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Posted by on Sep 13, 2023 in Blog | 4 comments

Week #2 — 2023 NFL Analysis and Picks



It’s been a strange season.

That seems like a strange thing to say just a week into the NFL schedule.

However, it’s true.  Opening week included shocking upsets and a few supposedly elite teams underperforming.  We also witnessed a number of teams expected to struggle outperforming market projections (including the Buccaneers, Rams, Cardinals, Raiders, and Browns — who all covered in Week #1). Then, there was the Jets-Bills game on MNF, which capped off a wacky start to the 2023 season.

In past years, I’ve enjoyed profitability early in the season.  Full disclosure: I’ve also struggled later in many seasons.  One golden rule of handicapping that’s served me well over the last decade is applying a contrarian approach to football handicapping.  Unfortunately, I swayed from that guiding principle in the first week, and my bankroll and results suffered as a result.

Note to Self:  Last season’s records/results/rankings are almost no factor whatsoever and should not be given weight.  The notion of teams “finishing strongly and carrying over in the new season” is debunked.  Don’t fall into that handicapping trap again.

Read more about my thoughts in NFL Week #1 here at  This article focuses mainly on my entries in the $1,000 buy-in Circa Survivor contest.

If you want to read my survivor picks for NFL #2, click here and go to  Free to sign up and subscribe, including some really good contest content from other writers/gamblers.

You can also scroll down below (all the way to the end) and see a capsule of last week’s results, with each wager and outcome.

Looking ahead, here are my thoughts on all the games, with my picks.

9 — Wins
14 — Losses
0 — Pushes
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $8,745.
Net Gain/Loss: – $1,255
Last Week: 9 wins – 14 losses (- $1,255.)

First, let me share some betting trends applicable to NFL Week #2 I think may have value that I lifted from VSiN. I’m applying a few of these to my own picks this week, so let me credit the source (edited here for clarity and space):

In Week #2, teams playing a second straight divisional game in Week 2 are an impressive 34-16-1 ATS (68 pct.) since 2003.
“Analysis: Divisional games typically require greater focus and intensity, and these teams are well-prepared the second time around. Last year, those teams went 2-2 ATS. This year, there were eight divisional contests in Week 1, increasing the number of qualifiers here to five.”

In Week #2, teams that lost (or tied) as road favorites in Week #1 have bounced back with a record of 20-11 SU and ATS (64.5 pct.) over the last 11 seasons.
“Analysis: Week 1 road favorites are usually highly regarded teams. They have proved good enough to be able to bounce back from a loss in that game, in most cases avoiding an 0-2 start. The Bengals and Bills stumbled out of the gate offensively in their openers and will try to rebound in Week 2.”

In Week #2, teams that lost on the point spread by more than 14 points in Week #1 divisional games are 14-7 SU and 14-6-1 ATS (70 pct.) in Week 2 since 2007.
“Analysis: Second-week point spread adjustments tend to go against teams that were beaten soundly by divisional opponents in Week 1 and are in most cases over-adjustments. Last year there was just one qualifier, and Green Bay won decisively at home against Chicago.”

In Week #2, teams that lost by double digits in Week 31 have responded by going 45-25-2 ATS (64.3 pct.) since 2011.
“Analysis: This is as direct of an overreaction system as there is, and it goes against all that the betting public was told they “learned” in Week 1. With so much emotion on the line in a season opener, it’s no wonder that a team over- or underachieves in that game. Those that were beaten soundly in their opener have had a tendency to come back strong in their second games. Last year, there were six plays on this angle and those teams went 4-1-1 ATS. Half of this year’s 16 Week 1 games were decided by 10+ points, six teams qualify for this angle as Houston/Indianapolis cancel each other out.”

From a different source (forgot where-sorry), here’s another dominating betting angle I just learned: Any team that lost by 10+ in Week #1, and playing a team in week 2 that didn’t lose by that margin, are 24-9-1 as underdogs ATS. This angle applies to Chicago and NY Giants, on Sunday.

