Last week didn’t go quite as well, with only the 13th man in Seattle keeping it from being a losing week. Week 3 went 8-7-1, and the best bets went 1-2. Some thoughts on the early lines up already:
1. Cleveland + 12 @ Baltimore (Thursday night)
I normally hate to lay double digits, but Cleveland scores as the worst team in football right now by a lot of metrics. Do I think the Ravens are the team they’re going to break out of their slump against? Massey and Sagarin both like this line to be closer to 17, and I can’t say I necessarily disagree. Unlike Arizona + 14 @ New England a few weeks back, where we just hadn’t seen anything to know how bad the Cardinals would be, we’ve got a decent chunk of data on Cleveland being awful. The Ravens meanwhile have more or less lived up their standing as one of the top four or so teams in the NFL.
There’s also a certain appeal to the under 43.5. There’s not a ton of data on Thursday games, but most of it suggests that teams playing on short rest do tend come in under the total (71-92-4 since 1978). That same data also pushes towards the home team (87-75-5), albeit more softly. Given I already liked the Ravens -12 without any special Thursday night special sauce, that looks like a pretty decent play.
2. San Diego + 1 @ Kansas City
It wasn’t but two days ago I was saying Kansas City looked like the worst team in football. Them beating the Saints on the road actually barely changes that – it mostly makes me think the Saints are a mess right now. San Diego is the same lemon of a squad they’ve always been, but they’ve got talent on both sides of the ball, and should probably be favorites here. I like the San Diego + 1 side a lot, but this also a spot where if I can find San Diego -7.5 (+400) or something, I’d jump on it. San Diego got beat by a dominant looking Atlanta team, but has otherwise looked okay. Sagarin and Massey agree, San Diego should be a 3 point favorite or better.
3. Carolina Panthers + 7.5 @ Atlanta
I don’t quite understand this line. Atlanta has looked like a contender for being the best team in football. They’re one of the few undefeated teams, and unlike the Cardinals, they have a track record to match. Carolina has beaten one team without a coach, lost to the Bucs, and been blown out by a Giants team nobody believes in. I would handicap this game at -10 or more for Atlanta considering they’re at home. The computers put out fairly silly numbers here (Atlanta by 16 or 17), and while I don’t see this getting quite that out of hand, it wouldn’t be a shocker either.
I’ll have more thoughts, and pick every game as the week goes on, but just wanted to suggest some early lines that looked juicy before they moved to less favorable points.