Sides I Like
Chargers (PK) over Vikings: I didn’t think I would have interest in betting the Chargers when they opened as a road favorite. They aren’t a reliable team and they’re facing a Vikings team with extra time to rest and prepare after they played on Thursday night in Week 2. But the Chargers’ 0-2 start with losses to the Dolphins and Titans creates an opportunity to bet on them at a cheap price.
The Chargers’ loss to the Dolphins has aged well with how Miami looks this season, and their loss on the road against the Titans could’ve gone either way. If they had won either of those games, the Chargers would be a favorite here. I’m going to attempt to buy low on Los Angeles against a Vikings team I’m looking to sell in individual games this season. I expect this to be a close game because that’s how both teams play, but the Chargers are more likely to win, and that’s all they need to do to cover.
Browns (-3.5) over Titans: The Browns have had a big positive and some negatives through their first two games against the Bengals and Steelers. The positive is that their defense looks to be one of the best in the NFL, with a lot of talent and an experienced DC in Jim Schwartz. The defensive line is especially good and will be a mismatch for the Titans’ offensive line in this game. The negatives are that QB Deshaun Watson is a shell of his former self and RB Nick Chubb sustained a season-ending knee injury this past Monday night.
This game isn’t situationally ideal for the Browns coming off a physical game on Monday night against an AFC North rival in Pittsburgh. However, the price of this game builds in that disadvantage and also downgrades the Browns for losing Nick Chubb. Over the course of a long season, the Browns will miss Chubb, but it looks like they have a capable replacement in Jerome Ford for the short term.
I don’t believe there will be much drop-off from Chubb to Ford for at least a few games. At least not enough for this point spread to move to as low as -3 after some of the early lines for this game had the Browns as a 4.5-point favorite. I’ll take a shot on the Browns to play a cleaner game offensively than they did against the Steelers and for Cleveland’s defense to continue their early-season dominance.
Bills (-6.5) over Commanders: I made a small bet on Bills -6.5 Monday morning when some sportsbooks were moving Buffalo to -7 in this game. Shortly after the line hit -7, it went back to -6.5 and the number hasn’t budged since then.
Maybe I underestimated the Commanders going into the season, but I wasn’t impressed by their narrow win over the Cardinals in Week 1, nor their falling behind by 18 points before rallying against the Broncos in Week 2. I still think the number is short for a Bills team that should be 2-0 if not for Josh Allen’s turnovers against the Jets in Week 1. I’m guessing the Commanders will be a popular underdog bet this week, but I’m going to stick with my original bet on the Bills.
Falcons (+3.5) over Lions: Another bet I made Monday morning was Falcons +4.5 when the line was starting to move. It went all the way down to Lions -3 before some support came in on Detroit to get it back to -3.5. Falcons +3.5 wouldn’t be my favorite bet of the week, but I’ll put them in this section because I already have money on Atlanta.
The Falcons are a team I don’t want to bet on as a favorite — when you need Desmond Ridder to win by margin to cover a number, you’re playing with fire. But their run-heavy system and game-managing QB can work as an underdog to keep the game close. I’m not sold on the Lions after they had some good fortune in a win over the Chiefs in Week 1 and then lost to the Seahawks last week at home. I believe this line should be Lions -3, so there’s some slight line value on the Falcons at the current number.
Sides I’m Considering
Packers (-2) over Saints: I like the spot for the Packers in their home opener against a team playing their second-straight road game on a short week after the Saints played on Monday night. The Packers had a convincing Week 1 win at the Bears and a close loss to a Falcons team I believe is good. The Saints are a team I’m not fully sold on because of HC Dennis Allen and QB Derek Carr. I don’t put much stock in their narrow wins over the Titans and Panthers to start the season.
What’s keeping me from having more conviction on the Packers is their offensive injury situation. RB Aaron Jones missed last week and is a valuable weapon for QB Jordan Love in the passing game. WR Christian Watson has missed the first two games of the season and LT David Bakhtiari missed last week. I’m hoping Green Bay can get some of that help back for this week and will wait to bet this game when more is known about their respective statuses.
Colts (+7.5) over Ravens: I have a lot of interest in betting the Colts this week as an underdog, but I’m waiting to see who starts at QB before making a bet. Rookie Anthony Richardson left Week 2’s win over the Texans after self-reporting a concussion. Backup Gardner Minshew filled in nicely for Richardson to secure the victory, and he’s a very capable option after spending last season with HC Shane Steichen in Philadelphia.
This bet is more about fading the Ravens as a big favorite with all the injuries they have. Last week, there was plenty of anti-Baltimore money in their game in Cincinnati. The Bengals were expected to bounce back on offense and the Ravens were dealing with a cluster of injuries on the offensive line and secondary. The Ravens overcame those injuries and scored a huge 27-24 win.
