NFL opening line report: Cowboys open as 3.5-point road favorites at Cardinals
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With the exception of a little “Monday Night Football” housekeeping tonight, we’re on our way to Week 3 of the NFL season. Covers checks in on the opening lines for four noteworthy games, with insights from Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-12)
New England got a lot of its offensive mojo back in Week 2, but also lost stud tight end Rob Gronkowski to a groin injury, though it’s not considered serious. The Patriots (1-1 SU and ATS) raced out to a 30-13 halftime lead and coasted past New Orleans 36-20 victory Sunday as a 5.5-point road favorite.
Houston (1-1 SU and ATS) also bounced back from a poor season opener, though it has managed just 20 total points over two games. The Texans traveled to Cincinnati for the Thursday nighter and nabbed a 13-9 upset as a 5-point underdog.
“We were forced to inflate this number some, as the public knows well the disparity in these offenses,” Cooley said. “But it will be interesting to see how the Pats handle a top-flight defense, because they didn’t exactly impress against a great Chiefs defense (with Eric Berry) in their opener. Of course on the flip side, Bill Belichick eats rookie quarterbacks for breakfast.”
Early action certainly points to that, as Bookmaker.eu’s opening line of Pats -12 was up to 13 by late Sunday night.
Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins (+3.5)
Oakland is out of the gate 2-0 SU and ATS as it preps for its second long road trip in the first three weeks, this time for the Sunday night game. The Raiders, who opened with a win at Nashville, drubbed the New York Jets 45-20 Sunday as a healthy 14-point home chalk.
Washington bounced back from a season-opening home loss to Philadelphia by escaping Los Angeles with a 27-20 victory over the Rams as a 3-point road ‘dog.
“I think the Redskins were better represented this week than what they put forth in their opener. That said, this is a very good-looking Raiders squad,” Cooley said. “There’s a reason smart bettors were pouring money on this team to win the Super Bowl during the offseason. Action should lean toward Oakland.”
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)
Dallas got an early-season reality check on its Sunday visit to the Mile High City. In a game delayed an hour during the first half due to lightning, the Cowboys (1-1 SU and ATS) had little thunder on offense or defense, losing to Denver 42-17 laying 2.5 points.
Arizona rebounded from a season-opening setback at Detroit, but just barely. The Cardinals (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) were again on the road and needed overtime to dispatch undermanned Indianapolis 16-13 giving 7 points.
“Dallas’ defense was certainly exposed at Denver, but it’s not as if Arizona has done anything to impress us early in this season,” Cooley said of the Week 3 Monday night contest. “We know the public is going to be all over the Cowboys to bounce back, so expect the line to trend that way.”
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions (no line)
Defending NFC champion Atlanta (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) christened its new stadium in style in the Week 2 Sunday nighter. The Falcons jumped all over Green Bay early en route to a 34-23 victory as a 3-point home fave.
Detroit still has some Week 2 work to do, traveling to face the New York Giants tonight, Bookmaker.eu is holding off on posting the line for this Week 3 clash. The Lions opened the year with a 35-23 home win over Arizona as a 2.5-point pup.
“The creation of this line will somewhat be predicated on each team’s performance in Week 2,” Cooley said ahead of Atlanta’s Sunday night victory. “If there aren’t any major injuries on Sunday and Monday night, and nothing looks out of sorts, we’ll look to open the Lions as very small underdogs. And they’ll be live in the eyes of some bettors.”
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