After the debacle last week that was the National Football League Week Three schedule, there’s one thing that all bettors must be reminded of. All these professional leagues, whether it is the NFL, the NBA, the Premier League, or even the Canadian Football League, would love it if their teams all finished with the same records. This guarantees that the fanbases stay interested and KEEP SPENDING MONEY on their respective favorite teams.
This is what the NFL calls “parity” and we’re seeing it in spades so far this year. As we enter Week Four, there are only three undefeated teams left – the Philadelphia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins, and the San Francisco 49ers. There are also only four teams without a victory – the Chicago Bears, the Carolina Panthers, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Denver Broncos. Everyone else in the league is either 2-1 or 1-2 and still entertains hopes of a strong season.
It is the ugly reality of what the NFL hopes for. Yes, you’re going to have the elite and you’ll have those at the bottom. If the NFL had their way, however, they would have two-thirds of the league playing within a few games of each other – there would be 24 teams between 11-6 and 7-10, fighting between each other. And that’s the “parity” that makes it tough to pick these games.
But enough about what the NFL wants…you want WINNERS! As always, all advice is offered for entertainment purposes only, but be ensured that a significant amount of thought has gone into each selection (home team in ALL CAPS).
Las Vegas Raiders v. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (O/U 49.5)
To date, the Silver and Black has shown me little to think that anything has changed. They are still the same dysfunctional unit that they have been for the past decade, as evidenced by WR Davante Adams’ whining this week about the state of the Raider Nation. Add into this mix the fact that QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the supposed savior of the Las Vegas team, head coach Josh McDaniel, and owner Mark Davis, is to be a game-time decision as far as his status for the game Sunday, it doesn’t make me believe they’re going to be able to do much of anything.
It’s not like the Chargers are firing on all cylinders either. This game is right on the scoring averages for the two teams – Chargers 27, Raiders 23 – but I don’t see how the Raiders are going to muster that many points. I’m taking the under on this wager.
PICK: UNDER 49.5
Minnesota Vikings (-4.5) v. CAROLINA PANTHERS
How the Vikings, who are on the road in what promises to be a humid Charlotte, who couldn’t even muster a game against a depleted Chargers lineup last week, who also are beginning to backbite each other, are favored in this game is beyond me. I KNOW that QB Bryce Young is injured (ankle), but reports have him suiting up for the Piedmont Purrs on Sunday.
Even if Young wasn’t going, I liked the way backup QB Andy Dalton handled the team last week against the Seattle Seahawks and I think he could have willed this Carolina franchise to cover the spread if he were starting. Hence, you’ve got my pick here this week.
PICK: PANTHERS +4.5
Miami Dolphins v. BUFFALO BILLS (-3)
Yes, Miami erupted against the Denver Broncos last week, becoming only the fourth team to ever score more than 70 points in an NFL contest. Yes, Bills QB Josh Allen looked more like Nancy Allen in RoboCop in the first game of the season. But the Dolphins, going against a much stouter defense from the Buffalo squad, aren’t going to be able to run over this team. Likewise, the Bills are going to face more of a test from the Fins D, but I think Allen and Company got themselves right in their rout of the Washington Commanders.
We’ll give the edge to the home-standing team – if this game were in the balmy climes of South Florida, it would be an entirely different call, because it would be the Dolphins getting the edge. We won’t see that game, however, until the end of the season when it could decide the AFC East champion.
PICK: BILLS -3