Monday Night Features the First Start for Sanchez in Philly

Sanchez
Sanchez
Mark Sanchez will lead the Eagles for the next several weeks and get his first start tonight.

Carolina (O/U 48) at Philadelphia (-7) – Both teams come in knowing exactly what occurred within their division from yesterday and both now realize the extra importance of tonight’s game. The Panthers got a gift with New Orleans suffering a home loss to San Francisco which means a win tonight would give them five wins which would tie them with the Saints.

The Eagles are aware of the Cowboys victory in London over Jacksonville and need to win to stay a game up on them in the NFC East. Both teams tonight are dealing with quarterback issues although they are both of a different sort.

Newton
Cam Newton needs a big game tonight in Philadelphia so the Panthers can stay with the Saints in the NFC South.

Cam Newton has been inconsistent for most of the season and I don’t put all of that on him. He’s had to rely on rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin as his go-to guy and the running game hasn’t exactly panned out well either with the team’s top two running backs dealing with injuries. Still, Newton knows those excuses only go so far. He needs to make better decisions with the ball and has to do a better job of executing when the the plays are there.

For Philadelphia, the Mark Sanchez era is here. Starting quarterback Nick Foles is likely out for the rest of the season with his injury. Last week, Sanchez came in for Foles and promptly delivered a solid performance in getting the Eagles a road win at Houston. Sanchez was 15 of 22 for 202 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Overall, a very “Sanchez-like” performance.

Philly and Carolina rank 15th and 29th in total defense respectively. The reason for the Panthers low ranking is that they also rank 29th in rushing defense so I would suspect we’ll see plenty of running with LeSean McCoy and company. Don’t dismiss Sanchez running the ball off of the read option either. He’s more than capable of picking up the necessary yardage.

Sanchez will obviously look to Jeremy Maclin as his top target while Newton will look heavily for Benjamin as mentioned previously.

Both defenses will do what so many NFL defenses plan to do at the start of each game which is to pressure the quarterback and stop the run. The Eagles have done a far better job of this so far in 2014. One key area that favors the Panthers is in the Giveaway/Takeaway department. Carolina is +4 while the Eagles are a whopping -10 on the season. That stat alone could keep the game close.

Key Injuries: CAR Corey Brown WR Probable/Concussion, PHI Nick Foles QB Out/Collarbone

Trends: Carolina is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games against the Eagles… The total has gone OVER in five of Philly’s last seven games when playing Carolina… The Panthers are 2-3-1 straight up in their last six games on the road… Philadelphia is 8-1 SU in their last nine games at home.

The Pick: The Eagles are unbeaten (4-0) at home while the Panthers have just one win away from their stadium. Take the Eagles tonight to cover behind a big night from Mark Sanchez and take the OVER as well.

Saints, Panthers in a Key NFC South Showdown While the Seminoles Visit Louisville in College Football

Newton
Newton
Cam Newton needs to engineer some points if the Panthers are going to beat the Saints tonight.

Thursday night brings two very big games to us with one fro the National Football League and one from College Football. Even though both teams are under .500, tonight’s game between New Orleans and Carolina is for the lead in the NFC South.

Meanwhile, the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles invade Papa John’s Stadium to play ACC newcomer Louisville. If anyone is expecting the ‘Noles to walk out with an easy win then they need to remember the Cardinals are not exactly new to the big game scene.

New Orleans (-3) at Carolina (O/U 48.5) – I take no pride in saying the NFC South is the worst, or at least the most disappointing, division in professional football. At 3-4-1, the Panthers currently lead while the under-achieving Saints are 3-4. New Orleans appears to have gotten back on track now with a big win over Green Bay but that was in the Superdome where the Saints always play well.

This game is on the road though and if the Panthers’ defense plays as well as they did against Seattle then they’ll have a fighting chance. The problem is the inconsistency on offense. New Orleans is going to score at some point but the Panthers must score some points of their own and not put all the pressure on their defense to keep in the game.

Look for Carolina to try and establish the running game early to give Cam Newton more time to find his receivers. Saints’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will of course be bringing the heat so the Panthers’ offensive line has to be up to the task.

Trends: New Orleans is 3-9 against the spread in their last 12 games against Carolina… The Panthers are 4-2 straight up in their last six games at home against the Saints… The total has gone UNDER in nine of New Orleans’ last 11 games on the road against Carolina… The total has gone UNDER in 10 of the Panthers’ last 14 games at home.

