I want to briefly recap what happened in Week 3 of the NFL and most importantly the things I got right, what I got wrong, and some hidden stats beyond the standard box score that may show things that we shouldn’t overlook. Overall, I went 5-1 on ATS sides and 0-1 in totals, losing the HOU/Chargers total by two points. Our 1.0- and 0.5-unit player prop recommendations went 7-3 (70%) for plus-3.3 units on the weekend.
What I was wrong about:
The side I was wrong most about
Denver (+7.5) against Green Bay fell into a really nice trend of 0-2 teams covering against teams with at least one victory in the first two weeks of the season. Most of the game went as I expected with the Broncos dominating time of possession, 35:34 minutes to 24:26. Denver came into the game leading the NFL in plays per drive and ended up running 21 more total plays than Green Bay.
The game was tied at 10 when disaster struck and Joe Flacco was sacked and fumbled inside their own 20 — a turnover that led to a Green Bay touchdown. Also, in the third quarter, Noah Fant was stripped after a completion and the Packers recovered at the Denver 37-yard line, which also led to another TD. Those two turnovers combined lost 8.71 expected points for the Broncos. Outside of these two turnovers, Denver played pretty well. They couldn’t overcome these two disastrous turnovers and lost by 11.
The player props I was most wrong about:
I had Kirk Cousins over 219.5 passing yards against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and figured we were buying low on him. I thought at home against a bottom 5 pass defense in the Raiders that Mike Zimmer would want to get his confidence back early and often. I was somewhat correct as Cousins threw for 60 yards and a TD on the opening drive alone. But the Vikings jumped out to such a big lead that there was a heavy dose of Dalvin Cook to ice the game in the 2nd half and kept Cousins under his prop total.
What I was right about:
The sides I was right most about
- Chicago (-4) over Washington
I loved the Bears here in a get right spot with their ferocious defense against a poor Redskin offensive line. The Bears were all over Case Keenum all game and forced 5 turnovers. I also thought that Mitch Trubisky would perform well against the poor Washington secondary as he dominated bad pass defenses last season. That trend continued with a 25/31, 231 yards and 3 TD performance.
- Vikings (-8.5) over Oakland
As mentioned above, the Vikings jumped out to a big early lead, 21-7, and never looked back. Backing a Mike Zimmer lead team at home has always been profitable and the Vikings added to their overall 68% home ats record under Zimmer. The Raiders were clearly overmatched and not ready to compete from the start. As mentioned in the week 3 preview piece, the Raiders have not won a 1pm EST road game since the season opener in 2017. That trend continued Sunday.
The player props I was most right about:
I had Philip Lindsay over 25.5 receiving yards against Green Bay on Sunday. The basis for the recommendation was that Joe Flacco was clearly targeting his RBs out of the backfield and was comfortable with targets to Lindsay. Lindsay had seen 13 total targets in the first two games and was going up against a Green Bay defense that had allowed an NFL high 24 targets to RBs through the first two weeks.
That trend continued in week 3 and adding in the fact that Flacco will dump the ball off to his RBs against a defense with any sort of pass rush and expect this to continue for as long as Flacco is starting. Lindsay almost doubled his prop with 49 receiving yards on 5 targets.
Devonta Freeman over 49.5 rushing yards against the Colts Sunday was my favorite prop of the weekend. This was definitely a case of buying low on a guy who could only muster 41 total yards on 19 carries in two games. Between game script and just the overall difficulty of defenses Freeman had to face in the first two weeks made the buy low recommendation correct.
The cherry on top was the absence of Colts MLB Darius Leonard. He had been the No. 1 rated run-stopper among linebackers by PFF in the first two weeks and the dropoff to Anthony Walker was steep. Freeman obliterated his rushing prop with 88 yards on 16 carries.