The Backdoor Cover - Week 3 NFL Picks
By Josh Gamble
*Lines are accurate as of Thursday morning*
Dolphins @ Jaguars (-2.5) – Over/Under 48.5
I feel like a broken record, but the NFL has done it again with another premium matchup. (Insert sarcasm here) These are two teams that are incredibly difficult to figure out. Many people are buying into Minshew Mania while Ryan Fitzpatrick keeps finding ways to put points on the board. The Dolphins came through the backdoor last weekend against the Bills in a game that I thought would not be close. This game opened as a pick em and currently sits at 2.5. There is over 90% cash on the Jags but only have around 60% of the tickets. There are some big bettors out there that like the Jags in this game. If the cash can push the line past the field goal mark, you may see some value in taking the Dolphins. With less than 12 hours until kickoff, I would find that unlikely. If the line does not make it that far then I would stay away from this game.
Raiders @ Patriots (-6) – Over/Under 47.5
The Raiders were impressive on Monday against the Saints. What remains to be seen is if that is a testament to the improvement of the Raiders or the decline of Drew Brees and the Saints. They will also need to travel across the country on a shortened week. On the other side, the Patriots are becoming one of my favorite teams to watch with Cam Newton under the helm. The line opened at 7 points and has dropped down to 6. We are now seeing an even bigger influx of cash on the Patriots. 6 points is a lot to give a team that have looked as impressive as the Raiders, but I just can’t shake the fact that they are traveling to New England on short rest. The better play to me is the over. The Patriots defense was exposed last week against the Seahawks and I would expect the Raiders to be able to score. The Raiders gave up 24 points to the Saints and the Patriots seemingly have a better offense. Take the over and hope the Raiders can show some life after a short week.
Rams @ Bills (-2.5) – Over/Under 47
This is one of the games that I am most excited to see this weekend. Both teams have been impressive offensively. With that being said, I do not see a whole lot of value when it comes to betting this game. I have a small lean on the over in this game if you have a little extra betting money and are looking for more action. Another intriguing option would be Rams moneyline at +115. For me, this is one of those games that I would rather sit back and enjoy as opposed to having action on either side.
Texans @ Steelers (-3.5) – Over/Under 45
The spread on this game is very difficult to figure out. The line has dropped a couple points from its open despite the fact that there is an overwhelming amount of cash and tickets on the Steelers. Something in the handicappers’ algorithm thinks this game will be closer than the bettors do. The Texans should have the marginally better offense in this game; however, there is a lot of talent and speed on the Steelers’ defense. I like the home favorite to cover the spread.
49ers (-4) @ Giants – Over/Under 41.5
Both of these teams are incredibly banged up. The 49ers lost Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas to season-ending injuries and will also be without Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for at least this week. Jimmy Garoppolo has a sprained ankle; however, should be playing this week. How well he will play on a banged up ankle is the question. Getting George Kittle back should definitely help. The Giants, who were already one of the worst teams in the league, are now without their superstar, Saquan Barkley. There is a fair amount of cash on the Giants as the home dog, but with all of the injuries and questions for both teams, I would recommend passing on this game altogether.
Photo courtesy of tennesseetitans.com
Titans (-2.5) @ Vikings – Over/Under 48.5
This is one of my top plays of the week. The Vikings have been a massive disappointment this season while the Titans have been slightly better than people suspected. With the Titans being less than a field goal favorite, I see this as a must play. There is over 90% of the cash and over three quarters of the tickets on the Titans to cover. Get your money in on the Titans to cover before the line gets pushed over the field goal mark.
Football Team @ Browns (-7) – Over/Under 44.5
I have nothing to say about this game other than both teams are a dumpster fire. You have no idea which version of each team is going to show up. Run away from this game as fast as you can.
Bengals @ Eagles (-4.5) – Over/Under 46.5
To say the Eagles have been a disappointment would be an understatement. Wentz just lost another weapon in his rookie wide receiver, Jalen Reagor. Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense looked impressive last week; however, we need to tread lightly as it was against a suspect Browns defense. There is an overwhelming majority of cash on the Eagles to cover, but we are seeing a slight advantage in tickets on the Bengals and the points. I would stay away from the spread in this game given the Eagles early season struggles. The more intriguing bet is the over. 46.5 points seems low for this game. If Baker Mayfield can score 35 points against that defense, you would hope that Wentz and company can put up a similar number. The Eagles defense just gave up 37 points to the Rams. I know that the Rams offense is far superior at this point to the Bengals, but I would expect that the Bengals will be able to score on this defense. Take the over in this game.
