As we continue onward with this weekly exercise, I want to be very clear about what we’re doing. Yes, this is a competition between me, our celebrity guests and that guy named Kevin who runs that other website. However, it is also an opportunity for you, the reader, to intermingle. Find a wager you like and perhaps make a little coin on the side.
If I’m ice cold, as I have been in Weeks One and Two, by all means steer clear of my otherworldly advice. However, if you’re off to a healthy and profitable start like our man, Kevin, then by all means, feel free to ride his coattails.
When I mentioned that Kevin studies golf trends to find longshot winners on the PGA Tour, I was not joking. Had he actually put his money where his analytics were, he’d be vacationing with his wife in Hawaii instead of picking meaningless football games against me for chump change. One day, he’ll learn to reap the fruits of his labor, place a wager that supports his findings and perhaps even send us a postcard from the islands. Until that happens, it’s on to Week Three!
I fared significantly better in Week Two but am still a small minus on the year. After a solid week picking games, Kevin is in the red, boldly going where neither of us has gone before: to the window to cash a ticket. Our weekly guests, well, let’s just say their picks have left a lot to be desired. They’re at the point of asking if we can up their allowance. As of yet, no prizes have been awarded.
This week we turn to Dr. Milhouse to buck that trend. Already proud owner of one SportsChump t-shirt, here’s his chance to earn a new-and-improved second one for his already fancy wardrobe.
Before we get to those guys, here are my stabs to get things into the plus side.
I would like…
$50 on Arizona Cardinals (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Alright, I’m sold. At first, I wondered whether Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals would be able to compete consistently week after week. Earth to Matilda: they can. And their defense, despite making Kirk Cousins look like Tom Brady, is pretty frightening. This week, the Cardinals, a playoff team, travel to Jacksonville, who might not win a game this season. The Cardinals are only laying a touchdown. They’ll cover that in quarter one. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence will soon be having nightmares of that relentless Arizona defense. Urban Meyer might feign illness and have to entertain more questions about the vacant USC gig. All this will come shortly after Arizona waltzes into Jacksonville and does whatever they damn well please. Cardinals cover the seven.
$40 on Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-5)
So far, I am 0-2 picking the Tennessee Titans, which can only mean if I flip two more coins, odds are I’ll win the next two outcomes. That’s how probability works, right? Dr. Milhouse, this week’s celebrity guest picker, told me Tennessee would go into Seattle and win last Sunday’s game. I didn’t heed his advice and bet Seattle to cover in Week Two… and lost. So, I give up. These Titans are for real, finally (expect me to say the exact opposite in Week Four). They host a quarterback who can’t walk without a limp and they’re only laying five points. While Carson Wentz is busy having his ankles wrapped in duct tape, the Titans got Derrick Henry into high gear. We also saw Julio Jones become a wee bit more comfortable in their offense. Meanwhile, the Colts… like I said, duct tape. The Titans are the better team and will prove so as they cover the five at home.
$30 on Clemson at North Carolina State (+10.5)
Are that many bettors laying major wood with Clemson, still thinking they’re championship contenders and skewing the lines in their opponents’ favor? They should probably take note that this is not yesterday’s Clemson. In the two games they’ve played against quality opponents, they’ve mustered three points against Georgia and a lowly fourteen at home against Georgia Tech. So why exactly are they laying ten-and-a-half points when they travel to Raleigh to face a 2-1 North Carolina State team? This might be the year where Clemson’s chickens come home to roost as ACC team after ACC team will be looking to exact revenge for what Clemson has done to them in recent past. Clemson’s still looking to put it all together but are a far cry from doing so. That doesn’t happen this weekend either. NC State covers the ten-and-a-half.
$20 on Carolina Panthers (-7.5) at Houston Texans
Let’s get the Thursday night game out of the way and try to pick up some monies early in the week. The Carolina Panthers are starting to turn some heads, starting out the season a rather surprising 2-0. While Sam Darnold has finally found a home and Christian McCaffrey is doing what Christian McCaffrey does, it is Carolina’s defense that is shutting opponents down. They lead the league in total yards allowed and total yards allowed per play. Thursday night they travel to Houston who is playing musical chairs at quarterback. Deshaun Watson is still deactivated thanks to an ongoing investigation and his back-up Tyrod Taylor, who had been playing well, is out for a month. Enter rookie quarterback fresh out of Stanford, Davis Mills. Carolina will have very little game film to prepare for Mills but going against the NFL’s best defense in prime time is not an ideal way to get your first start. Considering the season’s first two Thursday night games were close, we are due for something unwatchable. This game should be a walk in the park for Carolina as Houston fans wonder how close they are to closure with Watson so they can finally move on. Once play-by-play announcers go into detail on the Watson saga, you’ll know this game is out of reach. That should be early as the Panthers move to 3-0 and cover the seven-and-a-half.
