By Sam Panayotovich
Let’s keep riding this wave! Our best bets (12-4 YTD) are off to a strong start, and I’m rolling with five plays over the next few days.
This space isn’t the place for a million picks or five-team parlays, either. These are the games I love the most.
Let’s go to work with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.
I’m hearing Aidan O’Connell is trending in the right direction.
Purdue’s sixth-year quarterback is dealing with a rib injury, and we probably won’t know his official status until gameday. Still, the plan all along was to sit him out against Florida Atlantic and have him ready for Minnesota. If he gets cleared, this number is going to obviously dip.
Minnesota’s stock is sky high right now, and there’s very little margin for error with the Golden Gophers laying almost two touchdowns in this spot. Purdue has the speed on the outside to score enough to hang inside the number.
Take the points.
Where does the offense come from in this one?
Virginia’s offense (18.3 points per game) is as vanilla as it gets, and head coach Tony Elliott can’t run the offense he wants to because he doesn’t have speed on the outside as he had for years as Clemson’s offensive coordinator.
The Cavaliers’ defense has been a nice surprise, though, thanks to a solid pass rush that helped force eight turnovers against Illinois and Syracuse. At the end of the day, I expect Virginia to slow the pace and keep Duke off the scoreboard. This is the best defense the Blue Devils have seen to date.
Sweating “Unders” is no fun, but I’m preparing myself mentally.
“Stanford always keeps it close,” one Oregon diehard told me.
That’s not entirely true, as the Ducks have won the last four meetings in Eugene by 21, 7, 25 and 29 points. And one of those scores is not like the other, if you catch my drift. Stanford is in trouble if the Ducks go up 10-0 or 14-3.
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has impressed this year with 1,100 passing yards and 10 touchdowns through four games, and he’s completing an insane 72% of his passes. His growth simply cannot be ignored, and he’s finally getting the ball out quick to his speedy playmakers and letting them do the rest.
Expect the Ducks to roll at raucous Autzen Stadium.
Detroit is a banged-up football team right now.
Receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark didn’t practice Thursday, nor did running back D’Andre Swift. Tight end T.J. Hockenson is questionable, and the Lions also have two starting offensive linemen on the injury report, so pay close attention to Friday’s edition.
Sharp money blasted the Seahawks from +6 to +4, and it’s hard to ignore that market move on a team that’s expected to pick near the top of the 2023 NFL Draft. Injuries are the great equalizer, and I’m very excited about betting against Jared Goff as a favorite without some of his best weapons.
Don’t overthink it.
I can’t believe we’re getting this many points.
My drop-off from Mac Jones to Brian Hoyer is minimal, at best, and you know exactly how Bill Belichick will script this game plan. The Patriots will run, run and run some more behind that powerful offensive line. As long as Hoyer doesn’t chuck three interceptions, there’s hope.
Green Bay’s run defense is certainly nothing special, and it’s no secret that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still getting acclimated with a cavalcade of new wide receivers. Those two factors make it very difficult to lay almost double digits with the Cheeseheads.
I like New England to keep it close.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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