Key Injuries: NO – Jimmy Graham Shoulder QUEST, CAR – DeAngelo Williams Ankle QUEST

The Pick: As bad as the Saints have been defensively, I think they are starting to put some things together. Take them to cover and the UNDER.

College Football

Fisher
I think Jimbo Fisher and his Seminoles are in for a battle tonight.

Florida State (-3.5) at Louisville (O/U 50.5) – When I initially started writing this piece, the ‘Noles were favored by as many as seven points. I’m not sure what is causing the rapid drop other than the issues with running back Karlos Williams but I’m not sure even that has the power to move the line like this.

Either way, I expect FSU to struggle with the Cards. Louisville is no stranger to big games and Bobby Petrino isn’t either. The Cards most recent of their two losses was 23-17 at Clemson. The Seminoles needed overtime at home to defeat Clemson by the same exact score albeit was without Jameis Winston.

Cards’ QB Will Gardner has a completion percentage under 55% but has thrown for 11 touchdowns versus just two interceptions. If takes care of the ball Louisville will be right there in the end.

Trends: The Seminoles are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games… The Cardinals are unbeaten in their last five games at home… The total has gone OVER in seven of FSU’s last eight games on the road… The total has gone UNDER in five of Louisville’s last seven games at home.

Key Injuries: FSU C Austin Barron, Out-Arm

The Pick: I suspect the Seminoles will have some “Notre Dame hangover” but I think they score late to cover. Take the UNDER as well.

Patriots and Panthers Offer a Great Monday Match-Up

Newton
Newton
Are Newton and the Panthers ready for the Patriots on Monday night?

Ah, Monday night… There’s just something about the sound of Monday Night Football especially when the weather turns and the wind starts to howl. Teams in the National Football League are jockeying for playoff positions or are already starting to think about next year. Tonight features to teams with winning records that both have their eyes on the postseason.

New England (+1) at Carolina – These are the types of games where New England Head Coach Bill Belichick always seems to turn the table on his opponents. Whenever there are questions about his own team, whether it is poor line play, poor running game or injuries, Belichick just seems to know how to push the right buttons.

Belichick faces a situation similar to those as his Patriots head to Charlotte to play the hot Panthers of Carolina. At 6-3, the Panthers are the only competition for the New Orleans Saints right now in the NFC South. Belichick and his quarterback Tom Brady often relish these challenges and this will be one there’s no doubt about it.

Belichick
Belichick and the Patriots usually thrive in these types of match-ups. Will they tonight?

Carolina currently has the second best rushing defense in the league and the fifth best passing defense in the league. Their defensive front has caused problems for teams all season I would expect it to continue even against the Pats. What Belichick and his staff will do is try to find the weakest link. They will then design the offense in a manner that will expose that player.

This technique is nothing new but it’s something that Belichick and company have excelled at over the years.

Defensively, the Patriots will do the same thing although it’s a little harder to take away QB Cam Newton. Therefore, expect the Patriots to load up in an effort to stop the Panthers’ 10th-ranked rushing offense and in turn, will force the game into the hands of Newton. The hope there is that he will force throws and will make mistakes but that only happens if the Patriots can control the line of scrimmage and force the Panthers into third and long situations.

Coach Ron Rivera and his staff know that New Orleans won last night to move to 8-2 on the season. That means they’ll need a victory over New England to remain a game back. The Panthers and Saints hook up twice in three weeks starting December eighth. That game will have to wait because the Panthers have serious business to handle first in the name of New England.

Look for the Panthers to rely on pressure to get Brady out of his rhythm. This is typically the only way you’re going to have a shot a slowing down the Patriots’ offense. By this point in the season, Brady’s receivers are no longer ‘new.’ They’ve had time to settle in now and understand the system so mistakes are no longer tolerated.

Carolina cannot go to sleep on the running game though. Stevan Ridley and Lagarrette Blount can provide a healthy dose of rushing which can keep pass rushers at bay.

The Patriots are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against the Panthers while Carolina is 5-1 in their last six home games straight up. The over/under is 44.5 which I’m feeling is going to be high. Take the under because I see a defensive-minded battle coming on here.

As far as the spread, with the Patriots being a one-point dog it’s hard to look past them. These are the types of games that just go the Patriots’ way so take them win a game somewhere in the ballpark of 23-13.

Carolina Visits Philadelphia for Monday Night Football

Both Michael Vick and Andy Reid could be on borrowed time in Philadelphia, where the Eagles play Carolina on Monday Night Football.

