A slightly smaller slate of games for Sunday, with another contest moved to Monday, so once again, two games on Monday night, which works out well for bettors. Fell to 8-10 on the season with an ugly 1-3 last Sunday with a couple of real clunkers, as haven’t been able to get on track yet this season.
Atlanta at Minnesota: The Vikings are now favored by 4 and the total on the game has dropped slightly from 56 to 54 with the betting being pretty much split down the middle on the over/under. The Vikes are getting close to two-thirds of the side wagers. The Falcons made a coaching move and now face a Minnesota team that has dropped a couple of close games and is in danger of falling out of the playoff hunt early on. The Vikings get the advantage in both Yards Per Point and Yards Per Play, and this is a game they can’t afford to lose. The Vikings’ defense hasn’t been all that impressive, while the Atlanta offense has been stuck in a bit of a rut the last two games, scoring 16 points in each game. Minnesota needs this one badly, while the Falcons are likely still trying to come to grips with what happened, so will take the Vikings -4 and also the under 54 in this one.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh: The Steelers are favored by 3.5 and the total on this one climbed slightly from 50 to 51. The move on the total isn’t surprising, as both teams are among the very best in the league in Yards Per Point on offense and among the worst in the league when it comes to Yards Per Point on defense. Both teams are below 13 on offense and both are below 14 on defense. Both teams are decent against the run, with the Browns allowing 3.8 yards per carry and the Steelers are allowing just 3.3 yards per rush. Hoping that translates into more passes thrown than normal, so will take a shot on the over 51 in this game.
Green Bay at Tampa Bay: Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady do battle in this one and the Packers are favored by 1 with a total floating around 55 points. The Bucs didn’t play a particularly good game last time out, but did get a few extra days off, having played last Thursday. Tampa’s rush defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves, as they’re allowing 2.7 yards per carry. For all the accolades Rodgers gets, and they’re deserved, he’s at his best when Green Bay has both the passing and the rushing game going, and that could be a problem. Will take a shot on the Bucs +1 in this one.
We’re plugging along with a 7-7 record so far this season, splitting each day we’ve had games, which is a bit unusual, as I’m typically more streaky than that. But on to Sunday’s games and we’ll have four more plays.
LA Rams at Washington: The Rams are favored by 7.5 in this one at William Hill and the total on the game is 46. The Rams from their first loss of the season with a 17-9 win over the New York Giants in a non-covering effort, while Washington was thumped 31-17 by the Ravens at home a week ago. It was the team’s third straight loss after opening the year with a win. Kyle Allen will get the start for Washington, although it’s been the defense that has been the biggest issue with a team, not really the offense. This is the first of two straight road games for the Rams, who have a date at San Francisco next week and they could get caught looking ahead to that one a little, so will take a shot on the home dog in this one.
Cincinnati at Baltimore: The Ravens are favored by 12 over Joe Burrow and the Bengals and that’s a steep number, considering Cincinnati is playing pretty well now, covering their last three games. The Bengals have a +1.5 YPP rating, and the team’s defense number of allowing a point every 16.1 yards is actually pretty solid. The team’s offense is scoring a point for each 14.6 yards gained, which is also decent. The Ravens are better in both areas, but don’t mind taking the points in this one, so will take Cincinnati +12 here.
NY Giants at Dallas: The Cowboys are favored by 8.5 and the total is 53 in this one and have to grab the under here. The Giants have scored a high of 16 points this season, while the Cowboys haven’t stopped anybody after their opening week game against the Rams, where they allowed 20 points. But Seattle, Atlanta and Cleveland are better offensively than the Giants and Dallas. Expecting the Cowboys to come out and put a little more emphasis on defense.
Minnesota at Seattle: The Seahawks are favored by 7 against the underachieving Vikings in this one and the total is 56.5. Think the number’s a little high here, as Seattle was favored by 3 over New England and 5 over Dallas. A lot of people were on Miami last week, myself included, when the ‘Hawks were able to sneak in there and get the cover, but it looks like you’re paying a little bit of a premium this week. Seattle has been winning, but their home wins have been by 5 and 7, so will take the Vikes +7.
