long as you can capture the +7.
JAX now 2-0 plays second straight at home after a big win against NWE. TEN has questions with injuries, including QB Mariota’s status. It’s probably a bet on JAX or nothing. Line seems a little light given JAX is proving to be a bonafide Super Bowl contender. I’d make this number -10, assuming Mariota is a no go.
NOR has been a monumental disappointment in its first two games. Many solid cappers jumped on the Saints with this number opened at +3. Now, it’s down to +2, which provides us with no value. In fact, I still think ATL may be a bit underrated. I’d go against the grain and playing ATL at home again this week. NOR traditionally doesn’t travel well and their historical early season problems appear to be a valid concern.
BALT lays -5 .5 to DEN, going on the road for the first time. Seems like a bad spot for visiting Broncos, especially with BALT given 10-days rest. Still, I don’t think much of the Ravens and generally will lean to fading them whenever laying serious points. I’d take the visitor any other time in this spot, but wouldn’t bite the hook unless I can grab at least +6 (and even that’s shakey). Both of DEN’s wins were somewhat flukey. Could be a letdown for the visitor. Passing on this one.
MIN lays -16.5 to dismal BUF, certainly the worst team in the NFL. I don’t lay big numbers, no matter what. It’s against my handicapping religion. But I sure can’t back the Bills either. There could be some value on the OVER 41 if we think this game gets sloppy in the second half and Vikings use the Bills as a confidence-building punching bag.
KC hosts SFO in its home opener, favored by 6. All the talk is on the KC QB, on a record-setting pace. It’s tempting to take KC here, given the atmosphere should be electric at Arrowhead. Total at 55.5 seems outrageous. That’s a tempting UNDER contrarian play also. Trouble is, if KC builds a lead, this could turn into a shootout. Too volatile a matchup for me.
LAC visit crosstown LAR in battle for Los Angeles. LAC is a very tempting play at +7.
NWE plays -7 to DET, and both of these teams need a win. Some concern that DET coach Patricia (former Pats DC) could know his opponent well enough to get the cover. No way I’m laying a touchdown, especially given NWE playing back-to-back road games. But DET continues to be one-dimensional, with no running game and a weak offensive line. I can see just about any scenario here. This is a stay away game for me.
MY WAGERS ON NFL SEASON WIN TOTALS:
Arizona Cardinals OVER 5.5 wins -180 — Wagering $450 to win $250 0-2
Buffalo Bills OVER 6 wins EVEN — Wagering $400 to win $400 0-2
Cincinnati Bengals OVER 6.5 wins -170 — Wagering $680 to win $400 2-0
Dallas Cowboys UNDER 8.5 wins +110 — Wagering $500 to win $550 1-1
Detroit Lions UNDER 7.5 wins EVEN — Risking $400 to win $400 1-2
Houston Texans UNDER 8.5 wins +120 — Risking $400 to win $480 0-2
Jacksonville Jaguars OVER 9 wins -145 — Risking $725 to win $500 2-0
Indianapolis Colts UNDER 6.5 wins +170 — Risking $400 to win $680 1-1
New Orleans Saints OVER 9.5 wins -145 — Risking $725 to win $500 1-1
Seattle Seahawks UNDER 8 wins (Best Bet) -150 — Risking $1,500 to win $750 0-2