After splitting our best bets last weekend, we're back for Week 3. There are several intriguing lines on the board, but this is the first time this season that two of our contributors have chosen the same best bet. We are using current odds (as of 6:30 p.m. on Thursday) from DraftKings sportsbook.
I picked the Eagles to win the Super Bowl and would still argue they're the best team in the NFC. But they are coming off a bruising, violent Sunday night game in Atlanta, and who knows which of their guys are going to be on the field—or anywhere near 100% health—for this one. The Lions are also better than you think this year. Not to mention, there's this stubborn thinking that Detroit can't win on the road, but it covered in six of its eight games away from home last season, and the Lions were an ill-fated timeout away from covering in Arizona to start 2019. — Gary Gramling
Detroit Lions (+6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
This week, I actually have numbers on my side. A recent study of over 7,000 NFL games found that, out of the 15 most common point spreads, the two biggest winners for bettors are -6 and +6.5, with a combined winning percentage over 54%. The odds are even better when the home team is favored, with -6 teams and +6.5 teams covering at a 55% clip. This year, +6.5 road teams are already 2-0.
But how could a half-point difference stand between the best number for favorites and the best number for underdogs? The answer lies in psychology (or randomness, but please don't be a spoilsport). Remember, you're trying to beat the line-setter, not the line. And a line of 6.5 is begging you take the favorite with the assumption that a seven-point victory is likely. So far this year, the public has complied with the house's wishes, backing the -6.5 home teams 66% of the time, according to The Action Network. But you're smarter than that. This week, there are four such situations to play, as the Ravens, Giants and Steelers are all getting 6.5 points. Since I don't want to risk my 2-0 record on an unproven QB making his first start away from home or go against Patrick Mahomes, that leaves the Lions as this week's best bet.
If you need more encouragement, just look at the Eagles' injury report, plus the fact that coach Doug Pederson has admitted he's factoring in the team's upcoming Thursday night game against the Packers as he prepares his players. But you shouldn't need more reasons. Excel is on your side. — Jacob Feldman
Listen, there’s not much to say here. You’re smart enough to know the arguments on both sides. But the Cowboys are good, and I’m just going to take the bait until proven otherwise. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but let’s get weird. — Mitch Goldich
Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) at San Francisco 49ers
This line opened at pick’em, and was briefly bet up to Steelers as a one-point road favorite before the Big Ben injury news struck. Look, Roethlisberger is a Hall of Famer, but do I think he’s worth around a touchdown more than Mason Rudolph? The Steelers apparently believe in the backup quarterback, trading their upcoming first-round pick in the draft for Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. So since Pittsburgh is intent on not mailing in its season, you’re going to get it in a max effort spot so it doesn’t fall to 0-3 on the season. Maybe I’m naïve in backing a Mike Tomlin-coached team that has looked poor in its first two games, but there’s still a lot of talent on this roster. And as much as I love Kyle Shanahan, Pittsburgh’s defense will be a step up from his first two opponents in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati (though admittedly, the Buccaneers’ defense has been a pleasant surprise thus far). This line is begging you to take the 49ers since it gives bettors the mindset of “all they have to do is win by a touchdown.” But don’t be fooled. —Max Meyer
Season record: 5-3