Last week was a rough one. We started 0-2 in the morning and went just 1-1 in the afternoon. Fortunately the Cleveland Browns saved us from an embarassing 1-4 week. Overall we are 5-5 which is not bad but now is the time to make that push to 60% or even 70% accuracy in the next two weeks. We feel that this week provides a great opportunity to take the books to the cleaners. Why? Click on the link below and then come back to this article.
During Week 9 of the previous NFL season, most favors covered resulting in a huge loss for Vegas. With two very large favors this week and a few other teams giving up close to a TD with their spreads, Vegas as well as several other states which have legalized sports gambling stand to lose a lot of money should the favors destroy the inferior competition standing in their way.
Still, it would be prudent to not just go with the biggest favors because of the lopsided matchups. It is best to be judicious so here are our Week 3 picks with our reasons for each selection.
Indianapolis Colts -1.5. The Luckless Colts don't seem to be missing their former signal caller after a decent start to the season. Yes, they did lose their first game but it was a close affair against a tough opponent on the road with the Chargers needing overtime to seal the victory. The Colts then took care of business last week by beating their division rival in Tennessee. Now the Colts return to Lucas Oil Stadium for their home opener against the Falcons. Atlanta is not an opponent to take lightly but our model has the Colts winning by at least a TD. With a revamped O-line and a solid defense, the Colts should be able to win the war in the trenches. There is good value to be had here for the home team.
Seattle Seahawks -4. This line has now crept to -5 and could keep moving more in favor of Seattle. The Saints are a decimated team with future HOFer Drew Brees missing the next few weeks while his thumb heals from surgery. Add on two WRs and two defensive players missing this game for New Orleans and now the Saints are scrambling to find bodies to fill this massive void. To add insult to injury, a road trip to Seattle awaits the injury-riddled team from the Big Easy. Seattle is never an easy place to play for the road team. The crowd noise is deafening and Seattle is looking sharp with a 2-0 start to the season. One has to wonder if the Saints have stayed out on the West Coast during this road trip. Some NFL teams can pull off a strong road trip when they choose to stay away from home for 2 or more weeks just to avoid too much travel and frequent time zone changes but it has to be hard to do so with the injuries piling up. Our model has the Seahawks winning by a TD and they should have relative ease doing so against a vulnerable team. This is perhaps our favorite play of the week.
San Francisco 49ers -6.5. Raise your hand if you thought the 49ers would be a TD favorite against the Steelers a few weeks before the NFL regular season started? Now lower your hand liar! Of course this Steelers team entered this season with a new look after letting Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell sign with other teams. Can't blame them for not working out a deal with Brown after he is now out of a job again and Bell dealing with injuries. The Steelers made the right decisions there but now they find themselves with Big Ben out for the season and sitting at 0-2. Meanwhile, the 49ers are 2-0 for the first time since 2012 which was when the franchise last made it to the Super Bowl. The defense has been dominant and the offense is playing smart football. Keep in mind that all of this happened while staying on the road for two consecutive weeks. Finally there might be signs of life at Levi's Stadium and let's hope this is not an aberration. This diehard 49ers fan has been dying to finally see a good squad since they left Candlestick Park six years ago. Our model has the 49ers winning by double digits and in fact it has them beating Pittsburgh by about 15 points which is the largest predicted spread after New England and Dallas. We will gladly take the TD spread.
Los Angeles Rams -3. Football purists would know that the first football team in Cleveland was not the Browns but the Rams. After the Rams left for Los Angeles in 1946, the Browns were established (and then re-established in 1999 when the Browns became the Baltimore Ravens in 1996). Enough with the deep football history and let's focus on this game which should be interesting. Here we have a road team who has not shown any signs of a Super Bowl hangover. They are hungry, healthy, and very talented. The Browns had a rough start at home during Week 1 but silenced their critics with a convincing victory on Monday Night Football in New York. The Browns will showcase their talents again on national TV but beating the Rams will be far more challenging than the injury riddled Jets team they dominated last week. Our model has the Rams winning by 10 points even though they are the road team. I am a firm believer that you stick with the blue chip teams especially with a generous spread of just 3 points. The Browns are still a work in progress. The Rams right now are part of the NFL elite. Don't overthink this one. Go with the superior team here.
Chicago Bears -4. This will now be three weeks in a row that we have taken a Monday Night opponent and it so happens that we are still picking the road favorite to cover. So far we are 1-1 with our Monday Night selections and feel we will be 2-1 at the conclusion of Week 3. The Deadskins have been able to put up some points against decent defenses such as the Eagles and Cowboys but doing so against a top 5 defense in Chicago won't be easy. The Bears D has been solid thus far but it's the offense that needs a jumpstart. The remedy could be a weak Washington defense that has given up at least 30 points in each of the past two weeks. Even if the Bears barely put up 20 points in this contest, we are just asking to cover 4 points. Play great defense and protect the ball, and we will take a 20-13 type of victory. In fact, the model has the Bears winning by about 7 - 8 points.
Yes, all chalk. It is rare we avoid underdogs in our Big Five Picks but we truly feel this is going to be a bloodbath for the books this weekend. Start off by taking the Colts at the moneyline which is at -125. Better safe than sorry in case the Colts win by 1 point. If you put $250 down on the Colts, you walk away with a $200 profit. Then press your winnings on a 2 team parlay with Seattle and San Francisco. If all goes well, you will be up $720. Place half of those winnings on the Rams on Sunday Night Football and the other half on the Bears on Monday Night Football. A 5-0 week will yield a profit of over $1300 on just a $200 Sunday morning investment. A 4-1 week (assuming the one loss comes from one of the evening games) will still yield a solid profit. 3-2 and it's a wash but you can still make money if you perhaps go ligher on the Rams and Bears. Anyway you look at it, a strong start is good for you and good for me! Good luck and we will check in after the favors carry us to victory and a fatter wallet!