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||Patriots -3.5||Saints -7.5||Vikings +5.0|
|Pick #2||Colts -3.0||Colts -3.0||Cowboys +3.0|
|Pick #3||Seahawks +5.5||Chargers -3.0||Patriots -3.5|
With the Carolina Panthers coming off their first win of the season, it’s the perfect time to remind everyone how bad the Panthers are. Even on the road, I’m backing the Indianapolis Colts here. They’ve lost three in a row but finally have a chance to punch down on a lowly opponent. Gardner Minshew has made a few hilarious throws leading to interceptions, but even without Josh Downs, he’s good enough to hold off Sir Purr and the Panthers. Carolina is surrendering almost five yards per rush attempt to opponents; Indianapolis should be able to lead on the run game, take care of the football, and put the Panthers away with ease. IND -3.0
How can the Washington Commanders trade away two young defensive line players and expect their team to go on the road and put in a solid effort? For a defense that already struggles to get stops, it has to be demoralizing to lose two of your better players. It’s the perfect scenario for Mac Jones, who’s at his best with a clean pocket and a platform to throw from. The New England Patriots aren’t good, but Bill Belichick has made a career out of turning over young, inexperienced quarterbacks. I’ll take the Patriots by just over a field goal. NE -3.5
It’s Week 9, and I still don’t know where I stand on both the Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams beat the Detroit Lions, but both also have bad losses. You could come back from the future and tell me the Seahawks made the Super Bowl, or lost in the first round of the playoffs, and I wouldn’t be surprised either way. The same goes for the Ravens. They’re both well-coached, solid teams that can beat anyone or play down to their opponent. I’m a little bit higher on the Ravens, but 5.5 points are too many to pass up with a good team like Seattle: they’re seemingly always hanging around at the end of the game, and they should do so here as well. SEA +5.5
The New Orleans Saints improved to (4-4) last week and have a good chance of winning the NFC South. The Chicago Bears were destroyed by the Los Angeles Chargers and fell to (2-6). Justin Fields hasn’t played in weeks, so undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent will start once again. The Bears acquired Montez Sweat for some reason, despite having no chance of making the playoffs. New Orleans has a solid defense, and Bagent struggled on the road last week, so I expect the Saints to take care of business at home. Josh McDaniels was the first head coach fired, but Matt Eberflus might not be too far behind. NO -7.5
Inside the Numbers: The Bears are 3-9-0 as an away underdog against the spread under Matt Eberflus.
The Los Angeles Chargers played their most complete game of the year last week. The New York Jets won a defensive battle against the New York Giants in overtime. They got lucky as Tyrod Taylor left the game, and some guy named Tommy DeVito had to come in. He was awful. Justin Herbert is in a different stratosphere from those two backups and was nothing short of fantastic last week. The Jets’ defense keeps them in every single game, but I think they’ll give up some big plays to Los Angeles’s stars. The Chargers have a lot of good pieces on defense, such as Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. New York placed two offensive linemen on IR, and they’re getting really thin at that position. Herbert should outplay Zach Wilson on primetime and the Chargers will likely cover this spread. LAC -3.0
Inside the Numbers: The Chargers are 12-9-0 as an away team against the spread under Brandon Staley.
The Indianapolis Colts have lost two consecutive games, but the defense has been the reason why. Gardner Minshew has been playing well in place of the injured Anthony Richardson. The offense has been putting up points, offering proof that Shane Steichen was a good hire. The Carolina Panthers got their first win of the season, but they are still (1-6). Bryce Young played well, but it’s unlikely that Carolina will win two games in a row. The Colts will probably put up points, and I expect their struggling defense to get some stops against a rookie quarterback who has looked far from polished this year. IND -3.0
Inside the Numbers: The Colts are 2-1-0 as an away team against the spread under Shane Steichen.
This pick is pretty simple: I just don’t buy the Taylor Heinicke-led Falcons being five points better than any NFL team. The Falcons don’t play a style of football that lends itself to gaining big leads, and they don’t have the roster quality to blow teams out of the water. Even though Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall will be making his first start on the road (always a daunting task for a rookie QB), the Falcons offer one of the more friendly environments to do so, as they are a middling pass coverage team with one of the lowest pressure rates in the league.
The Falcons also don’t do a good job of generating turnovers, forcing only seven thus far, tied for second worst in the league. With the offensive talent Jaren Hall has available to him, he shouldn’t be asked to do too much in his first start. With so many uncertainties in two new (to this season) starting quarterbacks and the Vikings’ propensity to play in unnecessarily tight games one way or the other, give me Minny with nearly a touchdown to spare. MIN +5.0
In my “gut pick” of the week, I am taking the Dallas Cowboys to cover the field goal on the road in what should be one of the best games of the week. I think Dallas takes this one straight up as they are currently the more well-rounded team. They also have the defensive capabilities to slow down the Eagles while also having the necessary firepower on offense to take advantage of an Eagles’ defense that’s more vulnerable than we’ve seen over the past couple of years. Dak Prescott is playing much better football than he has in recent years, and questions about Jalen Hurts’ knee simply won’t go away as he is looking at least slightly bothered by it. This game is massive for the Cowboys in terms of their hopes of contending for the NFC East title, and they seem to have a fire under their bums after getting spanked by the San Francisco 49ers a few weeks back. Give me the Cowboys to pull out the divisional road win. DAL +3.0
The Commanders already had major issues on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 31st in points allowed and 29th in yards allowed. Their pass rush ranks in the league’s Bottom 10, and this was before they shipped off defensive stars Montez Sweat and Chase Young at the trade deadline. Perhaps the defensive line hasn’t been as productive as Washington had hoped, but you can’t convince me they’ll be better off without two of their best defensive players. Going against the Patriots who love to run the ball, I think Belichick will take advantage of the Commanders’ defensive shortcomings with a heavy dose of Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott. Granted, the Patriots are not a comfortable bet right now but I don’t think the oft-sacked Sam Howell and Washington’s passing offense can take advantage of New England’s shortcomings in the defensive backfield. NE -3.5