Before we get to this week's Best Bets, I like to use the little preamble here to opine on some prop bets or random gambling minutiae before getting to the picks. This week, first, I want to congratulate Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was one of my "Winners" in the Monday recap column. According to one online sports book, Fitzy is now a prohibitive favorite to keep Jameis Winston on the bench in Tampa Bay once Winston comes back from his three-game suspension:
Meanwhile, Winston is being sued by the Uber driver that he groped. Changing of the guard in Tampa, indeed.
Now, onto the best bets, where we are riding a nice two-week streak of 8-3-1 against the spread, so let's keep this money train rolling!
AUBURN -30 over Arkansas
Every few years, there will be a Power Five team that just looks so overwhelmed that you have to keep betting against them week after week until the spreads just can't go any higher. (The one that always comes to mind is Washington State back in the 2008 to 2010 timeframe, where they won five games in three seasons under the gambler's dream coach Paul Wulff.) This year that team is Arkansas, who is coming off a 44-17 loss to North Texas at home. Auburn is coming off a last-second home loss to LSU and is going to be out for blood, now needing to run up scores to stay in the playoff conversation. That
WEST VIRGINIA -16 over Kansas State
Speaking of piling on, West Virginia's game last week against North Carolina State was canceled due to Hurricane Florence, so Heisman candidate QB Will Grier has been off the grid while other candidates racked up numbers last weekend. I think Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen is going to pile it on Old Man Snyder and Company. West Virginia has a massive speed advantage at the skill positions, and they will exploit it.
Northern Illinois +10.5 over FLORIDA STATE
Syracuse was one of my best bets last weekend against the Seminoles as a home dog, and it covered by nearly thirty points, with the Orange winning outright in a blowout. We are three games into the Willie Taggart Era at Florida State and I can honestly say that this is one of the worst coached football teams I can ever remember watching. Now they get a frisky, salty Northern Illinois squad sandwiched in between two ACC games — the Seminoles have Louisville next week — and we are expecting them to cover double digits? Willie Taggart, keep spitting out that cash for me!
RAVENS -5 over Broncos
The Broncos are 2-0 on the season, and were actually one of my best bets in Week 1, a win and a cover against the Seahawks. However, we can now begin to ascertain that Seattle and Oakland are just not very good football teams, and the Broncos beat them by a combined five points at home. Now, the Broncos go on their first road trip, an early kickoff in Baltimore against a Ravens team that had three extra days to prepare. I love the Ravens in this spot.
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EAGLES -7 over Colts
Kudos to the Colts, who went on the road in Week 2 and won a street fight with the Washington Redskins. Andrew Luck looks closer to "back to full health" than he looks to "oh crap, that shoulder," which may be an issue for the rest of the AFC South, who'd gotten used to beating up on Jacoby Brissett (except the Texans, who are 0-3 lifetime versus Brissett). That said, the Super Bowl champs return home angry after a road loss to Tampa (FITZY!), and the Colts are having to go back onto the road for another game against an out of conference opponent, a weird schedule quirk, for sure. Frank Reich does have some familiarity with the Eagles, as he was their OC last season, but Carson Wentz is back this week, so I look for the Eagles offense to roll.
Patriots -6.5 over LIONS
The Patriots are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville, a 31-20 rout that was not as close as the 11
Last Week: 4-2
Season Record: 10-7-1 (58.8%)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.