MONEY FOR NOTHING—AND THE PICKS FOR FREE—UNDERDOG EDITION

 

Home underdogs are 8-3 against the number, winning 5-out-of-6 games ATS last week, and there are eight teams at home during Week 3 of the NFL season that are not favored in their own building.

I was on board for only 3-of-the-5 home ‘dogs that covered—the two instances I went against the trend were in my last column, and I split those contests—yet this time around I’d like to support the underdog, if I could.

Full disclosure: In my book I only went with half of the eight teams at home getting points, but I did go 8-7-1 last week, with 3-out-of-5 right in this column, and have an overall record of 14-17-1 in this young season total, 4-6 for what I’ve posted here, so as always: We shall see…

Pittsburgh (-4 ½) @ Oakland. This is one of my exceptions to the rule. In fact, this is the only road team in this column and the only visiting team with whom I feel confident in gambling terms. Neither the Steelers nor the Raiders are perfect—the problems appear early and often—but only one team has fixable flaws for this game because of talent. The Steelers have talent which needs only to be managed; the Raiders are lacking in this category, so they need to be coached up. Both teams will present us with flashes of brilliance and instances of frustration, yet in the end, talent wins out. Give the points, for at least Pittsburgh has covered a game this season.

Buffalo @ Cleveland (+3). These two teams are going to be hard to figure all year—that’s just the way it is. But with what I’ve seen so far this year (each team playing a game both on the road and at home), the Browns are better in this spot; the number doesn’t matter. If the game was in Buffalo, you couldn’t get me to go near this game; being in Cleveland, however, we have a sloppy contest due to defense over offense on natural earth and one boring football game most likely won by the home team.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (-3). The Colts are better than most people had imagined if you caught them in their most honest moment. Although it is early, and this thing could fall apart coming down the stretch, right now the Colts are a safe bet. Indy got their first win o’ th’ year last week as a home ‘dog, so now the sport books have wised up…to a point. The number’s just too small, and the days of the Jags being fantastic against the Colts are over. Look for the home team to open things up in the second session.

Philadelphia @ Arizona (+4). People have wised up to the Arizona Cardinals—even if they may just be a nuisance of a .500 ballclub—and by nuisance I mean: You better show up or they’ll be a never-ending pain for sixty minutes. (Ask the Patriots and Seahawks.) That’s why this line isn’t as big as it was the last time these two teams played yesteryear in Philadelphia (Philly laid 12 points), and I love the Cards in this spot. The Eagles are coming off a dramatic win at home, a game they shouldn’t have won, but the scoreboard never lies, yet overconfidence always kills this team. Plus, I’ll put a lot more stock in a team that just won in Foxboro against a team that just got lucky at home.

Atlanta @ San Diego (-3). This line has slowly gotten bigger, opening at (-1 ½) some places, pick ‘em at others, and the money’s going in the right direction. I’m not a huge fan of the Falcons on the road to begin with, but them being 2-0 makes them a target heading out west to meet a team in the Chargers that wants to make a statement by beating an NFC team of import. You could argue the same way for ATL, yet they’re not a historically good road team, and the distance doesn’t help either. Give the points, count the cash, I’ll see you next week.

 

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