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MHJ’s Tough Cover Column: Week 3 NFL Picks and Gambling Graveyard

Last week on the Tough Cover Column, I absolutely embarrassed myself. I had the worst Saturday of Gambling of my life. 0-7 in the column, 0-8 in total. Since we focused on College Football last week and it went poorly, I have decided to switch it up.

I’m going to give out my NFL picks in this column but I am also going to write a bit about something I discussed this Thursday with Sean Brace and Jon Jansen on the Daily Ticket. We are going to parse through my infamous gambling graveyard.

  1. The 2022 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Team for fumbling on the 1 with a chance to go up 14-3 against Iowa state which they then lost. The Kirk Ferentz era needs to end so Iowa can move past the 19th century of football.
  2. Stetson Bennett. I had a big bet on Georgia in the SEC Championship which I discussed at length on my appearance on Barstool’s daily gambling Show Picks Central at Barstool HQ in New York City. He let me down in the SEC championship and has been near-perfect since and beat me when I bet against him in the National Championship and now is a legitimate Heisman contender on the best team in the country. Sometimes, the gambling graveyard buries you unexpectedly.
  3. Texas A+M Basketball until Buzz Williams is fired. Collapse in 2nd half against Wisconsin in the 2021 Maui. They scored 31 in the first 9 minutes. I had Team Total Over 58.5. I needed 28 points in 31 minutes. It did not happen. I believe this was featured on SVP’s bad beats. I still can’t believe it.
  4. Penn Basketball and Betting on the Ivy League. I had a run where I continued betting on and winning in the Ivy League, which came to a halt in an absolute blowout loss by Penn. Killed a hell of a streak.
  5. UTEP basketball for losing and ruining a juicy parlay on Super Bowl Sunday
  6. Matt Ryan loses a meaningless game to the Chargers in Week 14 to fall to 4-9, prompting me to make the proclamation that Matt Ryan would never QB a winning team again and that I would never bet on a Matt Ryan team again.
  7. Philip Rivers cost me so much money on both sides. Every single time I bet on the Phil Rivers Chargers, they lost and he threw picks. Every single time I bet against the Phil Rivers Chargers, he was a Hall of Famer. Good riddance. My wallet thanks you for retiring.
  8. Kawhi Leonard. He is on here for Phil Rivers-esque reasons. Every single time I bet against Kawhi, like I did in Game 7 in 2019, he delivers an all-time Hall of Fame performance. When I bet on Kawhi, he always comes up a bit short or, even worse, gets scratched before the game.
  9. The Baker Mayfield Browns. The worst bad beat of my life on Monday Night Football. I don’t need to elaborate, I’m sure you remember. This may extend to the Baker Mayfield Panthers, as I’ve been afraid to bet on them all year.
  10. The 2022 Browns. Last week’s addition and the reason for  this conversation and this list. They scored to go up 13 with 2:02 left and missed an XP and led to not only the Browns not covering -6 but not even winning the game! I can’t take a team seriously in 2022 that has lost a game to JOE FLACCO that they led by 13 with under two minutes to go.

I absolutely LOVE the NFL board for this weekend. It is singing to me. Let’s get to the picks and hope we don’t have any additions to the Gambling Graveyard.

1 p.m. games

Over 47 Eagles-Commanders

  • This Total was at 50 before the Philadelphia Eagles’ Monday Night Football trouncing of the Minnesota Vikings.
  • In my opinion, moving the total down by a full field goal is an overreaction.
  • The Eagles have played in 2 games. Sure, they just played in a low-scoring 24-7 win. But their other result was a 38-35 win that cleared this total by 26 points with a total of 73 points.
  • And then taking a look at the Washington Commanders so far, their offense has been surprisingly potent but their defense has been an utter disaster under Jack Del Rio for the 2nd year straight.
  • In Washington’s first 2 games, the totals have ended up at 50 and 63 points.
  • You could make an argument that Eagles Team Total Over 27.5 is the better play but I’m going to try to protect myself a bit with the straight Over at 47.
  • I see a 34-27 type game with the Eagles jumping out to an early lead with the Commanders pouring it on a bit in garbage time.

Chiefs -5.5 @ Colts

  • This is disrespectful to Mr. September.
  • Patrick Mahomes’ stats in September are the best by any QB in any month since the 1970 merger.
  • He is 13-2, averaging 322.6 passing yards per game with FORTY EIGHT touchdowns and only 3 interceptions with a passing rate of 122.3.
  • Mahomes has faced 7 teams coming off scoring 14 or less in their prior game. The Chiefs are 7-0 and 5-2 ATS in those games. What this tells me, is that teams that can’t score can’t win ugly games against the Chiefs because nobody can shut Mahomes down long enough to win a slog.
  • The Colts are 31st in Offensive DVOA.
  • This is a classic example of Vegas and the Sharps overrating the importance of their preseason Power Ranking on the Indianapolis Colts. I’ve been low on the Colts since the moment that they traded for Matt Ryan(as you could assume if you’ve read the Gambling Graveyard). I smashed Colts Under 10.5 wins.
  • Colts fans and Colts management was so excited to trade Carson Wentz and also trade for Matt Ryan, but the grass truly isn’t always greener. Especially, when the “grass” is an immobile statue of a 38-year-old quarterback.
  • The Chiefs are by far my favorite spread play on the week and would be my survivor pool suggestion.
  • I love the Chiefs here to blow out a reeling Colts team, especially on extra rest coming off a huge Thursday Night win against the Chargers.

