Patriots (PK) and first half under 24 One thing about Super Bowls is they don't tend to start with a bang.
NFL Week 3 picks
Packers +120 at Lions
It’s very seldom bettors have the opportunity to get a plus moneyline on an elite quarterback. You can pretty much count on one hand the number of times in a season the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are catching points in a matchup (this week’s Broncos-Seahawks showdown notwithstanding). While the result of the Super Bowl and venue of the rematch makes the Denver-Seattle game a caveat to the rule, hopping on one of those quarterbacks in a ‘dog role is going to pay dividends far more often than not. Throw in the fact that Aaron Rodgers is 9-0 in his career vs. the Lions in games he’s started and finished, it’s a borderline insult to the Packers that this game isn’t at least a pickem. The greats take note of those things, and bettors can be sure Rodgers will against a Lions team that underwhelmed in Carolina last week after tuning up the hapless Giants in their Monday night opener. The Packers, on the other hand, appeared to finally kick into gear in the second half last Sunday after six lackluster quarters vs. the Seahawks and Jets to begin the season.
Vikings at Saints – over 49
The alarm bells are sounding in New Orleans after an 0-2 start, but if Marques Colston doesn’t fumble in overtime vs. Atlanta and the Saints are able to get a fourth-down stop in Cleveland last week, they’re 2-0 and en route back home with a head of steam. The concerns about the Saint are premature – especially when they’ve yet to play in the Superdome – but the issues with the defense are real. Time will tell if a unit that was one of the NFL’s most underrated in 2013 can find that form again, but for now those defensive woes play right into this total. The Saints always put up points in bunches at home – they averaged 34 points per game there last year – and their defense just gave up 26 points to a Browns team without any of its three primary weapons on the field. This number looks to be about two points too low.
Ravens at Browns – under 43
Targeting totals in divisional matchups can be profitable, as the teams play twice a year so there’s a surplus of information to parse, and certain matchups develop consistent patterns in terms of style and tempo. When the Ravens and Browns meet, the games are almost always grind-em-out, plodding affairs. In fact, dating back to the beginning of 2009, the total has only once exceeded 41 (last year’s 24-18 Browns win), with an average number of just over 33. Through two weeks this season, Baltimore has shown no signs of a potential change in identity, playing to totals of 39 and 32 vs. the Bengals and Steelers. While the Browns have gone over the number in each of their games (a 30-27 loss to the Steelers and a 26-24 win over the Saints), their defense has started to settle in since allowing a 27-point Pittsburgh onslaught in the first half of Week 1. Over the last six quarters, the Cleveland D has tightened up to the tune of 27 points total. The line on this game (Ravens -1) indicates that it’s essentially a tossup and is expected to be tightly contested. Thus in order for the over to hit, both teams would have to crack the low 20s, which doesn’t seem likely.
Last week: 2-0-1
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