Prepare for a bumpy ride as the lowly Philadelphia Eagles host the even-lowlier Carolina Panthers on this week’s edition of Monday Night Football.

No doubt when the NFL’s top brass and network execs got together to schedule this season’s fixtures, nobody expected Philadelphia and Carolina to be quite as bad as they have been. And if they did, they probably worked for NBC, who last night broadcast the much more alluring Packers-Giants matchup.

For fans of Monday Night Football, it’s the second week in three that the ‘hallowed’ game has featured bottom-dwellers. The big difference between this game and Week 10’s Steelers-Chiefs game is that this one features two bottom-dwellers.

Alas, it’s only fair that all teams get their shot under the bright lights.

Battle at the Wrong End

After being heralded as a Super Bowl contender ahead of the season, Philadelphia (3-7, 2-3 home) began scored some scrappy victories, taking three from four to start this campaign. Ever since, the Eagles have struggled and are losers of six straight games, a record in the Andy Reid era.

Carolina (2-8, 1-3 road) also entered the season with high expectations, but losses in six of the first seven meant this season became an uphill battle before it even began.

This weekend’s battle will see Philadelphia take to the field without running back LeSean McCoy, who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Washington. Quarterback Michael Vick will also miss a second straight game after suffering a concussion against Dallas is Week 7.

Rookie Nick Foles will spell Vick again this week. Foles, after fans clambered for him, was a less than stellar 21/46 in his full debut last week against Washington, throwing for 204 yards and two interceptions. Foles’ solitary touchdown pass this season came against Dallas.

Looking for an Edge

The Eagles lead the all-time head-to-head series 5-2, and have won four of the last five, including three straight. Carolina has just one win in Philadelphia, a 14-3 victory in January 2004 that sent the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII. Needless to say, neither team is headed for the Big Game this season.

Carolina opened as 2½-point favorites, thanks in no small part to Philadelphia’s six-game losing skid. Bettors are likely to avoid putting cash on the Eagles even at such a small margin; Philadelphia has compiled a 1-8-1 ATS record, the worst in the entire league. Carolina hasn’t fared much better, but 4-6-0 ATS is better. Philadelphia has lost its last four games by an average of 17 points.

The over/under is 41. The total has split evenly in Carolina games this season, going over five times and under five times. Only three Eagles games have gone over. Bettors should be wary of taking the over as these two sides both struggle to put points on the board, a category in which Carolina ranks 27th and Philadelphia ranks 31st (only Kansas City has been more futile offensively).

The safest bet therefore appears to be Carolina, but that’s hardly a safe bet.

And Now For a Bit of Fun…

If the thought of this ‘barnburner’ depresses you, here are a quick couple of props, direct from Bovada, to make you smile:

Carolina is 6/1 to be awarded the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The Panthers merely need to fall below Kansas City and Jacksonville and that dream can become a reality.

He’ll be happy pontificating on the game for ESPN from the broadcast booth, but Jon Gruden is actually 3/1 to be the head coach of one of these two sides at the start of next season. He’d probably do better to wait out the Dallas vacancy.

Week 9 NFL Betting Tips

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers - sans Killer Bees uniforms - will travel on the day to take on the New York Giants.

It’s the midpoint of the NFL season and Week 9 promises a lot of close matchups as teams look to improve their records heading into the second half.

As ever, there is no shortage of talking points heading into play on Sunday. Can the Ravens hold off the Browns? Will Jacksonville win another game this season? Can Atlanta remain unbeaten?

To get you started with your picks this week, we’ve skimmed some of the more intriguing games from the schedule and given you our thoughts.

Be sure to come back tomorrow also for an in depth look at the Sunday Night Football clash between Dallas and  Atlanta.

 

Carolina Panthers @ Washington Redskins

A much-maligned Carolina (1-6, 0-3 road) hits the road this weekend, heading for Landover, Md., and a showdown with the Washington Redskins (3-5, 1-2 home). Make no mistakes; this one’s on the radar thanks to its pitting Robert Griffin III against Cam Newton.

Newton has had a tough season, something he’s struggling mentally to cope with, while Griffin is having the sort of season Newton enjoyed last season. Whilst the issue of whether or not these two quarterbacks are similar has been on the agenda this week, there’s one these two certainly have in common: both will be looking for a win this weekend.

Carolina has posted a dismal record, particularly after hopes were so high ahead of the season. Washington, meanwhile, has had what can be considered a successful year, mainly because expectations were low coming into the season.

