By Justin Mark, SGPN Football Handicapper
How about those undefeated Eagles? After all the pre-game trash talk between players and fans, the Eagles came away with a win that felt a little easier than I expected. I got the spread wrong, but I did predict the winner and under correctly, as well as Cowboys Team Total under 17.5. If you followed my prop picks before the game, I also hit one of two on those. 3-1 in the article, and 4-2 overall on the Eagles’ game, has us feeling good.
Now, the perfect Eagles have their well-deserved bye. But, who wants a bye week on betting games? So, let’s look at the rest of the NFC East this week. I’m not sure I’d bet any of them as the lines just feel off. Plus, two of the three teams will have a different quarterback, which makes it hard to handicap. Let’s break down each game, though.
Lions @ Cowboys (-7)
The return of Dak Prescott as the starting quarterback for the Cowboys should provide an uplift to their offense. The Lions, however, are getting one of their main pieces back as well with the return of DeAndre Swift. This Cowboys’ defense has looked like one of the best all year, however, are they as good as they appear? After all, they’ve only played one team that is top 15 in yards and points per game, and that was the Eagles. Now they face a Lions’ team that loses a lot of games but is still top 15 in yards and points per game.
The Lions’ defense is really bad; however, their offense continues to keep them in most games. They’re also coming off a bye week, which should have them feeling rested. I like the Cowboys to win this one, but the Lions are notorious for covering games. Having it right at an even seven sets bettors up for a push, but give me Lions +7.
Giants @ Jaguars (-3)
The Jaguars’ being favored here feels off. In fact, it’s so off after the Giants have played so well, that you must feel like the public will be running to the books to bet the Giants. That’s exactly what makes this feel like a trap. The books rarely lose big, and it just doesn’t seem like they’re going to lose when 86% of the tickets and money have been on Giants to win and 83% of the money is on the Giants to cover the spread (as of Wednesday).
Normally when the public is heavy on one side of the field, I like to fade (bet against). The Sportsbooks and Vegas make a lot of money for a reason. My heart says the Giants win this game, as coach Brian Daboll has been on a roll with this team, playing as a dog to the Packers and the Ravens the past two games and winning both straight up. That’s what makes the line make no sense as they face the 2-4 Jaguars. I don’t feel good about it, but I must fade the public on this one. I’m taking the Jaguars at home, -3.
Packers @ Commanders (+5)
It’s Taylor Heinicke’s time in Washington as Carson Wentz deals with a broken ring finger that is expected to keep him sidelined for four to six weeks. This game is hard to handicap because we don’t know how Heinicke will perform in his first action back since last year and because the Packers seem to be in a downward spiral, losing outright to the Giants and the Jets when they were favorites in both games.
After the game against the Jets, Aaron Rodgers said the key to fixing the offense was making it simpler. It seems like he is losing the locker room, unlike Taylor Heinicke, who I think had the locker room, even as a backup. Last year against the Packers, Heinicke opened up the game with a big play to Terry McLaurin. He also utilized his running ability to pick up significant yardage on several plays. The Commanders went on to lose that game 24-10, however. This is a different Packers team, one that can’t seem to put up the kind of offense to score 24 points. I think the Commanders can lean on the run game to control the narrative and pressure Rodgers into playing inefficiently. Give me the Commanders +5.
Looking at lines on WynnBet, one game that really keeps jumping out at me is the Falcons at the Bengals, with the Bengals a 6.5-point favorite. While the Falcons have covered every single game this season, the Bengals have also been on a roll, covering the last four games against the closing Vegas lines. As much as I’ve liked watching this feisty Falcons team and seeing Marcus Mariota find some success again, I think their luck runs out this week. I’m taking the Bengals at the -6.5.
Justin Mark is co-host of SGPN Fantasy Football’s show “Old-Fashioned Football” and a writer for the Sports Gambling Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JMarkFootball and The Sports Gambling Podcast @GamblingPodcast.