NFL Week #2 Picks
I’m ready to pounce!
But first, here are some takeaways from last week heading into Week #2:
- Don’t overreact.
- Continue betting against unproven head coaches and new coaching staffs.
- Look for some “correction” or “bounce back” in Week #2.
- Fade teams struggling on the offensive line.
Last week, I split my picks finishing 4-4, which means the vig won (minus -$85):
[6-Pt. Teaser] Minnesota -.5 / Cincinnati +8.5 — (-120) Win $500
Cincinnati +2.5 vs. Indianapolis — (-110) — Win $300
Buffalo +7.5 vs. Baltimore — (-110) Lose $330
[First Half] Green Bay/Chicago OVER 23.5 — (-120) Lose $275
New Orleans / Tampa Bay UNDER 49.5 — (-110) Lose $330
Miami +1.5 vs. Tennessee — (-110) Win $200
Denver -2 vs. Seattle — (-110) Win $200
Oakland +4.5 vs. Los Angeles Rams — (-110) Lose $330
2018 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $9,915. [- $85.]
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 4 wins / 4 loses / 0 pushes
THIS WEEK’S PICKS:
Indianapolis / Washington OVER 48 (-110) — Risk $330 / Win $300
So long as QB Andrew Luck starts and remains healthy, IND should remain a solid OVER play in most games. That results from the combination of a good passing game along with a weak defense. Last week, despite a close game for 59 minutes, IND passed in play selection by a nearly 2-1 margin. Look for IND, coached by former QB Frank Reich, to continue its up-tempo pass-oriented offense, which was effective last week. Meanwhile, WASH comes in with a far more balanced attack. Last week, WASH rolled to an easy win. They face a far weaker IND defense in this matchup and should get yardage and points. Neither team has the luxury of taking a lead and sitting on it. Weather is a non-factor. The total is probably about right but with two experienced QBs looking to build confidence I see a possible shootout.
Los Angeles Chargers / Buffalo UNDER 43.5 (-110) — Risk $330 / Win $300
LAC playing at BUF. Both teams lost last week, with BUF looking like the NFL’s worst team by a mile. The public is all over the visitors laying -7.5 here. I think that’s a mistake. Big overreaction since the early game line on this matchup was LAC -1. So, the line jumped nearly a touchdown. BUF simply gave up last week, and perhaps the score was slightly misleading. While BUF offense looks incapable of scoring (hell, of getting a first down!), we all know teams focus and eventually improve. Ballsy play to pick BUF here, but that’s where my imaginary money would be if forced to play this pigfest. Instead, I think the play is on the UNDER since the total at 43.5 looks a little high, especially with BUF offensive ineptitude. BUF is less likely to give up as they did on road last week. Look for a bit more of a fight. Meanwhile, the offensive game plan will have to be simple, so LAC should be in a better defensive posture. BUF is capable of much better defense than we saw at BALT more last week. Everyone knows that for BUF to have any chance the defense must play well, and the offense simply must grind clock and at least match the LAC in time of possession. I’d total this closer to 40, so I’ll play the UNDER.
[6-Pt. Teaser] Atlanta (Pick) / New Orleans -3 (-110) — Risk $330 / Win $300
ATL had 10 days to prepare coming off the opening night loss at PHILA. I think that gives them some added advantages. Furthermore, ATL is perhaps in the more desperate situation here, needing the home win for fear of falling 2 games behind in the division early in the season. ATL moves the ball well but has problems in the Red Zone. WR Julio Jones enjoyed a monster night in the first game and looks to be the playmaker. Meanwhile, CAR suffered a slew of injuries last week vs. DAL, and didn’t look very crisp on offense. CAR will face a much better team here with their backs against the wall. Banged up somewhat, I give the edge to the favorites. I’d lay -6 except that ATL is morphing into an UNDER team and I’m not sure about laying big numbers in division rivalries. So, instead, I’ll tease ATL. This play is combined with NOR (separate write-up below).
NY Jets -2.5 vs. Miami (-110) — Risk $330 / Win $300
I’ll play the resurgent NYJ who have been my cash cow since the start of last season. NYJ are solid at home ATS and come into this game with more confidence than in a very long time. I’m wary of overreacting based on the results of one game, but NYJ looks to be laying a soft number here and probably have a little value. This is more of an “against MIA” play, given MIA played essentially two games last week. They sat in pads for an extra 3 hours because of the NFL’s monumentally stupid weather delay rule, and couldn’t have come out of the TENN game with much left in the tank, despite the win. Now, they travel north and face a rejuvenated NYJ team that looked fabulous on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, MIA struggled at home, despite QB Mariota being knocked out of the game. The score was a bit misleading. I’m confident laying points with these NYJ, especially when playing teams they are capable of beating.