The Skins have been free-scoring this season, ranking fourth in the league in points, at 26.6 per game. The team’s running game is tallying 166.3 YPG, second only to San Francisco, and will be the focus in this one.

Carolina should take solace in the fact that Washington isn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut. The Redskins are last in the league at stopping the pass, conceding 314.3 YPG through the air, whilst giving up 28.4 total points per game (29th). That should give Newton and the Panthers some time to work out an offensive scheme.

Odds: Washington is 3½-point favorite, with the over/under at 47½.

Take: Carolina – The Panthers have been woeful this season but this is the sort of game the side from Charlotte can take an upset win from. Defensive will be at a premium, so Carolina should make this a shootout. Running the football would be a good idea for both sides. Take the over for those same reasons.

 

Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts

It’s being billed as the battle of two rookie quarterbacks, but this game has more going for it than just the clash between Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill.

Both Indianapolis (4-3, 3-1 home) and Miami (4-3, 2-2 road) have surprised a lot of people this season. Neither has been the automatic out some would have expected, and at the end of this game, one of these sides is going to have a 5-3 record!

Miami will focus on trying to run the football, a decision that is as much to do with the Colts’ inability to stop the run (27th) as the Fins’ abilities to run (11th). On the flipside, Luck and Indianapolis will look to throw the football to take advantage of a top ten passing offense, and to exploit Miami’s poor pass defense (27th). Besides, Miami is second in the league at stopping the run and the Colts’ running game is less than stellar.

Odds: Miami opened as three-point favorites but that number has fallen to one. With 24-hours left until kickoff, we could see some more movement there. The over/under is 43.

Take: Miami – This one will be decided by Miami’s defense, which currently gives up just 18 points per game. Only Chicago and San Francisco concede fewer points. The Dolphins have played tough all season, while the Colts have had a mixed-bag of performances. The Dolphins will cover the low spread, snapping the Colts’ three-game winning streak in the series. Take the under on 43.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants

Much of the East Coast is still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but regardless of whether you think the game should go ahead or not, the New York Giants (6-2, 3-1 home) will host Pittsburgh (4-3, 1-3 road) late Sunday afternoon.

With the team hotel flooded, the Steelers will fly in on the morning of the game, a factor that many believe gives the Giants an advantage. In reality, it’s a short flight and a later game so it probably won’t be that big a deal.

The Giants have the second best passing offense in the league, behind New England, but it’ll be up against Pittsburgh’s number one ranked pass defense. If the two cancel each other out, as they could well do, it’ll be up to the running game to put points on the board. Neither side has been particularly prolific running the football this season, but the advantage may come down to Pittsburgh’s superior rush defense, which ranks in the league’s top ten.

Historically, New York has dominated the head-to-head (44-28-3) but recently, neither team has been able to string two wins together in a row. The Giants won last time out (2008) so unless they buck a trend that dates back to 1991, it could be bad news for the blue side of New York this weekend.

Odds: The Giants opened as 4½-point favorites but have seen that figure drop to 3½ recently. The over/under is 47.

Take: Pittsburgh – The Steelers are a tough team, despite a mediocre record. Last week the side won its second straight game for the first time this year. The Giants may have won four in a row, but they’ll face a very tough defense. With the distraction of Hurricane Sandy, it’ll be tough to get past the Steelers. Take the total to go under; this is going to be a defensive battle.

 

Week 9 Schedule

Thursday: Kansas City 13-31 San Diego

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Arizona @ Green Bay | Detroit @ Jacksonville | Chicago @ Tennessee | Denver @ Cincinnati | Carolina @ Washington | Baltimore @ Cleveland | Miami @ Indianapolis | Buffalo @ Houston; (4:05 PM ET) Minnesota @ Seattle | Tampa Bay @ Oakland; (4:25 PM ET) Pittsburgh @ NY Giants; (8:20 PM ET) Dallas @ Atlanta

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Philadelphia @ New Orleans

Bye: New England, NY Jets, San Francisco, St. Louis

Thursday Has Betting Action Whatever Your Sporting Preference

 

The weekend’s getting closer and that means a triple dose of sporting action Thursday night. A full slate of baseball action is scheduled whilst Thursday Night Football kick starts the NFL’s Week 3. Then it’s a time for some Top 25 NCAA football as #24 Boise State hosts Brigham Young, a team on the fringe of the polls. That’s plenty of betting action making its way to you.

 

MLB: Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers

(1:05 PM ET)

Tommy Millone and the Oakland A's are underdogs but look good to get out of Detroit with a win Thursday afternoon.