Bears @ Falcons (-3) – Over/Under 47.5
The Falcons are seemingly going to find a new way to lose each week. As expected, the offense has been clicking; however, there defense has been atrocious. The Bears have looked better than most people expected them to largely in part to Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky has played well through the first 2 weeks of the season. A large majority of the cash and tickets are on the Falcons to cover this week, but the line has remained steady at its open. At this point in the season, I would stay away from the spread or moneyline for any game that the Falcons are playing until further notice. While I am staying away from the spread on this game, this is one of my plays for the week on the over. Both teams have offenses that are clicking. The Bears have a good defense but it is hard to bet against a Falcons offense at home. Hammer the over on this game.
Jets @ Colts (-11) – Over/Under 44
The Jets have easily been the worst team in the NFL through 2 weeks. Even so, this spread is untouchable. Once you get past the 10 point mark, you have reached a level that is too difficult to stomach. But if the Jets are so bad, why don’t you take the Colts? My answer is that I do not care how bad a team is, I am never going to lay 11 points. A keen observer may ask, “why not take the points?” My short answer is they are the Jets. Regardless of the amount of points, I will not put my money on any team that have been as bad as the Jets. The Colts could win this game by 3 touchdowns but it is not worth the risk for me.
Panthers @ Chargers (-6.5) – Over/Under 44.5
The Chargers played the Chiefs very well last week only to let the game slip away. This was the first real test for their defense and they showed that they are the real deal. The Panthers are a bad team that just got worse with the injury to Christian McCaffrey. With a question as to who will suit up at quarterback for the Chargers, I would stay away from this game.
Lions @ Cardinals (-5.5) – Over/Under 54.5
The Detroit Lions are an enigma. They have a talented roster but seemingly cannot put things together for a full game. At the beginning of the week, I would have been telling you to hammer the over. Since the early bettors have already done that, the total has been pushed from 51.5 up to 54.5. I do not see much value in the over at this point. If it ends up coming down to around 53, you may consider pulling the trigger. If I was to bet this game, I would take the Cardinals to cover at home, but that is not one of my bets for this week. I see the biggest value play as being the Lions moneyline at +220. Those are great odds for a team that has as much talent as the Lions offense does.
Buccaneers (-6) @ Broncos – Over/Under 43
The Broncos are another team that has been plagued by injuries to start this season. The biggest of which is Drew Lock, who is expected miss a month. Denver is always a tough place to play and I do not necessarily love the Buccaneers here. The only value I see in this game is the over. The over has dropped a full point since its open. Even against a tough defense, the Buccaneers should score some points. The key is whether or not the Broncos can get on the board with consistency.
Cowboys @ Seahawks (-4.5) – Over/Under 55.5
This should be a fun game to watch but I do not see any bets that are playable with confidence. The Cowboys are too much of a wild card for me to bet either side of this. They show flashes of being the great team people expected them to be but have not put together nearly the consistency we would like to see. If you make me pick a side I would go with the Seahawks and the over.
Photo courtesy of packerswire.usatoday.com
Packers @ Saints (-3) – Over/Under 52.5
The Packers have been one of the biggest surprises of the year. As of now, they appear to be one of the top 2 teams in the NFC. Confidence in the Saints is moving in the opposite direction. An influx in cash on the Packers has dropped this line a total of 3 points down to a field goal. Congratulations if you got in early on the +6. Even with the spread dropping down to a field goal, it is still time to back the Pack. Packers +3.
Chiefs @ Ravens (-3) – Over/Under 53.5
This is easily the marquee matchup of the week. The Chiefs struggled last week against the Chargers and that may have some influence in the spread. So far there is a lot of cash on the Ravens to cover. If the spread goes any higher than the current 3 points, I would jump on the Chiefs. Anytime Patrick Mahomes can get 3 points or more in a game, I am going to take it. The best value in this game is the Chiefs’ moneyline at +160. I would expect this game to be close, high scoring and come down to the wire. For those reasons, 2 of my picks this week are in this game. I am taking the over and Chiefs moneyline at +160. Please note that my +160 bet is only for half a unit.
Titans -2.5 (2 units)
Packers +3 (1 unit)
Bears/Falcons over 47.5 (1 unit)
Chiefs/Ravens over 53.5 (1 unit)
Chiefs moneyline +160 (.5 unit)
Lions moneyline +220 (.5 unit)