Last week was weird. Not in the NFL exactly, for me personally with this column. I wrote out my five bets in a notebook and had it next to me as I wrote up my picks. I even used it as a reference sheet on a podcast I guested on last week, talking about how my favorite bet of the week was Falcons-Vikings over 55. I bet it in my app during my normal picks. What I didn’t do, for some unknown reason, was actually include it in this column as originally intended. I instead bet the Patriots as my last bet, something I did not follow in real life, but that ended up being the difference in my week, breaking 5 straight 3-2 weeks with a 2-3 bad week. That, and I bet against Mahomes… don’t ever bet against Mahomes.
But, like any cornerback getting burned on a double-move, I need to have a short memory and move on to this week’s picks. I’m back, I’m focused, and I’m ready to continue making money betting against the Jets!
As always, good luck, and may you cash your bets.
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 -12.5||CAR +7.5||PIT -2|
|Pick #2||CHI +5.5||GB -3.5||TB -3|
|Pick #3||TB -3||SEA -3.5||CAR +7.5|
|Pick #4||DET-ATL O56.5||SF +2.5||DET-ATL O56.5|
|Pick #5||CLE -3.5||TB -3||GB -3.5|
Jeff Berckes: Let’s get this one out of the way quickly. The Jets are the gift that keeps on giving – in Survivor pools and in betting lines. While the Bills did not look good against the Chiefs, they get to open the easy-win gift against the Jets this week and all they need to do is cover a measly 12.5 points. Okay, it’s a lot of points, but in my head, I was going to bet this one at anything under a 14.5 point spread. Fire up your Bills. BUF -12.5
I try not to bet the Bears in this column as my fan bias makes me untrustworthy. Truly, I understand if you don’t listen to me on Bears stuff because I can make the best-case scenario in my head. But I really think the bookmakers are off on this one and they’re giving us a path to good bets on Chicago in the early going. The Bears defense appears to be rounding into form and the offense might be approaching competence. That should, at a minimum, keep this one within a field goal either way. I considered betting the under here (and might in real life) but I like the points here. CHI +5.5
Bucs and Raiders should be a fun one. I’m always a fan of when two similar mascots play each other – Falcons-Eagles or Ravens-Cardinals or Panthers-Bengals – you get the idea. This provides us with the very best match up – different types of pirates. What this one comes down to for me is the best unit on the field will be the Bucs defense. The second-best unit on the field will arguably be the Bucs offense. I think they’re the more talented team right now and they’ll escape from the house that Gruden built with a win. Bucs -3
Two offenses that can put up points in bunches, two defenses uninterested in stopping their opponent, dome game… yes, sign me up for the Lions and Falcons to score some points. It’s tied for the biggest o/u of the week, but in this modern NFL, I’ll trust the offenses to come through for me. DET-ATL O56.5
I’m not in love with this last pick but I’m not going to overthink it too much. Are the Browns a good team? I don’t really know, but I do think they’re more talented at this moment than the Bengals. This is a rematch from Week 2 where the Bengals kept it fairly close in Cleveland. I think the more talented team is the way to go in a rematch where nothing has really changed. CLE -3.5
Erik Smith: The Panthers have been a scrappy team thus far, and have looked at home playing close, defensive focused battles. Their defense has surprised, especially through the air, allowing the fewest yards per attempt in the league. While I would expect that number to regress, this defense is on a roll right now. New Orleans looks to be without Michael Thomas yet again, and I expect this to turn into a grind it out affair on both sides. The points are just too many, as this Carolina team is playing with confidence and has an identity. CAR +7.5
I expect an angry Packers team this week coming off of a loss to the Bucs, and this matchup sets up perfectly for Green Bay. Houston’s defense is bad overall and is allowing the most rushing yards per attempt in the league, and I expect Aaron Jones to run wild. Meanwhile, the best way to beat this Packers team is on the ground, and I don’t believe in David Johnson to break explosive games on the ground. GB -3.5
