Before I get to my predictions for week three of the NFL season, allow me a whiny rant about my luck on Saturday with college football.
First, I’ve always had really bad luck predicting college football. I watch the games just as I watch any other sport (obsessively), but when it comes to getting games right, I just flat-out suck.
Saturday was no different. I went into the day planning on betting on that night’s Notre Dame-Michigan State and Iowa-Arizona games (how I was going to bet them was still to be determined). But as I settled into the afternoon, I decided to make a couple of other wagers.
First, I bet on Georgia -2.5 against Arkansas and Illinois -6 against Northern Illinois. They SEEMED like pretty safe bets to me. Georgia was at home, and as bad as Illinois is, they were at home against a bad MAC team.
Well, if you follow college football, you know how it ends. Arkansas scored a touchdown with 11 seconds left in a tie game to beat Georgia, and NIU kicked a field goal with under a minute left to cut the Illini lead to five and only lost by that margin.
Alright, so that’s bad luck. But it gets worse. I decide to try to make up for my losses with Minnesota-Southern Cal. Sure, the Trojans aren’t what they once were, but Minnesota just lost to a I-AA school. I needed USC to win by more than 13.5. As you might know, Minnesota scored a touchdown with under a minute left to cut the deficit to 12. Game over.
That’s three bets lost in the final minute, if you’re scoring at home. By the time night fell and the aforementioned games kicked off, I didn’t have the heart (or funds) to place any more wagers. Nor did I end up betting on any NFL games Sunday afternoon because of this.
But Sunday night changed things. I mustered up the courage to bet on the Colts -6.5 against the Giants and also the over at 48.5. The Colts covering was never in doubt early on, but as the game was getting later and later, it appeared the over would not be hit. Then, when the Colts took over leading 38-7 late in the fourth quarter, I had all but given up. I even Tweeted by concession:
10:10 p.m. Sunday – So pissed. Needed over 48.5. Couldn’t happen. This was the worst gambling weekend for me in history.
Then, by some miracle, a backup Colts running back I’ve never heard of fumbled, the Giants recovered and Eli Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for a touchdown meaningless to fans everywhere, and important for freaks like me. Over was hit. I was ecstatic.
12:23 p.m. Sunday – Sweet holy hell! Cancel that! Thank you, shitty backup RB for the Colts. Thank you, Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks!
That game pretty much single-handedly made up for Saturday’s disaster. (Until I lost more betting the Saints to cover and the over to be hit Monday night. Oh well).
Anyway, enough ranting. Here are my week three picks.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-4)
One other slightly funnier rant. I was winning my fantasy matchup against Matt Peterson entering Monday night. I needed Drew Brees to score less than 18 points to win. Unlikely, right? I had major doubts it would happen, especially when Brees got off to a solid start. But then the Saints offense got shutdown and Brees entered the fourth quarter with something like eight points. One more touchdown put him at 15 and entering the game-winning drive, he was at 16. He didn’t hit the 18-point mark until the final pass to Marques Colston that set up the winning field goal. So he ended up at 18, and Matt Peterson and I tied. Ties in fantasy football are lame. Oh well. Better to be 1-0-1 than 1-1, but I could definitely see this tie screwing me somewhere down the line. Anyway, I like the Falcons and their defense has been impressive, but I can’t imagine the Saints offense struggles three weeks in a row. I’m taking the Saints to win and cover.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-14.5)
If there was one game I wished I had bet on last week it was the Packers-Bills game. There is little doubt, already, that the Bills are the worst team in the league. 2008 Detroit Lions, watch out. I’m taking the Patriots to win and cover.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers
I have a sneaking suspicion the Panthers could pull off an upset here, but my disdain for Notre Dame won’t allow me to pick them with Jimmy Clausen starting at quarterback. Still, I think it’s a close one. I’m taking the Panthers to beat the spread and the Bengals to win.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-10.5)
Is the Ravens offense good enough to beat anyone by 11 points right now? I don’t know. I’m not confident about it. I’m taking the Browns to beat the spread and the Ravens to win.
Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans (-3)
Can the Cowboys really start 0-3? Are the Texans really that good? Answers: Yes. And yes. I’m taking the Texans to win and cover.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-10.5)
This is the week the Vikings finally get going. I really believe that. Especially with Adrian Peterson running against Detroit’s porous defense, it could be a long day for the Lions. I’m taking the Vikings to win and cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This line is preposterous. I understand the Bucs are 2-0 and at home, but a really bad 2-0. I don’t care who is at quarterback for the Steelers, they could win this game with Mewelde Moore taking snaps. I’m taking the Steelers to win and cover.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Kansas City Chiefs
The 49ers have really been pissing me off. I completely give up on them after they lose to Seattle, but then play a close game against the Saints. I also don’t know how good the Chiefs are or can be. Either way, I’m expecting the Niners to play more like they did Monday night against New Orleans, and less like they did in week one. I’m taking the 49ers to win and cover.
Tennessee Titans at New York Giants (-3)
So many lines this week that I simply cannot figure out. This is one of them. I honestly think the Steelers defense can make anybody look bad, and that’s what they did to Vince Young. I think the Titans are better than they played last week, and I still don’t think the Giants are very good. I’m taking the Titans to win and cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Michael Vick has finally been handed the keys to the car, so to speak, and that’s good news to the Eagles. I think they can start rolling with him at quarterback. I’m taking the Eagles to win and the Jaguars to beat the spread.
Washington Redskins (-4) at St. Louis Rams
I think this game is going to be ugly, even with it being in St. Louis. I’m still really high on the Redskins, despite their collapse against Houston last week. They also have a perfect mix of offense and defense to play on a turf field, and their defense will give Sam Bradford fits. I’m taking the Redskins to win and cover.
Indianapolis Colts (-6) at Denver Broncos
For whatever reason, the Broncos always play the Colts close. And even though they may be worse than they normally are, I think this week will be no exception. I’m taking the Colts ti win and the Broncos to beat the spread.
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals (-4)
I don’t know what to make of this game. Are the Raiders and Cardinals both really this bad? I don’t know, but this game is going to come down to the Raiders defense shutting down Derek Anderson & Co. I’m taking the Raiders to win outright.
San Diego Chargers (-6) at Seattle Seahawks
Divisional game, on the road, Norv Turner, I don’t like this game for the Chargers. They’ll win, but not by as much as the line indicates. I’m taking the Chargers to win and the Seakawks to beat the spread.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-1.5)
I’m a little surprised oddsmakers favored the Dolphins in this game. They’ve jumped off the Jets bandwagon quite quickly, even after the Jets impressive win last week. That said, I’m with the oddsmakers on this one. I really like Miami’s defense, and as has been proven, Mark Sanchez can’t move the ball against a good defense. I’m taking the Dolphins to win and cover.
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Chicago Bears
It seems strange, but as a Packers fan, I haven’t been this confident in the Packers to beat the Bears in a very long time. I just think that the Green Bay offense is too high-powered for Chicago to stop, and their defense is too good at pressuring the quarterback for Chicago to handle. I’m going to get called as biased as can be, and that may be true. But the Packers are going to win in a route. I’m taking the Packers to win and cover.
Week 2: 11-4 (6-8-1 against spread)
Overall: 17-14 (13-17-1 against spread)