Saturday was almost a huge day of upsets in college football, but the favorites mostly held to form in the end, even if the only one of the top five teams who covered was Iowa (and just barely, as the Hawkeyes covered by half a point). On the professional side of the ledger, dogs ruled the day in Week 1, topped by Las Vegas earning a straight-up win in its first game in front of its fans.
However, that means favorites are likely to restore order pretty soon, as Vegas isn’t in the business of allowing gamblers to ride a wave. With that in mind, here are my best bets for this Sunday.
PATRIOTS -6, -110
Yeah, I’d feel better if I’d gotten this earlier in the week, but I didn’t. I still think it will be OK, though, as Bill Belichick dominates rookie quarterbacks (check) and really hates the Jets (check). Belichick is 19-4 against New York since 2010, and the Jets do not have the line needed to win this battle. Zach Wilson did not have time to make decisions against Carolina, so good luck trying to make those decisions against a Belichick-crafted defense.
BRONCOS -6, -110
It’s only one game, but so far, Urban Meyer looks like the next Steve Spurrier: a brilliant college coach who is completely overmatched in the NFL. The difference is, Spurrier’s Washington team actually had a fair amount of NFL talent, which is why it managed to win seven games in 2002. Meyer’s Jaguars were 1-15 a year ago and don’t really have much in the way of proven NFL players. Trevor Lawrence isn’t turning this around overnight, and Denver has moved in the right direction over the past few seasons. As long as the Broncos aren’t jet-lagged, they should be fine.
RAMS -3.5, -110
The Colts were one of the dogs who got beat last week, and it’s hard to see them turning that around with a hobbled offensive line trying to keep Carson Wentz safe from the Rams’ ferocious defense. If Seattle could hold the Colts to 16 points, Los Angeles is perfectly capable of doing the same or better. That won’t be anywhere near enough to keep up with Matthew Stafford and friends.
CHARGERS -2.5, -110
The Bolts won’t be as well received in their home debut for fans as the Rams were, but they still should have enough to handle Dallas. The Cowboys don’t have the defense that Washington does, and the Chargers should be able to move the ball pretty well on the Cowboys all game long. This one should produce points, and I like Los Angeles’ chances better in this kind of shootout.
ORLANDO CITY +1, +115
It’s never a good sign when I have to go outside the NFL for an underdog pick on Sunday, but I like the Lions to come away with at least a tie against Philadelphia. Union is not playing well and just played a brutal game against Club America in the CONCACAF Champions League. Orlando City is down two players and likely goes into a shell, so this will probably be no worse than a push.
CHIEFS -3.5, -110
Baltimore is no healthier than it was against Las Vegas and it’s playing on a short week. Patrick Mahomes should be more than ready for the Ravens, who have lost five of their past six meetings against the Chiefs in Maryland and dropped four of them by at least a touchdown. Kansas City should be just fine on Sunday night.