Philadelphia -3 vs. Tampa Bay (-110) — Risk $330 / Win $300
The public is all over PHILA which scares me a little. However, with the Super Bowl champs given 10 days to prepare and probably not in a position to take TB lightly after watching film of the shocking upset at NOR last week, PHILA should be ready and take care of business. Looks like a reasonable number to lay. I don’t think TB is capable of beating two very good teams back-to-back. Even PHILA knows they didn’t play particularly well in the opener, so this should be a game of more intense focus. PHILA defense more than capable of shutting TB down.
New Orleans -9 vs. Cleveland (-110) — Risk $330 / Win $300
It’s rare for me to lay heavy chalk, but here it’s justified. NOR should be in an ugly mood after the opening day humiliation at home. Now facing a weaker team and certainly a worse offense, NOR is likely to roll up some big numbers and I think that points to a blowout. CLEVE was able to keep it close in the rain and mud, aided by 6 PITT turnovers, and they still couldn’t win the game. Now on the road in a dome against a mad opponent, CLEVE simply won’t have the skill position players to match up with NOR. Recall that CLEVE was losing late in the game 21-7 and the home fans were booing the offense. PITT mistakes put CLEVE back in the game. Certainly, NOR defense has nothing to celebrate after last week’s fiasco, but it’s impossible to see how CLEVE can pose a similar threat or put up numbers anywhere close to what we saw in Week #1. Way too much talent and experience with NOR, plus some added motivation. CLEVE also could be deflated after that disappointing tie last week. Finally, to beat NOR (especially in the dome), that requires being able to connect repeatedly on the middle routes and deep balls. I saw no evidence QB Tyrod Taylor is in any way capable of making the completions to keep this close, even if the NOR defense is garbage (and they may be). For these reasons, I’m laying -9 with the favorite and also teasing NOR down to -3.
Jacksonville +1.5 vs. New England (-110) — Risk $330 / Win $300
This game probably means more to JAX given they’re at home and playing what amounts to a rematch of last year’s AFC title game. It’s tough fading NWE, but they will have some off weeks and this looks to be one possible down spot for them on the road. NWE will show cracks in the armor at some point, and their defense could be the fissure. The former DC (Patricia) is gone. NWE defense wasn’t that good anyway, judging by stats dating back to last season. Meanwhile, JAX defense looks to be the real deal. The motivated home team, with an excellent defense, playing a revenge game, coming off a nice confidence-building victory, plus getting a small number as the home dog is enough for me to lay a bet on JAX.
Chicago -3 vs. Seattle (-115) — Risk $345 / Win $300
I liked what I saw from CHI in the opener. GB is always a tough place to play and CHI showed they’re not the lackluster losing team we’re so used to seeing. Hosting an MNF home game versus a very beatable opponent strikes me as worth a wager. I was especially impressed by CHI’s aggressive play-calling last week, which may have even been too aggressive. I think that will give SEA fits in trying to prepare a game plan. Moreover, SEA is playing a second straight road game, which is always a challenge. SEA looked bad at times in the DEN game and was saved (again) by QB Russell Wilson buying time with his legs and finding receivers with his arm. That said, Wilson’s favorite target, WR Baldwin is questionable. SEA offensive line still looks to be a mess and defense is at best mediocre. CHI probably more balanced offensively, may have the better defense, is playing at home, and laying what appears to be a reasonable number. I’ll take the small favorite.
[First Half] Tennessee +1.5 vs. Houston (-115) — Risk $220 / Win $200
This wager is predicated on QB Mariota starting for TEN. He plays much better at home and TEN should be in a crisis mode after last week’s breakdown against MIA. HOU is playing its second straight on the road. I wasn’t impressed by what I saw in their opener, even though the score made the game look closer than it actually was. HOU is still a young team which will have a hard time winning games on the road, especially when the opponent also has their backs against the wall. TEN was perfect 3-0 last season at home against division opponents. I don’t care to bet the game but will take a ticket on TEN (getting +1.5) keeping it close at halftime.
