NFL Predictions: Week 3 Team Props and Football Picks
by Alan Matthews - 9/23/2011
We could write about quarterback props every week because obviously no position has as many betting options as QB. But we focused on quarterbacks in Week 2, and hopefully you followed my advice and took the ‘over’ on the number of QBs to throw for at least 300 yards last week, which was six at Bodog. I said the ‘over’ was a lock and it was, with nine signal-callers hitting that mark, including, amazingly, Tom Brady and Cam Newton each going over 400 again (you can bet on their totals this week at Bodog).
I don’t want to be quarterback-centric here, so let’s focus on some team props in Week 3. Everyone always says that it’s critical to not start a season 0-2 because it’s incredibly hard to reach the postseason when losing your first two games. Since 1990, teams that have started 0-2 have made the playoffs around 13 percent of the time. By comparison, 1-1 teams make it about 41 percent of the time. In the previous two seasons, 17 teams have started 0-2. None made the postseason. In fact, in the past two years no 0-2 team has even rallied to have a winning record and only two – the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans in 2009 – finished at .500.
With that said, let’s look at Bodog’s prop on how many 0-2 teams will make the postseason this year. The winless teams so far are: Vikings, Panthers, Rams, Seahawks, Dolphins, Colts and Chiefs. No teams making it is the -170, with one or more at +140.
I would go ahead and rule out Minnesota because Donovan McNabb looks pretty washed up. As good as Newton is, Carolina’s not going anywhere in a division that has three other playoff-caliber teams. Miami might make a coaching change here in the next few weeks and incredibly has lost 11 of its past 12 at home, so forget about the Fins. Indy is wretched without Peyton Manning and the Curtis Painter-era could start soon with Kerry Collins struggling (why haven’t the Colts signed David Garrard?). And Kansas City, the reigning AFC West champ, has already lost two Pro Bowlers in Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles, plus QB Matt Cassel appears to have regressed. So long, Chiefs.
But I like the one or more option because essentially you are betting on either the Seahawks, or more likely, the Rams to win what is still a terrible NFC West. The Niners still don’t look very good and the Cardinals just average. I would still favor the Rams to win that division, especially if they can beat Baltimore this weekend.
Meanwhile, teams that are 2-0 make the playoffs approximately 65 percent of the time. The unbeaten teams are: Redskins, Lions, Packers, Patriots, Jets, Bills and Texans. This one is an ‘over/under’ prop, with the total at 4.5 and the over a slight -120 favorite.
I don’t happen to think Buffalo can make it because the Bills have to play New England and the Jets four combined times. And it’s hard to imagine Ryan Fitzpatrick staying this good. I also don’t think Washington gets in. Rex Grossman has been “Good Rex” so far, but the Skins will get knocked around by their tough division foes. Go ahead and put Green Bay, New England, the Jets and Houston in. So essentially you are betting here on Detroit. And I would go ‘under’. Now, I am on the Lions bandwagon – remember I mentioned betting on Matthew Stafford for MVP before the season – but they aren’t winning the division because Green Bay will. So that means Detroit has to fight with, probably, Chicago and two teams each from the NFC South (my guess: Falcons and Bucs, whom Detroit did already beat) and East (my guess: Cowboys and Giants) for the final two Wild-Card spots.
Finally, you can also bet on which team will be the last remaining unbeaten club (dead heat rules if final two lose on same week). The Patriots are the 5/4 favorites, according to NFL odds. As good as Tom Brady has looked, I don’t like that. New England could lose this week at Buffalo, then travels to a good Oakland team before facing likely playoff teams in the Jets and Cowboys. The Pats won’t run that table. Houston (8/1) begins a killer four-game stretch Sunday in New Orleans. Washington (5/1) will lose Monday night if Tony Romo plays. The Lions (6/1) will either lose this week at Minnesota or next at Dallas. The Jets (6/1), I believe, will go down this week in Oakland.
I think the best option is Green Bay at 9/2. Yes, the Pack could lose in Chicago this week. But if they don’t they play three non-playoff teams from last year in their next four (vs. Denver, vs. St. Louis, at Minnesota). The one challenge before their bye would be Week 5 at Atlanta, where the Pack lost a close game last regular season before torching the Falcons in the playoffs.
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