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.