Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.
Last week was a solid week from the panel, with Tyler and I coming in at 3-2 and Brennan finishing the week at 2-3. Tyler has been the picture of consistency this season, going 3-2 each of the season’s first four weeks. 3-2 isn’t a lot of profit week to week, but over the course of the season would come out to about 12 units of profit at your standard -110 odds. That’s some solid cash.
You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll use for Week 3!
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)||Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)||Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)|
|Pick #1||Cowboys +4.5||Packers -8.0||Dolphins -3.5|
|Pick #2||Jaguars/Texans over 44.5||Vikings -7.0||49ers -6.5|
|Pick #3||Cardinals +5.5||Chiefs -7.0||Falcons/Buccaneers under 48.0|
|Pick #4||Seahawks +5.5||Buccaneers -8.5||Seahawks +5.5|
|Pick #5||Lions/Patriots over 43.5||49ers -6.5||Browns/Chargers over 47.5|
Let me preface this by saying I don’t like the board whatsoever this week. I’m obligated to make five picks for the purpose of this article and our competition here, but I don’t have a ton of conviction behind these picks. NFL spreads and totals are some of the sharpest lines out there, making this incredibly difficult. I’ve been most successful betting props, which you can find on my Twitter if you’re looking for ex
I’m addicted to betting on the Cowboys. They aren’t the most talented team in the world offensively, but they’ve shown they’re capable enough, especially with the return of Michael Gallup. Dallas scored 25 against Washington last week, who isn’t a defensive powerhouse by any margin, but 25 is a solid number against anyone in the NFL. What makes the Cowboys a contender, however, is the defense. I’ve said it one million times – Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence can take over a game, which is bad news for Matt Stafford and the Rams. Stafford was pressured on about 40% of dropbacks last week against the 49ers. That number likely won’t get much better with the Cowboys’ pass rush in town. I like the Rams to win this game, but the Dallas defense should be enough to keep it within a field goal. DAL +4.5
Better the over in a Jaguars/Texans game is disgusting. It’s a pick you make if you hate yourself. That’s where the money is though. Both these teams play very fast, for some reason. The Jaguars have had success this year, so it’s defensible. Trevor Lawrence has taken a step forward; I’ll ignore the fumbles last week and blame those on the rain. The Texans don’t have much of an excuse for hurrying up. I’m of the opinion that bad teams should try to muck games up, limit possessions, and keep games close. The Texans are quite literally going nowhere fast. That’s okay in this spot though, with both teams trying to get up and down the field as fast as they can, there should be enough possessions to push this one over. HOU/JAX over 44.5
Trap lines don’t exist, I think. If there ever was a trap line though, this would be it. The Eagles are the last undefeated team in the NFL, they’ll be getting everyone’s best shot from this point forward. On the other side, Kliff Kingsbury is coaching for his job. Literally. His job is to coach. He also might get fired if he doesn’t do his job well. The Cardinals are catching five and a half points and are playing at home. I’ll take the points, even if it doesn’t make a ton of sense. ARI +5.5
The dogs are barking this week, I guess. I’m going with yet another underdog in my fourth pick of the week, this time in New Orleans. The Saints are coming back from a heartbreaker against the Saints in London which likely takes a physical and emotional toll. The defense has been solid, while the offense has been mediocre for New Orleans, conversely, the Seahawks have had a stronger-than-anticipated offense and a weak defense. Geno Smith had that awesome “I ain’t write back” line earlier this season, and he’s actually managed to back that up somehow. He’s doing what’s asked of him, playing within the offense, and letting the run game work. He’s been great when he has time to throw, and the Saints haven’t done a good job of getting to the quarterback. With New Orleans potentially missing some offensive weapons, the Seahawks are set up well to keep this one close. SEA +5.5
“Is that person on crack cocaine, or are they just watching the Detroit Lions?” is a question that an unknowing bystander could reasonably ask. Every Lions game somehow goes off the rails. They score a ton of points and they can’t stop a nosebleed. I think the total in this game is suppressed because of the perception of the Patriots as well as the current quarterback situation. As a Patriots fan, I can tell you that they have a knack for scoring the exact amount of points they need to be in the game. This has led to a few tough losses over the past few years which I rationalize by saying “if just one or two plays went the other way we would have won”. If that’s the case again, and the Lions continue to put up points at a high clip, the Patriots will likely keep pace. Give me the over on the low total here. NE/DET over 43.5