[First Half] NY Giants +1.5 vs. Dallas (-110) — Risk $220 / Win $200
Similar situation as stated above — I’m playing NYG who should keep things close for a while in this rivalry that always seems to go down to the final seconds. Last week, we saw more evidence that Dak Prescott isn’t going to be the franchise QB as hoped. He continues to regress. Without proven wideouts, DAL should continue having trouble producing points. Last week, they were shut out for 55 minutes against CAR. Betting on a team QB ‘ed by Eli Manning has been a mind-bender, recently. I’m very wary of wagering on this offense. However, NYG defense played a pretty good game last week. I see them keeping DAL out of the end zone for awhile. Give me the points in the first half.
OTHER GAMES AND THOUGHTS:
MINN at GB looks to be a pass. After being off the board all week, I’m seeing some late PICK and 45 numbers. Looks about right to me. If forced to play, I’d take MINN. Even with QB Rodgers’ late-game heroics, we saw GB really isn’t in the class of MINN, especially at every position other than QB. Coaching wise, this is a huge mismatch. Oh hell, I might end up making a play on MINN if it’s a PICK.
KC is getting +5.5 at PITT. Intriguing matchup. Really want to take the visiting dog, but the second straight week of travel and a coast-to-coast situation dissuades me from making a wager. PITT did have a 21-7 lead last week then self-destructed with turnovers. Doubtful that happens again. I would take the points but simply can’t — given the travel situation for KC and some added motivation this week for PITT since they fared poorly in the opener. Weather a non-factor, probably helps the OVER, but wow– is that total really 53?
LAR laying -13.5 to horrible ARZ almost looks too easy. LAR should wear down ARZ which looks overmatched everywhere, except perhaps the running game (RB David Johnson is probable and could keep things close provided he has a monster game). Watching QB Sam Bradford lead a team you’ve bet on is the very definition of frustration. How he’s still in the league, let alone starting, is a complete mystery. Bradford looked awful in Week #1, and worse — showed zero leadership ability. Now, he goes on the road versus a much tougher opponent and better defense. Looks like a total rout. May close at -14.
SFO laying -6 at home versus DET, after the Lions were humiliated in their MNF opener. Off a short week, with an unproven head coach, a weak defense, and a non-exisitent rushing attack seems like a recipe for disaster. SFO looked sharp everywhere except the Red Zone last week. I’m not sure that loss will bother SFO since they weren’t supposed to win that game anyway. This game, they should win, however. Early in week, I bet this at -4 before it jumped to -6. But it will not be counted in results. I think SFO is the play all the way up to -7.
OAK plays DEN and is getting what seems like a generous number of points -6. But there’s a reason. I saw a stat that DEN is something like 32-3-1 in their first two home games of the season dating back to whenever. This team does play well out of the gate at Mile High. I can’t fade those stats in a back-to-back spot for DEN. Meanwhile, OAK offensive line is a mess. The defense wore down last week. And QB Derek Carr is proving me right that he’s a below average QB who will end up wasting at least two more years of franchise promise until everyone realizes he’ll never crack the top 15. I wasn’t impressed with QB Case Keenum either, but if forced to chose would bet DEN and laying the points. Very close to betting DEN if I can somehow find a -5.5 or lower. Here’s a question: Was Jon Gruden and his staff rusty last week, unable to make necessary halftime adjustments? Maybe this leads to fading OAK in second halves for a while — just a thought.
MY WAGERS ON NFL SEASON WIN TOTALS:
Arizona Cardinals OVER 5.5 wins -180 — Wagering $450 to win $250 0-1
Buffalo Bills OVER 6 wins EVEN — Wagering $400 to win $400 0-1
Cincinnati Bengals OVER 6.5 wins -170 — Wagering $680 to win $400 2-0
Dallas Cowboys UNDER 8.5 wins +110 — Wagering $500 to win $550 0-1
Detroit Lions UNDER 7.5 wins EVEN — Risking $400 to win $400 0-1
Houston Texans UNDER 8.5 wins +120 — Risking $400 to win $480 0-1
Jacksonville Jaguars OVER 9 wins -145 — Risking $725 to win $500 1-0
Indianapolis Colts UNDER 6.5 wins +170 — Risking $400 to win $680 0-1
New Orleans Saints OVER 9.5 wins -145 — Risking $725 to win $500 0-1
Seattle Seahawks UNDER 8 wins (Best Bet) -150 — Risking $1,500 to win $750 0-1