It was back to better business last week, especially if you checked the weather forecast and took the over on Broncos-Giants.
Week three is where the bandwagons that people jumped on in week one, or even worse after two whole games in week two, start to run out of control as the horses stampede and the horn section falls off the wagon.
So do we really believe the Steelers are as bad as they've looked going 0-2 so far? Are Oakland bad enough to be 14.5 dogs in Denver? Are Jacksonville bad enough to be 19.5 dogs in Seattle (answer—they are, and the only thing that stops me recommending that as a sure thing is the tendency of NFL to take the foot off the pedal when they have a big lead, particularly coming off the emotional spectacle that was the 29-3 lightning-interrupted win over the Niners last week).
Tempering the enthusiasm is something I always recommend, and that's often too conservative a course for many. Herds are such fun to run with!
Sure Thing: Giants (+1) at Carolina
I dislike road teams in close games as sure things, but I picked the Giants straight up in this one, so you might want to consider it as an outside bet if it makes more sense. I really don't see their chaotic start to the season continuing against an offense that has been unable to establish a non-Steve Smith passing game. Cam Newton pretty much is what he is, which is the same guy who was a sensation in year one and disappointment in year two, and I'm not sure it's fair to blame him for not being able to create wins all by himself. Eli Manning has thrown seven interceptions in his first two games, so you can either expect that to change, or you can project him for 56 on the season and take the Panthers giving a point.
Outside Bet: Tampa Bay (+8.5) at New England
Nine is a lot of points for a team that has scored only 36 in the first two weeks playing a team that has allowed only 34 (and only 16 to the Saints last week). There is a caveat in play here: the Pats scrimmaged the Bucs in preseason, so they will know the team well, and there is no team better at game-planning both sides of the ball to get results. But with a shaky group of receivers for Tom Brady to throw to, and no game-breaker, it's a long shot to think of the Pats running away with this one. This line has dropped from 9 during the week, so tread carefully.
Value Bet: Bengals (+2.5) vs Packers at 2.00
Again, the Bengals straight-up is a very tempting bet: the question is whether the Packers, whose game plays away from the Bengals' great strength up front, can turn this into some sort of shootout that Andy Dalton would lose. Cincy has added weapons in rookies Giovanni Bernard and Tyler Eifert, who give them more options offensively, which opens up AJ Green for the deeper ball.
One To Avoid: New Orleans (-9) vs Arizona at 2.10
The Saints ought to win this one; the question is by how much, and 9 might be seen as generous (in fact this line too has dropped during the week from 9.5) so the big question is how much you think the Cardinal D can continue to play well, and how much you think the Saints can rattle Carson Palmer into turnovers. I am almost talking myself into giving the points to Arizona, but that's exactly what that 9 point spread is designed to do!
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