Denver Broncos (2-0) at Detroit Lions (0-2)
This game had a major line movement from last week to this week, as what was an even line last week now favors the visiting Denver Broncos by 3.5. I think that’s an overreaction. The Broncos won in Kansas City last week, but Peyton Manning still doesn’t look good and they could have easily lost, if not for a late, fluky fumble recovery touchdown. The Broncos have a strong team around Manning, particularly on defense, but I don’t think they deserve to be 3.5 point favorites here in Detroit. Road favorites are 15-28 ATS off of a Thursday night win since 2002 anyway, probably because hearing how great you are for 10 days after a Thursday night win, going into a seemingly easy game, can really hurt your focus.
The Lions are 0-2, but I’m still not convinced they’re a bad team. Their defense obviously misses Ndamukong Suh, who left as a free agent, and DeAndre Levy, who will miss his 3rd straight game to start the season this week with a hip problem, but they have Stephen Tulloch back after missing most of last season with injury and their offense is also healthier than it was last season too, with guys like Calvin Johnson and Larry Warford healthy. They’ve faced a pair of solid football teams (San Diego and Minnesota) thus far, both on the road, both games in which they were the underdog to begin with. The Lions probably won’t be an 11-win team again and could easily not be a playoff team again, but they’re better than this line suggests. Besides, 0-2 teams that made the playoffs the year before are 18-9 ATS week 3 since 2002.
Detroit is in a bad spot, playing their first home game of the season week 3. Teams that have their first home game week 3 tend to be less energized and it shows, as teams in that situation are 22-43 ATS since 1989. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning led teams have always been great in night games like this one, going 33-17 ATS in primetime games since 2002, for what that’s worth. The Broncos also have the easier game on deck, as they host the Vikings next week, while the Lions have to go to Seattle. I’m not making a big play on Detroit or anything, but I’m taking the 3.5 points because they’re too good to pass up here.
Denver Broncos 20 Detroit Lions 19
Pick against the spread: Detroit +3.5