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The Weekly Taste

Lions, Bucs, Ravens lead Week 3 best bets

by John Venezia
Updated On: September 22, 2022, 6:19 pm ET

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If not for a few truly horrible beats in Week 2, we would have really CLEANED up instead of just the strong results we had. Nevertheless, we're hitting at about 61% through two weeks and just north of 9.0 units. Since my life the last few weeks has revolved around sports betting, Sunday football and watching Sex and The City, I feel totally locked in that we are at the precipice of a gigantic HEATER. No better time for it to come than the present.


*Note: You have heard me say shopping around is pivotal, especially in futures betting, so make sure you look to see what book is offering the more favorable odds.


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Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-6) | Over/Under 53.5

This very well stands as my favorite look of the week. Two scrappy divisional rivals that are ready to drop 30 bombs at a moment's notice. You really can't get much better than Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins (lol) on a Sunday afternoon, aside from watching Tony Soprano inhale a pound and a half of gabagool. Fresh off getting their teeth kicked in, should the Vikings be garnering the respect of a touchdown favorite?!?

Some of you may remember how I said the Lions will be a playoff team this year, and because of it, Dan Campbell will be Coach of the Year. Through two weeks, there are a ton of positives to take away from the Lions. Jared Goff, D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown look phenomenal, anchoring the offensive production. And Aidan Hutchinson and Jeff Okudah have shown flashes of brilliance early on thus far on the defensive side of the rock. Regardless of the Lions' new outlook under Campbell, the one thing they have done is cover the spread. Detroit is 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games, but they are 9-3 as dogs of six points or greater.

For the Lions, their offensive game plan needs to carry over to Minnesota; run the ball and build off play action. We just saw Philly dominate the Vikings in the trenches on Monday night on both sides of the ball. Defensively, Minny could not stop the run, shut down any receivers or consistently apply pressure to Jalen Hurts. With the Vikings getting gashed on the ground at 5.5 yards per clip and 137 yards per game, the Lions' offensive line needs to get the strong push off the ball to continue allowing Swift and the rest of this running game to ram it down their throats. Off that run, Goff should be able to deliver non-stop dimes to St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson and company against a weak cornerback room of the Vikings. Each of the last three games between these two teams have been decided by two points exactly.

Minnesota has not changed my opinion about them even after a disaster outing. They are exactly who I thought they were (RIP Denny Green). Even though I picked them to win because I believed they would come to play, it was just a horrendous matchup at the end of the day. Kirk Cousins is still in for a major season, as well as my OPOY darling Justin Jefferson. Outside of Okudah, Detroit's secondary has been mopped by opposing wideouts to start the year. Obviously, there was AJ Brown who went off for 10/155, and last week it was Curtis Samuel, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson ripping CHUNKS on them. With Jefferson looking for a big rebound, we likely see him go nuclear in Week 3. As long as Cousins is actually protected this time and Kevin O'Connell institutes some run plays, Minny should score about 27 points in this one.

It's not only because the spread stands as Lions +5.5 in some places, which as you know is an automatic smash for me, but they match up extremely well in Minny even in a bounce back spot. I don't think the Vikes should be laying a touchdown in this spot, so I have to go with the Lions. Your honor, no objections.

Prediction: Lions cover (+6)


Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1) | Over/Under 42

Though the game has not been played yet, I'm sure when the NFL scheduled this game, they had a much different picture of what it was going to look like. Nevertheless, here we are with a projected total of just 41.5/42 points, one of the lower totals on the board this week. With both teams, mainly Tampa Bay, decimated by injuries to a comical level, is there really an edge to be had?

I for one was not a big Bucs guy this season. The Saints were the team I really liked, and still do. Of course, Tom Brady, the most selfish player of all-time, who ruined of my first ever Gasparilla, got ridiculously slanted calls in his favor that helped propel the Bucs to win their first game at New Orleans since 2018. Tampa Bay will be without WR Mike Evans (suspended for a fight with Marshon Lattimore), LT Josh Wells and DT Akiem Hicks for sure. Perhaps they get back LT Donovan Smith, WR Chris Godwin and WR Julio Jones, although most of them are questionable at best. Even with all those injuries, the Bucs have a fantastic defense operating at elite levels right now. That unit has only allowed 13 points this season (best in NFL) on top of having the fifth best total defense in the league. For the Bucs to win this game, they need to stick to playing smothering defense, as well as hammer the rock with Uncle Lenny Fournette, who is fresh off a 24-carry game. The Packers allowed 90 rush yards to Dalvin Cook, and over 100 yards to David Montgomery so far. It certainly sounds like a Fournette 30-carry game to me.

