Alright, three weeks into the season and our best bets are picking winners at a 66% clip, and non-losers at an 80% clip.
It is always important to remember not just to judge picks by the results, but also the process that got you there and the accuracy of that process unfolding.
A great example of this would be our New Orleans over Seattle pick last week. Although you could say we were lucky to get a defensive and a special teams touchdown, the pick was made based on New Orleans having a more complete and stronger team than Seattle. Although we certainly didn’t predict two non-offensive touchdowns, we did predict the fact the New Orleans would win the game with a top to bottom effort. Our process was right.
Moving into this week, there is a little less value on the board, but still plenty of opportunity for us to make some well reasoned picks. If we can post another monster week, that record will start to look really impressive and you can feel even more confident putting your money where my mouth is.
As always, here are five best bets. The lines are as up to date as possible so you could get them while reading, but full disclosure I often lock in my bets earlier in the week at better lines (like getting the Rams at -2.5 instead of -3 last week). For Best Bets purposes, however, these are the official lines that our record will be judged by.
Also, don’t forget to check in on our even bigger, even better Big Money Parlay and Teaser at the end of the article.
DAL -3 @ NO (-105)
So let’s jump right into the murkiness here.
I wrote this line up in my early bets and got it locked in at -2.5. I much prefer that line and feel really strongly about it. -3 is still good, though, and a line we can take advantage of.
Once again, looking at the completeness of these two rosters as well as the matchup itself, it is easy to see a game controlled by Dallas here.
When looking at New Orleans’ defense, there has been a trend of opposing quarterbacks and receivers shredding their secondary. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins were able to do it Week 1, Gardner Minshew and DJ Chark managed it in Week 2, while Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett did it this past week.
Coming to town is an offense that has seen Amari Cooper score a touchdown in every game this season and Kellen Moore vault to the top of every 2020 coaching list as he has Dak Prescott averaging 300 yards a game and leading the league in QBR. The scary part of this offense is that it hasn’t even seen Zeke perform at his highest level and he is still fourth in the league in rushing with 289 yards while Tony Pollard has 150 yards of his own.
So if Dallas is going to score, then the pressure is going to come down on Teddy Bridgewater. While he was up to the task last week, this is a different beast (and that beast is named DeMarcus Lawrence). If Bridgewater is in fact playing from behind then Dallas has the defensive infrastructure to apply pressure and take away some of the weapons that he relied upon last week.
Doing any deep dive into Dallas’ defensive numbers is somewhat pointless because they have played teams with a combined record of 1-8, but they have shown the ability to get after the quarterback with five sacks and four fumble recoveries.
There is a chance New Orleans’ team build can put the Cowboys on their heels, but when it comes to top to bottom rosters, Dallas is superior and provides the betting advantage coming off of a week where Vegas is higher on New Orleans.
GB -4.5 vs PHI (-110)
Another murky one here. But decidedly less so.
I got this line at -4 earlier in the week, but even at 4.5 it feels like a steal. I ran through a lot of this in my early week bets, but this matchup seems to be decidedly in Green Bay’s favor, and given that the game is in Lambo, should be much higher.
At the current line, Vegas is saying Green Bay is 1.5 points better than a Philadelphia team that has a lot of factors stacked up against it. Let’s dive into those factors:
Philly is beat up, with three key players (Desean Jackson, Timmy Jurnigan, Ronald Darby) already declared out. After losing at home to a Lions team that does not strike fear into anyone’s hearts, they now travel on a short week to Green Bay.
On the opposite side, Green Bay is playing its third straight home game and is coming off a win against a Denver team which was much more resounding than the final score. They are fully healthy and have already beaten the Bears and the Vikings, who might both be better than Philadelphia.
Even deeper in, we see that those players who are playing in this already uneven situation matchup in a way that favors Green Bay. To date, the Eagles have committed to stopping the run on defense, which has lead them to be vulnerable through the air. They have allowed Case Keenum and Matt Ryan to torch them, and Matt Stafford was able to beat them in their own building. Green Bay has a better quarterback and two receivers who should be scary to any Eagles’ fan.
