Every week, I’ll pick NFL games against the spread. Week 1 was decent. Week 2 was not. It was bad. No breaks were had. I will do my best to turn things around in Week 3. The Law of Averages, which is not a real thing, dictates that I will have my best week, right now. So let’s do it.
Realize: betting NFL is really hard. These picks are meant to help you out so you don’t lose all your money, but they aren’t meant to be followed blindly. Listen, and hopefully be entertained by my childish jokes. Or at least say something mean about me so I can get a good cry in.
I will make a pick for every game. But if I don’t specifically recommend a bet, I’m just throwing darts. Don’t listen to my advice. The pick is there so I can have a record for picking every game, one that will undoubtedly suck. And then you can make fun of me. I’m a man of the people. As always, I hope you argue with me on Twitter.
For the actual bets, I will keep track of my record and profits/losses. Unlike my NHL/NBA “how not to lose your money gamblin’ “ series, a normal bet will be to win $100, for tracking purposes, because I’m a hypothetical high-roller, and you are too. There will be occasional double, triple, quadruple, and probably even quintuple bets!
Home teams are starred.
Philadelphia Eagles* (-3) over Kansas City Chiefs
I liked the Eagles going into the season, but I was unaware that their defense was a broken power outlet so unstable that it woke Philip Rivers out of his coma, who is now somehow terrorizing the league.
I do think this is a good matchup, though. The Chiefs are probably the better all-around team, but I don’t think they can keep up with the Eagles. Lost in the Chiefs 2-0 start is the fact that their offense has been very Chiefs-like (read: un-explosive, mediocre, BORING).
Kansas City destroyed Jacksonville. But they put up just 4.6 yards per play. That’s not good. They followed that up with a nice win over Dallas, but put up just 4.8 yards per play. If they can’t slow down the Eagles, I don’t think they can keep up. The Eagles put up 8.8 yards per play against the Chargers, and 5.8 against the Redskins despite slowing things down in the second half. They’ve been incredible on offense against bad defenses. I think they should be fine, even against a pretty good defense. And Brandon Flowers may not play.
You know what they say: You can take the Flowers out of the Chiefs defense, and all of a sudden they’re not so pretty, and then DeSean Jackson scores touchdowns.
But will I be surprised if Jamaal Charles runs for 930 yards on 12 carries and the Eagles lose 72-60? Only a tiny bit. The Eagles defense should scare you.
Bet: Eagles -3 (-120), $120 to win $100
Houston Texans (-1) over Baltimore Ravens*
A good ol’ Diarrhea Bowl, a matchup between two teams that look like they’ve switched their pre-game meals to Crave Cases this year. The Texans could be missing their left tackle, though Andre Johnson reportedly should be ready.
I don’t love the Texans, but I hate the Ravens. They’re still a bit overrated due to that whole “we won the Super Bowl” thing. They’re just not good. At all. The Texans are fairly good. They’ve disappointed so far, but their struggles have been overrated. They outplayed the Titans last week (5.8 yards per play versus 3.7), and the offense has looked pretty solid.
The Texans’ diarrhea is bearable. The Ravens’ is not. Probably has something to do with the Texas BBQ sauce.
(Note: This line was at -1 when I wrote it. It’s -2.5 now. I still like Houston.)
Bet: Texans -1 (-110), $110 to win $100
Dallas Cowboys* (-3.5) over St. Louis Rams
I feel like I have to mention every week that I picked the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl. Really, I did this. I was conscious. And it was done with the assumption that Tony Romo would be their quarterback.
I said Tony Romo would win a Super Bowl.
I said this. So plan accordingly while taking my advice.
Then again, I must add that you would have said the same thing last year if I mentioned Joe Flacco winning a Super Bowl. People talk about the NFL’s parity all the time, yet they still somehow underestimate it.
This line implies that the ‘Boys are just .5 points better than the Rams. I think they are much better than the Rams. I think they will ram the ball into Dez Bryant’s hands, and he will follow in the footsteps of Julio Jones last week and put a repeat-torching on St. Louis.
Don’t fear the Romo. Hop on the bandwagon. I need company, since I am the only one on this thing.
Bet: Cowboys -3.5 (-110), $110 to win $100
Cleveland Browns (+6) over Minnesota Vikings*
It’s Brian Hoyer time.
