By: Josh Gamble
Welcome to the first gambling primer of the Backdoor Cover. Here we will take a quick look at all of the action across the NFL this week.
*All lines are accurate as of Thursday morning*
Bengals @ Browns (-6) – Over/Under 43.5
The NFL is keeping up its longstanding tradition of having two duds play each other on Thursday night. The Bengals have a rookie quarterback who looked okay in his debut. The Browns have a quarterback who has more commercials than actual NFL wins. Stay away from the game altogether.
Rams (-1) @ Eagles – Over/Under 45.5
The Rams are coming off a solid win against the Cowboys, one of the sexiest Super Bowl picks among the pundits. Conversely, the Eagles are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Washington Football Team in which they did not score a single point in the second half. Washington’s talented defensive line combined with an Eagles offensive line decimated by injuries led to Wentz being pressured on nearly half of his drop backs and sacked 8 times. This line opened with the Eagles as a 3-point favorite and has moved to the Eagles as a 1-point underdog in just a few days. The over/under has dropped by 3 points. Both of these line movements leave very little value in betting either side.
Lions @ Packers (-6) – Over/Under 49.5
Last week, the Lions did what the Lions do. They start off strong, blow their lead, almost come back and ultimately lose. Losing in spectacular fashion so consistently is actually becoming quite impressive. Now they travel to Lambeau to face off against a red-hot offense. To make matters worse, the already suspect Lions secondary is ravaged by injury. I see the Lions having an incredibly tough time slowing down a seemingly rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers. The question is whether the Lions can keep up offensively. I would imagine that it would be tough for them to do that, especially if Kenny Golladay does not play. Lay the odds and take the Packers to cover.
Photo courtesy of bostonglobe.com
Panthers @ Buccaneers (-9.5) – Over/Under 47.5
Tom Brady clearly had some growing pains in terms of implementing Bruce Arians’ offense in a game situation. He threw two interceptions and looked out of sync with his wide receivers. That being said, the Panthers are likely to have one of the worst defenses this year so the Bucs should have no problem scoring points this week. Can Teddy, C-Mac and company keep pace with the Bucs? Not likely. Too many questions surrounding the Bucs offense for me to take either side of this spread.
Broncos @ Steelers (-7.5) – Over/Under 41
Both of these teams should end the season with a defense in the top half of the league. Pittsburgh should be inside the top 10 and maybe inside the top 5. Can Drew Lock complete enough throws under pressure to move the football? That is the key question in this game. We have seen the line move from a 5.5-point open to the current 7.5 points in favor of the Steelers. A lot of money has been placed on the Steelers early. Now that the line has surpassed the magic 7-point mark, now is the time to consider putting your money on the Broncos. This is a tough game to call but if you are looking to bet it, take the Broncos and the under.
Falcons @ Cowboys (-4.5) – Over/ Under 52.5
The Cowboys were not nearly as impressive last week as everyone thought they would be. Add into that mounting injuries and this is a puzzling game to figure out. The Falcons are not a great team but do not tells the bettors that. The early money has been all over the Falcons and pushed the line down a few points already. We still have a lot of time to see some market correction. If you like the Cowboys, now is the time to snatch it up. I would imagine that this line would go up before Sunday. What I think is the safer play here is taking the over. 52.5 is a lot of points for an NFL game but with as many play makers on the field as these two teams have, I am expecting a shootout.
49ers (-7) @ Jets – Over/Under 42
The 49ers will have to travel across the country after an unexpected loss to the Cardinals. A meeting with the Jets may be just what the doctor ordered for a team that is reeling. Regardless of the Week 1’s outcome, the 49ers should be one of the better teams in the NFC. On the other side, the Jets are one of the worst teams in all of football. Bettors have been all over the 49ers all week. If you can get the 49ers at -7 or less, pull the trigger.
Photo courtesy of syracuse.com
Bills (-5.5) @ Dolphins – Over/ Under 40.5
A fair amount of money on the Bills early this week as this line opened at a field goal. The Dolphins have one of the worst defenses in the league. We will see if the Bills mold their game plan to use Josh Allen’s legs in the way that the Patriots used Newton’s. The Bills have one of the top defenses in the league. If this game were in Buffalo, I would tell you this is going to be a massacre. With the game being in Miami, I still do not see it being close. I am riding the Bills this week as one of my top plays. Get in before the line moves any higher.
Vikings @ Colts (-3) – Over/Under 48
I will be brutally honest with you. I have no idea what to make of this game. Both teams looked a lot worse than they were supposed to be in Week 1. All I can say is stay away from this game.
Giants @ Bears (-5.5) – Over/Under 42.5
The line has been bouncing between four and six points the entire week. What this tells me is that the bettors nor Vegas know what to make of this game. I do not know what to make of this game. Stay away.
Jaguars @ Titans (-9) – Over/Under 43
This line opened at 11 points and has dropped down to 9 points. Many people are buying into the Jaguars Week 1 performance. Even with the trend downward, I do not trust the Jaguars enough to put my money on either side. The total in this game is much more intriguing. Both of these teams project to be in the bottom half of the league in terms of defense. I would expect both teams to run wild. James Robinson is unproven but he run well in the first half last week. There is a lot of money on the over so far this week but the total has not moved. This tells me that Vegas isn’t quite sure what to make of the total either. Hammer the over before it goes up.
Photo courtesy of arizonasports.com
Football Team @ Cardinals (-7) – Over/Under 47.5
The Washington Football Team shocked the world last week with its performance in the second half against the Eagles. Their defensive line is no joke; however, they do not have much more to offer than that. I would not expect the Cardinals to make the same mistakes that the Eagles made. Washington should be able to score points at a moderate clip in this game as the Cardinals defense is in the bottom third of the league. I like the home favorite to cover and the over.
Ravens (-7) @ Texans – Over/Under 51.5
After drawing the Chiefs in Week 1, the Texans are now faced with the Ravens offense. The Ravens are a touchdown favorite after opening at 6 points. One-sided bets on the under has dropped the total by 2 points. In my opinion, this is a game that you sit back, watch and enjoy. Put your money elsewhere.
Chiefs (-8.5) @ Chargers – Over/Under 47.5
This is the classic case of a good defense against an elite offense. The question is which one will break? This game opened at 6 points and has quickly moved to 8.5. This spread is probably a little too large for me to put any money on. I do think the Chiefs will cover but not confident enough to bet. The large amounts of cash on the Chiefs early this week has pushed the spread too much and is a little too rich for my blood. There is no play on the over/under here. There are too many questions on the Chargers’ offense. The Chiefs will score points in this game but it is too tough to tell if the Chargers can score enough to reach the over.
Patriots @ Seahawks (-4) – Over/Under 44.5
This game is evenly matched. The spread of 4 points in favor of the Seahawks is largely due to them being home. Their home field advantage takes a bit of hit due to the stadium not being packed to the gills. I would stay away from the spread on this game. The intriguing bet is on the total. With both teams having above average defenses, the total is set at 44.5, which has remained relatively constant. It is not one of my plays this week but I do like the over to hit this week.
Saints (-5.5) @ Raiders – Over/Under 49
This game has the makings of a shootout on Monday night. The majority of the cash is on the under this week, yet the total has gone up by half a point. This leads me to believe that the books know what the bettors wish they knew. Something in sportsbook algorithm has many points being score in this game and I agree. I like the over in this game as well as the Saints to cover the 5.5. If the line or the total moves any higher than this, stay away from it.
Josh's Picks for the Week
ATL/DAL Over 52.5
JAX/TEN Over 43
ARI/WAS Over 47.5
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @Jtothe_ROC to be up to date with any changes or additions to my plays.