Conversely, Green Bay has been on fire defensively, and most especially in the secondary. Philadelphia has shown little ability to move the ball on the ground, and although they get the return of Alshon Jeffery in this game, they will have few options if Green Bay can contain him and limit Zach Ertz/Nelson Agholor.
Clearly, I feel some type of way about this line. No matter the result, I am happy putting a big chunk of last week’s winnings on the Packers here, knowing that the process is telling us this is a great decision.
KC -7 @ DET (-115)
The general consensus on this Detroit team is that they are able to control games with their offense and execute on defense to put other teams in bad positions. The reality of this Detroit team is that they should have two losses and could easily have three under a coach who has mismanaged their talent.
If you are a subscriber to the belief that Detroit can run the ball with Kerryon Johnson and keep Patrick Mahomes off the field, thereby limiting Kansas City, let me remind you that Mahomes has AVERAGED 400 yards passing a game and would have a throw of at least 68 yards in every game were it not for a Mecole Hardman TD getting called back in Week 2.
The point of this segment is not to tell you that Patrick Mahomes is good and that he throws long passes, it is to remind you that you cannot control the ball against someone who needs five seconds to score.
The game being in Detroit does not worry me because a dome seems like the setting this Chiefs offense was built for. With Darius Slay walking around Detroit with a limp, in danger of missing this game, it could be another game where Mahomes picks out one of his weapons for a rotating buffet of 40 yard touchdowns.
Quite simply, the Lions have one speed and that speed is about two touchdowns behind Mahomes and this Chief’s offense.
ATL -4 vs TEN (-110)
Of all the teams in the NFL, Tennessee has cost me the most money in my lifetime.
Often, when following the league closely, you start to get rhythms and feels for the way a team will perform in different situations. Sometimes there are numbers to back it up, but others you just feel the matchup and the identity of a team leading up to that game.
I have literally no feel for Tennessee.
Last week, I saw them exerting their will on a Jacksonville team that has disgruntled players, a back-up QB, and no running game. Instead, the Titans looked lost on offense, haphazard on defense, and without any true game plan whatsoever.
Marcus Mariota does not look long for this league, and Corey Davis and AJ Brown are becoming less useful because of this.
Atlanta, meanwhile has proven to be better at home than on the road, and despite losing to the Colts last week, started to make a real comeback in that game after TY Hilton went out.
If the Titans struggle to pass (which Mariota seems to ensure) then the Falcons will not need to worry as much about losing Keanu Neal (although we should certainly monitor that in the coming matchups).
Again, I have no feel for Tennessee, and it makes me nervous to trust this Atlanta team, but this line implies that the Falcons are only one point better than the Titans and that is something I can’t swallow.
SEA @ ARI over 48 (-110)
And, in traditional Best Bet style, I have to have at least one over under in the mix to make it interesting.
I locked this in at 47.5, but 48 still works for me.
This is a game between two bad secondaries, on turf, with one of the highest paced teams likely setting the tempo.
Russell Wilson is back to playing like one of the best QBs in the league, and his passing core has suddenly become formidable with the emergence of DK Metcalf, the improvement of Tyler Lockett, the return of David Moore, and the crowning of our new lord and savior Will Dissly (read the DFS plays column for more or follow me on Twitter).
For Arizona, they are in a world of hurt record wise, but are a Kliff “Oatmeal Cookie” Kingsbury field goal spree away from pushing the over in every game this year.
I try to give a lot of analysis to back up these picks, but for this one, it shouldn’t take much. Seattle will score, Arizona will score, the numbers will be high, go with the over.
BONUS BEST BETS (not to count for the record but had to mention them)
CAR +4.5 @ HOU (-110) and over 47.5 (-110)
There are too many bets in this article to really stake a full claim on anyone, but the point here is to lay out arguments and let you decide whether you want to make money or not.