Baseball gets an early start – and a rare 13-game Thursday schedule – with no fewer than seven games starting before 4:05 PM ET. The pick of the early games is Oakland (64-64, 40-33 road) at Detroit (79-69, 45-28 home).

Detroit has taken the first two games of the series, leaving Oakland on a three-game losing streak, and having won only two of the past six. The mini-slump has seen the A’s overtaken by the Orioles for the first Wild Card place. Oakland remains 3.5 games up on Los Angeles.

Detroit lost a golden opportunity to put the pressure on Chicago (White Sox) when the two met in a game rescheduled earlier this week. Detroit’s wins over Oakland has the Tigers two games behind the South Siders in the race for the AL Central.

The Tigers are favorites. Detroit’s moneyline is -140, while Oakland is +120. The over/under is 8.5. With Tom Millone (OAK) and Anibal Sanchez (DET) on the mound, take the over. Take Oakland to avoid the sweep.

 

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals

(7:05 PM ET)

The pick of the evening games sees Los Angeles (77-72, 37-37 road) try to prize another win from the NL East-leading Washington Nationals (90-58, 45-28 home).

The two teams split a day/night doubleheader on Wednesday, making up for Tuesday’s rained off fixture. Washington is one game from securing a postseason berth, while Los Angeles is desperately looking to pass St. Louis – currently two games to the good – in the race for the final Wild Card position.

Washington is the bookie’s pick with the moneyline set at -140, and will rely on Ross Detwiler to see them into the postseason for the first time since the franchise exited Montreal. Chris Capuano goes for the Dodgers, and gives the team a good chance of winning. The over/under is set at 8.

Take Los Angeles to spoil the party tonight, before Washington secures postseason play against Milwaukee on Friday.

 

NFL: New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers

(8:20 PM ET)

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are favorites at home to the New York Giants.

Week 3 in the NFL kicks off with the New York Giants (1-1, 0-0 road) heading to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers (1-1, 1-0 home).

The Giants beat the Buccaneers in a shootout on Sunday, making up for an opening day loss to Dallas. Carolina upset New Orleans over the weekend after losing to Tampa Bay in Week 1.

This has the potential to be another high-scoring affair. Eli Manning has averaged 361.5 yards through the air in his two previous starts while Can Newton is a threat both through the air and on the ground. The second-year QB leads the Panthers in rushing. Expect this one to go over the 50 points set in the over/under.

New York has won three of the last four encounters, including a 31-18 win last time around (2010). The Giants have not played in Charlotte since 2006.

Oddsmakers have Carolina as three-point favorites. That’s a little surprising, although a win over New Orleans probably does grant some favoritism. Take New York though, both straight up and to beat the spread. Tom Coughlin is a wily vet and will have the answer for Cam Newton’s athleticism.

 

NCAAF: Brigham Young @ #24 Boise State

(9:00 PM ET)

To close out the night, we get our second helping of Week 4 NCAA action. Kent State took down Buffalo last night in a MAC showdown. Tonight, #24 Boise State (1-1, 1-0 home) looks to do the same to Brigham Young (2-1, 0-1 road).

Brigham Young’s loss to Utah last weekend say the IA independent drop out of the polls, while the Broncos’ win over Miami (OH) elevated them back into the rankings after dropping out after Week 1 for the first time in four years.

Boise State, playing at home, is one-touchdown favorites over the Cougars. The Broncos haven’t lost a home game in September since a 41-20 loss to Washington State in 2001. That’s 18 games ago!

BYU is no slouch though. Bar last week’s missed field goals at the end of the game, the Cougars would have been entering this game 3-0 and ranked.

Still, Boise State edges out BYU in this one. Take the Broncos to win outright and to beat the spread.

Then, get ready for football action all weekend.

Plenty To Get Excited About In NFL Week 2

 

As it has done for the better part of a century, opening weekend in the NFL came and went. Dallas, Washington, San Francisco and Tampa Bay upset the opposition and bookmakers alike. Cleveland and St. Louis kept it tight to beat the spread despite losing, while the Patriots and Jets obliterated the pointspread. There was certainly money to be had.

Week 2 kicked off on Thursday with Green Bay beating Chicago and the spread. Now, it’s time for a full slate of action and this particular Sunday schedule features a host of intriguing matchups.

Those looking for favorites worth backing both outright and against the spread should take a close look at Cincinnati’s (-7) trip to Cleveland, Houston (-7.5) at Jacksonville, and Arizona at New England (-14). It’s hard to imagine any of these three going the way of the dogs.

