When Andrew Luck opened the NFL season a couple of weeks early to announce his retirement, it was mainly met with appreciation of someone’s intellectual prioritisation of money and health.
There were some naysayers, namely a band of Indy fans who felt the terms of the departure were unfair. Luck’s struggles were largely unseen by the majority and nobody knows the depth of his struggles.
Five weeks in the NFL season, we’re maybe being given some form of ‘I told you so’ medicine by the former Colts signal-caller.
Thus far, we’ve lost Brees, Big Ben, Case Keenum, Cam Newton, Mitch Trubisky, while Rodgers and Mahomes were both shaken up.
The problem being that football is fickle – and every game week is a reset. Here’s a look at three smart wagers for this week’s action.
Baltimore (-3.5) @ Pittsburgh: +101
Here’s a little lesson. How to beat the Baltimore Ravens is by having a very good receiving corps that enables you to go into 10 personnel, test the secondary depth and blitz them on pick routes.
Antonio Brown is long gone, Vance McDonald is no upgrade on Jesse James and James Conner isn’t the all-seeing, all-conquering back everyone deems him to be. They also run a lot out of the I-formation and that’s not how to get on top of the Ravens.
Baltimore are coming off the back of an embarrassing defeat and that’s exactly what I want before going into a divisional battle. The coaching staff will be more focused and Jackson can take off due to the lack of speed on the edge.
Minkah Fitzpatrick takes away the slot, but Baltimore generally don’t throw the ball to slot guys, so he’s wasted in there.
Take the Ravens to overcome the points here.
Jacksonville @ Carolina (-3.5): -109
These are two inexperienced quarterbacks. The way to bet these types of players is to determine which defensive scheme eliminates their safety blanket the best.
Right here, we have a run game and a subpar tight end on one side and Christian McCaffrey on the other.
The player who is usually taken to cancel out opposing running backs is Myles Jack. He’s not quick enough to take McCaffrey out of the game, and if they spend a scout job assignment on him, that opens up plenty of sit routes for Greg Olsen.
Allen can make that simple read all the time. Can Minshew? I’m not so sure. O’Shaughnessy is weak when it comes to separation and he’s not a freak-sized player either.
Carolina covers comfortably at home.
Chicago @ Oakland (+5.5): -107
As much as it pains all of us not to have a cut off Jon Gruden and the team who hired Vontaze Burfict, they’re really not a badly-assembled team. They don’t predictably run the ball on first down and they utilise play-action.
Chase Daniel, for all the Trubisky hate, is not a better player than the former North Carolina product. I’d make this decision a pretty easy one: Oakland are worth taking here, especially getting the extra half point that wasn’t there yesterday.