Being a successful sports bettor is not about betting on the best team, but betting the best number. Scoring the optimal odds for your wager can sometimes be a race to the window – or your mobile – to get the spread or total you want before it changes. Or, sometimes it’s a waiting game until just before kickoff, projecting how the public players will manipulate the numbers.
Covers’ Senior Industry Analyst Jason Logan gives you a heads-up on the best “Bet Now/Bet Later” games on the NFL board each week.
Week 3 gives us a clearer picture of who teams really are but there’s not enough out there to point the finger with confidence. That makes getting down on the best spread and total for your opinion even more important. Here goes Week 3…
SPREAD TO BET NOW: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS -6.5
NFL bettors get a great game in the 1 pm E.T. slot in Week 3 with the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs butting heads in a battle of offenses ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in average yards, respectively. However, Baltimore’s results should be treated like a king cobra: respect what it can do, but don’t trust it.
The Ravens ransacked the boxscore in matchups with Miami and Arizona – two teams that sat at the bottom of the NFL season win totals board this summer. Baltimore’s defense could be exposed against this elite K.C. offense. The Ravens gave Arizona only 22 minutes with the football last Sunday and rookie passer Kyler Murray produced 349 yards passing and 17 points in that short frame. Baltimore is allowing 5.4 yards per play through two weeks, yet ranks second in yards allowed per game. Hmmmm.
Kansas City is in Arrowhead for the first time this season after two solid road showings. The Chiefs blasted Oakland in Week 2 after putting 40 on the Jacksonville Jaguars (who lost their starting QB in the middle of the game) in Week 1. While those opponents/circumstances are almost as soft as the Ravens’ slate, Kansas City did do so away from home and will have a sizable edge in the homer opener Sunday, especially when it comes to crowd noise versus Lamar Jackson and this wheelin’-dealin’ Baltimore attack.
If you aren’t sold on the Ravens running up the score and think the Chiefs are worth your pocket change, hit the home side under the key number of seven right now. Plenty of books have already moved to -7 so getting the fave at -6.5 could be vital in what should be a really fun game.
SPREAD TO BET LATER: MIAMI DOLPHINS +21.5
There’s a point in every bad team’s season in which the betting markets over-correct so much, it actually makes a bad bet a good one. And for a team as bad as the Dolphins, that tipping point could be as early as Week 3.
The math is simple: one team heading down, losing its first two games by a combined 92 points, and tanking like Zion Williamson is waiting on the other side. The other team is 2-0, putting up the second-most yardage in the NFL, and one of the most popular franchises (and bets) in all of sports. Mix it up in a bowl with a dash of early sharp money, and you get a spread moving from as low as -15.5 to -21.5 on the home side.
If you’re on the fence about the Dolphins, just let the media puff up the Cowboys and bash the Fins (especially now that they’re trading away top young players) this week. Come Sunday, you could be looking at even more points.
TOTAL TO BET NOW: UNDER 44.5 NEW ORLEANS AT SEATTLE
How much is Drew Brees worth to the Saints’ odds? Well, the lookahead had New Orleans getting a point in Seattle with a total of 50 before Brees was ruled out for the next six weeks with a thumb injury. So, do the math lazy.
Losing Brees is crushing but the Saints are somewhat set up to absorb that injury better than most teams. Backup Teddy Bridgewater has experience and shared plenty of reps with dynamic QB Taysom Hill in the preseason. That switch does shorten the New Orleans attack, but it doesn’t completely pull the plug.
The Seahawks offense went back to the basics in Week 2, running the football 33 times and chewing up almost 36 minutes in time of possession in a win over Pittsburgh. Last season, the Seahawks loved to pound the turf at CenturyLink, averaging 175.5 yards on the ground per home game (almost 39 yards more than on the road) with nearly six more handoffs as a host.
This game is also in Seattle, where people still put weight into this home-field edge. I will say, the crowd noise could give the Saints’ backups some issues on snap counts and audibles and rain is also in the forecast for Sunday, so yeah… it’s Seattle.