While Hicks is out for this one, the Pack likely have next to no success running the rock against one of the elite run defenses of the last few years despite a great duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. All their wideouts (Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson) missed practice in some capacity this week. Plus, T David Bakhtiari is no slam dunk to suit up either. Not good. And the problem is that with the likelihood that the run game will be shut down, Rodgers using Jones and Dillon as the main two receiving options doesn't sound that enticing either going against maybe the league's best linebacker duo of Devin White and Lavonte David. Barring some craziness, I have no idea how Green Bay is going to muster more than 17 points in this one. Even with all the injuries on both sides, I still think Tampa Bay is in a much better situation to get this done.

In surprising fashion, JV got hosed by the opening line this week. I grabbed Bucs -3 thinking it would get outside of a field goal quickly. However, more unforeseen injuries (and the suspension to Evans) didn't exactly help my case. Truth be told, I am fine with that ticket, and I am hitting the Bucs again before Sunday. Also, let's not forget that the last two times Aaron Rodgers and the Packers came down to Florida, they were blown out of the water by the Saints (38-3 in 2021) and the Bucs (38-10 in 2020). On Sunday it's expected to be 85 degrees with 65% humidity. Especially with no Davante Adams, I can't back Green Bay.

Prediction: Bucs win (-115)


Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ New England Patriots | Over/Under 43.5

It was a game to forget if you're the Baltimore Ravens as they choked away a three-touchdown lead to Miami in Week 2. Of course, I cashed in because Miami +3.5 was one of my favorite looks on the board. Something like that is bad in multiple ways; confidence, losing out on a win, and losing the key tiebreaker. Baltimore has no easy rebound spot against a Bill Belichick team, but will they have enough?

Under John Harbaugh (Since 2008) the Ravens are 40-12 as a favorite coming off a loss. Not that I'm religious about backing any trend that sounds good on paper, but it's a pretty strong nod to the job Harbaugh has done over the years in preparing his team. While the blown lead was inexplicable, it's highly unlikely we see similar success from New England against this Ravens defense. You can make a case that even before Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters had to recover from serious injuries that they did not match up well with greasy speed like the Miami wideouts have, as well as the Bengals. The Patriots don't have those downfield threats or true WR1s, so Baltimore should be able to press an offense that has only mustered 24 total points through two weeks. It doesn't sound like any key pieces will be out for the defense on Sunday either.

The Pats are hella vanilla these days. No flair, no flash, no jumping off the screen. This team just looks kind of dead to be honest. I think defensively they have been solid on paper. Their defense is number four (275 YPG) and scoring D is eighth (17 PPG). Lamar Jackson can drop a 40 bean any given week. Despite the reports that he's having discomfort in his throwing arm, he and Harbaugh insist he is fine, will play and will be airing it out a ton on Sunday. RB J.K. Dobbins looks like he's back in action, as LT Ronnie Stanley seems to be trending that way too. Facing a better defense the past couple years, Lamar has accounted for five total scores to only one pick, so I think he picks up right where he left off as he tries to build a case for a second MVP. I just don't think the Pats will be able to keep up.

For about Monday, Tuesday, and early Wednesday this line was a flat tre, but with injury concerns to key Ravens' players, we saw it move to 2.5. It does seem over 70% of the public is on the Ravens with less than 65% of the money - yikes! Luckily, I decided to punt on the spread altogether and just lay the vig on the money line. Even though I usually like fading the public, they do have to win sometimes. A man must stand by his convictions!

Prediction: Ravens win (-145)



I mean, so far so good with the teasers to start the season. It could be a nice little booster to grab a two team, six-point teaser play to guarantee some extra dough.

Detroit Lions +12 (+6): The Lions are arguably my favorite play of the week at their number as is, so why would I not add another tuddy to the total? Minnesota might have a hard time keeping this Lions' offense out of the end zone. I do think it's a bit higher scoring and Detroit will hold their own here.

Jaguars +13 (+7): HEADS UP. Jacksonville may very well be on my card for the third week in a row. We all know I am huge on the Chargers this year, but the fact is Justin Herbert is dealing with a serious rib injury. Even though he is playing (probably) it's not realistic to expect the same ceiling and play that we are used to seeing. I feel like LAC will be more run heavy focused and get a good punch from the Jags, who would be nearly getting two touchdowns.


Lions cover (+6)

Bucs win (-115)

Ravens win (-145)

Teaser: Lions +12 and Jags +13 (-110)



Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

John Venezia

John Venezia (@_JohnnyVTV) is a former gambling lead for JDF Sports that has turned his attention to cashing winners for NBC Sports EDGE. He is a bitter Falcons' fan from New Jersey that is still hanging on to his team by a thread.