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

Leave a comment

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.

Running up the points with Rockets, and the college football bets you need to make in Week 12

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Are you ready for some more MAC-tion? Because there are two more games on the schedule Wednesday night. We break down the best bets for these games and take a look at the weekend ahead in college football – from sides and totals to props and everything in between.

ROOM TO ROAM

The Toledo Rockets might be only slight favorites for Wednesday night’s MAC tilt with visiting Northern Illinois, but they have a significant advantage in at least one area – and it could turn this one into a bit of a laugher. The Rockets come into the game with the nation’s No. 12 rushing offense, averaging nearly 251 yards per game on the ground – and they’ve been especially dominant over their previous two games, racking up a combined 664 rushing yards in narrow victories over Eastern Michigan and Kent State. The Huskies, meanwhile, are coming off getting routed 48-10 to Central Michigan in which the Chippewas posted 327 rushing yards.

An edge like this makes Toledo a terrific option in a variety of different bet scenarios; we recommend buying a few points in their favor and taking an alternate line of -6.5.

MIAMI (OH) FOR 3

The Miami (OH) Redhawks should have little trouble filling the board Wednesday night as they host a Bowling Green defense that ranks among the worst in the nation in points allowed. But while the Falcons have surrendered a mind-boggling 33.8 points per game so far this season, the Redhawks might not necessarily be headed for a parade to the end zone. Miami (Ohio) has one of the worst touchdown-to-field-goal ratios in the country coming into Week 12, having scored 22 TDs compared with 16 FGs – six of those coming over the course of their current three-game winning streak.

Miami (Ohio) is a big-time favorite here, and is a good bet to open the scoring given BGSU’s 2.5 first-half-points-per-game average on the road this season. We like the Redhawks FG to kick off the point parade.

GILBERT  GETTING BACK

Kansas State’s premier rushing threat might be back on the field this weekend. Wildcats senior James Gilbert practiced on Tuesday and is trending in the right direction as he recovers from an undisclosed ailment that kept him out of last week’s 27-24 loss to the Texas Longhorns. It was originally thought that Gilbert would be in the lineup vs. Texas, but he was a late exclusion – and Kansas State struggled in his absence, finishing with a paltry 51 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Gilbert ranks ninth in the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards (558) while adding five touchdowns on the ground.

Gilbert’s return would invigorate a Kansas State rush attack that has a favorable matchup against a West Virginia defense allowing 173 rushing yards per game. We recommend the hosts ATS if Gilbert is deemed fit to return.

WAKING NIGHTMARE

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have seen their season take a terrible turn with word that standout wide receiver Sage Surratt will miss the remainder of 2019 with an undisclosed injury. Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson confirmed Tuesday that Surratt, who wasn’t featured on the team’s depth chart ahead of its Week 12 encounter with Clemson, would be out for the rest of the season – though he wouldn’t specify what was wrong with the star wideout. Surratt finishes the year with 1,001 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 66 receptions as the premier target for quarterback Jamie Newman.

The absence of Surratt should give bettors even less of a reason to bank on Wake Forest, which has seen the line shift as far as four points in Clemson’s favor. Look for the Tigers to keep the undermanned Deacons below their team total.

Too late to start fading the Fins, and the NFL bets you need to make in Week 11

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This may require a double-take, but listen up. The Miami Dolphins have been the best bet in the NFL since the start of October. Yes, those Miami Dolphins. We break down the odds and let you know what bets we like in Week 11 of the NFL as we dive into sides, totals, props and more. 

STAYING HOT IN Q1

The hottest team in the league right now is Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens. After knocking off the Patriots in Week 9, they turned their crosshairs on the winless Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10. The Ravens ran just 48 offensive plays but managed to put up 49 points. Lost in the 49-13 win was the fact that Baltimore moved to 8-1 against the first-quarter spread after winning the first 15 minutes 14-0.

This week, Baltimore is a 4-point home favorite versus a Houston team that is coming off their bye. If you don’t trust a team coming off a blowout win versus the worst team in the league and/or covering their last three games, take a look at the 1Q Ravens -0.5 (-105) as an alternative.

Baltimore is second in the league in first quarter points per game at 9.5 and third in the league in points against in the first quarter at 3.67 while the Texans are 0-3-1 on the road this year in the first quarter. Take the Ravens 1Q -0.5.

FEAST AWAITS EVANS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face a very motivated New Orleans Saints team Sunday, but NOLA will be without their top cornerback in Marcus Lattimore. The third-year CB is week-to-week with a hamstring injury meaning Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will face sub-par corners in P.J. Williams and Eli Apple.

As Brad Evans pointed out on twitter, this is especially great news for Mike Evans who has struggled over his career versus Lattimore. Evans put up a donut early this year in Week 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and averaged 9.5 targets for three catches and 34 yards in two games in 2017 (last year Lattimore struggled following up his 2017 DROY but has been much better this year).

Even with Jameis Winston getting sacked nearly four times a game, Evans is averaging 139 yards a game over his last four contests. Jump on Evans’ receiving yard total on any number below 85 and check in on his reception total, hitting the Over on any number below 7.

LOADING SCREEN

No team in the league relies on the screen game more than the Minnesota Vikings. Per ESPN, Minnesota is averaging 9.8 yards per screen attempt which is 3.5 yards more per attempt than the No.10 team.

The beneficiary of this is running back Dalvin Cook who gashed the Cowboys in primetime every time he got the ball with blockers ahead of him. Over the last three games, Cook has amassed 193 yards receiving and will face a Denver Broncos’ defense that is giving up 8.6 yards per pass to RBs since Week 8.

Grab the Over on Cook’s receiving yards on any total less than 40 yards.

LOADING SCREEN PT. 2

If you’re tailing the Cook receiving yards play and want some action on the other side of the ball, maybe look to fade the Broncos’ backfield in receiving yards. Denver is the worst team at generating yards on the screen game (3.7 yards per attempt) and neither Phillip Lindsay nor Royce Freeman has topped 17 yards receiving in the last two weeks. In the only game Brandon Allen has started at quarterback, Lindsay wasn’t targeted at all and Freeman saw one target which he lost a yard on.

Feel confident in taking Lindsay’s Under receiving yards on anything greater than 19 and Freeman’s Under on any number greater than 25.

AIN’T FADING THE FINS NOW

The best team ATS over the last five weeks has been the Miami Dolphins. The former 0-7 team has rattled off five-straight wins ATS and face a Buffalo Bills team that has zero offensive identity of late and trailed the Dolphins by five points heading into the fourth quarter just four weeks ago.

We are a little bearish on Miami hitting a sixth-straight win ATS but have no problem fading Josh Allen’s Bills who are putting up just 288 yards of total offense over the last three weeks, good for sixth-worst. Their once stellar defense now sits 12th in Wtd DVOA — 9th against the pass and 27th against the run.

The Bills needed 22 4th-quarter points in their last meeting to cover their team total and we don’t see Brian Daboll’s offense clearing 23.5 points since they are 2-5 O/U that total in their last seven.

Get on the Bills’ team total Under 23.5 now, as it may drop under this key number later in the week.