It's Week 3 of the NFL season and I feel like I've already aged in dog years after last week's road dog extravaganza. It started out so perfectly, going 3-0 in the 1 p.m. games. Then the afternoon slate we went 2-2 and though that wasn't good, I wasn't going to lose sleep. Then we went 0-3 in prime time. Bad dog.
Look, most people would be beyond excited to be 9-11 on the season, but not me. I demand more. I felt I had a pulse on all these games, and then the Titans and Vikings embarrassed me in front of my family. Yes, I watched those games with my dad... and he wasn't sad, he was just disappointed.
Well, it's time to rally. I promise you I will have a week and you won't want to miss it when I do. Stay with me, I am built for a marathon not a sprint.
This week I dive more heavily into the point totals than in previous weeks, I think there's a couple that Vegas left up for grabs. So without further ado, here are four bets I love, four bets I adore, and two bets I would bet my liver for, and trust me, I use that thing a lot during football season.
Bets I Love
Bengals at Jets: Bengals -6
What a disastrous start for the Bengals. Joe Burrow has been sacked a league leading 13 times. At that rate. I wouldn't be surprised if he has half his brain considering an Andrew Luck-style surprise retirement because he just can't take the pain. This game however is just what Burrow and the Bengals need to get back on track, a virtual layup. The Jets are horrific, and even though Joe Flacco has turned back the clock with some youthful passing statistics, he's been forced to throw the ball approximately 1 billion times in the first two weeks because the Jets have been so far behind. They required a series of miracles to pull out a win last week against the Browns and if you exclude that fourth quarter they have only scored 23 points on the season.
The Bengals defense has been pretty solid despite being left in many poor situations by the offense. They won't let the Jets get off the ground (Get it? It's an airplane pun.) and will win this game by around two touchdowns. Get ready for the Burrow is Back stories ahead of week 4. Boom.
Eagles at Washington: Total Over 47.5 Points
I am ready for points on points in this NFC East battle and no one can tell me any different. These are the two of the bottom rushing defenses in early season, which means running backs should be ripping off chunks like they are eating a drumstick at a Medieval Times. Also the wide receiving corps on both teams are drastically deeper and more dynamic than the secondaries asked to cover them.
This game is going to hit the over late because the Eagles let teams hang around in the fourth quarter (the Lions in week 1) and the Commanders have scored a majority of their points in the second half of games. We're easily going to be in the fifties here and hopefully everyone is cashing out hundreds after this one. Boom.
Rams and Cardinals: Total Under 48.5 Points
When you think of these two teams, you think of explosive offensive players like Cooper Kupp and Kyler Murray. But the reality of this matchup is that we are seeing two teams with some major holes that are not playing their best football.
The Rams offensive line has been a problem, and though it was somewhat masked against Atlanta last week, they rank second to last in rushing and have allowed 8 sacks. If the Cardinals defense can continue to make them one dimensional where every play has to go through Cooper Kupp, the Rams won't be able to score in bunches.
On the other side of the matchup, the Cardinals offense is really missing DeAndre Hopkins. If we believe that Jalen Ramsey can adequately take Marquise Brown out of the game, the Cardinals lose a lot of their potency throwing the ball. Their running game hasn't bloomed so far this year, and while Kyler is good for a few head turning plays a game, they still won't be able to score consistently. We are looking at a contest where both teams score in the low 20s, and that means we can turn our 20s into hundreds by betting on the under here. Boom.
Falcons at Seattle: Seattle -0.5
The Seattle Seahawks did me dirty last week putting together an abysmal performance against the 49ers. Well Geno Smith and Pete Carroll, the fastest way out of my doghouse is winning me my money back.
The Falcons have not found a way to get their best offensive player Kyle Pitts heavily involved in the offense and until they do, teams like Seattle will dominate the Falcons with pressure. The Seahawks are back at home, where they always play much better. Meanwhile the Falcons have to make a cross country trek back to the west coast, after playing their last weekend against the Rams. Travel matters folks. You don't think 18 hours on a plane in just one week adds up for a bunch of 300 pound guys? That alone is worth points. This game might not be pretty, but we feel great about taking the home team. Don't let me down, Seahawks. Boom.
Bets I Adore
Bills at Dolphins: Bills -5
You can read about both of these teams in my column on the 2-0 squads in the NFL, but by a lot of metrics the Bills are just a supremely better team than Miami. Their point differential numbers are outstanding, the offense rarely punts, and the defense has been incredibly formidable. While Miami showed they can win both a slugfest and a shootout, it does feel like the Dolphins defense was exposed a bit last week by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. I wouldn't expect a Buffalo secondary, likely missing both Jordan Poyer and losing Micah Hyde for the season, to play extremely conservative to not allow Jalen Waddle and Tyreek Hill to get behind them the way Baltimore did. While Miami has speed everywhere, a deep shell defense will force them to throw underneath and that is where the Dolphins struggle. In the end, Buffalo will swallow up the TuaFish (yeah, that one was awesome) and win going away while making us some money in the process. Boom.
