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.

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook