On December 3, 1995, Terry Allen punched in two rushing touchdowns and Heath Shuler threw for another as the Redskins topped the Cowboys at Texas Stadium, 24-17. Troy Aikman threw a late touchdown to Michael Irvin, but the subsequent onside kick was recovered by the road team to seal the deal.
Why am I opening my tips column in Week 3 of the 2018 season by telling you about a result of a game played 23 years ago? Simple: That was the last time a team lost outright as favorites of 16 points or more, something the Minnesota Vikings will try and avoid on Sunday when they host the dreadful Buffalo Bills.
You already know not to bet the Bills moneyline in that game, but what chance do they have of covering?
It's been 11-plus seasons since the 2007 Patriots stormed through the league in a year where oddsmakers made them 16-point favorites or better six times. I went back a little further to 2005, as it had been more than three calendar years since another 16-point favorite was on the board by the time the Colts were laying 17 to the Texans in November. Since 2005, favorites of 16 points or more are 11-18-1 against the spread.
However, we just went through a similar three-year gap with no teams that were favorites of at least 16 points from 2013 through late 2016. Since then, we've had four games with large enough favorites to qualify, and the favorites are 3-1 ATS in those games. But all three of those covers were by Tom Brady and the Patriots.
So what happens when you remove Brady from the equation? I looked at the 27 times since 2007 that a team was favored by at least 16 points. Twelve times that favorite was New England, and the Patriots went 6-6 against the spread in those games. In the other 15, the favorites were 4-10-1.
Keep that record in mind before you load up on the Vikings, who are not the Patriots, this weekend.
If you want to know which sides I like, you can find that info at the SportsLine link below, where all my rated plays appear during the season along with my five SuperContest picks each week and plenty of great analysis from a fantastic collection of experts. You can also check out where all our CBS Sports staff lands on each game each week right here.
Each week in this space, I'm going to go behind the lines and picks to bring you a bit of a deeper dive into what you should know before locking in your plays. That includes which lines are on the move, which home-field advantages aren't getting enough credit, which injuries you should be monitoring, my top teaser play of the week and plenty more.
Let's get to it.
Over at SportsLine, I have a pick live for the Thursday night game between the Jets and Browns, and I'll have several more for you by Friday night. Join now and use promo code WHITE for $1 on your first month and you can get mine and every SportsLine expert's picks throughout the year, as well as my SuperContest picks each Saturday.
However, you can get one free pick with my teaser of the week at the end of this article. Enjoy!
Biggest line moves
The Giants looked terrible on Sunday night yet again, causing that line to jump from Texans -3 all the way up to Texans -6 by Wednesday night, and Giants +6.5 could also be found by line shoppers. It'll be the Texans' first home game, and considering how bad I believe the Giants to be, I think the current line is more accurate than Texans -3.
The Seahawks are also playing their first home game this week, but after the public saw them fall flat on Monday night, they fell from three-point favorites to laying just 1.5 points. I believe the Cowboys are largely unproven, and with the Seahawks defense expected to be healthier this week, there looks to be value on the Seahawks right now.
The public is in love with the 2-0 Buccaneers, who opened as 2.5-point 'dogs and already down to Bucs +1. I expect this line to get to Bucs -1, so if you like them I'd suggest playing it now.
What NFL picks can you make with confidence in Week 3? And what favorite goes down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that has beaten 98 percent of experts over the past two years.
Home-field edges to know
Bills at Vikings -16.5
Giants at Texans -6
The Vikings have a huge number to cover, but it'll help that they're playing at home, where the defense is excellent and the offense has scored at least 21.9 points per game in each of the last five years I used to build my weighted home-field advantage numbers. I have them as a four-point home-field advantage, meaning to lay the points here, you'd have to make the Vikings a 12.5-point favorite on a neutral field. As bad as I have the Bills rated, the gap between those two teams isn't quite that large for me. However, I want no part of the Bills, so I'm staying away from this game.
My weighted HFA formula has the Texans as a top-three team when it comes to home-field advantage, and I'm buying into it fully. I also have them as a four-point home field, so we should lay the points here if we think the Texans are more than two points better than the Giants on a neutral field, which I do.
Jets at Browns -3
On top of being three-point favorites despite winning just one of their last 34 games outright, the Browns don't have a great home-field advantage, with the offense looking pretty awful in Cleveland in each of the last two years. That's led me to give them a two-point HFA number, so if you like the Browns here, you should think they're more than one point better than the Jets.
Injuries to watch
We're now in Week 3, which means there are injuries you should be considering in basically every game. I do an injury roundup on Wednesday and analysis of every final injury report on Friday of each week to help you sort through it all. You can.
I wanted to highlight these three games here as they all involve quarterback injuries, which have the biggest impact on the line for obvious reasons. The Titans still haven't announced their starter at quarterback for Week 3 after Marcus Mariota missed Week 2's win over the Texans. Some select books have the Jaguars favored by 6.5 points in this matchup, and that's what I'd expect the line to be with a healthy Mariota. The SuperContest put Jaguars -9.5 on the board, which is what I'd expect to see if Blaine Gabbert starts again.
The Broncos held Case Keenum out of practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury, but he's expected to return to the field on Thursday and is currently in no danger of missing Week 3. There was a slight line move of a half-point to the Ravens on Wednesday at some books, but not enough to press the panic button on Keenum just yet.
The Packers are on the board as three-point road favorites, clearly signaling that the books are confident Aaron Rodgers will play at less than 100 percent again. I think Rodgers' knee is a ticking time bomb, and I'm not going to have any faith backing the Packers until he looks better than he did moving around against the Vikings. If DeShone Kizer were starting this game, the Redskins would likely be anywhere from six- to seven-point favorites.
Fading the public
If 80 percent of the action or more is on one side of a line, you want to be thinking about taking the other side, a practice commonly known as fading the public. If the consensus thinks it has a game figured out, that should be flashing warning signs for you. (All betting trends data from BetOnline via Vegas Insider.)
The public can't get enough of this Chiefs team, as 81 percent of tickets for this game as of Wednesday night were laying the points coming off two explosive performances by their offense. The lookahead line had the Chiefs as just four-point favorites, so it's clear the Chiefs will remain an incredibly popular play until they hit a wall.
The Patriots don't quite reach the 80 percent threshold just yet, but they've been steaming that way as 6.5-point favorites and could easily get there at some point before kickoff. I'd expect this line to get to Patriots -7, and if the Lions can hang around in a shootout, they'd make for nice value to bettors.
Lines I'd move
I expressed my concern with Rodgers' health above, and I've docked the Packers a bit in my power ratings since I feel he's playing at far less than 100 percent. That angle, combined with the Redskins being an average team, makes me think the home team should be favored by a point rather three-point 'dogs.
The Cardinals have looked terrible, but this line is nearly equating them to the Rams, who were 12.5-point favorites against the Cardinals early last week at home. Give each matchup three points for home field, and that would have made the Rams 6.5-point road favorites in Arizona. The Bears are six-point favorites now. I think there's value on the Cards as a result, and I'd only make the Bears 3.5-point favorites.
The Lions fall into the same bucket as an undervalued home 'dog, but they're playing a better team and actually have an offense we know can score. I think the backdoor is wide open for Matthew Stafford in this game, and I think this line should be Patriots -4 or -4.5 at best.
And on the flip side, I don't think the Dolphins are favored by enough against the Raiders. They have a solid home-field advantage and get to play a West Coast team traveling across the country for a 1 p.m. ET game. The Dolphins are also 2-0 against a 0-2 Raiders team that has had trouble closing. Three points basically means the books thinks these teams are even. Do you?
Teaser of the Week
Texans -0.5 vs. Giants
Ravens +0.5 vs. Broncos
This also works as a moneyline parlay, but I really like the two home teams in these matchups. The Texans finally get to play at home after two on the road, and they'll be up against what looks like an awful Giants team with a weak offensive line they can exploit. I'm less concerned about the Texans' poor offensive line as the Giants don't have much of a pass rush.
The Ravens get to play a Broncos team that hasn't left Denver yet and needed to rally to beat two average at best teams at home. Case Keenum hasn't looked great and he's dealing with an injury. The Broncos pass defense also looked very average in Week 2 against the Raiders, which is surprising.
I think both of these home teams win with relative ease. I'd also consider playing the Redskins up from +3 or +2.5, or the Rams down from -7.