Jaguars at Chargers: Total Under 47 Points
We have one team traveling cross country to play against a team that has had 10 days to prepare. Not a good start for the Jaguars. There are questions about whether Justin Herbert will play, but whether he does or not, I feel great about this under. If Herbert starts and the Chargers take the lead, then I expect them to be extremely conservative in the later part of the game with a heavy running game. If Chase Daniels plays, the offense obviously has a low ceiling. As for the Jags, they had a dominant win last week (and we bet on them) but they are playing a far better defense on the road this time around. I expect Trevor Lawrence to spend a lot of time on his back this week and that is a really good sign for us. Zero points in the fourth quarter in this one folks and we hit this under. If Daniels starts I'd still bet this as low as 42.5 points. Boom.
Packers and Bucs: Total Points Over 41.5
Ok look- I don't usually crush this column with betting stats because *yawn* but this one is good. The total points in this game opened at 52. It has since dropped more than 10 points. There is no amount of injuries to the Bucs receiving corps or domination in the Tampa Bay run defense to justify that. Next, a majority of the bets are on the under, but a majority of the MONEY is on the over. That means the big betting sharps agree this total is just too low.
I mean think this through guys- Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are playing in Brady's final season- you don't think they are going to raise their level of play and put some points up for what could be their final hoorah? Two of the best to ever do it and you don't think they eachfind a way to score into the 20s? Of course they do. This week, don't buy into the injuries and the defenses. This week we are sharks and we are sharps. Boom.
49ers at Denver: Total Points Under 45
I want it to be made clear I believe in Nathaniel Hackett as the Denver head coach. In Hackett's first season as Offensive Coordinator in Green Bay, the Packers scored only 10 points and 21 points respectively in their first two games. They then proceeded to go on an absolute tear scoring 27 points in 5 of their next 6 games. This Denver offense isn't quite ready to catch fire just yet, but it will come. However for now, they are just a big name offense that has scored only 16 points in each of its first two games.
The 49ers are actually set up perfectly for a let down game on offense after rallying around Jimmy G's return last week. I also think both of these teams love to run the ball to control the pace and both will run into the walls in these opposing defenses.
Look, prime time games in Denver tend to be low scoring, high in turnovers and heavy in field goal attempts. That might be anecdotal but it's true in my mind and that's good enough for you. This game is grinding to halt in the high 30s to low 40s, and that will take our bank account to at least 3 figures, so no pressure defenses. Boom.
Bets That I Would Bet My Liver For
Raiders at Titans: Raiders -2
I love this game and I am putting my liver on the line, and trust me... I use that organ a lot.
We just officially passed into fall folks, and you might think that only means PSL's and flannels but it comes with one other important thing-- The autumn wind is a pirate, baby! That's right, it's Raiders season baby.
Look, these guys are professionals. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of that. These are two teams filled with guys who were embarrassed at what they do for a living last week, and professionals feel a pressure to bounce back.
Ultimately, the Raiders are just a better roster and even more desperate for a win. In the AFC West you absolutely cannot start 0-3 and as much as we don't want to overreact to an early season game, there is a lot on the line for Vegas. The Titans were torched in the secondary last week and they just don't have the horses to keep up with the plethora of weapons on the Raiders offense, or to block Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby on defense. These two teams might have the same record, but they aren't in the same class. Raiders in a rout on the road, and we start hearing the cheers for QB Malik Willis to start getting meaningful playing time for the Titans. Feel that autumn wind swoop in. Boom.
Eagles at Commanders: Washington +6.5 points
Who doesn't love a good revenge game. Carson Wentz was an MVP caliber QB for the Eagles and a Super Bowl champion. That is a factually accurate statement. You know there is NOTHING he wants more than to stick it to the Eagles in front of his new home crowd. Wentz is tied for the league lead with 7 touchdown passes and has over 300 yards passing in both games. Believe in the revenge narrative.
I mentioned this game earlier because I also believe in betting this over, but no matter what the point total is in this game, I believe the Commanders are within a touchdown in the end.
This Eagles team has yet to learn how to put people away. If it weren't for horrendous interceptions last week against the Vikings we would be talking more about how Philly didn't score the entire second half. While the Commanders have started out slowly in both games this year, they finish with a flurry, scoring all but 3 of their 49 points this year in the second half. The Eagles secondary is far too reliant on takeaways and that will hurt them this week. I was able to get this game at 7 points at the beginning of the week so if you can find that line, take it.
I have bet my liver on the revenge narrative and I hope you join me. We will drink it to death if we lose it. We also will if we win it though, and that's exactly what's going to happen. Boom.
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