Welcome back to another edition of Beating the Spread! I’m Jake Roy, and I’m leading the BTS team again this season. I’m joined by two-time Beating the Spread participant and Brennan Rampe and newcomer Jason Wolf. We’ll be here every weekend throughout the season and crown our champion at the end.
Betting on football games is a ridiculous endeavor that’s not for the faint of heart. Just last week, we saw the Arizona Cardinals recover an onside kick and kick a meaningless field goal to cover the spread. If you picked the Baltimore Ravens as Brennan and Jason did, you probably read the game better than someone who bet on the Cardinals as I did. Nevertheless, I came away a winner, while Brennan and Jason had to eat a loss. I guess that’s why they call it gambling.
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)||Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)||Jason Wolf (@J_Wolf_picks)|
|Pick #1||Packers/Steelers under 39.5||Texans +7.0||Browns/Ravens under 38.5|
|Pick #2||Commanders/Seahawks over 45.5||Buccaneers -1.0||Lions/Chargers over 48.5|
|Pick #3||Lions/Chargers over 48.5||Cowboys -16.0||Raiders/Jets under 36.5|
What happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object? On a football field, it’s a game played between the twenty-yard lines. That’s what we’re looking at in Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Packers come into town with an offensive line that can’t block a thing and a defense that’s allowing just under 20 points per game. The Steelers similarly can’t move the ball and keep their opponents out of the end zone. It’s still early, but if I was a gambling man, I’d put my money on Jordan Love not making the Hall of Fame like his two predecessors. Kenny Pickett likely won’t be finding his way to Canton either. If you want to ignore a game in the early window on Sunday, Pittsburgh is probably a safe bet. PIT/GB U39.5
I’ve struggled with spreads over the last couple of weeks, so I’m going to stick to totals. The line in the Washington/Seattle game immediately jumped out at me as low. The Commanders’ defense was solid last week, but it’s hard to give them credit against an inept Patriots’ offense. They’re allowing 27 points per game and lost two of their better defenders at the trade deadline. While the Seattle offensive line is weak, I don’t see the back end of Washington containing the Seahawks’ pass catchers. On the other side, Sam Howell looked great last week against a decent but declining New England defense. Jahan Dotson has started to wake up, and Terry McLaurin is always a weapon. The run game isn’t great, but I still see these two getting up and down the field. WAS/SEA O45.5
Last and hopefully not least, we’re headed to Los Angeles for the game between the Chargers and Lions. The Lions playing on the road and only being favored by five points gives me some pause, but not enough for me to stay away. Lions/Chargers is a game that ends with sixty points. At least one, if not both of these teams are scoring 30 points. Good offense beats good defense in the NFL, that’s just the way it goes. The offense has been down across the league this season, but these are two I believe in. DET/CAR O48.5
The Houston Texans are 4-4 after a thrilling win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 470 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 39-37 win, and he might have locked up the Offensive Rookie of the Year award with his performance. The Cincinnati Bengals are 5-3 and are looking to make another playoff run in the loaded AFC. This game could be more difficult than they expected, however. Wide receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase could both be out, which would be a big problem. Cincinnati’s defense has been solid, but Stroud is not an average rookie. I think that Houston will keep this game close and maybe even get an upset win. HOU +7.0
Inside the Numbers: The Texans are 2-1-0 as an away underdog under DeMeco Ryans
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have now lost four consecutive games after a 3-1 start, but this week presents a great opportunity to get another win. The Tennessee Titans are starting promising rookie quarterback Will Levis going forward, which is the right move. They are 3-5 and look like they’re heading towards a rebuild. They don’t really have many playmakers besides Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins. Tampa Bay is at home and I don’t see them losing to rookie quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. TB -1.0
Inside the Numbers: The Titans are 1-2-0 as an away underdog this year.
This is an enormous spread, which makes me a little nervous, but I’m taking it anyway! The Dallas Cowboys are 5-3 after a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. They came up a few plays short, but they’re still a playoff team. The Giants could very well be the worst team in the league despite making the playoffs and winning a playoff game last year. The offensive line has tons of injuries, the defense is bad, there are no threatening weapons, and they lost Daniel Jones for the year. He wasn’t playing well anyway, and this team’s success last year was a massive fluke. Some guy named Tommy DeVito is going to be the starter now because of injuries to Jones and Tyrod Taylor. I don’t see New York winning another game this season, and I don’t think they’ll be competitive in the games they play. The Cowboys won 40-0 at MetLife Stadium against a fully healthy Giants team, and I’m expecting a similar result in Dallas. Dak Prescott is 11-2 against the Giants in his career. New York could end up with Caleb Williams at the end of the year. DAL -16.0
Inside the Numbers: The Cowboys are 13-11-0 as a home favorite under Mike McCarthy.
The Ravens offense is flying high right now after scoring 30+ points in each of their last three games, destroying division leaders Detroit and Seattle in the process. Lamar Jackson has been playing the quarterback position at a higher level than his 2019 MVP season, the offensive weapons are showing up, and it doesn’t seem to matter who fills in at the runningback position; the offense is clicking. However, the defense is also equally (or more) to credit for the Ravens’ 7-2 start as they are the number one defense in scoring (13.8PPG), second in yardage allowed (262.6), and lead the league in sacks. The Browns’ defense is no slouch either, ranking third in scoring (17.4) and first in yards allowed (234.8). This is a huge divisional matchup as the Ravens are up two games on the Browns for the division lead so Cleveland will be hell-bent on making this a game. Let’s also not forget which division we are talking about here, as the AFC North is famous for the ugliest, most physical rivalries. I expect nothing different from this game despite the Ravens’ offensive brilliance as of late. Instead of picking a side, I am going to take the under here and sit back while these two teams fight like hell for every yard. CLE/BAL U38.5
I was impressed with the way the Chargers moved the ball against one of the NFL’s top defenses in the New York Jets. Their defense is still a work in progress as the Jets could have put up a lot more points with a (semi) competent quarterback. In come the Detroit Lions, fresh off their bye and a lot healthier with runningback David Montgomery set to make his return from injury. With a dominant offensive line and the ground game returning to full force, the Lions should have no problem putting up points against a vulnerable Chargers defense. Justin Herbert should also have little issue moving the ball against a middling pass defense. Avoid picking a side here and instead opt to root for touchdowns and points in what should be a good one. Teasing the Chargers and the over is a good move here for the teaser inclined. DET/LAC O48.5