As we reach the start of another week in the NFL, it's becoming easier to start looking at betting lines and feel good about what you're wagering on.
The first month of the season is always a crapshoot, because you never know what teams need time to find themselves, who was getting too much coverage because of preseason performance and who wasn't getting enough coverage.
October brings with it a much clearer sense of purpose. We now have enough knowledge to make more informed decisions.
Here are the underdog teams that we believe will cover the spread this week.
Odds courtesy of Bovada
Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Whenever you see the Eagles are either a favorite or an underdog by more than a point, don't you just feel the need to say they are going to cover or blow it?
Of course, the one game the Eagles lost was by 21 points, so this could be a sign that they're one of those teams that wins close games and gets blown out in losses.
The Steelers don't strike me as the kind of team that is capable of blowing out the Eagles. The Eagles have a lot of offensive playmakers to at least keep things close. And the Steelers don't have the same kind of defensive prowess they used to.
These two Pennsylvania rivals are battling for state bragging rights and each wants to play its best football of the year. I think the Steelers will win, but by the slimmest of margins.
Denver Broncos (+7) at New England Patriots
What about New England's defensive performance thus far makes the oddsmakers think they should be such prohibitive favorites over the Broncos?
Yes, the Patriots just put up 52 points on a terrible Buffalo defense, but the Broncos put up 37 points against a terrible Oakland defense.
Peyton Manning may not be what he was in his prime, but he still looks really good. He has the weapons around him to eviscerate a Patriots defense that just gave up 438 yards to the Bills, including 340 passing yards.
In defense of the oddsmakers, when the Patriots win this season, they win big. Their two victories have come by a combined 45 points. Their two losses have come by a combined three points.
However, those wins were over the aforementioned Bills and Tennessee in Week 1. The Broncos are a vastly superior team to either of those sure-to-be cellar dwellers.
San Diego Chargers (+3.5) at New Orleans Saints
It speaks to the trust the oddsmakers still have in the Saints offense that they would be favorites in a game against a team with the firepower that the Chargers have, because New Orleans' defense is, in a word, dreadful.
The Saints are last in the league in yards allowed (463.3), and it's not particularly close. Tennessee is closest (421.5). They are 29th in points allowed (32.5).
At some point, you have to accept that not even Drew Brees is good enough to make up for that wreckage.
The Chargers have benefited from an easy schedule—their three wins have come against Oakland, Tennessee and Kansas City—but there was a time when they would never have won those games. They are at least evolving, to some extent.
As long as Philip Rivers doesn't get turnover happy, which has only happened in one game this season, there is no reason to think the Chargers won't put up at least 30 points and 400 yards of offense.
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