In my picks league (which is only against the line and doesn’t include overs and unders...and which I am in 175th out of 3200) this is my fifth pick at +5 (along with the four against the line above).
I love this Carolina team with a quarterback, and I think the general public is underrating the infrastructure around Kyle Allen. In this game, Carolina has the better defense, the better running back, the better offensive line, and is not that far behind in receiving weapons with two speedy options.
Houston, on the other hand, only has a point differential of +6 and has a habit of making big mistakes and being poorly coached (although that is more of a quality than a habit).
I love love love this game as a pick and an over, but it just happened to be the sixth best one I had this week. I entirely think you should make some money on this with me, and bet on a better team versus a worse team. It might not be a Best Bet, but it still might be best to bet.
CIN +3.5 @ PIT (-105)
This is a line that confounds me, yet I cannot quite feel confident with. It has fallen from +$ to +3.5, so it seems as though Cinci is getting some love.
To recap, Cincinnati has shown the ability to score points and play defense against some good teams. They got blown out by the 49ers, but that game was a disaster from the start and San Francisco is starting to look like they may be a legitimate team. In Week 1, the Bengals hung with the Seahawks, and in Week 3 they almost beat the Buffalo Bills (an Owl Eats Football favorite team and current undefeated squad).
In doing this they have flashed the ability to do everything except have a competent offensive line, but Pittsburgh doesn’t present many defensive problems. Given the secondary play, it seems fair to think that one of John Ross or Tyler Boyd can go off.
Meanwhile, the defense that bothered Josh Allen all day seems like it can have even more success against Mason Rudolph after his showing against the 49ers.
Again, I have no money down on this game and am struggling to find a way to make this move, but it seems to me that these two teams are closer than common perception indicates, and if this line rises any higher than 4, I’ll be all over it.
TB @ LAR under 49.5 (-110)
I feel as though this game is being mischaracterized left and right.
This is not a matchup of two explosive offenses, but rather a matchup of two good defenses and two quarterbacks who can make mistakes early and often. Yes, Jared Goff is better at home, and yes Tampa Bay will be traveling 3000 miles for this game after a soul crushing loss to the Giants, but this has the feel of a much different game than people think.
Will it be a 13-10 game? Probably not. But this could easily turn into an affair where the Rams jump out early and coast to a win against a Bucs team that can hang on defense but might be dealing with a hangover on offense.
The Big Money Makers
Well, folks, that’s how you do it!
In the first week of this segment, we took home a total of $191.28 by winning our teaser and winning five out of the six legs of our parlay (while pushing the sixth leg).
This week, we’ve broken it down into three $25 bets, but we’ve upped the stakes by making it an 8 leg teaser, a 7 leg parlay, and an unheard of 10 leg parlay! This won’t be every week, but considering our parlay/teaser bucket is flush with cash, let’s make a splash this week.
As a reminder, these are not the bets that we rely on to put food on the table, but these are the bets that can buy us a restaurant.
My Big Money Teaser
$25 to win $325
NE -1.5 @ BUF (-110)
KC -1 @ DET (-115)
BAL -1 vs. CLE (-105)
CAR +10 @ HOU (-110)
JAX +9 @ DEN (+105)
DAL +3.5 @ NO (-115)
CIN +10 @ PIT (-105)
SEA @ ARI over 42 (-110)
My Big Money Parlay #1
$25 to win $419.07
BAL to win (-340)
KC to win (-265)
NE to win (-325)
LAC to win (-1050)
WAS @ NYG over 49 (-110)
TB @ LAR under 49.5 (-110)
CAR @ HOU over 46.5 (-110)
My Big Money Parlay #2
$25 to win $1156.24
BAL to win (-340)
KC to win (-265)
NE to win (-325)
LAC to win (-1050)
ATL to win (-205)
GB to win (-220)
LAR to win (-450)
CAR +4.5 @ HOU (-110)
CAR @ HOU over 47.5 (-110)
SEA @ ARI over 48 (-110)