When it comes to picking NFL games, one of the biggest things to watch out for is overreaction. It has the potential to sway lines by a couple points, and that's enough to turn a solid selection into a great one if locked in early.
Two teams that are benefiting from overreaction spreads right now are the Arizona Cardinals, who just lost their first game of the season, and the Denver Broncos, who have lost three of four. Let's examine why they are the best early-week picks. Odds courtesy SBGGlobal.com.
Arizona Cardinals (-4.5 vs. Buffalo Bills)
After winning their first four games, including victories over the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, the Cardinals finally tasted defeat against the St. Louis Rams last week. That shouldn't be enough for them to be less than a touchdown favorite against the Bills, though.
Are the Cardinals for real?
Buffalo's revamped defensive line has been a major bust through the first five weeks, with prized acquisition Mario Williams struggling to get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It's led to a defense that ranks 31st in yards allowed.
The Bills are also dealing with inconsistent play from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has thrown eight interceptions and has constantly underthrown receivers. The Cardinals defense should have a field day against him.
Arizona also benefits from having home-field advantage, where it's 3-0 already. The Bills are coming off a 42-point loss against the San Francisco 49ers, and there's blowout potential again in this game.
Denver Broncos (+1 at San Diego Chargers)
Although the Broncos are only 2-3, it's important to take the schedule they've faced into consideration. The only sub-par team Denver has faced so far is the Oakland Raiders, and it won the division game by 31 points.
Which team is a better pick?
Otherwise, the Broncos have been facing a stream of elite teams and have been able to hold their own each time. If the defense can start giving more support to Peyton Manning, who has made a nice transition, they will become a very dangerous team.
On the flip side, San Diego is 3-2, but hasn't beaten a quality opponent. The losses came against the Atlanta Falcons by 24 (Denver lost by six) and the previously winless New Orleans Saints. So the records in this case are clearly deceiving.
The Broncos know Monday night's game provides them with a tremendous opportunity to set the tone in the AFC West. Expect an inspired effort from Manning and Co. en route to a one-score victory.