Now, on to my picks.  It’s going to be an action-packed weekend. I’m heavy on the underdogs this week — with 7 dogs and 3 favorites, not counting quarters, halves, and team totals.

Note: Some of these reports were written and posted on Friday, so lines may have changed.  I try to update up until game time.


Green Bay at Atlanta
Line: Packers -1.5
Total: 41

– My lean is toward any NFL team playing its second straight home game against any opponent playing its second straight on the road. The Packers are coming off a huge win, a thrashing of rival Chicago, and this could be a letdown spot for Green Bay. Despite their impressive showing most of that game, Green Bay’s offense did struggle initially. Atlanta’s defense is reportedly improved and the 10-points (allowed) by the Falcons is some evidence of that. The line moved from Green Bay -1.5 (opener) to Atlanta -1.5 (current). Hence, betting markets trust more in Atlanta now and may share my view that the big win by Green Bay last week could actually hurt them a bit here. Some key injuries also hit the Packers in Game 1 (3 offensive starters listed as questionable). I am concerned about the Falcons’ offense, which scored 24 but had trouble sustaining drives. So, this is a light bet. Big early game for both teams to determine where they seasons are headed. I’m going with the Falcons mostly because of my doubts about the Packers being as good as in years past. My hunch is – this line could be jaded my some outdated perceptions of the two teams. I think if we erased the logo and colors and just made the players play out the game anonymously, this line would be the home team -3.
My Pick:
Atlanta -1.5 (Risking $110 to win $100)


Las Vegas at Buffalo
Line: Bills -8
Total: 47

– The Bills click the boxes on several betting angles (see above). I especially like the one about favorites coming off a road loss now at home being in bounce back mode. Nonetheless, the market likes the Raiders who are down to + 8 after opening up as +9.5 dogs (and +10 in a few spots). The line might have dropped due to reactions to the Bills’ horrible showing in the second half at NYJ on MNF. However, Buffalo led 13-3 at halftime in a sloppy game, and the defense played well, certainly well enough to win. I think that division loss likely motivates a much better effort this week. There’s no doubt about Buffalo’s talent. The Bills were 7-1 at home in the regular season in 2022, and 8-2 including playoff games, winning their games by an average margin by double digits. Buffalo should rebound here. This spot also seems like a perfect fade against Las Vegas, which played a gutsy game in Denver (winning 17-16) and now must play a second straight road game in the Eastern time zone with an early start. All that said, I’m not laying this many points. Instead, I’m just counting on Buffalo to win the game.
My Pick:
I made BUFFALO (PICK) the selection on 2 Circa Survivor entries this week. This doesn’t count on my record here, but I wanted to divulge my lean on this game.


Baltimore at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals -3
Total: 47

– My first instinct was to play Cincinnati, expecting a rebound off a horrible performance last week in Cleveland. Several angles also point to a wager on the Bengals. And when the line dropped from -3.5 down to -3, after checking for some news (and seeing nothing significant) that was enough to trigger a bet. Baltimore suffered some key injuries last week (mainly RB Dobbins). So, I’m not sure why money initially went on Baltimore, unless the early movers wanted to grab the hook at +3.5 while they could take it. I’ll take Cincy to show a better effort at home in a back-to-back divisional game. The Bengals remain the best NFL team against the spread over the past two seasons, and I’m not ready to leap from the tiger train just yet. KEY STAT: Cincy is 15-2 SU vs. opponents with a winning W-L record its last 17 games–which is a stunning number. Hence, this team excels against good teams. I’ll also push some money through the window on the UNDER, which is 47 and moving down (opened at 48). These NFC North rivals met three times last season, including the playoffs, and all three matchups came in short of this total. Combined scoring landed on 36, 43 and 41. With some doubts about both offenses and pretty good defenses, I’ll go UNDER this key number while I can still get it.
My Picks:
Cincinnati -3 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Baltimore/Cincinnati UNDER 47 (Risking $220 to win $200)


