I think we all knew that this was going to be a weird year, but it’s particularly tough to try and write a betting column. A little sneak peek behind the curtain: I send out lines to Bryan and Erik on Tuesday mornings, so essentially the opening lines. We make our selections and write the article by Thursday for a Friday publication. In most years, there isn’t much that changes between the Tuesday lines and the final line on Sunday. This year, with COVID, things are changing regularly.
I place all of my personal bets on Sunday morning and more than a few bets that I liked on Thursday when I write my portion of the column simply don’t sound very good on Sunday. I would urge you to consider a similar approach with this or any other betting columns or podcasts you consume – take in as much information as possible and wait for all available information before laying down bets.
As for our little competition here, the first 9 weeks have added up to three identical betting records. A 23-22 mark for all three of us is technically above water on paper but wouldn’t be profitable with your book. We’ll try to storm back in the second half of the year in the positive.
The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.
|Analyst||Jeff Berckes||Erik Smith||Bryan Sweet|
|Pick #1||BUF-ARI O56||CIN-PIT U47.5||Eagles -3.5|
|Pick #2||Ravens -7||WFT +4||Bills +1.5|
|Pick #3||Panthers +4.5||Panthers +4.5||Chargers +2.5|
|Pick #4||Dolphins -2.5||Ravens -7||Seahawks +1.5|
|Pick #5||SEA-LAR O55.5||Packers -13.5||Ravens -7|
Jeff Berckes: I need to look back and calculate my record on betting for the over on lines in the mid-fifties but it’s definitely been a trend for me. You’re betting on both offenses showing up and while there’s always a danger that one side doesn’t live up to expectations, I like the odds of Kyler Murray and Josh Allen playing “anything you can do, I can do better” in an absolutely must-see game. BUF-ARI O56
I apologize for not believing in Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens last week where I unfortunately took the Colts to cover. They did not. Even if the Ravens haven’t been as impressive as in 2019, they’re still plenty talented. As much as I respect Bill Belichick, he simply doesn’t have the horses this year. Ravens roll in this one. BAL -7
Here’s potentially a reaction pick from last week. I bet the Bucs to cover and they were blown out by the Saints. I originally bet the Panthers to cover against the Chiefs but I took it out at the last minute and replaced it with… the Bucs covering against the Saints. This week we get the Panthers and Bucs and as much as I believe the Bucs can recover from last week, I’ll take the points on the scrappy team that just doesn’t quit. CAR +4.5
If you’ve been reading this column all year, you’ll know that I’ve been betting a lot of Cardinals and Dolphins lines, mainly because I think the betting market has underestimated both teams. I’m going to stick with betting the Dolphins this week as they play host to the Chargers. The Chargers have been competitive but haven’t been able to close out games while the Dolphins get the benefit of the doubt for me with the better coaching staff and playing at home. MIA -2.5
Finally, the Seahawks could use a rebound game in a big way and they travel down to LA to meet the Rams in a game I expect to be a shootout. The Seahawks defense has been horrible and while I like the Rams D, I believe in Russell Wilson’s ability to keep pace with Goff’s Rams. Give me another over in a big line and let’s see some scores. SEA-LAR O55.5
Erik Smith: Joe Burrow and the Bengals have looked good on offense over the last few weeks, but I still can’t get that Week 5 debacle against the Ravens out of my mind. Burrow was sacked seven times as Bengals fans began to fear for his safety, and Cincinnati put up three points in a 27-3 loss. Normally I would take the Steelers side of the spread this week, but 7.5 points felt like too many, and Ben Roethlisberger’s COVID concerns are enough to have me worried about both offenses. Give me the under, in a game where both quarterbacks could struggle. CIN-PIT U47.5
Do I like betting on the Washington Football Team? Absolutely not. But I’ll tell you one thing that I like even less, and that is needing the Lions to win by more than a field goal. The only team Detroit has done that against is the Jaguars, and I do think Washington is a more respectable team than that. I expect both teams to run the ball more than they should, and it could be an ugly game, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see Washington win outright. WAS +4
I respect this Panthers team; they play hard and keep games close. While I do expect Tampa Bay to be motivated coming off of an embarrassing week, this is still a divisional game between a couple of teams that know each other well. I may need a backdoor cover at the end, but I expect Teddy Bridgewater to hang around and keep this game respectable. CAR +4.5
I’ve given up on this Patriots team; the final straw was seeing their defense struggle against the freaking Jets. Baltimore’s defense is great, and I expect Lamar Jackson to light up this Patriots defense on the ground. Baltimore has had some starts and stops this year offensively, but I don’t think that the Pats have the athletes to keep up with this rushing attack. I could see this turning into a rout if Cam Newton can’t be Superman. BAL -7
To be honest, I struggled to find a fifth selection this week, so I’m going with the talented Packers offense here. Jacksonville has a bad defense, so Green Bay should be able to light them up any way they choose. And while Jake Luton looked like an NFL quarterback in his debut, there is always a chance he is exploited after a week of NFL tape becomes available for opposing defenses. The line is high, but it’s the best I could find in a week of interesting matchups. GB -13.5
Bryan Sweet: Now that sports betting has been legalized in Tennessee I’m going to give you bets that I will personally be making, starting with the game in Philadelphia. These two teams faced off just three weeks ago and Philadelphia walked away with a one-point win, 22-21. The Eagles won that game without the following players who should play this week: Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Alshon Jeffery, and Jalen Reagor. And that’s just on the offensive side of the ball. The Giants are playing inspired football and look like a team that is just a couple of pieces away from being a playoff contender but I think Philadelphia is the better team right now. Philly got the win on the road and should do enough to cover at home this week. PHI -3.5
Last week the Bills showed they can hang with an elite offense as they cruised to a 44-34 victory over Seattle. This week, another MVP candidate will test the Bills defense as Kyler Murray leads the Cardinals into battle. Arizona had trouble stopping a Miami offense that isn’t as good as Buffalo’s at the skill positions and I think Arizona will struggle similarity against Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and John Brown this week. For me, Buffalo is the better team and should win this game outright. Getting a hedge on a one-point victory is just gravy. BUF +1.5
I don’t think the Chargers had any inclination to play Justin Herbert this season unless they completely fell out of contention in the AFC but a team doctor’s mistake forced the team’s hand and Herbert has been better than advertised. Despite a 1-6 record, Herbert and the Chargers have been in every game losing all by one score or less. Miami looks like a contender in the AFC East and will have their own rookie signal-caller running the show in Tua Tagovailoa. Herbert has better receiving weapons in my opinion and this game should be entertaining if nothing else. Give me the points. LAC +2.5
One of the most surprising things about the 2020 NFL season is just how bad the Seahawks are in pass defense. Through eight games, Seattle has allowed an average of 362 passing yards per game. Believe it or not, that’s actually an IMPROVEMENT over their average of 471 yards per game before their Week 6 BYE. The Rams have been solid on both sides of the ball this season but they just look like paper champions to me. Their five wins have come against the entirety of the NFC East and the Chicago Bears while they’ve struggled against teams with good offenses in San Francisco, Buffalo, and Miami. I think Seattle rights the ship this week and gets the win. SEA +1.5
After facing two of the top defenses in the NFL the past two weeks, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens might be looking at a “get right” game against the Patriots this week. Jackson has yet to regularly display the game-breaking ability that made him the NFL MVP last season but glimpses show up here and there in games. New England has played well against stiff competition this season but I don’t think they have the horses on defenses to contain Baltimore’s multi-faceted attack. I think we see a Baltimore team that resembled the one that was Super Bowl favorites last season and roll in this one. BAL -7
What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)