National television is one helluva drug. Sportsbooks thrive on the spotlight, and virtually no betting factor—not turnovers, not injury, not coaching—will taint a line more than a game influenced by a prime time timeslot.
The Ravens, Broncos and Cowboys all came off of huge nationally televised wins to kick off their seasons. These three contenders went 0-3 (1-2 ATS) in Week 2, and I can assure you that was not by coincidence.
The emotionally draining pressure that comes with the territory of being watched by a significant audience can have just as damning of an effect the following week as it can a motivating effect in the moment. So the next time you want to find a tasty point spread to pounce on, the answer may be sitting right across from your couch, staring you right in the face.
SpreadSHREDDER Week 2 ATS: 1-2
Overall Record ATS: 3-3
Seattle (+3.5) Over Green Bay
The Packers are coming off of a nationally televised win over their oldest division rival, the Chicago Bears, and the long layoff may prove to be more of a disadvantage given the flat play of the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys in Week 2.
Seattle has immense value as a home dog on national television, and they will be equipped with the size and talent on defense to match up against the Packers' weapons at wide receiver on a slower field.
The Seahawks like to run the ball. Their smash-mouth game plan spearheaded by Marshawn Lynch against a suspect Packers run defense, ranked 26th in the league, will figure to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines.
Seattle signed Matt Flynn to a sizable contract in the offseason only to have Pete Carroll send him to the bench. But if there's anything to be salvaged out of that deal, it's Flynn's intimate knowledge of Green Bay's locker room and playbook after having spent his last three seasons with the Packers.
Green Bay 26, Seattle 23
Arizona (+4) over Philadelphia
The Eagles have achieved the rare feat of scoring back-to-back sloppy wins where they committed more than three turnovers, coughing up the rock more than their opposition, yet still managed to squeeze out a pair of last-minute victories.
Expect the sloppiness to continue as the Eagles get set to travel across three time zones following an emotional win and play an underrated, defensive-minded Arizona Cardinals team.
With Kevin Kolb at quarterback, the Cardinals will have a signal-caller who spent four years as a quarterback under Andy Reid before leaving for the Cardinals in 2011. With that stint comes inside information that should prove to be invaluable while the Cards prepare as home dogs.
The Eagles will not be as motivated to play out West against a non-divisional opponent with their first divisional game against the New York Giants on the horizon, so expect some look-ahead to come into play as well. Cardinals remain undefeated. Who knew?
Arizona 24, Philadelphia 16
Cincinnati (+3) over Washington
RGIII Hysteria has spread across the NFL like PSI, and Vegas is falling for it hook, line and sinker. After a predictable loss as road chalk that was taken off last week's SpreadSHREDDER at the last minute (I swear it was!), Washington is once again favored after giving up over 30 points in consecutive games.
The Redskins will once again have their hands full with a more-potent-than-you-think passing attack led by surging quarterback Andy Dalton, All-Pro wideout A.J. Green and emerging Cinderella slot receiver Andrew Hawkins.
The league's 30th-ranked pass defense will have a tough time covering the spread with the Bengals offense marching up and down through the air. The more Robert Griffin III is forced to keep the Skins in the game with his arm and legs, the more likely turnovers will follow for the rookie superstar.
Cincinnati 28, Washington 19
(Lines from Sportsbook.com and BOVADA.net via VegasInsider.com).