If you project a low-scoring finish in the wake of the Brees injury, then have at it. This total will likely tick down before the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff. But watch for sharp buy back on the Over. Plug this Over/Under into your Covers Live App and let the line alerts do the heavy lifting.
TOTAL TO BET LATER: OVER 48 HOUSTON AT L.A. CHARGERS
These teams combined for a grand total of just 23 points in Week 2, with Houston just getting past Jacksonville 13-12 and Los Angeles falling 13-10 at Detroit. That’s ticked this total down from 49 points to as low as 47.5 at some books.
Those early Under bettors have been quick to downgrade two very strong offensive teams that ran into solid defenses and played in tough situational spots last Sunday. I try to keep my own wagers out of the way with these “Bet Now/Later” articles, but I like the Over in this Week 3 matchup and love seeing the total go the other way.
Houston has a loaded receiving corps and showed that on Monday Night Football in Week 1, and now that group gets to snack on a bunch of rusty lawn chairs – or whatever secondary the Bolts have left after getting chewed up by the injury bugs. Unfortunately for the Texans, their defense is not so loaded, giving up key plays and big gains to both Brees in the opener and rookie QB Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars last week.
The L.A. offense (which sits fourth in yards per game) left a ton of points on the table in Motown, with two touchdowns called back on penalties, a goal-line fumble, an interception in the end zone and two missed field goals. We’ve seen the Chargers do this exact thing in the past, only to rebound with a strong scoring effort the following week.
If you’re like me and love the Over, be patient and let this continue to creep down. Injury reports on Thursday and Friday won’t paint a pretty picture for the Bolts pass defense, so you might want to snap up the Over on the lowest number you can get before then. Good luck.
Opening day of the 2019-20 NBA season is here with the defending champion Toronto Raptors hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The late matchup pairs the top two choices to win it all, according to the NBA betting odds, with the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers.
If you’re betting on the NBA openers, we have the best bets and prop predictions for Tuesday’s two games.
BIG CHANGES IN THE BIG EASY
The Pelicans sport one of the most overhauled rosters in the NBA after trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and draft picks. New Orleans then selected Zion Williamson first overall in the draft, but unfortunately, his debut will have to wait as he is expected to miss the first couple of weeks with a knee injury. Some more big pickups include Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick.
Although Redick is playing for a new squad this year, while with Philadelphia he had success versus the Raptors in the playoffs, shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc, and scored 15 or more points in four of those seven postseason games. With an increased role on the Pelicans and some good shooting numbers, back Over his points total of 16.5 on PointsBet.
NO HANGOVER HERE
The Raptors kick their season off playing a double-header with the first game at home to the Pelicans. The 2018-2019 season saw the Raptors set franchise records in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, and 3-point shots made. A regression is expected with Toronto losing both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green but still finds itself a 7-point favorite in the season opener.
With the Championship banner being hoisted, rings handed out, and the Raptors looking to start the schedule strong, look for them to take care of business and cover at home as 7-point favorites.
RIGHT SAID FRED
With Toronto PG Kyle Lowry undergoing surgery on his finger in the offseason, don’t be surprised to see big numbers out of Fred VanVleet in the first few games of the schedule.
Last season, VanVleet averaged 27.5 minutes with 11 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Although this is a revamped Pelicans roster with many new faces, New Orleans struggled to defend opposing point guards last year, allowing 23.3 points per game and the league’s highest assists per game average at 9.1 to that position. If he carries over his postseason play, VanVleet will be a major player and offensive contributor for the defending champs. Take Over his assists total of 4.5.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES
The Lakers start their second season with LeBron James at the helm but has more support behind him with guys like Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green. The Clippers were also busy in the offseason, adding MVP talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
George will not be playing in the opening game (out until November while recovering from shoulder surgery), which plays a major role in shaping this spread, which sees the Purple and Gold as short “home” favorites in the war for the Staples Center.
LeBron and the Lakers have a lot to prove after a terrible finish to 2018-19 and we like them to cover as 2.5-points favorites Tuesday.
DOWN TO DEFENSE
With both Leonard and Patrick Beverly on the floor, the Clippers will be a difficult team to score on. With George out of action and this L.A. offense not firing on all cylinders, the Clippers certainly have the defense to keep things close.
