Considering this is my second week of writing this article, I have decided to keep a record of how my bets are doing as the season goes on. Last week, I had a record of 8-4 while going 2-1 on my best bets. I sure hope some of you took my advice and made some money. Hopefully I can do the same this week. As always, my odds are coming directly from Draftkings Sportsbook.
Browns @ Steelers (-3)
Both of these teams come into this game on fire (yes, I know the Browns and fire usually don’t go together unless you put dumpster in front of it). The Browns are on a four game winning streak after handling the Colts in their last matchup. The Steelers rebounded after an unexpected week off by winning a high scoring affair against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Browns have been impressive so far this season. This can be chalked up to their explosive running game. They came into the season with two extremely talented running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Due to Chubb going down with a knee injury, Kareem Hunt is having to shoulder the load in his absence. He has shown already in his career that he can carry the load for a team that has led the NFL in rushing yards this year, according to NFL.com. Another key aspect to their success is their pass rush, and that has been provided by Myles Garrett. The former #1 overall pick three years ago has shined so far this year after his suspension last year for trying to hit Mason Rudolph with his helmet. He is second in the league in sacks with six through five games. Having a monster pass rusher can make everything easier defensively and it has made the Browns a surprisingly good team this year.
After a year in which they started three different quarterbacks, the Steelers are clicking on all cylinders after getting their future Hall of Fame QB Ben Roethlisberger back. He has a TD-INTO ratio of 10-1 over four games, according to Football Reference. He has added an element of explosiveness to this Pittsburgh offense that was lacking last year. One could also say that the Steelers may have just found a new weapon in the form of Chase Claypool. Claypool was a second round pick this past draft and showed all the tools necessary to be an explosive player. This past week, Claypool took advantage of Diontae Johnson’s injury and scored four touchdowns in a truly explosive and surprising effort. While the Steelers have seemed to found their offense, the one constant over the past two years has been their excellent defense. They are only giving up just over 300 total yards a game, which is third best in the league according to ESPN. This combination of offense and defense has led the Steelers to a perfect record so far.
The stat that will decide this game is in favor of the Steelers. While the Browns have the most rushing yards in the league, the Steelers have given up the fewest to the tune of 256, which equals out to 64 yards a game according to ESPN. It could be said that this is the unstoppable force versus the immovable object. However, the Browns just showed last week that they can be stopped on the ground by an elite rush defense in the form of the Colts. The difference is that the Colts did not have the offense to truly challenge the Browns. With the Steelers newfound weapon and their stellar defense, they should be able to force Baker Mayfield to throw the ball and that spells disaster for the Browns.
Bet: Steelers (-3.5)
Falcons @ Vikings (-4)
There really isn’t much going right for either of these teams. The Falcons cannot buy a win and just fired their head coach and general manager. The Vikings had a chance to get a big win under the primetime lights and promptly choked. These are two of the most trick-or-treat teams in the league. It is anyone’s guess who will show up this week, but I will do my best to outline the few positives each team has coming into this game.
Remember how I would just said I could outline the positives for each team? I clearly forgot that I was writing about the Falcons. Early on in the season, they looked like a team that could not defend to save their lives but had an offense that could get them a win once in a while. Over the past two weeks, that once prolific offense has vanished. The Falcons have scored 16 points in each their last two games after averaging 30 points a game in their first three. Julio Jones’ lingering hamstring injury has truly hampered this passing attack. It is unclear at this time if he will play this week or not. Unfortunately for the Falcons, their defense has not picked up any of the slack. According to NFL.com, they have given up the highest passer rating in the league by six points. Playing them is like turning your Madden difficulty all the way down so you can get an easy win. They have shown no signs of life.