Texans +3 @ Bears

  • The 2022 Houston Texans are pesky as hell but not very talented.
  • The 2022 Chicago Bears want to win games completing eight passes.
  • This one is gonna be ugly folks. But as I like to say, “sometimes there’s money in the dumpster.”
  • I like the Texans to win this game and get to 1-1-1 miraculously to start the year.
  • This is more of a fade of the Chicago Bears offense than anything having to do with the Texans.
  • According to Warren Sharp, the Chicago Bears have the highest rate of three-and-outs in the league at 55%. Now, the Houston Texans are 2nd worst in the league at this. But, it’s only at 44%! There is a 11% gap between 1st and 2nd worst in 3 and out rate, just to put into perspective how truly bad the Bears offense has been.
  • BUT, Davis Mills is 7-6 ATS in his career thus far with all 13 games coming as an underdog. This is also the most respect Davis Mills has gotten with this being the shortest line he’s had as an underdog in his career. Justin Fields is 5-9 ATS thus far in his career.
  • Mills Mafia, Stand Up.

4:25 p.m. games

Bucs ML vs. Packers

  • This is a very curious line.
  • The Packers have not impressed me thus far and while the Bucs offense has struggled mightily at times and is very banged up, their defense is elite.
  • Bucs have given up 13 points in 2 games so far and we’ve already seen the Packers lack of weaponry hurt them in Week 1 against the Vikings.
  • I think Tom Brady does enough for their defense to win them this game but the line has scared me off of making it one of my favorite plays.

Falcons ML @ Seahawks

  • Falcons are 2-0 ATS thus far and just came VERY close to reversing the 28-3 fortunes against the Rams after blowing a lead in Game 1 against the Saints.
  • I don’t expect them to just keep it close here on the road, I expect them to win.
  • I’m an Arthur Smith guy and I think he’s going to find a way to involve Kyle Pitts more in the offense which will give Atlanta even more firepower offensively.
  • Speaking of firepower offensively, Seattle just doesn’t have it. Their last 6 quarters of play have been dreadful and they have also not yet forced a punt on defense this season!

Sunday Night Football

49ers ML @ Broncos

  • This pick and conversation entirely starts and ends with the coaching disparity.
  • The massive gap that there obviously is between what Kyle Shanahan and Nathaniel Hackett bring to the table comparatively as coaches puts the Broncos at such a severe disadvantage.
  • It’s hard for me to fathom putting my trust in a Broncos team that has looked nothing short of putrid through 2 weeks, even setting aside the fact that they’re going against a Super Bowl contender San Francisco 49ers team that is getting back one of their best players in George Kittle.
  • Obviously, the elephant in the room is the Trey Lance injury leading to Jimmy G. While the injury is incredibly disappointing and may cap San Fran’s longterm ceiling, it will not impact them negatively in the short-term.
  • Kyle Shanahan was still trying to figure out how to best use Trey Lance and fit the offense around him. Now, it gets a bit easier for Kyle and he can dip back in his old bag of tricks since he called plays for Jimmy for so long.
  • The 49ers are 35-16 with Jimmy G under center and I think you could make a strong case that this may be their most talented roster of the Shanahan era. They already know how to win with Jimmy.
  • I expect the Niners to get right back in the contending swing of things and I expect them to make a statement on National TV on Sunday night.
  • For a long time, Russ was an incredible primetime performer. He was 24-7-3 ATS in the first 34 primetime games of his career. In his last 11 games in primetime, Russ is 2-9 ATS.
  • I am really starting to doubt if Russ is the same player. I was always lower on the Denver roster than consensus but I always thought Russ would be Mr. Unlimited and the team would let him down. And while the team and coach have let him down, his mobility is gone and he doesn’t seem to be making the crazy 3rd down and Red Zone conversions that used to be so common with Russ.
  • Denver has been beyond brutal in the red zone and I think that will be on prime display on Sunday Night.


  1. Chiefs -5.5
  2. Over 47 Eagles-Commanders
  3. Texans +3
  4. 49ers ML
  5. Bucs ML
  6. Falcons ML

You can follow Mark Henry Jr. on Twitter (@MarkHenryJr_) and listen to the Tough Cover Radio Show every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Radio The Gambler.

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