The challenging thing about betting on the NFL is tempering your instincts in the direction of points. As an analyst of the game, I have a tendency to see both sides of a scenario, trying to match up strength v weakness, but the game doesn't always play out that way. It makes me more cautious perhaps, but sometimes when I'm convinced, the beauty of the game is that it proves, as William Goldman said about the movie industry, nobody knows anything.
Hence Washington's amazing upset win in Washington (Seattle). The Beltway Bandits looked to have fallen prey to another comeback from Russell Wilson, but all it took was two passes from Kirk Cousins, exploiting a weakness we'd seen against Houston on deep balls to isolated receivers, and the Skins won, despite my calling the Seahawks a best bet giving 7.5.
Now, I could point to three missed field goals by the Blair Walsh Project, to two failed two-point conversions, to an amazing 16 penalties by the Seahawks for 138 yards, or even to Jimmy Graham, dropper of one of those conversion passes, who seemed to jar Wilson's last-second Hail Mary away from Tanner McEvoy, but instead I'll just say 'well-enough played, Washington'.
Colts and Eagles deliver
Indianapolis, however, delivered on both value and outside bets, delivering not enough to beat me on the under 46. So, too, did Philadelphia, who duly won but with far more ease than I predicted. So three out of four's not bad. Meanwhile, however, I only regret that there weren't odds on a submission win for AJ Green as he took down Jalen Ramsey and worked the ground and pound on him. Green was ejected for his WWE/UFC display; Ramsey was ejected for being his tackling dummy. One of the week's video highlights.
Specials markets offer best MNF betting opportunities
Tonight there's another puzzling game to pick as Detroit visits Green Bay.
The Packers are coming off a bye week, which is crucial as it means they will probably have the best starting offensive line they could hope for to start the game, but being the Packers the over/under should be on two of the five not finishing it healthy.
Meanwhile they've have two weeks to prepare Brett Hundley, the second-best Brett to ever play quarterback for Green Bay, to face the Lions. Of course coach Mike McCarthy pointed out they'd been preparing Hundley for three years before he made his first start two weeks ago against New Orleans and look where that got them.
The Lions, meanwhile, are coming off a strange loss to Pittsburgh where they tore the Steelers' secondary apart for 80 yards of the field, but were unable to convert those gains into points. Matt Stafford got away from a dink and dunk offense and that's always dangerous, especially against the Pack's suspect defense. The Lions feasted on turnovers last season (Darius Slay especially) and with Hundley making only his second NFL start, that might be their best hope.
I actually picked the Packers straight up in this game, so backing the 11/10 moneyline might be more attractive than Green Bay +2 at 10/11. I'm not fully convinced by my pick, and I can see a relatively high scoring game, so I like the OVER 43.5 @ evens better than either of those.
But my favourites on Monday Night are specials. Rookie runner Aaron Jones (@ 13/8) for the Pack and tight end Eric Ebron (@ 10/3) for the Lions to score strike me as good bets. The Pack to score first (@ 10/11) is a fun bet, while Jordy Nelson to score (@ 2/1) and to have over 4 receptions (AT 11/10) both tempt me.