Rich Hribar and Raymond Summerlin bring you their best bets every Friday of the NFL season as well as a preview of Sunday Night Football. The preview is free, but the bets can only be found in the Rotoworld Season Pass. Don’t miss out on the action.
Rich: 5-4 season record (last week: 0-4)
Raymond: 7-2 season record (last week: 3-2)
All lines taken from the VI Consensus at VegasInsider.com Friday morning.
Sunday Night Football – Patriots @ Lions (+7) – Total 53.5
Rich: The Patriots are coming off a loss, which has historically been kind to them attacking the spread. Over the past 10 seasons, New England is 25-9 versus the spread following a loss in the same season. However, eight of those nine games in which they failed to cover off of a loss came when they were giving six or more points on the road. Under those circumstances, they are just 5-8 against the spread.
Piling on, teams which have started 0-2 on the season have been strong against the spread in their third game. Over the past decade, 0-2 teams are 45-36-1 versus the spread with nine of those failed covers coming against another 0-2 team. If you strictly bet every 0-2 team over the past decade, you’d only have two losing two weeks with the last one coming in 2013. There’s no denying the Patriots are a better football team than the Lions, but I flew into the face of the sun against two long-running trends a week ago and was turned to ashes. I would be hesitant to lay the points here.
I do, however, feel strongly about the game total here. The above numbers already suggest the Lions have favored odds of playing well, and now the Patriots’ defense may be in jeopardy of not having either Patrick Chung or Tre Flowers on the field this Sunday. Neither has practiced at any point of this week through Thursday as they are in the concussion protocol. Detroit has been a sieve defensively so far, allowing 48 and 30 points to the Jets and 49ers, teams not nearly with the measured pedigree as the Patriots’ offense. Those opening two game totals have been 65 and 57 points. Expecting Detroit to play well at home offensively off of two losses and the Patriots inherently scoring a high number of points, I’d swing at the potential shootout ringing true and the game total going over here.
Pick: Over 53.5
Raymond: Like Rich, I lean toward the Lions here because of the success 0-2 teams have had against the spread, but there are a couple caveats. First, the Patriots are coming off a loss of their own, so while there is value on the line – this was tabbed as a four-point game by line makers in May – there is perhaps not as much as there would have been if New England was 2-0. Second, former Bill Belichick assistants have not fared well against the former boss, winning just eight of 22 meetings, and Matt Patricia has looked out of his depth in the first two games. All of that is without mentioning the serious issues Detroit has on defense and Matthew Stafford’s uneven play through two weeks. I would go with the Lions in a pick’em pool, but there are enough concerns to push me off a bet.
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