So far we’re sitting at 5-5 in the NFL, unable to get anything going resembling a winning streak, as we’ve been 1-1 and 2-2 on back-to-back Sundays, so it would be nice to get on the plus side here.
So far, overs are rolling along in the NFL, going 28-18-3 (60.9%) give or take a game depending on your line. Favorites and underdogs are pretty even, with favorites 24-23-2 against the spread and 34-14-1 straight-up, so the line has come into play in a fair number of games.
Seattle at Miami: The Seahawks and Russell Wilson opened as 6.5-point favorites and the line is now down to 5.5 despite the fact that Seattle is getting 70% of the wagers. Seattle is coming off three impressive victories, knocking off New England and Dallas in their last two games at home, but now have to travel cross-country with their No. 32-ranked defense to face the Dolphins, who have had a few extra days to get ready for this one. Favorites who allowed 30 or more points in back-to-back weeks are just 4-9 ATS over the years. Add in an early start and I’ll take a shot on the Fish +5.5.
Jacksonville at Cincinnati: Joe Burrow and the Bengals are favored by 2.5 over Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars in a game featuring fan favorite quarterbacks. The Bengals opened -3, but the Jags have received 55% of the wagers, which typically may not see a move off of 3. Burrow has a solid future ahead, but the Jags are better defensively and right now at least, Minshew and Jacksonville are No. 21 in offense, while the Bengals are No. 27. Will take the Jags here.
Minnesota at Houston: The Vikings are a mess right now, but the Texans aren’t any better, as both teams bring 0-3 records into this one. Minnesota being 0-3 is probably a slightly bigger surprise than the Texans, but few people would have expected this would be one of the worse games of the week just a month ago. Winless home favorites in Week 4 are just 10-17 ATS, so will take the Vikings +3.5 in this one.
Buffalo at Las Vegas: The Bills are favored by 3 and the total has jumped all the way to 52.5 after opening 49.5 and still don’t believe it’s high enough and will take the over in this one. The Bills are No. 2 in passing offense and should have some success through the air, while the Raiders can move the ball on the ground or through the air. The Raiders’ pass defense looks better than it is due to the Patriots having so much success on the ground last week.
We’re spinning our wheels at 3-3 through the first two weeks of the NFL season and have a decent slate of games on tap for Sunday.
Tennessee at Minnesota: The Vikings have looked bad through the first two weeks of the season, particularly last week at Indianapolis and now face a Tennessee team that has captured its first two games of the season. The line on this one is fluctuating between Tenn. -2.5 or Tenn. -3 depending on your sportsbook, showing the importance of shopping around for the best line. Teams who have dropped their first two games straight-up and against the spread have been good bets in Week 3 over the years, going 85-53-1 (61.6%) over the years and the Vikes are one of six teams in that situation today. Will take Minnesota and use the +2.5 since I know not everybody will have access to Minn +3.
Las Vegas at New England: The Patriots are favored by 5.5 in this one, which is a tough spot for the Raiders, who opened their new stadium with a big win on Monday night. The Pats had their chances in Seattle but came up a couple of yards short. Cam Newton has looked decent and New England is utilizing his strengths instead of making him try to run the same offense Brady did for years, which is the sign of a good coaching staff. Will take the Patriots and lay the 5.5 in this one.
San Francisco at NY Giants: The 49ers play their second straight game on the East Coast and this time face a Giants team that has started off the season with a pair of losses. Injuries are going to be a factor for both teams in this one, but the 49ers look to be the hardest hit of the two. The line has trickled down from SF -4 to 3.5, but think the Giants will be able to keep this one close and will take a shot on the home underdog.
Detroit at Arizona: The Cardinals are favored by 5.5 and the total here is up to 55 in a game the Lions need to stay in the hunt for the NFC Central. The Cardinals have looked solid so far this year but we are only a couple of games into the swing of things. The number is high, but like this one to land over the total. After blowing leads the first two weeks, don’t expect to see Detroit slow down if they get in front, while the Cardinals should be able to put up some points against a suspect Lion defense.
Split the two NFL plays last week and now we head to Week 2, where we don’t really have a marquee matchup like we did in the first week.