The Vikings are coming off of a back-breaking, last-second loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. It overshadows what was an impressive effort from the Vikings. They doubled up Seattle in time-of possession. The Vikings held the ball for 39 minutes to Seattle’s 20. This was in large part due to the heavy lifting of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Cook carried the load in the first half, and after his injury in the third, Mattison carried showed he can be the workhorse in his stead. This is important because Cook is unlikely to play in this week’s game. While Cook is one of the top RB talents in the league, Mattison has shown himself well anytime he has been given an opportunity. While these are positive marks, their defense has been very lackluster. They have been carved up through the air and are the sixth worst team in passing yards given up, according to NFL.com. This game has all the makings of a shootout.
To be completely honest, I do not have a key stat that I feel will decide this game. As I outlined earlier, both teams have had lackluster starts and both are brutal against the pass. The only thing I can point to with two mediocre teams is home-field, and the fact that Minnesota has at least shown a pulse the past two weeks. The Vikings should handle the struggling Falcons at home and cover the spread with ease.
Bet: Vikings (-3.5)
Packers (-1) @ Buccaneers
Two of the greatest starting quarterbacks of all time are playing against each other for only the third time. Each QB has a win against the other. Coming into this particular week, both teams have had extra time to rest and prepare for one another. The Packers are just finishing up their bye week after starting the season 4-0. The Bucs are coming off of a Thursday Night game in which they coughed up a 13 point lead to the Bears and cost me a perfect record of my best bets. I promise you there will be no “anti-Bucs” bias in this article.
Aaron Rodgers a.k.a Bad Man has been looking like the Rodgers of old so far this season. He has a startling 13 TDs to 0 interceptions as he has truly played flawless football. This can be seen as even more impressive considering how his star receiver, Davante Adams, has only been healthy for one game. Adams is slated to return this week, which only gives Rodgers more ammo to pick apart this Bucs defense.
Tom Brady had a “brain fart” this past Thursday night. That is truly the only way I can explain it. This lends me to believe that we should see a bounce back effort from a pissed off Brady. It will certainly help matters if Chris Godwin is able to return to game action. He practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday and seems to be trending in the right direction. However, the Bucs other All-Pro receiver Mike Evans did not participate, so that is something to monitor. The strength of this Bucs team continues to be the defense. They have given up the second fewest total yards per game in the league, according to ESPN. The Bucs will need to have that defense in top form to handle Rodgers.
While I understand that the Bucs are at home and they look likely to get Chris Godwin back, they are still much too banged up on the offensive side. They also clearly have an offensive line that cannot keep Brady upright, which is the whole key to his and many QBs success. This game will come down to which defense is able to pressure the QB more. This leans towards Green Bay who has only let Aaron Rodgers get sacked three times in four games compared to Brady, who has been sacked eight times in five games. Green Ba’s star pass rusher Za’Darius Smith should have a field day against whoever is trying to block him. Go Pack Go.
Bet: Packers (-1)
Ravens @ Eagles (O/U 47.5)
Both teams come into this game playing lackluster football so far. Carson Wentz cannot stop throwing interceptions while Lamar Jackson has been plummeting back to Earth after his insane MVP season. Both QBs come into this game outside the top 20 in completion percentage, according to ESPN. I anticipate this being an ugly “punt fest” as neither team has shown much on offense this year. Take the under.
Bet: Under 47.5
Broncos @ Patriots (-10)
With Cam Newton and Drew lock slated to return for their teams, this has become a much more competitive game than it previously looked. My biggest factor in this game is simply home-field. The Patriots get it done at Gillette, Brady or no Brady. If this game were in Denver, I would easily take the Broncos. However, I expect the Patriots, who have had ample time to diagnose Denver’s team, to take care of business against a team they are much better than.
Bet: Patriots (-10)
Bengals @ Colts (-7.5)
I made the mistake of trusting the Bengals to not let the Ravens cover last week and was burned by it. I am not making that same mistake this week. While the Colts have not looked explosive on offense by any means, their defense remains elite. They have given up the fewest yards per game and the second fewest points per game, according to ESPN. The Bengals just played the best scoring defense in the NFL and promptly scored three points. I do not expect the Bengals to do enough offensively. Take the Colts.
