With so much money being exchanged, these weekly lines are really, really tough to beat. I can confidently say at least 90% of football fans would win between 45% to 55% of these game bets (sides or over/unders) over time. It’s just the reality of such an efficient market. With that said, I think there are some ways to barely increase our chances of churning a marginal profit. As you guys know, Rotoworld is the king of grinding news. That’s something the public doesn’t do as well as a Rotoworld blurber, so it’s going to be one of the common things I utilize in this column, in addition to reverse line movement, advanced stats and occasionally film taeks. Note: Lines are taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
49ers vs. Rams - UNDER 50.5 Points (-110)
These offenses can be really, really good when all things are clicking, but these quarterbacks can find themselves in ruts quickly when there is pressure coming. That’s why I like the under here. The Rams’ defense is leading the NFL in hurry rate and pressure rate with Aaron Donald looking unstoppable inside once again, and the 49ers are fourth in hurry and pressure rate with their former first-round draft capital beginning to pay off. San Francisco will also be playing without both of their offensive tackles (yikes) and the Rams are 30th in PFF’s team pass-blocking grade. I’m expecting the defensive pressure to derail enough drives for the under to cash. It’s my favorite bet of the week.
Eagles +3 (-110) vs. Vikings
This game is going overlooked as one of the best on the slate. These teams have clear strengths and stars on both sides of the ball, but I do think the Eagles’ strengths match up well with the Vikings’ strengths. Minnesota wants to run the ball on offense, and Philly is in the top 10th percentile in run defense DVOA. The Eagles’ pass rush is also due for positive regression since they’re fourth in PFF’s team pass-rush grade and 14th in team sacks. On the other side of the ball, Carson Wentz should see an uptick in his pass efficiency now that Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert are back to full health. When in doubt, go with the better quarterback, so I’ll take Wentz and the three-point spread.
Dolphins +3.5 (-110) vs. Redskins
This game could be an all-timer. Two of the worst rosters in all of American sports, and now the Redskins have Bill Callahan as the head coach. If you haven’t heard, Callahan is as old school as it gets when it comes to team chemistry and with offensive philosophy. Callahan actually believes that rush attempts (not efficiency or production, just the attempts themselves) lead to winning. An NFL head coach really has no clue between the difference between causation and correlation. If Adrian Peterson is going to be forced 20 carries, then I want to have money on the other side. The only thing giving me pause is the fact that the Dolphins actually see a benefit in losing (#TrustTheProcess) while Callahan wants to macho man his team to a pointless October win. Still, there’s a 3.5-point cushion for this bet to cash.
Steelers vs. Chargers - UNDER 41.5 Points (-110) - My SNF Bet
The Chargers are playing extremely slow football with Philip Rivers making audibles and reads at the line of scrimmage until there’s one second on the play clock just about every snap. And the Steelers’ middle-of-the-pack offensive pace (see above) should become slower with third-stringer Devlin Hodges now at quarterback. Hodges was throwing footballs at Samford University last year and is definitely not ready for NFL starts as an undrafted rookie. I’m anticipating the Steelers to use James Conner as often as possible, which should drain out the clock and make the Steelers’ offense inefficient. Rivers also has a huge problem with Pro Bowl C Mike Pouncey on injured reserve with the Steelers’ second-highest-graded pass rush (PFF) coming to town.
Lions vs. Packers - UNDER 45.0 Points (-110) - My MNF Bet
The Lions want to run the ball whenever they can, and the Packers’ above-average secondary and pass rush, in theory, should force opposing offenses into more runs. Kerryon Johnson should see 15+ carries in this bout, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers establish it themselves. Aaron Rodgers will be without Davante Adams once again, leaving Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, and Jimmy Graham as his top options outside of the backfield. Not ideal. Aaron Jones is also coming off a four-touchdown game, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t at least try to get Jones rocking and rolling once again. Even when these offenses are passing, I’m not too scared with neither quarterback playing elite football.
If you’re looking for more team breakdowns, read my Week 6 Fantasy Football Forecast column. It’s nearly 10,000 words and has a bunch of graphs that could be utilized in the betting markets. My buddy John Daigle also has a weekly Player Props column if you’re trying to get more action down.