NFL 2019: Week #2 Picks
Last week, the 2019 NFL Regular Season began with a small loss. I posted 3 wins and 4 losses for a net loss of -$160. Minimal harm done. Let’s remember — the 21-week season including the playoffs is a marathon, not a sprint.
My private investment fund (BD /SM) closed with 37 brave souls who put in amounts ranging from just a few dollars up to $1,000 max. My fund raised nearly $8,300 in all. Look for the fund’s wagers to become increasingly aggressive once some early season data points have been established.
Once again, if you are involved, please do check your name and status at the end of this report and inform me of any errors. I expect this will be the final tally on investment figures going forward.
Oh, and in case you missed the boat. It sailed, man. It’s cruising. Go ahead and cap your games out of the newspaper or listen to PTI. Poor things. My people are on board. First-class. I take care of my people. Remember this, next time. You missed the Concorde and are stuck in the middle seat in coach on Spirit. Hang in there. I might toss you a lifeline if I feel charitable. Let me generate some scrub before inviting more players onto my handicapping life raft.
Also, $200 of the fund has been put into a contest where the objective is to simply pick the game-winner (no points). In Week #1, I went 10-5-1 — which is currently good for a middle-of-the-pack standing. I’ll update our progress on that investment as the season continues.
Thanks again to each of you who invested in the fund. Hang in there, it’s a long season ahead. Hopefully, a profitable season, as well.
Live and learn, people.
Now, let’s move on to Week #2.
2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD
Wins — Losses — Pushes 3 — 4 — 0
Starting Bankroll: $ 8,296.
Current Bankroll: $8,136.
Last Week’s Results: 3 — 4 — 0 (- $160.)
Wagering $1,925. to win $1,700. on eight bets.
This Week’s Wagers:
First Half: NY Giants + .5 (-120) vs. Buffalo — Laying $180. to win $150.
Comments: NY Giants didn’t play a bad game, last week, a 35-17 loss to the Cowboys. Dallas just might be among the NFC elites, right now. Now at home facing a beatable opponent, look for the NY Giants give a better effort. I think this line has over-reacted to last week’s results. A few weeks ago, this line probably would have been NY Giants favored by 2. While NY Giants have been a horrid team at home in recent years (both SU and ATS), I expect the opener to inspire a good effort. Meanwhile, Buffalo had to rally late to win in this same stadium, last week against the hapless Jets. This is a rare case of back-to-back road games in an away arena. The Bills defense played exceptionally well, which is a legitimate concern in the game backing the Giants. However, the Buffalo offense continues to be anemic. Inconsistent QB Allen looked lost much of the first half and was responsible for four turnovers (two ints. and two fumbles) in the first half alone. For some reason, Allen has shown a tendency to play much better in the second half. These factors — Giants at home, getting a half-point with slightly elevated juice, a weak offensive opponent, and perhaps some extra motivation compels me to make a modest-sized wager on the G Men in the first half. I don’t think the Bills should be laying points on the road to anyone (except perhaps Miami). Let me put it another way — last week, Buffalo was down 16-3 entering the 4th quarter in this stadium against the lowly Jets, and yet they are laying points? That’s ridiculous.
Tennessee – 3 (-120) vs. Indianapolis — Laying $300. to win $250.
Comments: Several trends favor the underdog Colts in this game, who have won 6 of the last 7 meetings in Nashville. However, with the Luck factor gone, all eyes point to replacement QB Brissett who admittedly played very well in last week’s loss (but cover) to the Chargers. I see a tougher spot here for the visitor, making a second-straight road trip versus division opponent. It’s also always tough to recover emotionally from OT losses and then have to travel again with less prep time. Oddsmakers say these teams are rated as roughly equal in talent (home team usually gives -3, which is the game line), but I’m of the opinion the Titans still might be a bit undervalued. Tennessee destroyed Cleveland last week, although they were certainly helped by a +3 turnover ratio in that game. Tennessee continues to run the ball well, dating back to midseason 2018. Titans have been one of the league’s best rushing attacks, led by RB Henry. I expect they’ll enjoy some success against Colts defense that entered the season with concerns and gave up 30 points in the first week. Titans will look to make a statement here in the home opener. They’re 8-5-1 last few seasons at home ATS. With a win here, Tennessee takes the early driver’s seat in the division. One added intangible is some concern Indy placekicker Vinatieri is still his old self. He missed three kicks last week (33, 46, and an XP), which merits a red flag. Betting on teams with concerns in the kicking game is probably undervalued as a handicapping tool — it really should be taken into more consideration. I like the Titans, which looks to be a well-rounded team, especially at home, to cover this number.
Cincinnati -1 (-110) vs. San Francisco — Laying $275. to win $250.