Bet: Colts (-7.5)
Bears @ Panthers (O/U 45)
This is the battle between arguably the two most under-appreciated teams in the NFL. The Bears are 4-1 while the Panthers followed up an 0-2 start with three straight wins. Trends are the best thing to look at for a “coin flip” game like this one. During the Panthers three game winning streak, they have given up only 17 points per game. Since Nick Foles became the Bears starter, they have averaged 15.5 a game. I expect this to be a close, low scoring contest.
Bet: Under 45
Texans @ Titans (-3.5)
This seems to be a case of how the oddsmakers are either giving the Texans too much credit or they are not giving the Titans enough credit. Tennessee just dismantled the Bills on Tuesday night 42-16. While the Texans are coming off of their first win, people shouldn’t forget that it was Jacksonville that they beat. The fact that the Texans have to come to Tennessee bodes well for the Titans considering they are coming off of a strange short week. I expect the Titans to cover with ease. Also, the last time Derrick Henry played against Houston, he had over 200 yards and three touchdowns. Expect him to explode.
Bet: Titans (-3.5)
Washington @ Giants (O/U 43)
This is one of those games in which it is impossible to get behind either team. Both of these teams are going nowhere fast and have lost their last nine games combined. I tend to look at the over/under between two awful teams. These two teams have given up an average of 55 points combined this season, while they have combined to score a whopping total of 34 points. In a garbage game like this, I like to lean towards the bad offenses beating the bad defenses. Take the over.
Bet: Over 43
Lions @ Jaguars (O/U 54.5)
Remember what I just said about the last game? That same rule comes into play here. These two teams have given up a combined 61.2 points per game this season, according to ESPN. Detroit comes into this game off of a bye week while Jacksonville is Jacksonville. I expect this to be a shootout due to both teams being out of the playoff picture. Take the over.
Bet: Over 54.5
Jets @ Dolphins (-9.5)
It’s the Jets. The Fins just dismantled the Niners last week 43-17. It’s the Jets. Fitzpatrick looked like Fitz-Magic last week. It’s the Jets. The Dolphins are at home. It’s the Jets. Take Miami because IT’S THE JETS.
Bet: Dolphins (-9.5)
Rams @ 49ers (+3)
The Niners have easily been the biggest disappointment in football so far while the Rams have been a pleasant surprise. Each of these teams have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl the past two years. The Rams have excelled on defense this year as they have allowed 18 points per game so far, according to ESPN. The Niners are the most banged up team in football and it showed as they were throttled by the Dolphins last week. While this is a tough game to call, the Niners need this game much more than the Rams do. The Rams have also had an easy time the past few weeks in the form of the Giants and Washington. I expect the Niners to surprise a lot of people on Sunday Night.
Bet: Niners (+3)
Chiefs (-3.5) @ Bills
Both teams come into this game after surprising losses. The Chiefs were beaten by the Raiders while the Bills were crushed by the Titans. Both of these teams undefeated seasons were brought to an end. While both defenses are struggling, the Bills have been decimated by injury. Their star cornerback Tre’Davious White and starting linebacker Matt Milano were out this past Tuesday and that led to the Bills surrendering 42 points. With both players statuses uncertain heading into this game, I expect the Chiefs to do something similar to what the Titans did. Take the Chiefs.
Bet: Chiefs (-3.5)
Cardinals (-1.5) @ Cowboys
While I respect that the oddsmakers are not ready to dismiss Dallas quite yet, I certainly am. After the devastating injury to Dak Prescott, the Cowboys are now forced to lean on Andy Dalton the rest of the way. With a defense that has shown no signs of improving and arguably the best QB/WR combo in the league currently in the form of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins going against them, I can see the Cardinals covering that small spread with little to no problem.
Bet: Cardinals (-1.5)