The rest of the schedule is pretty tight so expect parlay bets to take a big sting this week.

Here’re just some of the matchups on tap this Sunday.

 

Baltimore Orioles @ Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick had a rough day against Cleveland last weekend and can expect more of the same from Baltimore this week.

Possibly the most difficult matchup to call outright this week, Baltimore (1-0, 0-0 home) heads to Philadelphia (1-0, 0-0 home) for what you would expect to be a tough-as-nails bout. Baltimore though lit-up the scoreboard last weekend in a 44-13 trouncing of Cincinnati, electing to utilize the arm (yes, the arm!) of Joe Flacco. Historically, Philadelphia has known how to pile-up the points as well, so this could turn into a shootout. But then again, it could equally become a battle between Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy on the ground.

Playing at home, Philadelphia is narrowly favored (-3), but that homefield advantage could soon take a hit if Michael Vick repeats his four-interception performance against Cleveland. You think that Philadelphia crowd would patiently wait things out?

Take Baltimore to beat the spread and win outright in this one. Philadelphia is a notoriously slow season starter and last week’s rustiness just isn’t appealing against a Ravens side already shortening its Super Bowl XLVII odds.

 

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh (0-1, 0-0 home) hosts the Jets (1-0, 0-0 road) in a matchup that should give an indication of which way both teams are headed.

The Steelers were preseason favorites to take the AFC North but a depleted offensive line and injuries – especially those to Rashard Mendenhall and James Harrison – took the air out of the team in Denver last weekend. Or was that just the Mile High City?

The Jets looked impressive offensively last weekend, with Mark Sanchez quieting a few more doubters after a three touchdown performance. This was not the same team that struggled scoring in the preseason. Or was it just that the Jets beat a Buffalo Bills team that has been dreadful both on the road and in the division of late?

The Steelers are six-point favorites ahead of kickoff. The Jets will probably keep this one tight, but take Pittsburgh to win by a touchdown or more.

 

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

After a surprise loss to Washington, expect Drew Brees and the Saints to take their frustration out on the Panthers this weekend.

Drew Brees and the Saints (0-1, 0-0 road) were picked off by the surprising Washington Redskins last week and will be looking for a bounce back win against the Panthers (0-1, 0-0 home). Carolina was outlasted by division rivals Tampa Bay.

How much New Orleans’ loss was down to the fallout of ‘BountyGate’ and how much was down to RGIII and Co. remains to be seen. The Panthers will hope it’s the former if they’re to pull off a victory this weekend. But having put up 32 points, it might be the latter, which spells bad news for Cam Newton’s side.

Take New Orleans in this one to beat the -3 spread and to win outright. Carolina may be improving, but Brees will be champing at the bit heading into Charlotte, N.C.

 

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

Sunday Night Football pits Detroit (1-0, 0-0 road) against San Francisco (1-0, 0-0 home). The Niners had the result of the weekend last week, defeating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Lions meanwhile struggled past a resilient St. Louis team, and looked far less impressive than preseason odds suggested.

San Francisco enters the game as seven-point favorites and -300 to win outright. Take both! Yes, the 49ers looked good last week and the Lions looked average, but the real reason to take the Bay Area team is history.

The 49ers have won 13 of the last 14 games against Detroit, dating back to 1988. It gets better (or worse, depending on your viewpoint): Detroit hasn’t won in San Francisco since 1975! Sure, streaks like this are made to be broken, but this Niners’ defense just looks too strong for a patchy Lions offense.

After all of that, if you’re still looking for a few wagers to keep you busy, try these Week 2 specials out:

(1) Will Jim Harbaugh (SF) and Jim Schwartz (DET) shake hands or hug at the end of Sunday night’s game? Yes (-400); No (+250).

(2) Will the team of (botching) replacement referees still be on the field in Week 6? Yes (-140); No (EVEN).

 

NFL Week 2 Schedule

Thursday: Chicago 10-23 Green Bay

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Kansas City @ Buffalo | New Orleans @ Carolina | Cleveland @ Cincinnati | Minnesota @ Indianapolis | Houston @ Jacksonville | Oakland @ Miami | Arizona @ New England | Tampa Bay @ NY Giants | Baltimore @ Philadelphia; (4:05 PM ET) Dallas @ Seattle | Washington @ St. Louis; (4:25 PM ET) NY Jets @ Pittsburgh | Tennessee @ San Diego; (8:20 PM ET) Detroit @ San Francisco

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Denver @ Atlanta