Comments: 49ers picked up an ugly false win last week. They’re frauds. They were trailing 7-6 at halftime to the Bucs and were outgained in yardage for the game. The lifeless offense looked weak, even with QB Garoppolo healthy (just 255 yards of total offense). Tampa’s QB basically gift-wrapped the game with three turnovers, including two interception returns for TDs. Sorry, but San Franciso isn’t the caliber of a team to go on the road again and get another win, particularly since it appears the Bengals are getting slightly disrespected here. Also important to note these aren’t close road games. Both are though three time zones. Cincy took Seattle down to the wire in a 21-20 loss in Seattle last week. The big spark was the Bengals’ passing attack, which ran up nearly 400 yards, even with playmaker WR Green sidelined. 49ers will face a motivated team with a new coach in his first home game and won’t find it as easy as trying to defense Jameis Winston. QB Dalton threw 51 passes last week, so it will be up to San Fran to shut down the receivers. Betting the Bengals is often an exercise in faith if not futility, but seeing the noble effort last week and laying a very low number (-1) this seems like a gift. I have to play the Bengals at this price.
Miami / New England UNDER 48.5 — Laying $275. to win $250.
Comments: Many sharp bettors are on the big home dog Dolphins, and I certainly see that line of reasoning. But I’m persuaded that the far better wager is the UNDER here, especially at this high number. Miami, as the undisputed NFL’s worst team at the moment, shows little to no ability to score many points. That brings to question how motivated the reigning Super Bowl champs will be to run up the score. Given that new Miami Coach Flores was previously a defensive assistant to Bill Belichick (and was with Pats organization 15 years), it’s hard to see the Patriots running up the score and making a mockery of a division rival. A hot and humid day, an opponent that’s clearly outclassed, and (oddly enough) Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB for the Dolphins —-who isn’t prone to rookie mistakes leading to easy points off turnovers—- is a perfect recipe for a “boring” low-scoring game. 31-10 looks about right. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if the Dolphins were shut out in the game given how awesome New England is on the D dating back to last season.
Arizona / Baltimore UNDER 46.5 — Laying $275. to win $250.
Comments: I have concerns so many handicappers are touting this as one of the best totals on the board. As a contrarian, I tend to fade public (and even some expert expectation). But too many factors weigh heavily here to discount the obvious, including a higher-than-average total, which compels us to play the under. Arizona was horrid offensively for 3 quarters, last week. Detroit’s defense was gassed by game’s end, and that’s when the home underdogs came to life. I think some of what we saw in the epic comeback was misleading That won’t happen here in Baltimore, a much tougher place to play, certainly for the inexperienced Cardinals. It’s hard to say where Baltimore ranks defensively (yes, they are #1 after shutting down Miami — but that was Miami). It looks to be another relatively easy task for this defense, facing a rookie QB and new head coach both making their road debut. So, let’s assume the Cardinals won’t be lighting up the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Baltimore’s laugher last week should probably be discarded. This isn’t a 59-point offense. This is more of a ground attack, short pass dunks, and a ball-control game plan that will be content with the home win. I look for the Ravens to build a lead, sit on the ball, and walk away with a 26-13 type of win that goes under the number.
LA Rams – 2 (-110) vs. New Orleans — Laying $275. to win $250.
Comments: New Orleans isn’t a good early-season team. We saw this trend continue last week, as the favored Saints barely escaped with a win in a thrilling game. Now, off a short prep week, New Orleans must travel west for an NFC title game re-match. I might like the Saints were this game at home, especially given some revenge motivation after one of the worst non-calls of all time. But New Orleans isn’t the same flashy high-scoring team when on the road. We know the Rams can roll up points at home, and have shut down New Orleans in the past (credit Wade Phillips). Saints lost six of last eight road openers; Rams have won both home openers in McVay era, decisively so — 46-9 and 34-0. Rams are slightly more balanced in my estimation, especially on defense and with home field against an opponent they won’t take lightly, I look for the favorite to cover, especially given New Orleans history of starting slow early in the season.
Atlanta + 1.5 (-110) vs. Philadelphia — Laying $165. to win $150.
First Half: Atlanta +.5 (-120) vs. Philadelphia — Laying $180. to win $150.
Comments: Two wagers on the contest — one for the game and another for the first half. It’s painful to take real money and bet it on the Falcons, right now. This team looked horrid in the opener at Minnesota. I can’t make any case for the Falcons statistically speaking, but this team still has plenty of talented veterans, a coach who knows how to win, and certainly — added motivation this week in the home opener. Seems like a critical game already for Atlanta. Meanwhile, Philadelphia looked totally lost for 35 minutes last week (down 0-17 to Washington) before coming to life and nearly covering. That “win” was rather unimpressive considering how mismatched the opponent was at +10. The Eagles don’t appear to be anywhere near the elites of the league, just 18 months after their Super Bowl win. But, they’re still favored here because (I presume) many bettors are overreacting to the Falcons’ really bad performance last week in which they were down 0-28 at one point. I’m glad to fade this (hopefully mistaken) popular perception. Moreover, the Eagles defense was ripped last week for several big plays. One expects a talented Falcons offense at home in the dome to exploit some of those same weaknesses. Oddly enough, Eagles have been a poor indoor turf team at just 5-9 ATS under HC Peterson. Also, Atlanta has historically opened up well at home, winning 13 of last 15. Falcons also 8-2 as a home dog in last ten games, which tells me these veterans rise to the occasion against top competition when in Atlanta I’ll take the home dog in the game, as well as the half-point in the first half.