Seattle at Detroit
Line: Lions -5
Total: 47.5

– This is the textbook case of a contrarian play. Every star in the storm lines up (mixing up my metaphors here). Oh fuck it, just give me Seattle. Detroit comes home off their biggest victory in years, beating Super Bowl champion Kansas City. Now, Detroit is going cr-cr-crazy for the Lions, thinking this will be a playoff team, and perhaps they will be. Thing is, Seattle is a well-coached veteran team coming off a horrible game and won’t be taking their hyped opponent lightly. Add the fact we’re getting a generous +5 points (the line was +3 before Week #1 results). The auto workers strike knocked the Lions off the front page in Detroit this week (that’s big news and perhaps in “FORD” Stadium might be some intangible that hurts the Lions. Don’t ask me to explain the connection, but players are human too and had to have been caught up in such a huge local (or national) story this week and especially Friday with the announcement of a massive UAW strike. I simply think Seattle comes in, QB Geno Smith plays like we saw early last season, and the ‘Hawks could pull off the upset here.
My Pick:
Seattle +5 (Risking $275 to win $250)


LA Chargers at Tennessee
Line: Chargers -3
Total: 45.5

– I want to play the Titans here for a large number, but I admit to being snake bit by this deathtrap of a team. Their offensive playing calling is often atrocious (case in point, last week’s one point loss in New Orleans when the Titans inexplicably decided to abandon the run…after RB Henry had 59 yards on 11 caries in 1H… and then let wobbly-armed QB Tannehill throw deep into double coverage multiple times, resulting in THREE interceptions. Henry got fed the ball FOUR times in the entire second half in a game that was tied or within a few points the entire way). The Titans do this shit all the time. So, I can’t trust this team, especially on offense. However, the defense is pretty good. I expect they’ll slow down the Chargers a bit who are coming off a loss. Everyone knows LAC can rack up yards and score points, but they can’t stop anybody either. In the Titans home opener, I’ll take the dog plus the FG juiced to -120. Tennessee is a boring team that plays lots of boring games. The LA Chargers are an exciting team that plays lots of exciting games. I think that bias shows here in the line. If the Titans can play in the trenches and don’t fart away the game plan with Tannehill lobbing Hail Marys to the defense, Tennessee should keep it close and/or win it. MEMO TO TENN: JUST FEED HENRY THE GODDAMNED BALL.
My Pick:
Tennessee +3 at -120 (Risking $220 to win $200)


Chicago at Tampa Bay
Line: Buccaneers -2.5
Total: 41

– This line and recent movement looks to be an overreaction to what we saw in Week #1. Suddenly, Tampa Bay is the sexy pick of the week, despite (apparently) failing to upgrade their non-existent running game and getting out-gained by Minnesota my 120 yards in the Bucs’ upset win. I’m not jumping on board the Bucs’ ship just yet. Credit Tampa Bay for that gutsy win (I had them at +5.5), yet they also benefitted from killer Viking turnovers. Chicago imploded in last week’s blowout loss at home to the Packers. It’s impossible to put perfume on that pig of a performance. The team also seemed to give up wih minutes left (recall them huddling and wasting way too much time in the 4th qtr, instead of running a hurry-up offense when down by 20). That tends to be a really troubling sign. I’m putting aside those fears for now, and I’ll wager the Bears will come back with some fight against an opponent they can certainly defeat. However, I’ll play Chicago only in the first half, getting +1.5 juiced to -115. I see the 1H wager as a better opportunity than the Bears +2.5 for the full game. If it’s +3 for the game, I’d re-consider. The total is 41, down from 44 as the preseason number. Chicago games do tend to be volatile, meaning points come quickly and when unexpected. I presume the Bears will open things up more on offense and Tampa Bay could also look better in QB B. Mayfield’s second start. UPDATE—–75 pct. chance of rain forecast—-UPDATE NO PLAY
My Picks:
First Half: Chicago +1.5 at -115 (Risking $230 to win $200)
Chicago/Tampa Bay OVER 41 (Risking $165 to win $150) — CANCEL-NO PLAY


