My strategy for this week and weeks ahead: 9 picks and a parlay. The 9 picks include three of the following: favorites, underdogs and totals. The goal is to identify what angle is best to play from given my ranking system, not to achieve a high profit margin (yet).
CIN +3 (-110)
My ranking system likes CIN, and the eye test really likes Joe Burrow. With him at QB, the offense runs like a well oiled machine most of the time, similar to Aaron Rodgers and GB. Surprisingly, the CIN defense ranks in the top five in points per drive, points per 100 yards, yards per play and has the third lowest scoring percentage allowed. That could prove to be the difference maker in this one.
BUF ML (+130)
It’s crazy for me to phantom betting against the combo of Mahomes + Reid, however anytime I can get a moneyline price this good for a super bowl contender, I might as well take it. Especially when the KC defense is among the worst in the league and we all know what the BUF offense is capable of (top five in scoring percentage, 3 straight dominant performances and last years MVP runner up).
SF +5.5 (-110)
ARI has been the best team in football this year according to the eye test, my model, and by record. But, this is a tough divisional opponent that will have the ability to neutralize some of ARI weapons on offense. These defenses are rated almost identical in my model, and if Trey Lance’ running ability can keep Kyler Murray off of the field, SF will have an easier time getting through this one.
CHI vs. LV u44.5 (-110)
With CHI having such abysmal passing numbers this year and LV actually holding their ground through the air, I don’t expect many explosive plays or even much consistent offense in this one. CHI does have the defensive personnel to stifle Derek Carr similar to what LAC did to him last week and if that happens an under could very well be in play.
GB vs CIN o50.5 (-110)
Both of these defenses have played above expectations at times this year, but I do believe these two offenses have great leaders under center that can lead to a high 20’s scoring affair. CIN defense has well above average defense ratings (4th best overall), but facing Aaron Rodgers is a different task than Big Ben or rookie Trevor Lawrence.
NO vs. WFT u43.5 (-110)
Neither defense played up to their potential last week with brutal showings that resulted in a loss. However, NO hasn’t proved they totally can totally score at will with Jameis yet and although Heinecke has posted solid stats this year, I think this NO defense that ranks near the top in many categories can cause WFT to resort to their rushing attack and shorten the game.
LAR ML (-134)
I bet on LAR last week and it ended up being the wrong read, so surely this week they find their way back to the win column. LAR holds a pretty decent edge on SEA in my overall rankings, and on a per drive basis their defense is almost a half point better. I’m also still confident that Matt Stafford makes this LAR offense one of the most dangerous in the league (they are rated #1 in my rankings).
CAR ML (-188)*
This is near the most I’ll ever lay down for a straight moneyline bet at -188. CAR has the type of defense that will win them games from that unit alone. They were picked apart last week but they are a half point better than PHI on a points per drive basis, as well as a full yard better in yards per play. CAR is easy to have confidence in for this matchup considering the common opponent played in back to back weeks didn’t give them as hard of a time as they did PHI.
*If RB McCaffrey is playing
LV -5.5 (-110)
Without David Montgomery, CHI could be without their most reliable and consistent form of offense through the first four games of the season. CHI has the lowest passing NY/A in the NFL at just 3.9, and the LV defense allows the fourth lowest NY/A at just 5.5. Overall there is nearly a 25 point difference in my rating system which shows that LV should have a major upper hand throughout the game.