NFL Underdogs: Week 3 pointspread picks and predictions

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Parents love to force the things they love on their kids, and loyalty to sports teams is one of the greatest violations of free will. 

For me, I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fans purely out of adolescent spite. My dad was a New York Giants fans and after watching the Cowboys kick the snot out of the Giants one sleepy Sunday afternoon, I decided that was my team – for life.

And I give my kids the same flexibility with their fandom. Cheer for whoever you want… but know this: whenever your team plays my team, get ready for a wave of ridicule and trash talk that would make Gary Payton blush.

My oldest boy has erred on the side of caution. While he has plenty of favorite players from assorted NFL teams, he’s a Cowboys fan, like me. He’s also a Lakers and Penguins fans as well. Smart kid.

My youngest just turned four, so he doesn’t know any better. Sure, he has a Dak Prescott jersey but he’s more excited to wear “The Star” like Daddy. But he’ll get the same leeway (and warning) when he’s ready to pledge allegiance to a team.

Then there’s my daughter. At nearly six years of age, she’s been a card-carrying Miami Dolphins fan since she first laid eyes on those beautiful aqua green and coral orange jerseys. And when she found out that team was named the Dolphins, well that sealed it.

But despite our teams clashing in Week 3 of the NFL season, and my deadpanned promise to rain down holy terror on anyone who appose America’s Team under my roof, I just don’t have the heart to rip into the Fins in front of her. Not the way this team is playing. Not like this.

Miami heads to Jerry’s World this Sunday catching 22 points from the Cowboys after getting smashed 59-10 by Baltimore in Week 1 and absolutely… well I can’t even come up with a word for that 43-0 loss at home to New England last Sunday.

While I’m confident Dallas will prevail, I don’t think it covers this massive pointspread. By now, you’ve likely seen the track record for 20-plus point chalk. But, if not here’s a reminder: eight NFL teams have given 20 or more points since 1984 and not a single one has covered that sizable spread. It’s a fun trend but doesn’t mean squat when looking at this specific game.

What I am taking into account is that the Cowboys have looked very good against some very bad teams (New York and Washington) and have a big trip to New Orleans (Brees or not) in Week 4. Head coach Jason Garrett needs that win over the Saints to help secure his job in Arlington and finally put an end to the secret love affair with former OC and current New Orleans head coach Sean Payton (the “one that got away” signed an extension with the Saints in Week 2).

The Cowboys are already planning their second-half strategy for Week 3, with talk of sitting starters once they’re up big on the scoreboard. Dallas is already missing a couple reasons for this early-season success, with leading receiver Michael Gallup out (knee) and safety Xavier Woods sidelined with an ankle injury, and seems to be treating this matchup with Miami like a mini bye week.

Dallas – fat and happy off two cupcake wins – will trim the playbook and give plenty of touches to rookie RB Tony Pollard (a sneaky DFS grab if you’re into that sort of thing), winning this game with comfort but not getting over the three-touchdown hump.

And I’ll get to cheer alongside my little girl, rooting for the Dolphins to suck just a little less.

PREDICTION: Miami +22

CINCINNATI BENGALS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-6, 43.5)

Speaking of teams looking better than they are, the Buffalo Bills also used a win over the hapless Giants to puff up their opening two weeks of football.

Buffalo took New York by siege like The Duke, squeaking by the Jets in Week 1 and roughing up the G-Men and the decrepit shell of Eli Manning last Sunday (and yes, I picked New York in that game). The Bills are home in Orchard Park for their New Era Field debut in Week 3, facing a Bengals team that I think is still undervalued.

I successfully bet Cincinnati and the points against the Seahawks in Week 1 loss and stayed away from them at home versus San Francisco in Week 2, expecting a bit of a letdown (I did not expect that big of a letdown). However, the Bengals are back on the road where they do their best work. Cincy is a stellar 12-5 ATS as a visitor since 2017 and this line has jumped two full points from +4 to +6.

The Bills won’t be able to run over the Bengals defense like San Francisco did, especially with RB Devin Singletary questionable with a hamstring injury, and I like Cincinnati’s up-tempo offense to wear out this Buffalo stop unit that has yet to be truely tested in 2019.

Plus, Bills Mafia has a soft spot for Andy Dalton. So…

PREDICTION: Cincinnati +6

HOUSTON TEXANS AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-3.5, 49)

I pinpointed the total for this game in my “Bet Now/Bet Later” article early in the week, predicting a drop in the number before buyback on the Over would come Thursday. The Over/Under fell from 49 to 47.5 before money bought back a higher-scoring finish and returned the total to 49 points.

A shootout favors the Texans in this game. Houston has one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL, headlined by DeAndre Hopkins, who had a quiet day against a very good Jacksonville defense last week. Houston’s high-flying targets won’t see that same level of coverage against the Chargers, who are running thin in the secondary.

Los Angeles has already lost its two starting safeties and despite slowing down Detroit to 13 points in a Week 2 road loss, have some issues on defense. A once-feared pass rush has just two sacks on the season and failed to record one against a shaky Lions offensive line. If you give Deshaun Watson time, he will tear you apart.

Some places are already moving to Bolts -3, so we’re snapping up the extra half point hook with Houston and expecting another tight finish for Los Angeles.

PREDICTION: Houston +3.5

Week 2: 2-1
Season to date: 5-1

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