Week 2 Record: 4-12
Heading into Week 3, we are going to change the format of this NFL Picks column. Taking a step back, bettors need to win approximately 52.38% of bets, assuming spread lines are -110, to break even. Consequently, bettors do not bet on every game in order to assert their advantage over bookmakers who do have to publish lines and take bets on every game. Going forward, I will only be picking five games per week. Thank you for your understanding in this time of NFL and real world chaos.
Season Record: 12-20
Week 3 Picks
Vikings -16.5 vs Bills
I can understand the Bills scoring a couple garbage time TDs at home against a shaky Chargers defense that was trying to escape The Ralph with their health intact, but they are going into a hostile environment week three in Minnesota. Mike Zimmer and the Vikes defense will have a field day with Josh Allen and his banged up supporting cast.
Broncos +5 at Ravens
Denver generally starts strong, and with consecutive one-score wins against Seattle and Oakland to open the year, this year is no different. The Ravens beat up on the worst team in the league Week 1 and followed up with a loss last Thursday night in Cincinnati.
For us, this game is going to come down to QB efficiency:
- Joe Flacco averages more yards per game than Case Keenum, but he drops back more than 45 times each week and only averages 6.88 yards per pass (22nd in the NFL).
- Case Keenum doesn’t throw for as many yards as Flacco, but is more efficient per throw, averaging 7.45 yards per attempt (14th in the NFL) on 37 throws per game.
Time of possession will likely be tight in this game, and the score will be low, so efficiency will make the difference.
Bengals +3 at Panthers
The Bengals have won both of their games this year 34-23. They probably won’t crack 30 again this week, but they’ll come close, given the 10 days they had to prepare after their win last Thursday. The Panthers should play the Bengals close, but I am not optimistic about their ability to cover.
Patriots -6.5 at Lions
After Monday night’s Bears win over the Seahawks, I heard The Ringer’s Mike Lombardi mention on his GM Street podcast that he thinks about games in terms of matchups. Specifically, Seahawks O-Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer against Bears D-Coordinator Vic Fangio. Here, we have “Defensive Specialist” Matt Patricia, who by all accounts has not earned the trust of his team, going against his mentor and former boss, Bill Belichick. The Pats notoriously run compartmentalized gameplans where specific coaches are expected to “Do their job” and not worry about the rest of the plan. This puts Patricia at a major disadvantage as he will have little insight into the Patriots offensive operations, not to mention Belichick’s notorious competitive streak and desire to punish those who leave the nest. I would have taken the Pats even if the line crossed the key number of seven, and would have likely gone even higher.
Bears -6 at Cardinals
Here we have another spread that is probably too low despite the fact that the home team is the underdog. The Bears defensive unit, with the late addition of Khalil Mack, is one of the five best defenses in the league this year. The Arizona Cardinals have scored 6 total points this year through two games, and Larry Fitzgerald is banged up (but likely to play).