Vontae Davis is a hero. We have all walked into work one day and wanted to leave before lunch. This guy actually did it and for that, I salute you. If we’re being honest with ourselves, and not standing on our proverbial soap box shouting “WhAt AbOuT hIs TeAmMaTeS?!?!”, I think we would all quit after John Ross turned us into a .gif
Just this Sunday, I, like our resident protagonist Vontae Davis, wanted to curl up in a ball and quit gambling forever before the 4:00 P.M. slate. Rather than continue to talk about how sad I was/am, I only have one thing to say.
Last week was a very typical, wonky Week 2. We had the surprising upstart in a home-dog upset (Tampa Bay), the slumping AFC powerhouses (New England and Pittsburgh), the absurd start from a young QB (Mahomes) and an officiating controversy that resulted in a tie!
Underdogs went 11-5 ATS in Week 2, and while five of my eight bets were underdogs, I simply bet on the wrong group. This group included teams quarterbacked by Eli Manning, Sam Bradford and Cam Newton, with his 2-6 career record at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Also, I’m introducing a new (though hardly revolutionary) concept to Pick-up Lines. I’ll be keeping track of the weekly point differential for my bets ATS. For example, my first week, I won my bets by a combined 73 points. Last week, I lost by a combined 14.5. That gives me a +58.5-point differential through two weeks. I don’t know what this means yet or what it could reveal by the end of the season, but I’m going to give it a go.
And for those of you asking why I don’t publish how much money I bet on each game (or how many “units” for the gambling heads out there), I believe that everybody has their own gambling budget and I’m not going to be one of those people that tell you how much to bet on every game. You also don’t want to make every decision on NFL games on Thursdays/Fridays (when this is column is published). Most of you probably want to wait before kick-off. As a wise man once said, “the late move is the correct move.”
Week 3 Picks
As always, my picks will be listed from most to least confident. However, I must note that I won’t be finalizing most of the picks on my end until Sunday morning (unless I really feel good about the number I’m seeing, which does happen from time to time). You’ll probably sense a trend in my picks early on, but with the lines being as they are, I’ve been forced to bet on some bad football teams. For reference, I will have the team I’m picking in bold font next to the point spread.
Season Record: 9-7
Season Point Differential: +58.5
Last Week: 3-5
1. Los Angeles Chargers (+7) at Los Angeles Rams
This line has moved from 7 to 6 and then back to 7 since Monday. The Rams have been impressive to date, but I think the number is a little high for a Chargers team that was, before their Week 1 drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs, considered a super bowl contender. Joey Bosa is out once again for the Chargers, but I expect them to keep it close on what is essentially a neutral field (Because, you know, the Chargers won’t have to travel very far).
2. Indianapolis Colts (+7) at Philadelphia Eagles
Seven is a big number. The Colts have shown a little spunk the past two weeks, competing against a tough Bengals team and handling the Redskins on the road. The Eagles, meanwhile, have looked incredibly vulnerable. I still believe the Eagles will win this game, but I’m confident back-door cover champion Andrew Luck will come through with a late-game drive. I should note that this line could easily be over 7 before kick-off, so it might be good for some of you to wait and see.
3. New Orleans Saints (+3) at Atlanta Falcons
These games are traditionally close, especially in Atlanta, and I’m somewhat surprised Atlanta is getting a whole field goal against the Saints. The public loves New Orleans and Atlanta hasn’t looked very good through two weeks. Granted, the Saints were a competent Browns’ kicker away from starting 0-2, but they are still loaded with talent. I’m betting the road-dog against Atlanta once again, hoping Drew Brees can deliver better results for my wallet than Cam Newton.
4. Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-5)
With the exception of a 34-17 victory with Peyton Manning at the helm in 2012, Denver has lost every game at Baltimore by double-digits since the Browns left Cleveland for M&T Bank Stadium. As a Broncos fan, I can tell you they are coming into their first road game a tad over-hyped. Baltimore is better than Denver and their home field advantage is not getting enough attention with early money coming in on Denver (line opened at 5.5). I’m on the other side here. I’m expecting Baltimore to come out strong at home, as I did in Week 1.
The only reason I’m not higher on this game is the questionable availability of Ravens’ linebacker C.J. Mosley. If you believe that Mosely’s absence will hurt Baltimore too much against what has been NFL’s second-best rush offense through two weeks, then I don’t blame you. I have doubts on Denver’s long-term success on that front, as you noticed in my over/under piece.
5. San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)
This number is going to jump some before kick-off, and I locked this bet in early. While I do expect some major regression for Pat Mahomes, I don’t see it coming in Kansas City’s first home game. I like six points, if it was higher than seven I would stay away. I do not believe in the 49ers.
6. Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins (+3)
I’m betting on the home underdog. The Redskins, after being favored by what ended up being a monstrous six points last week against the Colts, are underdogs against a beat-up Packers team at home. I think a field goal cushion is just too high, as I could see Washington winning this game and feel safe with this game’s push potential. The Packers are coming for blood after a gut-wrenching tie, but they are likely to come up short.
7. Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-1)
I don’t feel overly confident in Seattle, but I think the line isn’t properly adjusted for their homefield advantage (granted, we haven’t seen it yet). Dallas’s defense looked impressive against a hapless Giants team that I stupidly bet on the last two weeks. It’s possible that Seattle is poopy poop, but I’m betting on Russell Wilson, and his nearly 80% career win percentage at CenturyLink Field.
8. Buffalo Bills (+17) at Minnesota Vikings
Since 2003, there have been 14 games with a spread of 17 points or more. The favored teams have won every one of those games, but they are a combined 6-7-1 against the spread. I bet on Arizona +13 last week and got murder-stomped, but there is still value in taking these huge underdogs, even though this is the worst match-up on paper to-date. If your sportsbook says 16.5 for Minnesota, you should know that teams favored by 16 or more points over the past 10 years are 8-11-1 ATS.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (+1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m glutton for punishment. Pittsburgh has burned me twice as a short favorite and everything seems to point to a season from hell. The money has come in on the Buccaneers, no doubt because Pittsburgh has looked pretty terrible while Tampa Bay has crushed some tough competition.
I’m betting on Pittsburgh, logic be damned. I’m looking for some regression on both sides and I could not pass up Pittsburgh as the underdog against a team I thought would be one of the worst in the NFC this season.
Gun-to-my-head season record: 8-7-1
New York Jets (+3) at Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals (+3) at Carolina Panthers
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5)
New York Giants at Houston Texans (-6)
Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins (-3)
Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals (+5.5)
New England Patriots (-6.5) at Detroit Lions