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.
The board gets a little bit smaller this week as bye weeks start to come around. The Lions, Texans, Raiders, and Titans take the week off giving us a few fewer options to choose from. Personally, I wish I was on bye this week after yet another 40% performance. I’m not on a bye though, so I’ll reluctantly (read: excitedly) make my picks and hope for a breakthrough. Keep tailing Tyler and Brennan, as they’ve been rock solid all year.
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||Patriots +3.0||Vikings -3.0||Patriots/Browns over 42.5|
|Pick #2||49ers/Falcons under 44.5||Buccaneers -8.0||Buccaneers/Steelers under 44.0|
|Pick #3||Giants +5.5||Rams -10.5||Cardinals/Seahawks over 50.5|
|Pick #4||Cowboys +5.0||Bills/Chiefs over 53.5||Bills/Chiefs over 53.5|
|Pick #5||Broncos/Chargers under 45.5||Chargers -5.0||Broncos/Chargers under 45.5|
As I always do, I’ll preface this by saying I am a Patriots fan and that this is a homer pick. The Patriots just shut out the number-one scoring offense in the league while putting up 29 points themselves. The Browns are coming into week six ranked 32nd in defensive DVOA and cannot stop the run whatsoever. The Patriots could put me at running back, and I may be able to rack up a hundred yards. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Belichick took me in the third round next year and gets eviscerated by social media for reaching while quietly turning me into a solid third down back and special teams contributor. Ignoring my pipe dreams, the Patriots will likely continue to have success on the ground and will be able to keep things simple for Bailey Zappe. If Zappe takes care of the ball, this is a field goal game at best for the Browns. I’ll take the points in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon. NE +3.0
Over in Atlanta, the Falcons play host to the 49ers on Sunday afternoon. Last week I commented on West coast teams playing on the East coast in the early window of games. That pick lost, likely because I was totally off-base and the game was actually being played in the late window of afternoon games. This time, I double-checked my start times like a responsible analyst, and am going back to the well. The Falcons come into this game as the tenth-highest-scoring team in the league. Higher than expected, but likely due to some of the defenses they’ve faced. Against Tampa last week, they hardly moved the ball at all and managed just 16 points. I’d expect similar output here against a strong 49ers’ defense. San Francisco comes into the week towards the bottom of the league in pace in situation-neutral situations, with Atlanta in the middle of the pack. I see another low-scoring affair here on Sunday. SF/ATL U44.5
I don’t believe in trap lines, but this may be one. The Giants are at home, getting five and a half points while sitting at 4-1. The Ravens have been better than their record this year and could easily be undefeated if not for a couple of meltdowns, but I still don’t see the reason for the sizeable spread. I’ll likely regret this when the Ravens are up by 20 points in the fourth quarter, but it’s too many points to pass up. Brian Daboll has done a great job in his first year as head coach, taking a Giants team with no cap space and little talent to a 4-1 record, although the competition to this point hasn’t been overly daunting. Still, I’ll back Daboll and the G-Men to keep this when close at home. NYG +5.5
I can’t stop betting on Dallas. I can’t help but think that the market is waiting for the Cooper Rush letdown game which is yet to come. I say this every week: the Cowboys aren’t perfect, but they are built to stay in games. They play great defense, get after the quarterback, and take care of the ball on offense. They’ve only turned the ball over twice this season, one of which coming from Dak Prescott. If and when Prescott comes back and takes over at quarterback I’ll think twice about betting on Dallas. For now, if the Cowboys are catching five points, I’m taking them. DAL +5.0
This is another pick that I’ll ride with until I’m proven wrong. The Broncos haven’t shown anything on offense yet this season. Until they do, I’ll continue to pick against their offense. Giving five points is a bit too rich for my blood, so I’ll stick with the under here and bank on yet another primetime rockfight. DEN/LAC U45.5
The Vikings defeated the Bears 29-22, but it was a lot closer than it should have been. Minnesota was up 21-3 at one point and let Chicago back into it. The Bears actually led by one point through most of the fourth quarter. The Dolphins should hopefully not be as stressful. Teddy Bridgewater was ruled out in the first quarter, so third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson had to play the rest of the game. He did the best that he could, but had two turnovers. The defense also gave up 40 points in the loss, the most points allowed by Miami this season. The Vikings did lose to backup quarterback Cooper Rush in his first start last year, but Rush has turned out to be a great backup. I don’t think Minnesota will lose to another backup quarterback making his first career start, as Kevin O’Connell is a coaching upgrade from Mike Zimmer. Inside the Numbers: Since 2018, the Vikings are 8-5 against the spread as away favorites with an average margin of victory (MOV) of 8.5. MIN -3.0
Call me the 3-2 king. Five straight weeks of 3-2 for your boy. Not too shabby, but let’s break the mold. I’d take 1-4 at this point just to mix it up. Here are five totals worth considering.