If this line climbs any more (it probably won’t), I’ll bet on the Browns. For now, I’m staying away. Hoyer-for-Weeden is not a bad thing.
I do like the under, very much, though. We know the Browns can’t score, Hoyer or not. The addition of Josh Gordon should be quite helpful, but not enough. Browns totals should start opening in the 37-37.5 range, and this is at 41. They have a good defense. They’re holding opponents to 4.2 yards per play, and just 2 yards per rush (first in the NFL). It’s early, but this defense will be good.
Slow down Adrian Peterson, and the Vikings won’t score much. Stand in place, and the Browns won’t score much. Combine these things, and pound the under.
Bet: Under 41 (-110), $220 to win $200
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8) over New England Patriots*
People are freaking out about the Bucs. People need to calm down about the Bucs. The Bucs are not in the market for a coffin yet, so stop hammering that nail into thin air.
Even our own Eric Goldschein is giving up on them, though I must agree that their schedule looks really hard, so they could have a decent season and still wind up with a shitty record.
As far as betting goes, though, when people give up on a team, there’s often value. The Jets were pegged as 16 points worse than the Patriots last week, as 13-point road underdogs. That was a gross exaggeration, and the Pats looked like mongoose shit. The Bucs are now pegged as 11 points worse than the Pats. That was not true at the beginning of the season, nor is it true now, with New England starting amputee receivers.
The Patriots are overrated ’til further notice, and the Bucs are underrated.
But never go crazy betting on Josh Freeman on the road. It will destroy you, no matter your intestinal fortitude.
(Note: This line has been moving a bit towards the Bucs. Right now, it’s -7.5 and looks like it’ll get to -7. Make sure you get 7.5 if possible.)
Bet: Bucs +8, (-110), $95 to win $86.36 AND ML (+280), $15 to win $42
New Orleans Saints (-7)* over Arizona Cardinals
This is a pretty simple bet. Oddsmakers consistently underrate the Saints’ home field advantage. If we assign the Superdome the traditional 3-point value, that means the Saints are just four points better than the Cardinals. Since they’ve actually placed players on defense this year rather than terra cotta bowling pins, I would still like the Saints under that assumption. They look good. Drew Brees was weirdly awful last week and I wouldn’t put any stock in that.
(And my point is, their home-field advantage is bigger than three points.)
Trends are usually pointless, but this one is not.
Saints are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 home games.
Take the Saints. I’ll probably also throw them in a parlay. It’s hard to see them losing.
Bet: Saints -7 (-105), $105 to win $100
San Diego Chargers (+3) over Tennessee Titans*
I don’t get either of these teams. Philip Rivers is alive and the Titans have a defense, so far. I saw neither of these things coming. There’s no guarantee they continue.
Since I don’t know what’s going on, I probably shouldn’t bet on this game. But why are the Chargers underdogs? I really don’t get it. Jake Hurt Locker was worse than Comatose Philip Rivers, and he’s certainly worse than Pulsating Philip Rivers. Good ol’ Pulsatin’ Phil is back. I don’t get this. I don’t get this.
Bet: Chargers +3 (+100), $85 to win $85 AND ML (+164), $25 to win $41
Detroit Lions (+2.5) over Washington Redskins*
Hrm. Team I liked preseason (Lions) as underdogs against team I disliked. RGIII still stands for Robert Gimpin’ The Third.
Seriously, bet against Washington until they show something. Their defense looks like a joke. How will they stop Calvin Johnson? If the Lions can run the ball at all — and James Starks just went off on Washington — how doesn’t Detroit go off?
I’m not a fan of +2.5 spreads, though, and it’s not worth it to buy a half-point to +3, so I’d just hit the moneyline here.
And check out the Detroit team total over, which isn’t out yet, but looks like it should be about 24. I’ll update it as soon as it’s out, which sadly probably isn’t ’til Sunday.
Bet: Lions ML (+120), $100 to win $120
New York Jets* (-1) over Buffalo Bills
I’m a Jets fan who has now backed the Jets all three weeks, so I understand if you don’t listen to me. But: they’re 2-0 against the spread. A team as universally mocked as the Jets is ripe for betting.
They’re getting closer to being properly-ranked, but they are better than the Bills. Straight-up.