Kansas City at Jacksonville
Line: Chiefs -3.5
Total: 51

– The big news is Kansas City is reportedly health again, which means the Chiefs’ potent offense will be back at full strength. The KC receivers mitten-gloved a nightmare game vs. Detroit, repeatedly dropping catchable passes and killing key drives. We have to presume that debacle was an aberration. Nonetheless, Jacksonville is worth looking at anyway based on how the line has reacted to mid-week reports, which has brought money in on the favorite. Once Jacksonville reached +3.5, even juiced up to -120, this became an easy decision. I don’t know if all the hype on the Jaguars is warranted. They could and should have lost the pointspread cover last week (a 10-point win) and that was against a bad team (Indy) with a QB making his first NFL start. Patrick Mahomes might be a slightly tougher test, let’s agree. Playing at home, here’s a big game for the up-and-coming Jaguars. I say they keep this one close, so I’m taking the points. UPDATE—–80 pct. chance of rain forecast—-UPDATE LATER / CHECK WEATHER….Possible added play on IQ total OVER 9.5 at -145 and Possible added play on game total UNDER 51 at -110. UPDATE: High humidity and 70 pct. chance of showers should slow down offenses as we saw in similar games last week. BETTING UNDER 51.
My Picks:
Jacksonville +3.5 at -120 (Risking $240 to win $200)

Kansas City-Jacksonville UNDER 51 (Risking $220 to win $200) — ADDED


Indianapolis at Houston
Line: Colts -1
Total: 39.5

I used to love shitty games like this. I’ll look for some fruit on this barren tree and if I find anything, I’ll post it late.
My Picks:

LATE ADDITION: I found Indianapolis +.5 in the first half at -120.  I like to take teams like this, not so much because I believe in the Colts (though they played decently last week losing to JAX), but rather as a fade against Houston, which is offensively challenged, with a rookie QB.  The pressure is on the Texans to outscore the Colts in the 1H, and since scoring will be lower than average (based on the total being low), points might be hard to come by.  Give me Indy plus the half point at a small juice price (which I think should be -135, or so).

First Half:  Indianapolis + .5 (half point)….$120 to win $100


San Francisco at LA Rams
Line: 49ers -8
Total: 45.5

– This line went from +9 down to +7.5 and now it’s back to +8. The 49ers erased all the concerns about QB B. Purdy’s condition with a punishing performance in Pittsburgh. Most of the gambling world was heavy on the Steelers getting points (including me), and we watched the 49ers play as dominant a game on both sides of the ball as we’ve seen. I’m counting on some market overreaction to that impressive performance and hoping the 49ers won’t be nearly as proficient. My optimism is aided by this being a second straight road game for SFO, and now playing at the division rival. Some may correctly point out the “home” crowd could be split in this game, but the travel could still be a factor. As for the Rams, I don’t know what to make of their humiliation of the Seahawks in the opener, which is always a tough place to play. Can we give much weight to that, or was Seattle just flat? The Rams were killed by injuries last season and are more healthy. But they’ve also revamped the defense with several new starters. That wasn’t an issue in Seattle last week, but SFO will pose a much bigger test. I think even with the 49ers obvious superiority, we have to take the home division dog getting more than a touchdown. If this was a late season game last season with all those Rams injuries, I wouldn’t touch this (and might even play SFO). Given we have some unknowns and the Rams did prove they can beat a good team, the confidence in the home LAR is justified.
My Pick:
LA Rams +8 (Risking $165 to win $150)


NY Giants at Arizona
Line: Giants -4
Total: 39.5

– Many bettors expect the Giants will “bounce back” this week, but it’s hard to et on a team laying points on the road after they just got hammered by 40 and were shut out at home. Aside from my lingering doubts about QB Jones’ and his questionable leadership and toughness, what was most troubling was the pathetic performance of the NYG offensive line, which got destroyed with 7 sacks, and was thoroughly trounced all night long. Teams with suspect OLs combined with  soft QB (that’s my take) are terrible bets, especially as favorites. Let’s also credit the Cardinals for almost winnning outright last week. Arizona led 16-10 entering the 4Q then basically handed the game over to Washington. Their only TD was a defensive score. QB J. Dobbs was predictably bad but still had a shot to win (but hey, they covered +7 which is all the matters). This past week, I heard a reliable sourced podcast talking about Dobbs and his role as a backup QB in Airzona. Long story short — he’s in this for a paycheck. Dobbs had a chance to go elsewhere and even get some snaps, but reports are that Dobbs is happy in the third-string or taxi-squad role so long as his $2M is guaranteed. That’s NOT the type of QB I want either. I’d normally jump in the Cardinals in a game like this and take the points. Dobbs 132 yards passing, 2 fumbles, 3 sacks, and 9 penalties (not all his fault, but the flase starts and illegal formations fall on him) is some indication Arizona will struggle to score points. The UNDER is appealing, and I’d probably bet i if Ican find 40. For now, this game is a pass for me.
My Picks:


