As you now, each week I post two articles on my best bets of the week: an early look and then my Thursday lock-ins.
The reason for the early look is so that you have an opportunity to jump on anything that looks good. The quicker you get this money down, the more likely you are to get advantageous odds and the more likely you are to make money. A great example of this was getting Cleveland at -2.5 against the Jets as news broke on Sam Darnold’s Mono.
With that being said, the extra time for me to do research often changes my perspective on the games a little. This week, there has been some bets that have jumped out as the week has gone on, and others that have faded to the background. By being adaptable and flexible, we can find success early in the week and late.
Overall, on the season, we are 6-3-1 with only Kliff Kingsbury and the crumbling of all Eagles players standing between us and an 80% success rate. Let’s keep it rolling here with this week’s five Best Bets and then some fun added on at the end.
LAR -3 @ CLE
Baker Mayfield struggled against Gregg Williams’ defense, specifically against disguised coverage that changed from pre-snap to post-snap.
Wade Phillips saw this and has the players to make Mayfield’s life even more miserable. Add in Cleveland’s porous offensive line and Aaron Donald could make Baker feel like Hue Jackson is back on the sideline.
On the reverse side, Cleveland has the talent on defense to fluster Jared Goff on the road, but Sean McVay is capable of scheming a successful running game and has three capable wide receivers to get open.
But more than anything, and perhaps in the face of convention, this is as much a gut pick as it is an analytical pick. The Browns seem like they are struggling to live up to the hype and the Freddy Kitchens Baker Mayfield combo seems to have been consistently overmatched in matchups against the Titans and the Jets (save for an 89 yard touchdown by Odell Beckham).
The Rams are better than the Titans and the Jets. The Browns might not be.
IND -1.5 vs ATL
Speaking of non-analytical picks, this matchup is a perfect storm of my Week 1 and 2 darling against my Week 1 and 2 nemesis.
In both of their matchups, the Colts have made me money, and as has been documented multiple times on this website, they would be 2-0 if they had a consistent kicking game.
Meanwhile, the Falcons looked terrible against the Vikings (costing me money), and then rode fluky injuries, Julio Jones touchdowns, and Eagles final drive meltdowns to a Best Bets wrecking win (and costing me money).
So I would understand if you thought this was nothing more than me exercising my emotional demons all in one game, but the truth is the numbers back the Colts up as much more than a 1.5 point favorite.
To begin with, they have been dominant in the running game, with only the Vikings and Dalvin Cook outpacing Marlon Mack’s production behind this elite offensive line. Additionally, their defense has been stout and has made game tying/winning plays in each of the first two weeks. Finally Jacoby Brissett has been more than capable in running the team and has yet to put his team in a bad situation.
In almost an exact opposite situation, the Falcons cannot run the ball, their defense has allowed their opponents to dictate the flow of the game (especially on the road), and Matt Ryan has looked suspect at best. After making terrible throws left and right in a decisive Vikings loss, he was bailed out against the Eagles by a one yard throw and fifty yard Julio Jones run.
This is a matchup of a team who has shown it is has a complete and winning operation, and another that looks as though it is relying on past success and two receivers.
If you haven’t won money on the Colts yet, now is the time.
DAL -21.5 vs MIA
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this might be one of those times.
Miami has been crushed by 40+ points against two of the top offenses in the league...playing AT HOME.
Now Miami takes on another of the best offenses in the league ON THE ROAD, and I’m not sure the line could be high enough.
Until Miami shows the ability to score, and as long as they trade away players from a defense that has surrendered 100 points in two games, we have no reason to believe that this game should be any closer.
If you have watched any of the Dolphins this year, you can confidently put aside the initial reaction this line induces and instead see that it is maybe 15 points too low.
Miami could be the team that sinks Vegas and buys us a yacht in the process.
NO +4.5 @ SEA
I do think Seattle will win this game, and I do think the Saints could struggle, but this is a sizable line and one that indicates Vegas thinks the Seahawks would be favored even in this game was in New Orleans.
That’s something we can exploit.
To start with, the Seahawks have beat the Bengals by one point at home. That Bengals team went on to lose at home to the 49ers by almost 30. I don’t love playing the transitive property game this early in the season, but then the Seahawks went on to beat a struggling Steelers team who lost their starting QB by 2.
From New Orleans’ perspective, they will still have the two most talented offensive skill players in this game in Kamara and Thomas, and they have the added possibility of unleashing any number of offensive schemes with Taysom Hill. If Bridgewater is in the game, then there is cause for concern after what we saw Sunday, but also still the matter of the Seahawks porous secondary. Add in a week of Sean Payton working Bridgewater into the game plan and whoever lines up under center for the Saints has a chance to be successful.
No matter how you slice it, this game is unpredictable. But in the range of outcomes, there are more that make this line favorable than make it risky. That means there is more chance to make money than not.
DEN @ GB under 43
Green Bay is playing at a glacial place thanks to Matt LaFluer’s game plan. Denver is scoring at a glacial rate thanks to Joe Flacco and Vic Fangio conspiring to eliminate touchdowns. Add in the fact that both of the defenses are talented and have shown the ability to take over a game, and this number appear too high.
In fact, given the 8 point spread, we can take a look at each team’s implied total and pretty quickly sniff out the under here. At this total and that line, Vegas is insinuating a final score of 25.5-17.5.
While it is possible that these numbers hit, Green Bay’s offensive output in two games has been 21 and 10. Meanwhile, Denver’s offensive output has been 16 and 14.
Green Bay has played two fairly good defenses, but plays another one in Denver and is being asked to outscore their two previous outputs. On the other side, Denver only mustered 16 points against the Raiders and not is being asked to score over 17 on the road in Lambo.
If you like to bet on narratives, then this is the under for two slow-paced, dinosaur like coaches. If you like to bet on numbers, then this is the under for two teams that have not scored this much all year. If you just like to bet, then bet the under and enjoy watching a game with a play every 40 seconds and almost no action.
The Big Money Makers
In two new segments, I’ll take a little bit of my bank roll and throw down a Big Money Teaser and a Big Money Parlay of the week. The plan here is to start small and build these up as the season goes on, so the more we win, the more we can bet next week.
Remember, for each of these bets to pay out, all parts have to hit. A parlay is just a straight combination of events, whereas the teasers allow you to adjust the lines by six points while awarding you lower odds.
Are these the sharpest bets? No.
Are these the most fun bets? Only if you like roller coasters and money.
My Big Money Teaser
$35 to win $122.50
BUF even vs CIN
KC -1 vs BAL
GB -2 vs DEN
NO +10.5 @ SEA
LAR +3 @ CLE
My Big Money Parlay
$15 to win $144.95
IND -1.5 vs ATL
MIN to win vs OAK
BUF to win vs CIN
LAR to win @ CLE
DEN @ GB under 43