Best spot bets for NFL Week 3 odds: Road rash for the Raiders in this schedule spot

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In the fight against the big bad bookies, sports bettors have an arsenal of weapons at their disposal – some more effective than others. 

One of the most popular methods of getting a leg up on the sportsbooks is situational handicapping: factoring in unique situations for the teams involved. Some of the more common situational plays – or spot bets – are “letdowns”, “lookaheads”, and “schedule” spots.

Covers’ Senior Industry Analyst Jason Logan combs through the Week 3 schedule and highlights the best opportunities for spot bettors to take advantage of the NFL odds.

LETDOWN SPOT: CHICAGO BEARS AT WASHINGTON REDSKINS (+4, 41.5)

That strong gust blowing around Chicago Sunday night wasn’t the famous Windy City breeze. It was the collective “Phew!” coming out of Bears fans as kicker Eddy Pineiro connected on a 53-yard field goal to give Chicago a 16-14 win as time expired – avoiding an 0-2 start to the season.

Not only are the Bears breathing a sigh of relief for escaping Mile High with a victory, but it looks as though their kicking woes have subsided – for now – with Pineiro going a perfect 3 for 3 on field goal attempts in Week 2. That also sets up Chicago for a letdown spot at Washington for Monday Night Football in Week 3.

In fact, Da Bears find themselves stuck in situational sandwich mode (mmmmmm…) in Week 3. Not only is there the threat of a letdown from that thrilling win but this trip to D.C. is their second straight road game (coming off a draining SNF showing in the thin mountain air) and they could also get caught looking ahead to a home divisional date with Minnesota in Week 4.

Chicago has had a tough enough time working against itself through two weeks of football (30th in yards per game, 28th in passing, 30th in scoring with only 9.5 ppg), now this team has to deal with that slippery situational stuff.

LOOKAHEAD SPOT: CINCINNATI BENGALS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-6, 44)

The Buffalo Bills are off and running after taking New York by storm – if you want to call road wins over the Jets and Giants a “storm”. Either way, Buffalo returns home to Orchard Park with a 2-0 record and the Cincinnati Bengals coming to town for Week 3.

Buffalo opened -4 and has been bet up to -6 for this game, with one-sided action on the Bills. It would seem the betting markets think this team is for real. Well, to quote Han Solo, “Great kid. Don’t get cocky”.

The Bills will get their chance to prove their validity in Week 4 when they welcome the New England Patriots to New Era Field. The Patriots have been downright nasty in Orchard Park the past two years (wins of 25-6 and 23-3) and own an average margin of victory of 15.6 points in their last five trips of Buffalo.

The six points the Bills are giving to Cincy Sunday seems like a lot, considering the quality of Buffalo’s opponent and the real risk of a lookahead to the big bad Pats next week.

SCHEDULE SPOT: OAKLAND RAIDERS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-8, 43.5)

Not that bettors need much convincing to fade the Raiders most weeks, but Week 3 is the first step in a daunting stretch of schedule for Oakland that won’t bring the team back to the Bay Area until Week 9.

The Silver and Black play two straight roadies – starting in Minnesota for an early 1 p.m. ET kickoff Sunday and at Indianapolis in Week 4 – then hop the pond for a matchup with the Bears in London, England in Week 5. Oakland gets a bye in Week 6 before playing at Green Bay in Week 7 and at Houston in Week 8. That’s a 49-day stretch without a home game.

Just focusing on the next three games, the Raiders will have plenty of planning, logistics and off-field affairs to tend to (and that’s with jamming practices and travel in as well) before getting a week off in October. Feels like piling on for a franchise that was exhausted before the schedule even began, after the preseason cameras of HBO’s Hard Knocks and the drama of the Antonio Brown ordeal.

I don’t buy into automatically fading West Coast teams playing in 1 p.m. ET starts but the Raiders haven’t had much success in those 10 a.m. PT kickoffs (they haven’t much success no matter the time. Sooooo…). Oakland is 0-4 SU and ATS in its last four 1 p.m. ET games the past two seasons. And looking at the Raiders’ record in the Eastern Time Zone, they’ve gone 1-7 SU and 1-5-1 ATS (includes three 8:30 p.m. ET primetime starts) in that span.

VanVleet picks up where he left off in the playoffs, and the NBA bets you need to make Tuesday

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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. 

Lakers vs Clippers NBA betting picks and predictions: Davis will dominate down low on opening night

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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.

QUICK HITTER

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)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

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)