NY Jets at Dallas
Line: Cowboys -9
Total: 38

– I’ll keep this short and to the point. I found two sites (STN and DK) which have the NY Jets team total for the game listed at 13.5 and it’s only juiced to -130. Barring terrible weather or some anomaly with the offense, I”m going OVER with *any* NFL team when the total is less than two touchdowns. There’s just too many things that can happen, including special teams, defensive scores, a breakout game by someone unlikely, or perhaps the Jets just show up and play a better game offensively this week, even though QB Z. Wilson is starting. I’m also counting on the NYJ defense to force some turnovers or at least give the offense an opportunity in a game that many people aren’t giving the Jets any chance to win. What I see is a huge market overreaction to Dallas’ impressive shutout win last week, but those situations often tend to be good fades in the next game. I’m tempted by the points, but the think the Jets scoring 14 or more is the more confident place to park my money.
My Pick:
NY Jets Team Total OVER 13.5 at -130 (Risking $260 to win $200)


Washington at Denver
Line: Broncos -3.5
Total: 38.5

– Both teams underperformed last week, but at least Washington won. I’m not sure why Denver is laying this many points given they looked very ordinary last week and the offense with QB R. Wilson continued to struggle, scoring just 16 points. Only 260 yards in total offense were out up by the Broncos, and that was at home versus a bad Raiders D. The Pigskins weren’t much better, struggling themselves for much of the game playing against arguably the NFL’s worst team. But the defense lived up to it’s #4 ranking from the previous season and pretty much shut down the Cardinals all day, but hey, that was the Cardinals. QB Howell did enough to win it, though we have to be concerned about his ability. Lots of questions here, and two veteran coaches, and the teams on paper look pretty even. Given the randomness and some lingering doubts asto whether Wilson is his old Seahawk self, I’ll take the points, especially with the nice juicy hook on the FG at +3.5. Note: I missed a Washington Team Total bet earlier in the week when it was 16.5. It’s 17 now, which isn’t as strong, but still worth a smaller bet.
My Pick:
Washington +3.5 at -105 (Risking $210 to win $200)
Washington Team Total OVER 17 at -120 (Risking $240 to win $200)


Miami at New England (Sunday Night)
Line: Dolphins -3
Total: 46.5

– The “sharps vs. squares” divide gets tossed around a lot in NFL handicapping and it’s a bit conceited to make the assumption that *we* are always in the “sharps” camp. Believe me, I’ve been the in “squares” category many times. That said, I’m going to use that description to apply to this game and the opposing betting allegiances. Lots of people are going to fall for the fish bait and take Miami – 3. The reasoning for that selection seems obvious. Miami is an explosive team and could put up 30 or 40 points against any opponent, on any week. Meanwhile, New England doesn’t inspire nearly as much confidence. But a closer examination of this game leads me to believe it’s one of those quintessential results you look at on Sunday night while watching back on the highlights and say, gee–how in the hell did New England upset Miami? Well, for one thing this is a AFC East divisional rivalry game and those are always situations where we should initially look to bet the underdog —- especially a home underdog getting a field goal or greater. Miami’s offense maybe one of the best (if not the best in the NFL) right now; however, that defense was shredded last weekend admittedly by an explosive Chargers offense. So, I don’t think we can trust in the Dolphins to shut down anybody, let alone the Patriots. Moreover, anyone who watched New England last week saw them fall behind 16-0 in the first quarter and then it seemed the Patriots woke up while the Eagles sleepwalked through the rest of the game. Credit the Patriots for not giving up and actually almost winning the game, and they would have were not for a couple of tough late breaks. I actually suspect that loss and the fact they played well against a really good team leads to another solid effort here — especially in back-to-back home games and playing one of the AFC favorites. Getting +3 points is just too good of value to pass up and that’s why I think a lot of sharp money is going to be on New England hoping their defense which is statistically pretty good will slow down the Dolphins. We also must add Miami’s horrendous travel situation here going coast-to-coast in back-to-back road games which I think probably helps us here with the rested home team. Give me the underdog and the Patriots who need this game more to stay in the hunt. I’ll also take the Patriots to enjoy some success vs. a vulnerable Miami defense likely to surrender yards and points.
My Pick:
New England +3 at -115 (Risking $230 to win $200)
New England Team Total OVER 22.5 (Risking $110 to win $100)


