It has been an often surprising and frequently frustrating start to the NFL season from a betting perspective. As we look ahead to week 3 NFL picks and odds, we can hope that this week isn’t as surprising. Surprises are great for fans, but lousy for bettors, and I don’t know about you but I’d rather that the week’s action was boring but profitable than the reverse.
Detroit Lions +12 at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, Sept. 26, 1 pm ET)
Line movement - The NFL line opened here with the Vikings favored by 10 points - a key number - and has since moved up to as high as 12. The line movement is somewhat surprising because nearly 60 percent of bets have been placed on the Lions. That means that some smart money is likely on the Vikings. The total opened at 41.5 and has slowly moved up, though not in a particularly significant way.
Pick - I doubt this line form the perspective of both teams. First, let’s look at the Lions. They are 0-2 - a record that won’t surprise many - and their high-profile starting QB is on the shelf, so you could be negative about them if you didn’t think about it much. A closer look has to make you more optimistic, though. In their opener they lost a close one to Chicago. Really, they won the game except for a stupid rule. Chicago went on to look brilliant in their second game. In the second week they lost a heartbreaker to Philadelphia and looked solid with the ball. They have covered both of their games, they have played tough, and though they have some real issues still they obviously believe in each other and what they are doing. We are sure to get a full effort out of them. Shaun Hill isn’t a great quarterback, but he isn’t a total disaster, either.
Now, the Vikings. Simply put, they have been terrible. The offense is a joke, and Brett Favre is getting a kick in the butt from karma. He has been totally ineffective, and that has set the tone for the whole offense. They have scored an average of 9.5 points per game. Are they likely to improve on offense? Sure. But they would have to improve quite a bit just to score more than 12 points, never mind to beat a team by more than 12 points. They are panicking as a team - looking for a new receiver, considering QB options, and so on. They are dealing with injuries as well. A team has to play a very good game to win by more than 12 points. Do you trust the Vikings to play a very good game right now? I sure don’t. I also think that the ‘under’ has to be attractive because neither of these teams are sure to pile up the points.
Dallas Cowboys (+2.5) at Houston Texans (Sunday, Sept. 26, 1 pm ET)
Line movement - The line opened at the key number of three, but has fallen to 2.5 in many books. Two-thirds of bets have been placed on the Texans, so the movement off the key number in a way that makes the Texans more attractive is noteworthy and likely indicates some strong smart money action on the Cowboys. The total opened at 46.5 and has inched upwards.
Pick - I’ll be brief about this one, because that’s all it takes. The Texans are playing with great confidence, they are playing at home, and they have a chance to make a huge statement against a major in-state rival and finally prove that they are ready to take a step forward into the big leagues. They have passed well, they have run well, and they have beaten two pretty good teams. The Cowboys are a mess. Though they have the potential to be very good and they have done some things well, they can’t get out of their own way, and they are mired in real drama. It’s likely that they will turn things around at some point, but at this price in this situation the smart move is to bet that they won’t get back on track this soon. The Texans are the pick. Given the offense that Houston has shown and the offensive potential that Dallas has it’s hard not to take the ‘over’ as well.
Jason Sharpe is in his first season releasing his expert football picks at Doc’s Sports, but in now way is he new to the game – he has been beating the Las Vegas bookies for years as a professional sports bettor in Sin City. He has become known by those bookies for his college football and NFL handicapping capabilities, and he has notched five of six winning football weeks for Doc’s Sports clients. He expects to beat the majority of NFL point spreads this season and he plans on dominating the college football betting landscape as well!