All right, NFLbets promises to get the hang of the 2021 NFL season before it’s over. Enough said: We’re onto making five picks against the spread (ATS) for another round of the Point Spread Pick ’Em game that NFLbets is foolishly invested in. (We’re digging our chances in the elimination pools a lot more, anyway, and not at all sour grapes…)
• New England Patriots -3 vs New Orleans Saints
The Patriots have hardly been dominant in two games against inferior AFC East competition thus far, but have shown excellence in one key area, namely ball control. New England averaged just about 34½ minutes per in the first two games and enjoys a turnover differential of +3 on zero interceptions thrown by Mac Jones. Meanwhile, in just one game Jameis Winston confirmed Saints backers worst fears for the would-be gunslinger – and, as it turns out, the absence of Michael Thomas hurts in New Orleans…
• Baltimore Ravens -7½ at Detroit Lions
Early into 2021, away favorites giving big point spreads are killing it at 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS, with the sole ATS loss by one point when the 49ers took the foot off the pedal way too soon in Detroit in week 1. Going back to 2019, visiting favorites of 5 points or more are 87-14 SU and an OK 55-46-1 ATS. But geez, consider the specific situation: Lions QB Jared Goff showed last week his significant weakness, i.e. throwing against a pass rush; against Green Bay, Goff wasn’t even as brutal as usual when the Packers decided to start blitzing after halftime but the effect sure showed, i.e.
first half:13-of-16 for 125 yards with two TDs against zero interceptions and 17 points for the offense
second half: 13-of-20 for 119 with zero TD against one interception and one QB sack, zero points scored by the Lions.
The Ravens bring to Detroit one of the NFL’s best pass rushes and probably the most sack-obsessed defensive coordinator in the league in Wink Martindale. This could get ugly…
• Arizona Cardinals -7½ at Jacksonville Jaguars
Firstly, ditto all the stats on big away favorites in the Ravens game for the would-be Cardinals backer.
Secondly, forget everything you think you know about the West-to-East advantage. Since the Rams moved back to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, the teams of the NFC West are 31-25 SU and 29-26-1 ATS in early games played in the Eastern time zone. On their parts, Arizona is 5-12 SU/6-11 ATS; not a very impressive.296 winning percentage, but not that far off their 16-25 SU (or. 390) mark in all away games over the span.
The point is that, in today’s game, talent tends to win out even in the most extreme road trips the NFL doles out. One may not enjoying the emotional seesaw that is betting on Kyler Murray but most things being statistically equal, the Cardinals are an easy bet over the still hapless Jaguars.
• San Francisco 49ers -3 vs Green Bay Packers
Certain to be an unpopular pick given the low-watt performance turned in by the 49ers in a 17-11 win at Philadelphia, but here’s the way NFLbets sees it: Little doubt remains that San Francisco is a 10-win team at least this year while the Packers offense seems to mostly consist of feeding Aaron Jones and finding DaVonte Adams: The two already account for nearly 53% of all Green Bay offensive yards. Here’s to thinking the 49ers defense can handle the two-dimensionality reasonably enough…
• Dallas Cowboys -3½ vs Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles’ incredibly weak performance in week 2 neatly tamped overreactions to the week 1 blowout over (let’s face it) a not very impressive Atlanta Falcons side. With Dak Prescott as the starter, the Cowboys are an impressive 24-11 SU in Dallas but just 18-17 ATS; as the first home game for the Cowboys in 2021, however, we’ll say Dak & Co. get to balancing their 2-5 ATS run at home…
–written by Os Davis