The Lakers have plenty of scoring options but miss out on the services of Kyle Kuzma (18.7 ppg in 2018-19), who will be sitting out in the opening game with a foot injury. While it’s Game 1 of an 82-game season, this Los Angeles rivalry could have playoff intensity right out of the gate. We like a lower-scoring game and the Under 225.5 points Tuesday night.
The 2019-2020 NBA season starts off with a bang tonight as two revamped teams with some of the best players in the world take to the court in Los Angeles as the Lakers face the Clippers.
Expectations are sky-high for both teams after the Lakers added Anthony Davis as a running mate for Lebron James, while the Clippers are led by last year’s NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard. These rivals will be highly motivated to begin the season with a win and stake an early claim as the best team in the league.
We break down the odds for the Battle of L.A. and give you five of our best bets and predictions.
The biggest move the Lakers made in the offseason was obviously the addition of Anthony Davis. But he’s not the only new face with Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley all in line to receive significant minutes in their rotation.
The Clippers have also gone through a makeover adding Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Maurice Harkless. While George won’t play until at least mid-November after undergoing shoulder surgery, the other two should log major minutes.
Playing together in practice and the preseason is no substitute for the actual defensive intensity of an NBA game. So expect both offenses to take some time to gell and back the Under on the 1Q total.
PICK: First Quarter Under 58 (-115)
FIRST HALF BET
The first quarter might see from offensive jitters from both teams but they should begin to settle down after 12 minutes. Lebron James, in particular, should have little problem facilitating the offense while the underrated additions of Green and Cook should improve their three-point efficiency which was among the worst in the league last year.
On defense, they match up well with the Clippers with Lebron able to switch onto Leonard while Bradley can give Lou Williams fits. Rajon Rondo is listed as questionable with a calf injury but if he’s good to go that will be yet another Lakers defender that can pressure opposing ball-handlers.
The Lakers also have a height advantage which should help them win the battle on the boards and get more second chances. Bet on the Lakers to cover the short first-half spread.
PICK: First Half Lakers -1.5 (-120)
Davis looks like a great fit in the Lakers offense next to Lebron. The Brow can run the pick and roll, attack down low and hit jumpers when he needs to. He gets to face a Clippers team that was among the worst at defending inside last season, giving up 50.7 points per game in the paint. Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green will have a major mismatch on their hands against the Lakers star.
Last year Davis combined for 41.8 points, rebounds and assists per game but that includes a stretch towards the end of the season where New Orleans severely limited his minutes. Before the All-Star break, he combined for 45.2 points, rebounds, and assists per contest. Take the Over on his PRA total tonight.
PICK: Anthony Davis – Points, Rebounds and Assists Over 41.5 (-115)
FULL GAME TOTAL
The O/U for this game opened at 227 on Saturday and has already dropped to 224 and for good reason. The Clippers should be terrific at defending on the perimeter with Patrick Beverly and Leonard while the Lakers will miss Kyle Kuzma’s production on the offensive end of the floor. Kuzma averaged 18.7 ppg last season but the forward is still recovering from a foot injury.
The Lakers should be much improved at defending the rim with Davis and Howard, which will force Leonard and Lou Williams to carry the offensive load.
The Lakers added plenty of experience and size in the offseason. That might be a formula for winning but also means that they added older players and guys that prefer to set up in the half-court rather than running the floor all game. Expect them to play at a slower pace than last season and take the Under 224.
PICK: Under 224 (-110)
FULL GAME SIDE
As we enter this new era of “Super-Duos” in the NBA the Clippers could find themselves at a disadvantage without one half of their duo. Leonard will do his part on both ends of the floor but the Clippers will need a heroic display from Lou Williams and improved defensive play from their big men if they want to hang with the Lakeshow.
The Clips won’t have an answer for AD and Lebron will come out as healthy and as motivated as he’s been in years. As the season goes on, expect Lakers coach Frank Vogel to start resting his superstars, but he has said that there won’t be any minutes restrictions for Lebron or Davis at the start of the year. Count on the Lakers viewing this as a statement game and back them to pull off the win while covering.
PICK: Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-105)