This week we give thanks for the best bet, the Packers and Robert Tonyan, because otherwise this upside-down Covid season continues to disappoint. The Pack duly won, covered the eight point spread, despite allowing a punt return TD to Jalen Reagor. But that helped ensure covering the over (48) and Tonyan duly caught a TD pass from Aaron Rodgers, meaning my best-bet troika carried me through an otherwise disappointing week.
I mean really, Pittsburgh, I know it was three games in 12 days, but still. And the Browns, the midwest's answer to WTF Washington Team Football? So this week what have we learned? Do we trust the Pack on the road? The Bills at home to slow down the Steelers again? WFT to continue their west coast rampage? And the Browns to be able to handle the now-must-win Ravens?
And what about the Jamal Adams Bowl in Seattle? It's a great week? It's another crazy week, so why am I backing road teams against home dogs?
Saints can take advantage of rookie quarterback
Best Bet: New Orleans (-7 at 10/11) at Philadelphia
The Eagles are starting rookie Jalen Hurts at quarterback, and frankly I know the Saints are starting Taysom Hill at QB, and they're on the road, but from what I've seen of Hurts, both before the draft and in his brief appearances thus far, his main selling point is that he isn't Carson Wentz. But he doesn't have a great group of receivers, his O line is a mess, and the Saints, for all the talk about Hill (or Brees) Kamara (or Murray) Thomas (or, well, no one else really) are a team whose success has been built on their defense, which is solid at all three levels and ought to be more pain than Hurts for Philly.
Seeing as this is 2020 at some point midway through the third quarter you might hear the sound of smashing glass, and the announcers scream "That's Carson Wentz's music!!!" and Wentz could come in reborn and lead an Eagle comeback to another sneaky backdoor cover or even a win, but I am sort of convinced that would be a long shot.
Dalton to inspire a Cowboys win
Value Bet: Dallas (-3.5 at 10/11) at Cincinnati
Since the Dez Bryant Bowl in Baltimore last week never happened due to the Covid virus not recognising Dez's superstar status, the Cowboys were lucky to play in another revenge match, with the Ginger General taking on his old team. I'd rather have Andy Dalton at QB than either Brandon Allen or Ryan Finley. I expect Allen to start after last week's chest injury, and Kevin Hogan is the only other guy available if he doesn't, but I don't see the Bengals holding Dalton back the way Miami did, although Dallas' D is also vulnerable.
The over/under here is 42; a few weeks ago I would have thought that was low and I'd go under, but this week, check and see how the weather is.
As an aside, people have asked about my value bets not being such great values, but there have been very few bets in the result section offering evens or better. This week you can get the Steelers straight up at evs, but I like Baltimore there, so I'm not tipping that. If you fancy the Steelers, I'd take them on the moneyline. I also like the under (48 at 10/11).
Packers need to avoid a casual start in Detroit
Outside Bet: Green Bay (-7.5 at 10/11) at Detroit
Matt Stafford engineered a remarkable comeback against the Bears in Chicago last week, helped by a very Mitch Tubisky fumble that negated his relatively good performance otherwise. I think the Pack will be harder for Stafford to rally the troops for, but I list this as an outside bet because the Pack have been notoriously casual in their starting, and if they should fall behind, it could be a problem for them.
I also like the over in Minnesota at Tampa (52.5 at 10/11), it was a point lower earlier in the week, and this smacks of a 27-24 finish, so I'm thinking that extra field goal is my outside hope.