Unfortunately for yours truly, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. A 5-2 record against the spread had me optimistic that I’d be swimming in cash and bragging rights amongst BetBasics colleagues. I finished the week 6-9.
If you’re still willing to tail these picks, I’m happy to have you for the next few hundred words. If you’d prefer to take whoever I don’t recommend, that works too. Who’s winning this week?
Who’s covering the spread in the 1 p.m. slate?
*All odds are via Caesars unless stated otherwise.
The scoring of this week’s early slate looks to be polarized, with totals set as high as 53 and as low as 38.5. The hotly anticipated battle in South Beach looks to be the most explosive. The Miami Dolphins exploded last week to win 42-38. It was a historic afternoon for Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and now they get to face a very banged up Buffalo Bills secondary. The biggest obstacle in their path, both literally and figuratively, is Josh Allen. The superstar owns the Dolphins and gives them the advantage at the sport’s most important position.
Things just might be different under Mike McDaniel.
The Pick: Dolphins +5 (-110), Josh Allen O 1.5 Passing TD (-224), Tua Tagovailoa O 1.5 Passing TD (-121)
We might be giving the New England Patriots a little too much credit. At the very least, the theoretical three-point home field advantage is doing some heavy lifting. Baltimore is clearly the more talented team and the only one that has Lamar Jackson. New England won’t be able to throw the ball around the yard as much as the Dolphins did, either.
The Pick: Ravens -2.5 (-120), Rashod Bateman O 3.5 Receptions (-160)
Somehow, someway, Patrick Mahomes has become one of the more underrated players in football. No, this isn’t a trap game. The Colts have to be flawless to keep pace with Kansas City and after last week’s debacle, they don’t deserve our trust. Until Indianapolis proves they are better than an 0-1-1 team with shaky quarterback play, let their actions do all the talking.
The Pick: Chiefs -5.5 (-110)
Last week I correctly took the Buccaneers over the Saints, despite New Orleans falling within the parameters of one of my favorite trends (early-season, home divisional ‘dogs). This week features a similar predicament. The Panthers play host to an offense that cannot get out of its own way. Still, Baker Mayfield has been one of the few quarterbacks worse than Jameis Winston this year. There may not be a worse coached team in football.
The Pick: Saints -2.5 (-110)
Most early season bingo cards didn’t have the Tennessee Titans or Las Vegas Raiders starting off 0-3. One of those will come true on Sunday. Las Vegas is coming off of an ugly home loss and needs a win to stay competitive in the AFC. Given the South’s standings, that same urgency doesn’t necessarily exist for Tennessee. Plus, it should be considered that the Titans may just stink. Don’t let last season’s success beat you.
The Pick: Raiders -2 (-110)
The act that is the Detroit Lions does not get old. This team is built to cover the spread, no matter the odds. Minnesota is in desperate need of a “get right” game after the Eagles left some guano on the Viking ship. That’s the last thing the Lions want to be. Expect a high-scoring affair filled with lots of bad football. Jared Goff against Kirk Cousins, baby. The Mayo Bowl came early this year.
The Pick: Lions +6 (-110)
While the divisional clash in Minnesota may light up the scoreboard, their division rival may not see a similar fate. The Chicago Bears play host to a Houston Texans team that played the Broncos close, even if it was more self-inflicted from the victor’s side. Both teams severely lack talent but right now, Houston might have the quarterback advantage. At even odds to cover, there’s a lot of value hiding in America’s ugliest game of the week.
The Pick: Texans +2.5 (+100)
One of the tougher games to project will be played at FedEx Field. The Eagles just beat the brakes off of Minnesota and are touchdown favorites. They are pretty clearly a better team, but are things going a little too well? I like Washington’s ability to threaten quarters coverage, which Philly likes to run. There may be enough variance from Carson Wentz to keep this game close. I’m not sure “Wentz Revenge Game” has much bite to it, though.
The Pick: Commanders +6.5 (-110)
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Whoever said that clearly hasn’t bet against the spread.
The Cincinnati Bengals are once again heavy favorites over a team locked into an uninspiring quarterback situation. Unlike last week, however, New York doesn’t have a Micah Parsons to threaten the quarterback. Robert Saleh’s defense should make things interesting, but I don’t buy their backend just yet, especially against such good weaponry. Expect the Jets to go back to what they do best: disappoint.
The Pick: Bengals -6.5 (-110), Joe Burrow Longest Completion O 37.5 yards (-111)
Who are the best bets from the late afternoon slate?
I rode with Tampa Bay last weekend and I’m ready to do it again. Not because it’s hot out, as Kay Adams may want you to believe, but because Green Bay’s offensive line is not at its best and there are few better across the league than Todd Bowles when it comes to generating pressure. Expect Aaron Rodgers to be under duress constantly, forced to live with low-upside completions to his backs and tight ends. The Buccaneers will take that all day long.
The Pick: Buccaneers -1 (-110)
Talk about a missed opportunity. Early this week, the Jaguars were touchdown underdogs to the Los Angeles Chargers. Now, with Justin Herbert a game-time decision, the line has shrunk to +3. I’ll take the risk that Herbert doesn’t suit up on Sunday. Jacksonville is playing good football and has enough of a pass rush to anger whoever ends up under center. The biggest test will ultimately be Trevor Lawrence against a talented Chargers defense.
The Pick: Jaguars +3
This game is tearing me apart. I wrote a paragraph and how the Rams have a cakewalk to covering. I deleted it. I wrote about the chaos that follows this Cardinals team and how it works in their favor. That’s gone too. For every reason I think of, “yeah, but,” follows close behind. Arizona isn’t more talented. Their head coach is decidedly worse. I’m not sure it matters. Good teams win, great teams cover.
The Pick: Cardinals +3.5 (-110)
It feels inevitable that football’s idiosyncrasies will show themselves in a Falcons-Seahawks game. Some obscure rule being broken, missed kicks, a few fumbles. The comedic value waiting for us in Seattle is higher than a fan in the Washington State student section. Expect Kyle Pitts to start seeing the football but the more talented team to find a way to win.
The Pick: Seahawks (Pick ‘em, -110)
Who is winning the primetime games?
Coaching and talent or quarterback play and home field advantage? San Francisco and Denver offer an enticing four quarters, but I think the 49ers win out. The discourse is destined for toxicity, and a strong San Francisco season only adds to that. Nathaniel Hackett can’t hack it (sorry) as a game manager just yet. Ultimately, the 49ers are loaded and in a good position to force Russell Wilson into precarious spots.
The Pick: 49ers -1.5
I’ve looked far and wide for odds on Parsons to net three sacks on national television. I’ve been unsuccessful in my endeavor, but the Cowboys won’t be. Cooper Rush is good enough to beat a 2-0 Giants team with minimal talent. Daniel Jones hasn’t self-destructed yet, and a quality Dallas defense could be what gets it done. Come for the Manningcast, stay for the sacks, and make some money to end your week.
The Pick: Cowboys +1 (-110)