Other Games and Thoughts:
I was really tempted to play DET plus the points at home hosting the LAC, but a few things kept me off the game. DET really looked poorly coached and conditioned down the stretch in last week’s tie. That was an unforgivable collapse, and as tempting as it may be to bet the home dog, Detroit really is outclassed here. LAC are aware they dodged a bullet last week. But the Chargers also moved the ball well and should have no problem with this defense. The play here is probably the OVER 47 if you must bet the game. Two veteran QBs with good wideouts on the rubber grass. Game could fly OVER. But no action for me.
DAL laying -5.5 to WASH is worth a look, but I shy away from laying points on the road in division games. DAL could come in overconfident, which happens with this inconsistent team under coach Garrett. Credit K. Moore calling the plays on offense last week (new OC), which makes me think this team might step up. But when you look at how WASH moved the ball in the loss/cover last week in Philadelphia, it’s certainly possible the ‘Skins give another solid effort. Too many points to lay. Should be -3.5. tops.
Hard to figure what state of mind HOU will be in after the crushing defeat in New Orleans Monday night. But they face a team that should be shut down, with a backup QB (who looked fabulous statistically, 22/25 last week in loss to Kansas City). Highly-coveted free agent signee QB Foles is out. So. it’s doubtful JAX can produce enough offense to stay with HOU, but I’m not laying -9.5 points with any team that’s as inconsistent as HOU. Let’s also remember JAX brings in a top defense. KC rolls up points against everybody, so look for a better rebound effort. It’s taking the dog or nothing here, for me.
PITT is laying -3.5 to SEA, which almost lost to Cincy at home last week. PITT looked horrendous in loss to the Patriots. There’s valid concern about these Steelers, who missed playoffs last season, might be taking a step downward. So, this game should tell us a lot. Many serious cappers are on PITT, but I think that faith is grounded too heavily on history. I don’t see any spot where PITT enjoys definitive advantages, so I don’t want to lay points, especially since SEA is one of those teams capable of beating anybody. Some analysts insist SEA defensive secondary could get shredded here (which game up 400 to Anthony Dalton in Week 1). I’m just not convinced PITT has the talent anymore to flip a switch and beat well-coached opponents, especially given QB Russell’s skill set. Pass. But I do lean to OVER 47.
GB is laying -2.5 to -3 to rivals MINN. Line looks about right. I don’t have a good read on GB defense (was the opener just an aberration?) nor MINN offense, which uncharacteristically threw just 10 passes last week in domination over Atlanta. The total at 43 does seem a little low, given QB Rodgers’ impressive numbers historically at home. But that’s just a slight lean.
Many pro cappers are taking OAK this week, getting +7 in a divisional matchup against KC. Horrible spot for Chiefs here, with the cross-country back-to-back games. My guess is — OAK is the right side. But I can’t step in front of the roaring KC money train right now. Total at 53.5 seems a little high. But given what we see from KC week in and out, this game could fly OVER. Too much volatility for me to bet this one.
DEN is getting +1.5 to +2 at home hosting CHI. Both offenses were steaming piles of puppy shit last week, so I’m tempted to play any side getting points. But I’m going pass this temptation and invest my money elsewhere. I suppose CHI with 3 extra days (played last Thursday) to prepare should enjoy some advantages. Whichever offense struggles, you can pretty much say it’s — season over. If Flacco bombs, he and Elway should get a 2 for 1 bus ticket out of Denver.
CLE is laying a whopping -6.5 points to NYJ, which lost another softie USC QB draftee (to mono, this week). Poor NYJ played pretty well on defense last week, and that could keep them in the game. Seems ridiculous for CLE to be laying this high number on road, after getting bounced like clowns at home in the humiliation of an opener. I was tempted to play the home dog, but something tells me DC Gregg Williams is going to pay a price in this game for some off-the-field controversy regarding (now) Browns’ WR Beckham. He’s been an overrated injury-prone act for a while, but could be the difference in a CLE win and over. Normally, I don’t weigh these personality issues, but those of you who have followed the issue know it’s very volatile as a betting prop. It’s probably NYJ and an UNDER here, but that’s an arm-twister. Skipping this game for greener pastures elsewhere. And since you are still reading, CLE is a sucker play here. You drank Koolaid last week and got poisoned. Why on earth would you do that again? Sucker play = Cleveland.
PICK THE WINNER CONTEST [NO POINTSPREAD] — $200 entry fee
Season Record To-Date: 10-5-1
Week #2 Picks:
CAR over TB
CINCY over SFO
SDI over DET
GB over MIN
TEN over INDY
NWE over MIA
NYG over BUF
PIT over SEA
DAL over WASH
BAL over PHX
HOU over JAX
KC over OAK
CHI over DEN
LAR over NOR
ATL over PHIL
CLE over NYJ
BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]
211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51. — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed