Don’t be fooled by first impressions—especially with regard to Jets, Steelers


Photo by Getty Images | It was all smiles for Mark Sanchez, right, and Tim Tebow in their opening victory over the Bills. Expect things to get tougher for the Jets when they take on the Steelers in Week 2.

Matt’s Bankroll: $3,775

Last Week: 5-7 (-$324)

NFL Season: 4-3 (-$78)

College Football Season: 9-10 (+$87)

In February 2010, we gave Matt $7,000 to wager. When he loses it all, we’re going to replace him with a monkey.

The New York Jets’ offense this summer was more painful to watch than Caddyshack II … While all the value has been sucked out of this number, I still believe Buffalo is the right playWatch as the real Wisconsin Badgers show up in Corvallis this weekend and manhandle Oregon State

I put the previous words in print last week. I would’ve looked less foolish had I predicted that it would snow on the Strip. Or that Minka Kelly would show up at my front door wearing nothing but a smile. Or that UNLV’s football team would blow a 14-0 lead at home and lose to a Division I-AA Northern Arizona squad that was missing its first-string quarterback and coming off a 63-6 loss to Arizona State. (What, too soon?).

Anyway, yeah, I was a little off with last week’s two best bets, as that “shitty” Jets offense contributed 41 points in a 48-28 rout of the Bills, while the real Wisconsin lost 10-7 at Oregon State as an 8-point chalk (the second straight week the Badgers scored fewer points than they were favored to win by). So even though I went .500 (5-5) with my remaining selections, I failed to deliver a second consecutive winning week.

On to this week’s selections (note: all point spreads are as of Sept. 11) …

$440 on Steelers -6 vs. Jets: Went against the Jets last week. Lost. Went with the Steelers last week. Lost. So why would I make Pittsburgh over New York my top Week 2 play—particularly when this point spread makes absolutely no sense given last week’s results? The answer, grasshopper, lies in the question. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, the biggest mistake football bettors make is overreacting from one week to the next, and never is this more true than between Weeks 1 and 2 of the NFL season. So yes, the Steelers lost 31-19 in Denver, but they had a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter despite playing in an incredibly hostile environment. And, yes, the Jets crushed Buffalo, but the Bills committed four turnovers.

I’m telling you, in making Pittsburgh nearly a touchdown favorite, the oddsmakers are begging you to take the points with the Jets. And they’re going to get their share of suckers—we just won’t be among them.

$220 on BYU -4 at Utah: It’s on Page 1 of the sports-betting manual: Don’t back road favorites in bitter rivalry games, especially when there are 50-plus other contests on the betting board. Well, much like Charlie Sheen at a porn convention, I can’t help myself. First off, BYU delivered a big winner for me two weeks ago with a 30-6 rout of Washington State, then followed that with a 45-13 pummeling of Division I-AA Weber State. The Cougars are now 11-1 in their last 12 games (only loss vs. TCU); they’ve covered in eight straight contests against I-A competition; and their defense has been dominant since the TCU defeat, allowing 12.3 points per game during a six-game winning streak.

That defense should have no trouble getting revved up for this contest, seeing that A) it surrendered 481 yards in last year’s humiliating 54-10 home loss to Utah; and B) Utes starting QB Jordan Wynn quit this week after suffering another injury in last week’s 27-20 overtime loss at Utah State. Who’s replacing Wynn? I haven’t a clue, and neither does Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who said his two backups will battle for the job in practice this week.

$110 on Washington State -10½ at UNLV (Sept. 14): You think I’m going to pile on and rehash the Rebels’ dreadful 17-14 loss to Northern Arizona? You think I’m going to bring up their 59-7 loss at Washington State 53 weeks ago, when UNLV trailed 59-0 (only score came on a kickoff return with 5½ minutes to play) and got outgained 612-158? You think I’m going to take an unprovoked shot at Bobby Hauck by pointing to his 4-23 record at UNLV? Sorry, that’s not how I roll …

BEST OF THE REST: College: Fresno State -14 vs. Colorado ($66); Utah State +14 at Wisconsin ($66); Stanford +8 vs. USC ($55); Ohio -6 vs. Marshall ($44). NFL: Ravens-Eagles OVER 46 ($77); Rams +3 vs. Redskins ($66); Broncos-Falcons OVER 51 ($55); 49ers -6½ vs. Lions ($44); Bills -3 vs. Chiefs ($44).

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