Points of Interest: NFL Week 3 Over/Under picks and predictions

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Week 3 of the NFL season brought more than its fair share of mayhem as the quarterback injuries have started to pile up. 

Looking at the two biggest injuries, Big Roethlisberger and Drew Brees are worth about four and six points per game over an average QB, by EPA since 2009. The lines for their games have dropped by three and five respectively since the news broke, so oddsmakers have (unsurprisingly) done a good job adjusting. What we saw of the backups wasn’t enough to say what’s going to happen going forward, so I’ll be avoiding those games this week and waiting for a little more data.

Otherwise, we saw a lot more of the same in Week 2. The Ravens, Cowboys, Chiefs and Patriots stayed as the Top 4 offenses by EPA, though the 49ers at No. 5 after their destruction of the Bengals is not something most would have predicted.

On the other end of the spectrum, Miami may be the worst team ever and the Jets predictably struggled with Luke Falk at QB, but the remainder of the Bottom 5 offenses are all surprising: Carolina, Tampa Bay and (most surprising of all) Cleveland. Now we don’t want to move too much based on two games but certainly we’ll be keeping an eye on those teams moving forward.


We got a win Week 1 with a bet against the Bucs offense and have another great spot here going up against rookie QB Daniel Jones and the Giants.

I mentioned in Week 1 that Tampa Bay’s defense had shown signs of life late in 2018 and they’ve more than kept that up, sitting second in defensive EPA through 2 games. We expect them to regress somewhat, but we’re still looking at an above-average defense against a rookie QB whose best healthy receiver is (I had to look it up)… Cody Latimer?

On the other side of the ball, Jameis Winston rebounded from a terrible Week 1 but did so in very safe fashion. The Bucs have yet to eclipse 300 yards or 20 points and just don’t look like the explosive offense many expected them to be. Two bad offenses, one good defense and an above average total. Stinks like Under to me.



This line has come down from 49 after the two teams combined for just 23 points in Week 2. A few things to note: first the Chargers left a lot of points on the table. Austin Ekeler fumbled at the one-yard line, Philip Rivers threw a pointless pick in the end zone and the Chargers put up well over 400 yards of offense despite only scoring 10 points.

Houston, meanwhile, went up against a very good Jaguars defense that had Deshaun Watson under pressure all day. The Chargers have just two sacks through two games and have struggled overall on defense, ranking near the bottom on the NFL by EPA so far in 2019.

It’s easy to look at last week’s scoreboard and think we have two good defenses and two bad offenses, but EPA would suggest quite the opposite.



This one is a bet on the New England Patriots defense as much as anything. Coming into the season it was expected to be good and you can’t ask for much more through two games, allowing just three points and less than 500 total yards while leaving the rest of the league in the dust by defensive EPA.

It’s easy to write off last week’s destruction of the Dolphins, but they also held a healthy Ben Roethlisberger & Co. to a mere field goal in Week 1, so it looks like much of that preseason hype was warranted.

The concern here is that the Patriots do most or all of the work themselves, but last week’s scoreboard was run up in large part due to two fourth-quarter pick-6s and a garbage-time touchdown to James White.

Diving deeper, we’ve only seen 22 points scored through 49 minutes. The Jets also pose a much tougher test on defense. Miami ranks 32nd by defensive EPA (again, worst team ever?) whereas the Jets’ stop unit has kept them in games, allowing 40 points through two outings and ranking 11th by EPA.

The Jets defense isn’t going to stop the Patriots but it should offer more resistance than the Dolphins did. And until Sam Darnold’s mono improves, we’re not going to see a lot of points out of Gang Green.

PREDICTION: Under 43.5

Week 2: 1-2
Season to date: 3-3

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

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.