Arizona beat up on a pathetic Cowboys team in front of a national audience, but their issues are far from solved in my eyes. The only strong win on their resume is a Week 1 win against the 49ers that doesn’t even look that impressive in retrospect. Russell Wilson looks primed to continue his MVP campaign, and he has a lot more help around him than Kyler Murray does, not to mention that he is the superior quarterback. SEA -3.5
I’m not super high on this 49ers team right now, but they do possess a top 10 defense regardless of their injuries and have some weapons on offense that can make plays on short passes. It may be foolish to bet against Bill Belichick in Foxboro, but this sure seems like a mediocre team putting everything on the shoulders of Cam Newton. And while Newton has looked impressive at times, he hasn’t quite looked like prime Newton either. SF +2.5
This one might be a little unfair as I expect the line to rise with the COVID-19 issues on the Raiders offensive line, but I couldn’t pass up on Tampa Bay here. Their defense looks legit, and if Josh Jacobs can’t get anything going on the ground, I expect a long day for Derek Carr. The Raiders’ hot streak comes to an end, as the Bucs defense continues their torrid start. TB -3
Bryan Sweet: The first game I looked for when I saw the email hit my inbox was Pittsburgh @ Tennessee. Living in Tennessee I’ve witnessed the Titans get off to a 5-0 start despite dealing with a spate of COVID-19 diagnoses and schedule uncertainty. What I’ve noticed is Tennessee winning close games that shouldn’t have been close. Beating Denver by 2, Jacksonville by 3, Minnesota by 1, and Houston by 6 in OT. The Titans have also relied heavily on Stephen Gostkowski who has his share of misses this season. Pittsburgh has beaten both the Broncos and Texans as well but by a larger margin. Pittsburgh just looks like the better team right now. Since these lines have come out, Pittsburgh has moved to an underdog and I don’t see why. PIT -2
Without a traditional offseason or any preseason games, it would stand to reason that teams with changes at skill positions might take some time to come together. One of those changes was Tom Brady to Tampa Bay and every week it looks like that offense is getting more and more comfortable with each other. Oh yeah, the Bucs also have a damn good defense. After a thrashing of the previously unbeaten Packers last week, Tampa Bay has to be considered one of the favorites in the NFC. News is also trickling out of Las Vegas that at least one starting offensive lineman will be out for the Raiders, potentially more. Not a good thing against this attacking defense. If this game isn’t postponed, I think Tamp rolls easily. TB -3
If there is one game I’m most concerned about this week, it’s this one. Carolina has been a tough out this season and they have covered the spread in three of their last four games. They have a better defense than most thought coming into this season and haven’t lost anything with McCaffrey’s injury thanks to the stellar play of Mike Davis. New Orleans is coming off a BYE and should be well-rested. I originally had New Orleans covering until recent news about Michael Thomas missing practice due to a hamstring injury. If Thomas sits I don’t know if the Saints can score enough to cover the spread. Plus the Saints have been generous to opposing offenses this season allowing 30 points per game. Give me the points. CAR +7.5
Last week two bad defenses were playing each other as the Lions faced the Jaguars and I said the over was the play. That missed by a TD. This week, two bad defenses are playing each other as the Lions face the Falcons. The biggest difference between those two games? Atlanta has a much better offense. Like I said last week, the winner of this game may very well come as a result of that team’s defense getting one stop. I think Detroit might be the slightly better team, but it is the Lions. let’s call for another high-scoring affair this week. OVER 56.5
What a come back to Earth moment for the Packers last week. After opening the season with four consecutive 30+ point outbursts, the Packers jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and literally threw it away with back-to-back Aaron Rodgers interceptions that opened the floodgates. Perhaps a reality check is exactly what this team needed and now they can refocus on a Texans team that is simply not very good. Houston’s offensive line is among the worst in the league and they simply can’t run the ball with any effectiveness. I think the Packers right the ship this week and cruise to an easy victory. GB -3.5
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)