Writer's note: I'm Carl’s intern who made him a bunch of money for years with my independent NFL betting blog before stepping up to Barstool all of last season.
I've broken down 10 games in my bets this season, and I've only been wrong about 3. Two of those three misses came last week, so I gave back some of the money I made you in Weeks 1-3. Last week, the Jags D fell apart through some key in-game injuries against the Bengals, and the Dolphins failed to cover against the Seahawks despite only punting once. But those are just excuses and the bottom line is that I lost. Queue the bounce-back week.
Panthers (2-2) @ Falcons (0-4); 12pm CT
Pick #1: Panthers +2.5
Action: 45% of bets on the Panthers
Knowing that the public perceives the Falcons to be one of those "dangerous" bad teams, books opened this line with some respect at ATL -3, but then professionals took turns laughing at Dan Quinn being a field goal favorite before snatching up CAR +3 to move this down to ATL -2.5.
The Falcons aren't "dangerous" bad, they're "bad" bad. We already know their defense is a joke (and their safeties won't stop dying), but their offense is sneakily in the bottom-half through these first four weeks. With no run game and Julio/Ridley working through injuries, they won't be able to turn it around on a short week.
And looking at trends against the spread, Dan Quinn sucks in all scenarios that apply to this game. Close spread? Coming off a loss? Slotted as a favorite? These are indicators of coaching quality, and he can't cover in any of them.
Turning to the Panthers, they got off to a slow start, but they're shaping up to be an average team. Given their insanely low expectations entering the season, "average" is a very good thing. Their young defense can't get pressure, but they play a simple scheme that keeps everything in front of them. Offensively, Mike Davis has proved to be more than a serviceable replacement to Christian McCaffrey, and Robby Anderson is thriving with more creative usage in an expanded role (wait, a different coach is getting more production out of a skill position player than Adam Gase?). And of course, Teddy Bridgewater is in full command.
I think by now we should all know that Teddy is continuously underestimated, as he maintains a career winning percentage of over 75% against the spread. That's why they call him "Teddy Two Dicks", because he can fuck opposing defenses and point spreads at the same time. Well, that, and because he literally has two dicks. The surgeons in Minnesota who saved his leg in 2016 left him with a little going-away present. Don't believe me? Look it up.
The Panthers are a "don't fuck it up" team, and they're facing one of the biggest fuck-up teams in recent years. There's nowhere to hide - this is Dan Quinn's last game. An 0-5 start at the hands of a mediocre division opponent will end it. And when we look back at the blown 28-3 Super Bowl lead, I sure hope that Dan Quinn's name comes up before Kyle Shanahan.
Rams (3-1) @ Washington Football Team (1-3); 12pm CT
Pick #2: Football Team +7.5
Action: 33% of bets on the Football Team
Writer's note: I may never blog another Washington game because I feel like a fuckin idiot typing out "Football Team". Dan Snyder truly is an unrelenting prick.
This line opened at LAR -9, but it dropped to -7.5 despite the majority of bets falling on the Rams. That line move sure as shit didn't come from the public, because who the fuck wants to bet on a team during a three-game losing streak that is switching to a quarterback who is winless in his last 7 starts?
I've said this a million times so I'll keep it short: you want to bet on Goff when he faces good teams with a weak pass rush, and bet against Goff when when he faces bad teams with a good pass rush. Washington fits into the latter category.
Washington has a Top-3 pass rush and a solid pass D, but they're susceptible to the run. Especially with rain in the forecast, the Rams will lean on the ground game to protect Goff and grind out a W after traveling east for this early start. On the flip side, Washington isn't really upgrading QB talent by switching from Haskins to Kyle Allen, but Allen's familiarity with Scott Turner's offense should make things run more smoothly.
The vomit-inducing NFC East is up for grabs, and Washington's 1-3 record sadly puts them in striking distance. They won't be short on motivation. Gimme Washington in a sloppy one-score game.
Eagles (1-2-1) @ Steelers (3-0); 12pm CT
Pick #3: First Half Under 21.5
Action: 55% of bets on the Under
My old friend returns: the First Half Under. As a refresher, if you're looking to take an Under, you should always target the First Half to protect yourself from end-of-game desperation scoring. Unders have been a death trap in this new-look season, but sportsbooks have adjusted to pad totals, and now's the time to capitalize.
Philly's offense looked rough against a ravaged San Francisco D last Sunday night, and things don't get any easier this week. We all know the Steelers D is elite, but they're a particularly bad match-up for this Eagles offense. Pittsburgh has the best pass rush in the league, they stuff the run, and they deny receptions to RBs and TEs. It's easier said than done, but the way to beat the Steelers D is to spread them out with 3+ WRs, and the Eagles have none. Knowing they don't have the personnel for the job, Philly will want to feel this one out and not be the first one to make a mistake. That means punts, punts, and more punts.
But before you go running to back the Steelers (getting 82% of the bets, btw), know that their offense hasn't been anything special (19th in yards per play) despite facing a weak slate of opposing defenses. They'll round into shape by the second half of the season, but it'll take time, and the unplanned bye week robbed them of in-game experience to find rhythm. They're struggling on early downs, faltering in the red zone, and generally showing a lack of chemistry. Their one clear strength is time of possession (ranked 4th), and that ability to chew clock with a slow pace of play only helps the Under. Big Ben raised this offense out of last year's hell, but they'll be chilling in purgatory for at least a few more weeks.
If you're gonna watch ugly football, you might as well make money off of it - nab this Under as part of your profitable Sunday.
Lock these bets in, toss back a few, and you'll be up before dinner.