The Packers defeated the Patriots in overtime, but it should never have gotten to overtime in the first place. New England was led by third-string quarterback Bailey Zappe, and Green Bay didn’t dominate a game that shouldn’t have been a contest. The Giants keep finding ways to win games, but they are dealing with tons of injuries. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay isn’t expected to play, and it remains to be seen if Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney, and defensive lineman Leonard Williams will suit up. Quarterback Daniel Jones should play, but likely won’t be at full strength due to an ankle injury. The Packers have never played in London before, but I’m expecting an impressive performance from the offense and a dominant showing on defense which should make it a trip to remember. Inside the Numbers: The Packers are 26-18 against the spread as favorites under head coach Matt LaFleur. GB -8.0
Mishandling Tua Tagovailoa’s health was an ugly look for the Dolphins. Luckily he is okay and lucky for them they have a more than capable backup who goes by the name of Teddy Covers. Bridgewater is 42-20-1 against the spread when he starts (24-6 ATS on the road), and he’s just as good, if not better, as Tua in my eyes. Following a tough TNF spot up in Cincinnati, Miami and Teddy will have 10 days to prepare for Zach Wilson and the Jets…need I say more? Okay, here’s more: the Bengals and Ravens, both teams Miami has played, were both -6.5 road favorites against the Jets. I know it’s not quite apples to apples, but if Dolphins beat the Ravens and hung around with Cincy, are they really 3 points worse than those teams? The market doesn’t have the Dolphins properly rated. They look like a playoff team with wins over the Bills and Ravens, so take them to cover against the Jets. MIA -3.5
Let’s fade the Panthers once again. Last week’s handicap came down to Baker Mayfield’s struggles against pressure, and now he faces arguably the best defense in the league. The Niners have generated the highest pressure (34.2%) while blitzing at the 12th lowest rate (22.4%). Nick Bosa is going to have a field day facing rookie left tackle Ikem Ekwonu who is the 84th/100 ranked tackle by PFF. Bosa leads the league in sacks (6), pressures (30), QB hits (16), and is a great look to challenge current favorite Micah Parsons for DPOY. Bosa’s odds currently sit at 6/1 over at DraftKings…just sayin’. Backing a heavy road favorite traveling east doesn’t typically work well, especially for a team coming off a short week, but Carolina might be the worst team in the NFL right now. Matt Rhule is the current favorite to be the first coach fired, and would it be all that shocking if it happened after this week when they fail to score a single point? Bold take there, but San Francisco should smash. Fantastic teaser leg here too. SF -6.5
Making a case for the Bucs’ defense after last week is tough, but no one was stopping the Chiefs that game. Tampa has held the Cowboys (3 points scored), Saints (10), and Packers (14) under two scores, and has the fourth-best defense according to DVOA despite their shortcomings last week. They’re allowing the t5th fewest yards per play and I’m not buying the Falcons’ offense just yet. Cordarrelle Patterson is on the IR, Kyle Pitts appears unlikely to play, and they have Marcus Mariota throwing the ball. Atlanta’s team total under (19.5) looks ripe for the picking, but 48 for both teams feels too high here as well. The Bucs did spark some life into the offense last week, but as a whole haven’t looked great either. ATL/TB under 48.0
TOO MANY POINTS FOR GENO SMITH. It’s that simple. The scheme is working in Seattle, and it clearly isn’t in New Orleans. Alvin Kamara, Jameis Winston, and Michael Thomas are all questionable to play Sunday, and their defense, which was supposed to be a brick wall, has faltered so far. If it weren’t for a late comeback over the Falcons the ‘Aints would be 0-4. Coming off a hard-fought game in London is always a tough spot to be in without having a bye as well. As for Seattle, they have the 3rd best offensive DVOA and have covered this number in three of four games. Geno Smith > Andy Dalton or injured Winston. SEA +5.5
These teams met last year and combined for 99 points, so it has to happen again, right? Right. Justin Herbert looks healthy again, and the Browns are playing miserable defense, ranking 30th in defensive DVOA after playing the Falcons, Panthers, Steelers, and Jets! This was supposed to be a good defense coming into this year…they will likely get Myles Garrett back, but Jadeveon Clowney is still out, and it’s not like they were stopping anyone with Garrett anyhow. Offensively the Browns and Jacoby Brissett have looked pretty good in the early going actually. Brissett seems to be in sync with Amari Cooper, but more importantly, the Browns possess one of the best running games in the league and face an abysmal Chargers run defense allowing the second most YPC (5.4). Dameon Pierce and the Texans ran for 141 yards en route to scoring 24 points against them last week, so what do you think Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are doing? One last note that should promote more touchdown opportunities to the game: both of these coaches love to go for it on 4th down. Kevin Stefanski and Brandon Stayley have the 4th most fourth-down attempts this season. CLE/LAC over 47.5
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)