Yes, the Bills have looked decent. But this is E.J. Manuel’s first road game, and Rex Ryan owns the Bills at home.
Bet: Jets -1 (-110) $110 to win $100
Atlanta Falcons (+1) over Miami Dolphins*
When I see a matchup like this, I want to cry. I think both teams are overrated, and the laws of math say I can’t bet against both.
Green Bay Packers (-3) over Cincinnati Bengals*
This is very simple. Unreal passing offense and subpar defense versus very good defense and meh offense. I’m sure you can figure out which team is which.
Green Bay has been really impressive so far, playing the Niners tough (maybe even outplaying them outside of losing the turnover battle) and then dismantling the Washington Redskins (don’t get used to that name).
The Bengals have been pretty solid too; barely losing in Soldier Field isn’t an embarrassing occurrence. Though I think it’s weird that you rarely hear a negative word about the Bengals, despite everyone shouting that “this is a quarterback league!” Andy Dalton is unoffensive, but Aaron Rodgers he is not.
I definitely lean towards the Pack, but I don’t see any value. The line implies that Green Bay is about six points better than the Bengals on a neutral field, and I think that’s fair. Maybe it’s even a bit much.
New York Giants over Carolina Panthers* (pk)
You know the story with the Giants. Talented, but 10 turnovers in two weeks. Unsurprisingly, 0-2. But they did play two good teams, as underdogs. It’s not panic time, yet.
The Giants are averaging 6.7 yards per play. The Panthers are averaging 4.5. But the Panthers are underachieving, and they haven’t turned the ball over 10 times.
So what do you do?
You do nothing. You watch this game and you drink some
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, because it has a wonderful name and it is delicious and you can drink it all day.
I do like the Giants a tiny bit. But not enough.
San Francisco 49ers* (-10) over Indianapolis Colts
This number is fair. The Niners are still really good. The Colts are still Andrew Luck, a couple receivers and a few bunches of talentless dandelions. But I’m certainly not betting against an Andrew Luck backdoor cover.
Check back for a potential 49ers team total over 28, though. I like that at first glance.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+19) over Seattle Seahawks*
As you likely could have guessed, this is just about as big a spread as you’ll ever see. But it makes sense, since Jacksonville, maybe even sans MJD, in the boisterous death trap that is Seattle.
Trends are pretty much meaningless with tiny sample sizes, but just so you know, only 2 of the biggest 12 favorites in NFL history covered the spread, according to The Big Lead.
There’s no way I’ll play a team as 19-point favorites in the NFL. But I have literally zero faith in Jacksonville.
The only thing I could possibly find to justify a play: the Seahawks were 8-0 at home last year, but “only” won five of those games by double-digits, and “just” three by 20+. Two wins came by a combined three points.
But none of this means anything. When it’s Jacksonville or bust, you should be busting all over the place. Which means not betting anything, in this nonsensical analogy.
Chicago Bears (-1) over Pittsburgh Steelers*
I’ve gotta lean Bears, but betting Jay Cutler on the road is less fun than flying next to Phil Taylor, and the Steelers aren’t as bad as they’ve looked. Also, the Bears just gave up over 7 yards per attempt to Christian Ponder.
Denver Broncos* (-15) over Oakland Raiders
If I had to choose, I’d rather bet on a team like the Broncos at an absurd number rather than the Seahawks, just because their pass-happy style lends itself more favorably to blowouts. More points = higher chance of blowouts. Simple.
Buuuuut the Raiders have shown a pulse, and if you have a pulse, you have a very good chance of covering a 15-point spread in the NFL. A team of six Rocky Mountain toads once covered a 13-point spread, on the road, in Seattle. It happened. There’s no documentation of it, but it was either 1994 or 1995. You just forgot.
Oh, yeah. I don’t see any value here, regardless of Terrelle Pryor’s awfulness.
If the Denver team total is 31 or lower, though there might be an over in sight. Stay tuned.
Moneyline parlay: Saints, Cowboys, 49ers AND Michigan Football (really)… (+166): $200 to win $332
I told you I’d throw the Saints in a parlay. I’m not a liar, unless you ask me what I did on Tuesday night. And that’s for your own good.
Betting Record 12-14 (.462) (-$612.65)
Dart-throwing record: 15-16-1 (.484)