Well, that was some crazy first week of NFL action. I feel, shall we say, a bit let down by last week's best bet, though probably not as bad as Aaron Rodgers feels. I guess there was something to that Rodgers hates Florida scenario after all. I didn't feel all bad, however, since my best bet on our Betfair NFL Only Bettor podcast on Wednesday had been Buffalo/Pittsburgh going under, which I also tipped in the column, and a couple of my other suggestions paid off nicely (the Seattle win and under 47.5 was particularly good). So it was a mixed bag, in a week where seven dogs won and I was 8-8 straight up.
Sunday Early Games (18:00 Kickoff)
Las Vegas at Pittsburgh
The Steelers looked a lot like the hapless Steelers at the end of 2020, but they won in Buffalo. They held the Bills' offense in check. The Raiders pulled off an OT win over the injury-wracked Ravens, but I doubt they do it again. Chase Claypool at 17/10 and rookie Pat Friermuth at 10/3 as anytime scorers? Or Josh Jacobs at 6/4?
Cincinnati at Chicago
Recency bias is a horrible thing, and the Bears D may be better than Minnesota's, but I would love the Bengals if they were getting more than 3 on the road.
Houston at Cleveland
Who would have thought that David Culley, one voice of sanity in the Texans' world of chaos, could insert Tyrod Taylor and play basic football and win. But not in Cleveland, who are not the Jags. 12.5 is a big spread; Cleveland could cover, but I am hesitant.
LA Rams at Indianapolis
The Colts are home dogs and probably for good reason. The Rams had little trouble with Chicago and Matt Stafford looked great.
All in all, it looked like the Rams could cover 4 on the road and my BEST BET this week is the Rams -3.5 @ 1.910/11
Buffalo at Miami
I'm sticking with the Bills' D and Miami's ability to hold Allen in check, though they lack the rush Pittsburgh has, and suggesting you go under 47.5 at 9/10 which was my NFL Only Bettor bestie - (which you can listen to below). Rookie Jaylen Waddle is 3/1 to score a TD at any time.
New England at NY Jets
Mac and Zach Attack! Jones had the best day of any of the rookie QBs in week one, and had New England in position for a win over Miami. But he played a pretty toned down game. Zach Wilson was more up and down as the Jest try to install a 49er-ish offense. I like the Pats, but 5.5 may be too much to cover.
Nevertheless I have enough confidence in New England to build this week's OUTSIDE BET around them: Back Pats to win and game go over 42.5 points at 2.56/4
San Francisco at Philadelphia
This week's "fascinating" match up between the league's two most injury-prone teams. The Eagles tend to suffer on the O line, but right now they're healthy and played very well against the Falcons. The Niners lost top runner Raheem Mostert last week, which may mean third-round rookie Trey Sermon needs to deliver. They signed ex-Jet Trenton Cannon, who's unlikely to explode. What impressed about the Eagles was how well Jalen Hurts played within the system, and fifth-round rookie steal Kenneth Gainwell did exactly that.
New Orleans at Carolina
Coming off the biggest upset of week one, the Saints face a kind of trap game, and the question is whether their D can make Sam Darnold revert to Jet form. The Panthers will be a tough out for anyone this year; their D was really good in stifling the Jets, but those were the Jets.
Denver at Jacksonville
As one of the many who thought any question of QB controversy in Denver was insane, Teddy Bridgewater showed what he could do, and this week he gets to do it against the Jags. I am not sure what the plan is with Trevor Lawrence but I doubt the Urbane Mr Meyer ought to be entrusting his development to Darrell Bevell and Brian Schottenheimer. Maybe they think he can carry a team as a rookie like Russ did in Seattle? Really?
The Broncos look solid so they are this week's VALUE BET: Back Denver -5.5 @ 1.910/11
Sunday Late Games (21:05 KICKOFF)
Minnesota at Arizona
After losing in Cincy, the Vikes are justifiably dogs, but the line has dropped from 4.5 to 3.5 in the last two days, because people think they may be spoilers, able to keep Kyler Murray in check and thwart Kliff Kingsbury's more basic college offense. The over/under at 50.5 might seem high, but these two could top it without too many problems if Kirk Cousins cooperates.
Atlanta at Tampa
That 12.5 spread seems a better bet for Tampa to cover than, say, Cleveland's, but it's still only 1.910/11. It appeared in week one that the new Falcons' offense hadn't yet gelled, and Tampa's D is strong, including against rookie tight ends, and their new D hadn't gelled either, and Tom Brady is vulnerable to rush these days, but there wasn't that much, and he has enough offensive weapons to run up a score. Absent, say, bad ball control by his running backs.
Sunday Late (21:25 Kickoff)
Dallas at LA Chargers
This one ought to be fun. Dak racked a stack of yards for the Cowboys, who were in a position to win until they left enough time for Brady's Bucs to bounce back. Washington's D held Justin Herbert in check for a long while but the Chargers were stretched even when Taylor Heinecke came in at QB. Their D will probably allow Herbert more chances with his big downfield receivers, which puts the 54.5 over/under in play. I lean toward the Cowboys here getting 3.5 and there are still those backing America's Jerrys who will like them outright at 8/5. It's a decent outside bet, but...
Tennessee at Seattle
I didn't think it was as much as question of Derrick Henry hitting a wall after all those carries the past three seasons as the Titans' D being unable to hold Arizona's offense in check, and their needing to play catch-up, which they don't like to do. Seattle are a better offense than that, and they are at home. Get this before the spread goes up to 7; it was 5.5 Wednesday, 6.5 today. People are realising what we already know.
Full confidence in the home team here and the Seahawks are the BEST BET: Back Seattle (-6.5 at 1.910/11)
Sunday Night (01:20 Monday Kickoff)
Kansas City at Baltimore
This would have been the game of the week had not Baltimore's injury list knocked them back into the pack. They took my advice and signed Latavious Murray, who unlike fellow signeee LeVeon Bell, was ready to play against the Raiders. Corner Marcus Peters (an ex-Chief) may be a bigger loss than their first three running backs, two wideouts, and tackle Tyre Phillips, especially against his old team. You know what KC can do, and they do it in prime time. They key is whether the Chiefs can come out strong and take an early lead. If you force the Ravens into playing catch-up, they're limited, especially now. I'd take KC giving 3.5 as another good bet, but might go under on 54.5, but the first half under 27.5 at 8/11 might be safer.
Monday Night (01:15 Tuesday Kickoff)
Detroit at Green Bay
The perfect cure for a 38-3 beat-down in Florida. Dan Campbell's team will bite your knees, but first they have to be down at knee level. The spread is 11.5 but everyone will be thinking about the Lions' comeback against the Niners, which looked good but wasn't really a threat to the game, no matter what Deebo Samuel tried to do.
The Lions won't be able to shut down Rodgers the same way the Saints did, with tight man coverage, and hopefully Matt LaFleur will have adjusted to try to help the Petulant One this week. I might go over 48.5 on this one, assuming Rodgers comes back and Jared Goff finds the usual couple of holes in the Packers' secondary.