$10 on Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders (-3.5)
When you find something outright wrong with a line, you have but two choices to make. Either you can be skeptical of said line, like I am with the 2-0 Raiders laying only four at home to the 1-1 Dolphins, thinking oddsmakers must know something you don’t… or you can jump all over it, thinking someone had a bad day and realizing there is no way the Raiders should only be laying four, which they shouldn’t. Tua’s ribs are fractured after the beatdown Buffalo gave him and Miami appears to have regressed from their relatively successful season last year, which is the exact opposite direction the Raiders are headed. As we all know, the Grudennaires are all the rave these days. A veteran-laden team, they are led by quarterback Derek Carr who, although questionable for the start, has already been lumped into the MVP race. While that may be a tad premature, he’s currently leading the league in passing yards. Gruden will be careful his team doesn’t get too high patting themselves on the back, recognizing that an angry Brian Flores will not accept two straight beat downs. He will have his Dolphins inspired to ensure that doesn’t happen again. I’m not suggesting the Raiders open things up on the Dolphins. I am, however, saying they cover the three-and-a-half.
THE WIFE HATES SPORTS WEEK THREE PICKS
It’s time for some football picks. Yes, love your football. Don’t give that away. Just add a Ryder Cup to your bucket list. I don’t even care if you aren’t a huge fan of golf. You’ll love the atmosphere, the team unity, the Olympic event feel. It’s your country being united for a change. That’s where I was this week and why my picks are delayed. I was at the 2020 Ryder Cup (yes, I know it’s 2021, they just still called it that). Onto my picks…
50 – NFL: Arizona Cardinals (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Cardinals looked a bit more human last week after narrowly edging the Vikings. Enter a battered Jaguars team that are learning to get through its rookie growing pains. Home field won’t be enough against a team this talented. Cards cover.
40 – NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)
Here we are with another rivalry game sticking out like a sore thumb to me. Najee Harris has yet to really get it going on the ground. An aging Big Ben is already battling with some injury concerns. While the Bengals won the last game in this series, Pittsburgh has won the previous 11 matchups. Playing in front of its home fans, I like Pittsburgh to cover at home.
30 – College: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+20.5) at Michigan Wolverines
Greg Schiano works his magic when he coaches in Piscataway. We know that now. The hype train has arrived in Ann Arbor again. Teams are back on the Michigan bandwagon. Sure, the Wolverines are scoring points and seem to have some “pep in their step”. But is there enough pep to defeat a conference foe by three touchdowns? It is a home game, but my gut says that the Scarlet Knights will be able to hang around. Call it the Schiano factor. Give me Rutgers and the points.
20 – College: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+6.5) at Wisconsin Badgers
I probably shouldn’t touch this game. Then again, I took Penn State to cover against Auburn last week and that worked out. Both teams have been inconsistent. Notre Dame nearly fell to Toledo. Wisconsin has been erratic offensively. This game just feels like a down and dirty grudge match and not something that is going to lead to trading touchdowns. Expect a close game. Give me the Irish and the points.
10 – NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-5.5)
Considering the heavily contested divisional rivalry, it may seem silly to hone in on this game. Still, Carson Wentz is hurt, with injuries to both ankles. Honestly, if Wentz had a third ankle, that would probably be injured, too. Despite the setbacks, Wentz is expected to start and that’s why I have this as lower priority on my list. If Wentz exits, that leads to inexperience at QB for the Colts, and a likelihood that the Titans could focus on stopping the Indy run game. On the other end, the Titans are at home and have Derrick Henry. Oh, and Julio Jones. Yes, AJ Brown, too. Titans cover.
CELEBRITY GUEST’S WEEK THREE PICKS: DOCTOR MILHOUSE
$50 – Seattle Seahawks -1 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Captain Kirk did his best to keep up with Kyler Murray last week, but we’re quickly reaching the point with the Seahawks where you know Russell Wilson is going to launch a 50 yard pass, and it’ll either be a touchdown or a pass interference. Seahawks win comfortably.
$40 – Buccaneers +1 vs. Los Angeles Rams
The roll the Bucs are on, I wouldn’t put them as a dog against just about any team, let alone one run by Matt Stafford. Kupp’s amazing day aside, the Rams won’t be able to boss the Bucs around like they did the Colts. Bucs win by a touchdown.
$30 – Arizona Cardinals -7.5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are near the top of a long list of really bad teams. Kyler Murray should eat them for lunch.
$20 – Louisville Cardinals -2.5 vs. Florida State Seminoles
Would you bet on FSU at this point? Would anyone?
$10 – Tennessee Titans -5 vs. Indianapolis Colts
Derek Henry finally remembered he’s Derek Henry in the second half of the game last week. If he does it again, the Colts won’t have an answer for it.