We’re a month into the NFL season and we know less than Jon Snow on a peyote trip. Upsets come out of nowhere each and every week, with the only constant seemingly being that you can, in no way, trust the Detroit Lions. It’s a difficult pill to swallow after watching the first ever season of Hard Knocks that didn’t lead me to predict the head coach of the shithole team featured would be fired. Sorry Dan Campbell. You can’t fight history.
Underdogs are covering at a nearly 60 percent rate (59.3 percent to be exact) and, while I’ve hit plenty of underdogs already this season, it’s making the “lock” a little harder to predict. So, this week I’ve decided to not only pick what I feel is the most likely “lock,” but also a game that, if say lightning strikes, I won’t be too broken up about the lost cash.
Which is why I have perused the odds, lines and totals over at MaximBet to add it to my artisanal and selected NFL picks this week.
Lock of the Week
San Francisco 49ers (-5.5) at Carolina Panthers
You see, I’m a Los Angles Rams fan despite living nowhere near LA or St. Louis or even Cleveland, where they originated. I live in Tennessee and, for most of my life, we didn’t have a pro team. The closest franchise was the Atlanta Falcons, who took the phrase “hapless” and practically incorporated it into their identity in the 1970s and 80s.
As a kid, everyone loved the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. Not me. I had to forge my own path. I had to be an original (some would say weirdo), even as a four-year-old looking at an NFL team helmets poster on my cousin Bobby’s bedroom wall. I picked the Rams because they had the coolest helmets and here, 44 years later, they still do.
But Rams fandom comes with a built-in hatred of the 49ers, and watching that team continually claim regular-season paternity over LA in the Kyle Shanahan era is a consistent frustration. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, in particular, is now 7-0 in the regular season against the Rams in his career. Jimmy G’s ruined more LA moneylines than he has Bay Area porn star bed sheets.
Carolina is garbage and we know this. The only thing about this pick that makes me nervous is that the Garoppolo that shows up against the Rams as Joe Montana 2.0 might be replaced with the beta version of Jeff Garcia when he’s up against other teams.
I don’t know how it works, just that it consistently works against me.
Take the 49ers at -5.5.
Worst Games of the Week
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5)
Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (-3.5)
The Bears and Lions consistently show up in our Worst Games for good reason. I like Justin Fields. I’m excited about what he might become in the league and for Chicago, but four games into the season he’s completed a total of 34 passes. To put that in perspective, Cooper Kupp, wideout for the aforementioned Rams, has caught 42 passes.
Detroit is the top scoring offense in the league, which should be a good thing, but they’re 1-3 and have lost two straight. You’d think that playing a Pats team on its third QB would fix that problem, but there’s a good chance that rookie Bailey Zappe is the best quarterback on that whole roster (and on the field Sunday).
Take the Vikings at -6.5 and/or the Patriots moneyline at -161.
A Shocking Upset of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5)
I’m on Facebook because, if you did the math earlier, I’m 48l. I get a pair of white New Balances, a braided belt and a Facebook page I use to post barbecue brisket photos from my smoker.
One of the features that pops up on Facebook every day is your “memories,” where you can click and go through every single thing you posted on that very day since you first joined FB. For most of the Meta users, I’m guessing that’s a chance to scour their former timelines and delete all the evidence of their January 6th insurrection plans. For me, just this past week, I came across a post that I, someone paid to write about NFL football, wrote that read, “Tom Brady is done.”
That post was from 2011.
Now, I’m not a math expert and have yet to scan the night skies to chart the stars, but by my account, that was 11 years ago and not only was Brady not done, he’s since won three more Super Bowls for two different teams. So, while Brady decided to unretire from non-football life, I will remain retired in predicting the GOAT’s downfall.
But this year does feel different. Tom Terrific has a lot of off-the-field distractions piling up, like dodging a generational hurricane and, if the rumors are true, Gisele’s divorce lawyers.
Atlanta has played tough all season with new quarterback Marcus Mariota, who looks in every way like an upgrade over Matt Ryan. This is a massive spread and there’s every reason to think that the Buccaneers will be happy escaping with a three-point win after a tumultuous few weeks.
So, let’s make some money on it.
Take the Falcons at +8.5.
Drop $10 on a Four-Team Parlay
I can hear your tears when they drop over the phone. Get mad at yourself cause you can’t leave me alone. Gossip, bein’ messy, that ain’t what we doing. We’re making a nice little wad of cash on this four-team parlay.
We start crafting our parlay pay-off recipe like we always do, turning our potential upset pick into its moneyline, in this case, Falcons +300 over the Buccaneers.
To that, we’re going to add the Seattle Seahawks (+180), Arizona Cardinals (+180) and Dallas Cowboys (+190).
Why Seattle? Well, the Seahawks keep finding a way to win games even though they have an 0-17 roster and a Geno Smith, quarterback who no one knew was still in the league a year ago. The New Orleans Saints will likely be starting the Red Rifle, Andy Dalton. And I don’t need to tell you the epic Dalton vs. Smith QB duel that awaits.
The Cardinals are an underperforming team that can only win when they’re the underdogs. They are a solid dog against the only undefeated team in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles. Just cross your fingers that Call of Duty isn’t dropping new unlockable weapons this weekend.
And, lastly, I love the Rams as I previously said, but their offensive line is in shambles and playing one of the best pass rushing teams in the league. I don’t believe in Cooper Rush, but I don’t have to. I just have to believe that whatever RotoRooter man LA has pulled off the practice squad to play guard probably should get back to unstopping toilets.
A $10 winning parlay bet on these four moneylines pays $899.
Adam Greene is @TheFirstMan on Twitter
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