Rhamondre Stevenson is about to go nuclear (sorry I hope I’m not offending anyone with that word in our world’s climate) on Sunday in Cleveland. Damien Harris (somehow a limited participant at practice) is dealing with a hamstring injury that forced him out of the game last week, Jakobi Myers and Nelson Agholor are questionable, it’s still the Bailey Zappe show, and the Patriots face one of the worst rush defenses in the league. The Browns are allowing the 3rd highest yards per carry (5.3) and their entire defensive line is on the injury report. The Chargers just ran all over them for 238 yards with Austin Ekeler leading the way with 173 yards. Keep your eyes peeled for a Stevenson rushing prop over. As for the Patriots’ defense, they’re not really stopping anyone on the ground either, permitting the 10th-highest yards per carry. They haven’t faced a ground game as good as that Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt duo either. They currently lead the league in rush yards per game. This total feels a couple of points too short. NE/CLE O42.5
Kenny Pickett, a rookie QB, facing a top-tier defense; give me the under all day. The Buccaneers are 3rd in defensive DVOA and Pittsburgh is tied for last in yards per play (4.8). They were just held to 3 points by the Bills in Pickett’s first start, and despite Buffalo putting up 38 points, the under (closed 44.5) still hit. Aside from the Chiefs’ offense putting up 41 points against Tampa, every other game has sailed to the under. Their offense is still not quite firing on all cylinders (13th in DVOA), and this feels like a game where the Bucs can just control the clock and ease their way to a victory. The Bucs are arguably the best teaser leg this week. I couldn’t tell you who I’d be most confident in pairing them with, however. TB/PIT U44.0
Last week I got burned by taking the Hawks at +5.5 and it taught me to avoid the spread in Seattle games. Just take the over. The Seahawks are allowing the most yards per play on defense and are rolling on offense with the 2nd most yards per play. Geno Smith’s rebirth has been well documented by now, and the Cardinals aren’t much of a threat defensively, allowing the t9th most yards per play while ranking 26th in defensive DVOA. Although their offense has been stuck in the mud for most of the year, this is a matchup for Kyler Murray, or anyone really, to take advantage of. It’s a high total, but for good reason, and I think the offensive fireworks show up Sunday by these squads. SEA/ARI O50.5
Over 53.5 points. Say it with me. Over 53.5. Over 53.5. Over 53.5. Speak it into existence! This should be an absolute banger of a game so why not pull for the over between two of the most explosive offenses in the game? Both of these teams can torch each other through the air, and the Bills are still very banged up on the defensive side of things. Despite being 2nd in defensive DVOA, they haven’t really faced an offensive juggernaut like the Chiefs. The Ravens were a solid test for sure, but the weather played a part in that game. These teams have played each other four times over the past two seasons and have averaged 60 combined points per contest with the over hitting in three of the four. Let’s get a repeat of last year’s epic playoff game. BUF/KC O53.5
I want to apologize to the world on behalf of my Broncos being on prime time for the fourth time in the opening six weeks. They weren’t supposed to be this bad, okay?! Let me rephrase that: Russell Wilson and the offense weren’t supposed to be this bad. The defense has generally been pretty good actually. They’re allowing the t3rd fewest yards per play, rank 4th in defensive DVOA, and are getting pro-bowl caliber safety Justin Simmons back from injury. The most glaring reason to take an under in a Denver game comes down to their red zone stats on both sides of the ball. Defensively they’ve permitted the lowest touchdown percentage of all teams, while on offense they’re dead last at converting tuddies. They should be able to keep the Chargers relatively in check, and I don’t need to labor on about how bad Russell Wilson looks. LAC/DEN U45.5
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)