Now, I can see those injuries playing more of an impact after an all-in performance against the Bengals and preceding a trip to another division rival in the Browns next week. If Richardson starts for Indianapolis, I’ll at least have small bet on the Colts. If Minshew is named the starter and this number gets to +8 or +8.5, then I’ll have a bigger bet on Indianapolis.
Steelers (+2.5) over Raiders: After what I saw from the Steelers in their Monday night win against the Browns, I didn’t think I would have any interest in betting them this week. Pittsburgh’s offense only had nine first downs and didn’t run a play inside the Browns’ 30-yard line. Kenny Pickett hit George Pickens for a 71-yard touchdown and the other two Steelers’ touchdowns were from their defense, so their offense leaves plenty to be desired.
However, price is the most important part of betting the NFL for me, and now the Steelers could be a field goal underdog at the Raiders. It’s not a great situational spot for the Steelers traveling to play another primetime game after a huge divisional win on Monday. But that’s all built into a point spread that moved from Steelers -1 to +2.5 on Tuesday. If Pittsburgh has a reasonable injury report, I’ll look to bet on them.
Giants at 49ers (-10.5): I’m going to stay away from this Thursday night game. The Giants needed a 21-point second-half comeback to beat the Cardinals to move to 1-1 and will be without RB Saquon Barkley. The 49ers appear to be one of the best teams in the NFL, and this is their home opener after a 2-0 start. The Giants played at Arizona in Week 2 and are staying out west, so cross-country travel on a short week is not a factor in this one.
Texans at Jaguars (-9): I have downgraded the Texans to tied for the worst team in the league with the Cardinals after their 0-2 start. They look very much like a rebuilding team with a new head coach, rookie QB and multiple offensive linemen injured. I would be worried to trust the Jaguars’ offense to cover a big number right now, so I’m going to stay away.
Patriots (-2.5) at Jets: This game is where the drop-off from Aaron Rodgers to Zach Wilson will be realized. Wilson has had four forgettable starts against the Patriots in which he has thrown two touchdowns and seven interceptions with a completion percentage just above 50 percent against Bill Belichick. I’m not thrilled by the idea of laying nearly a field goal on the road with the 0-2 Patriots, but I would never bet on Wilson and the Jets in this game.
Broncos at Dolphins (-6.5): It’s very tempting to bet the Broncos at their lowest point; they’re coming off home losses to the Raiders and Commanders. Now, they face off against a Dolphins team whose public perception is very positive after the first two weeks of the season. But there are other games I have more interest in betting on this week, so I’ll likely pass. Another reason to stay away from the Broncos is their former head coach Vic Fangio is the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fangio schemed up his best stuff against the franchise who fired him two years ago.
Panthers at Seahawks (-6): My theory for the Seahawks this season is they’ll be a good team to bet against as a favorite and a good team to bet on as an underdog. We saw that the first two weeks when Seattle lost 30-13 as a home favorite to the Rams and then pulled off the outright upset against the Lions on the road. For this game, I would be looking to bet against them, but I don’t think I can get around to betting the Panthers.
Carolina’s offense has scored two touchdowns this season against the Falcons and Saints. The one against the Saints was late in the game facing a prevent defense after New Orleans built an 11-point lead. I also don’t like the situation for the Panthers traveling across the country on a short week after Bryce Young’s home debut on Monday night.
Cowboys (-12.5) at Cardinals: There will be opportunities to bet against the Cowboys at inflated numbers in the near future, as they’ve outscored opponents by a combined scored of 70-10 this season. But I have no interest in betting on the Cardinals even though they are 2-0 against he spread this season.
Bears at Chiefs (-12.5): The Bears have been one of the biggest disappointments of the season, starting 0-2 in two games with small point spreads. They’re huge underdogs this week as a result. The Chiefs’ offense has struggled this season, but this seems like a spot where Patrick Mahomes and company can get right against a Bears team that is a mess on an off the field. I still think this number is correct, so I’m gong to pass.
Eagles (-4.5) at Buccaneers: Early money is on the home underdog for this Monday night game between two 2-0 teams. The Eagles haven’t looked great in their wins against the Patriots and Vikings, but have extra time to prepare of this game after playing on Thursday in Week 2. The Buccaneers opened as high as +7 for this game before getting bet down. That line move makes sense, but I’ll stay away after missing out on the best of the number.
Rams at Bengals (-2.5): As of this writing, the Bengals are a 2.5-point favorite, but it’s very likely the closing number for this game is quite different. Either Joe Burrow misses the game after aggravating his calf injury in Week 2 and the Rams will be a favorite, or Burrow plays through the injury and Bengals are closer to a six-point favorite.
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