Fri, Sep 22, 12:38pm by Staff Writer
With two weeks’ worth of NFL action in the books, we’ve complied a 4-2 record with our Best Bets – good enough for a $16.80 profit when using $10 wager units.
That’s a decent enough performance, but we’re striving to be the best, so the goal for Week 3 is a spotless 3-0 run.
Before moving on to the Best Bets, however, the schedule-makers have setup a few intriguing matchups this Sunday.
The first takes place at Wembley Stadium in London, where Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) play for the fifth time as part of the NFL International Series. The Jags take on an AFC North rival in the Baltimore Ravens (2-0), a team which has turned in truly dominant defensive showings in both wins thus far.
Baltimore has only surrendered 10 points on the season, and the oddsmakers like that run to continue, installing the Ravens as big (1.53) favorites with a 3-point spread (1.92).
Fans of high-quality offensive football will likely take a peek at this week’s only contest of undefeated teams, as the Detroit Lions (2-0) host the Atlanta Falcons (2-0). Respective starting quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan know how to light up the scoreboard, as evidenced by the Over/Under total of 50.5 points.
As for the final score, the books give Atlanta a slight 3-point edge (1.94) as the rare road favorite.
Conversely, those who prefer a hard-fought defensive battle may enjoy the Miami Dolphins (1-0) visiting the New York Jets (0-2).
Miami won its first game of the year – following Week 1’s Hurricane Irma-related postponement – in a 19-17 slugfest. As for New York, “Gang Green” has posted scores of 12 and 20 in two losses to start the year, after spending the offseason cutting costs – and the team’s best players.
The Dolphins are huge favourites at (1.37) with a 6-point spread (1.89), while the Over/Under total is one of the lowest of the week at 40.5 points.
Here’s our best bets for the first week of the NFL:
Houston Texans (0-2) @ New England Patriots (0-1)
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA – 1:00 p.m. AEST on Sunday, September 24
Before he became head coach of the Texans, Bill O’Brien spent five years on the sidelines with Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
His final role with the team was offensive coordinator, but since taking the reins in Houston, O’Brien has led the Texans into battle against his former team three times – losing all three by a combined score of 88-22. That includes a 27-0 drubbing in Foxboro during the 2016 regular season, and a slightly more respectable 34-16 loss in last year’s playoffs.
Simply put, O’Brien has had his share of trouble handling Belichick and the Patriots. There’s no shame in that of course, as New England is a bona fide dynasty – but if the past is prologue, the Texans have no shot this week when they visit Gillette Stadium.
And for anybody worried about the Patriots in the wake of their dispiriting 42-27 loss to the Chiefs in the season-opener – don’t be. After an eerily similar 41-14 defeat to Kansas City in 2014, the Belichick-Brady Co. went on a seven-game winning streak – scoring at least 27 in each victory – en route to winning the Super Bowl.
Last week’s 36-20 demolition of the Saints would suggest that a similar revival is in order.
Given New England’s propensity to rebound after adversity, and the team’s utter dominance over the Texans of late, I’ll take them to roll in front of a raucous home crowd. They’ll need to win by two touchdowns to cover the 13.5-point spread, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the blowout-prone Pats.
BEST BET: Patriots to win by more than 13.5 points: $1.92
Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN – 1:00 p.m. AEST on Sunday, September 24
Oftentimes, the worst teams produce the best betting lines, and this otherwise lackluster matchup between winless squads certainly qualifies.
The Browns are… well, they’re the Browns. A threadbare roster, a rookie quarterback already struggling with injury issues, and nearly two decades of sustained futility defines Cleveland football.
The Colts are a different story, or they were before this season anyhow. A lingering injury to star quarterback Andrew Luck, roster mismanagement from on high, and shoddy head coaching from Chuck Pagano have combined to turn Indianapolis’ fortunes for the worse.
Even so, Indianapolis acquitted itself well against Arizona last Sunday (more on that to come), and the offense improved considerably with Jacoby Brissett under center.
Home underdogs are a rare sight in this league, and I’ll take them when they come, so I’m backing the Colts to notch their first win of the year while dooming the Browns to yet another 0-3 start.
BEST BET: Colts to win outright as 1-point underdogs: $1.94
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ – 8:30 p.m. AEST on Monday, September 25
This is a classic case of the “stock high / stock low” theory of sports betting, as the Cowboys were thoroughly dominated by the Denver Broncos (2-0) last Sunday in a 42-17 rout.
For Dallas, last season’s dream run promised great things for the future, but second-year stars like quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott experienced a reckoning at Mile High. The ‘Boys were favored to down Denver, even on the road, but wound up wilting under the Bronco’s withering defensive pressure.
And in Arizona, the Cardinals escaped with a 16-13 overtime win at Indianapolis, but only after storming back from a 13-3 fourth-quarter deficit. The Colts are one of the NFL’s worst squads, mind you, and they very nearly trounced a perennial playoff team.
With last week’s results fresh in mind, the line set for this one still favors the Cowboys – but only as 3-point favorites. Had the Cowboys defeated Denver, or if the Cardinals’ comeback bid fell short, that spread would likely be 6 points or more.
But considering Dallas’ stock was lowered in their loss, while Arizona received a boost by winning, the linemakers have narrowed the gap between the two teams.
This game will be played under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, where star-powered teams like Dallas tend to shine. Given the watered down spread, and Arizona’s overall ineptitude against a would-be doormat in the Colts, I’m backing the Cowboys to beat the 3-point spread by winning big.
BEST BET: Cowboys to win by more than 3 points: $1.86
Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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