The Complete Bettors Guide to NFL Week 3
You've set your fantasy rosters and possibly laid a few bets on your favorite teams. Now you want to know how you can get even more entangled into all the NFL has to offer. Elimination pools, over/unders and player props, of course!
To be clear, this is not a column for picks against the spread. If you'd like some guidance in the war against Vegas, be sure to click here.
But just to keep things interesting, I will give you my lock and stay-away of the week.
Continue through to check out my selections for every bet you can imagine.
All odds provided via www.bovada.lv and www.sportsbook.ag.
Top 3 Elimination Pool Teams
For those that don't know, an elimination (or suicide) pool requires you to pick a different team each week that will win straight up (without having to cover the spread). The catch is that you can only pick a team once per season, and once your team loses, you're out.
San Francisco 49ers: They have to lose sometime, but it will not be against the Minnesota Vikings. Plus, you probably didn't dare use them in the first two weeks against a couple quality opponents. Now's the time.
Detroit Lions: This week is actually quite tough around the league for elimination purposes. Aside from the Niners, this game seems to be the biggest lock of the week. Now I've probably doomed Detroit. But that last sentence fixed it. Wait, where am I supposed to stop?
Indianapolis Colts: This selection is not for the faint of heart. Although, I'm not too concerned about the Colts' ability to take out the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars since they've won three straight at home and the Jags are a mess.
Sidenote: The Pittsburgh Steelers are also enticing. However, the Oakland Raiders always seem to win a few games they shouldn't, while the Steelers always lose a couple that they should have won.
Prop Bet No. 1: The Philadelphia Eagles Will Have More Than 2 Turnovers
The Philadelphia Eagles aren't due to turn the ball over 4.5 times a game every week. I'm sure that total will go down.
As soon as they're not playing an athletic Ray Horton-coached Arizona Cardinals defense, which has been flexing its muscle since opening weekend.
The rub is that they Cards have not forced more than two turnovers in a single game yet.
Besides, betting the over has a money line of -105, while the over is -125, meaning one dollar wins you 95 cents instead of 75.
Prop Bet No. 2: Wes Welker Grabs Under 5.5 Catches
Things have gone from awkward to downright hostile in Boston. Welker essentially said, "Let's take a break," in a moment of self-pity, only to find out that is exactly what the New England Patriots wanted.
Now it's too late to take it back.
New England is starting to move on thanks to the recent signing of Deion Branch (per the Associated Press, h/t Fox News). Considering the lack of playing time for Welker, it would appear that Branch was brought in to put Welker back on the bench.
I have a theory that you have to be on the field to catch the ball. As soon as NASA confirms, I'll pass it along.
Prop Bet No. 3: Jay Cutler Is Sacked More Than 2.5 Times
Quarterbacks and their offensive lines have an understanding. The line makes sure that the signal-caller stays upright, while the quarterback heaps praise on his linemen in the media and doesn't show them up.
Suffice it to say, the Chicago Bears need a relationship therapist.
Cutler was taken down seven times by the Green Bay Packers, including 3.5 times by Clay Matthews. He became so incensed that he screamed and shoved tackle J'Marcus Webb while the big man just smiled.
The St. Louis Rams have a decent enough defense to exploit the woe-is-me Chicago offensive line. Chris Long isn't Matthews, but he isn't a slouch either. If he gets two, that means the scheme only needs one from somebody else.
Seems like a decent enough chance to take.
Prop Bet No. 4: Ben Roethlisberger Will Pass for the Most Yards (+1200)
There are other passers who will throw for plenty of yards, but none give this type of value.
That's why Ben Roethlisberger at +1200 is so enticing. We know he is capable of it, but we're given some nice odds to make it worth our while.
Mike Wallace can run by everyone to catch the deep pass. Antonio Brown is capable of converting short passes into long gains. And Emmanuel Sanders can handle all the intermediate work to ensure that the Steelers hold onto the ball.
Meanwhile, the running game is averaging 70 yards per game and doesn't feature Reggie Bush.
This is completely possible and worth a few ducats.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings: Under 43 Points
As if I haven't found enough ways to bet on the San Francisco 49ers, I like the under in this game.
The reasoning is simple.
The Niners will jump out to a big lead early and then sick their dogs on Christian Ponder. When Adrian Peterson is taken out of the game due to a deficit, Ponder will not be able to move the ball on his own.
So when San Francisco salts away the game by rushing the ball after building up a 21-point lead, it's unlikely that the Minnesota Vikings will be able to put up enough points to push the limit.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints: Over 53 Points
Despite not winning a game, the New Orleans Saints have still put up almost 30 points per game. If they can achieve their average against a mediocre Kansas City Chiefs defense, then we're over halfway there.
Then there is Drew Brees' penchant for taking chances. This could easily lead to an interception returned for a touchdown.
Now we only need 16 more points.
The Saints have yet to stop anyone from scoring. The Chiefs haven't put it together on offense yet, but they have plenty of playmakers in Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and Dexter McCluster.
I definitely like the over.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts: Under 42 Points
I realize that there aren't many points needed to hit this over/under. I don't care.
Andrew Luck looked much better in Week 2, but the Jacksonville Jaguars defense isn't terrible. Plus, the Indianapolis Colts can't run the ball, making their offense even more predictable.
As for the Jags offense, they managed a feeble 117 yards on offense last week. Total.
Overs have been producing quite a few winners this year. However, going with the over here would require you to put at least a little faith in Blaine Gabbert.
Good luck with that.
Stay-Away Game of the Week: Buffalo Bills (-3) vs. Cleveland Browns
Let's make this real simple: You're either betting on rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden or plays-like-a-rookie-quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fine, I'll break it down even further.
In Week 1, Brandon Weeden completed 12 of his 35 attempts for a total of 118 yards. He also tossed four interceptions that afternoon.
In Week 2, he completed over 70 percent of his passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns. That's a quarterback rating jump of almost 110 points.
As for Fitzpatrick, he was slightly better in his stinker with three late touchdowns (after the game was out of reach) to go along with three interceptions and a puny 6.0 yards-per-attempt average.
In his rebound game, he improved his average to 9.37 yards, threw two touchdowns and did not complete a pass to the wrong team.
Which quarterback is going to show up? Who knows.
Betting this game is the equivalent of burning money, and there are much cheaper fire starters out there.
Lock of the Week: San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings
There's a reason the San Francisco 49ers were my top elimination pool team of the week. It's not just that they're the best team in the league after two weeks; it's because they're only favored by 7.5 over a team that just lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
Just for fun's sake, let's do some comparative math.
The Niners scored 30 points on the Green Bay Packers, a team that limited the Chicago Bears to 10 points. That same Bears offense rolled up 41 against the Indianapolis defense.
However, the Colts defense only gave up 20 points to the Minnesota Vikings, who host San Francisco this weekend.
So what does all of this mean? Nothing.
If you need to see why San Francisco is more than a touchdown better than the Vikings, you haven't been paying attention.
The Niners boast the best defense in the league. They can also run the ball and pass when needed.
The Vikings have Adrian Peterson, which plays right into San Francisco's greatest strength.
Don't make it complicated.