Rams at Philadelphia: The Eagles opened -3.5 in this one and the line quickly came down after Philadelphia’s collapse against Washington and the home team is now favored by 1 at William Hill. The Rams have gotten more than 70% of the early wagers, which is probably a combination of their win against the Cowboys and the Eagles’ showing in Week 1. Think this is a good spot for the Eagles to get back on track here and will go ahead and take Philadelphia -1.
Carolina at Tampa Bay: The Bucs are favored by 8.5 and the total is 47.5. This is a completely different team than Tom Brady is used to playing for, as the Bucs aren’t quite the same defensively as New England. Betting New England under the week after a loss used to be a given (3-14-1 in totals after a straight-up loss since 2015) but you’re unlikely to see the same type of trend with Tampa. Carolina looked decent offensively last week and not too great on the defensive side of things, which isn’t a good combination against Tampa, who should get better on offense as the season goes along. Have to think we see some points by both teams in this one and will take the over in this spot.
Detroit at Green Bay: The Packers are favored by 6 and the total here is all the way up to 49.5 and still think that probably isn’t enough and will be on the over in this one as well. The Lions are a bit of a mess in the secondary this week with some injury problems and think we’ll see some scoring by both teams in this one, as well, so will take the over in this one.
Jacksonville at Tennessee: The Titans opened 11.5 and the line quickly plummeted to 7.5 as we saw the return of Minshewmania for at least a week, but think things will come crashing back down to earth for the Jags. The Titans did everything wrong against Denver in opening week, losing by a pair as 3-point road favorites. This isn’t a great spot for Jacksonville, as teams who won the previous week as big underdogs have been poor wagers as big dogs the following week. Since the start of the 2012 season, teams who were 7-point dogs and won outright are just 6-17 ATS if getting at least a touchdown the following week. Will take the Titans and lay the points in this one.
Week 1 plays
An NFL season like no other kicks into full swing today with 12 games, including the Tampa Bay debut of Tom Brady, the premier of the Las Vegas Raiders and the opening of the Chargers’ new stadium. While there are going to be plenty of differences this season, ultimately it comes down to what transpires on the field, making it not all that different than any other season.
LA Chargers at Cincinnati: It will be a look under center for both of these teams, as Tyrod Taylor takes over for Phillip Rivers to lead the Chargers, while Joe Burrow assumes the signal calling duties from Andy Dalton for the Bengals. The Chargers are favored by 3 and the total is 41.5 at William Hill.
The Chargers allowed 19 points per game on the road last season, which is pretty impressive, as Los Angeles was known to make some turnovers at inopportune times and left their defense a short field to defend on more than one occasion. Rivers didn’t have a typical season, throwing 23 touchdowns, but also 20 interceptions. A quarterback with a lifetime 2-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio usually does a better job protecting the football. Enter Taylor, who won’t throw for the same number of yards or scores as Rivers, but has been good protecting the football.
As good as Burrow looked at LSU, this is going to be a bit of an eye-opener, as he’ll face an NFL defense for the first time. Expecting the Bengals to play things a bit conservative, so will go ahead and take the under 41.5 in this one.
Dallas at Los Angeles Rams: The Cowboys are favored by 2 with a total of 51.5 in the late game on Sunday. The Rams have made a number of personnel changes since last season, while the Cowboys bring in Mike McCarthy to run things this year.
The Cowboys were better than their record a year ago and Dallas should be a little more offensive oriented this season with McCarthy in charge. Dallas likes to run the football, although the Rams are better than average at stopping the run, so you have to expect to see Dallas throw more often than usual. On the other side of the equation, the Rams don’t run the ball that well, while the Cowboys defend the run well. That should equate to a fair number of passes for the Rams.
The Rams started off fast offensively at home a year ago and ended on a high note, averaging 31.5 points in their first two and last two games. The middle three games weren’t pretty, with the Rams only scoring 30 points, although those were against the 49ers, Ravens and Bears, who are all better defensive teams than Dallas.
The Cowboys were 5-3 in totals on the road last season and believe they’ll start off strong in this one, so will take the over 51.5 in this spot.