New Orleans at Carolina (Monday Night)
Line: Saints -3
Total: 39.5

– I’ve been heavy on dogs this week.  But here’s one of the few exceptions. Initially, I leaned toward Carolina at +3 as a home division dog on Monday Night Football. That angle needs no explanation as it’s just a common sense play it, even though it’s not nearly as strong today as it was many years ago. Then, I said did more research into the Carolina Panthers situation and alarm bells began ringing.  I’m much more wary of them and now I’m leaning toward the Saints. The Cats hey lost a key defensive player, but the real problem for the Panthers is on a unproven offense led by rookie quarterback Bryce Young 20-38, 143 yards, 2 ints last week)  is they lost two guards. An OL that was suspect anyway will be facing a pretty darn good New Orleans Saints defensive 4-3 front which did a nice job last week and putting pressure on the Titans. I’m thinking the Saints are going to shut down Carolina and it won’t take that much for the Saints to get the cover so long as they don’t implode offensively.  It helps that QB D Carr is a veteran quarterback and now playing his second game with the team in a system he knows and is used to these pressure-filled primetime games. The saints were picked by some as an NFC dark horse and while I think that’s too early to predict if they’re for real as the division favorite, in this spot they should be ready to cover the field goal. UPDATE: I also have a prop on this game that I picked up from some other source that I’ll be posting on Monday.
My Pick:
New Orleans -3 (Risking $220 to win $200)


Cleveland at Pittsburgh (Monday Night)
Line: Browns -2.5
Total: 39

– One of the most difficult things to do in sports betting is taking a team that broke your heart in the previous game. Many of us were loaded up heavy on the Pittsburgh Steelers last week as home underdogs to 49ers and were disappointed in a horrendously bad effort on both sides of the ball by a usually well-prepared Steelers. But lets remember the overall big picture: Head coach Mike Tomlin is a staggering 53-31-3 as an underdog over the course of his coaching career. For whatever reason, Tomlin gets more out of his players when they play good opposition than any coach in the last 20 seasons. Since 2018, Steelers are 7-2-1 ATS as a home dog. So, while it’s not easy to pull the trigger again — I’m going to put in more good money after bad. This is one of those situations that you have to have faith in angles and trends. I also love taking the contrarian side of hype and flash perceptions based on limited data. This line appears to be a ridiculous overreaction to just the Week #1 games. I can’t even recall the last time the Browns were favorites playing *AT* Pittsburgh; probably going back to the 1960s. Cleveland did look outstanding last week in beating lifeless Cincinnati, but this is another division game and they’re going on the road and suddenly giving points. This makes no sense at all. Before jumping off the Steelers bandwagon based on one really sour effort, I think can expect Pittsburgh is likely to be intensely focused on this game, especially since it’s a Monday nighter. Yes, I was concerned about QB K. Pickett, who needs to step it up. But I really I can’t understand this line which I think should be pick ’em (and perhaps the Steelers should even be laying a point or two). Hence, I’m taking the Steelers at +2.5. I’m also taking them in the first half getting a half-point. I’ll also take a bite on the first quarter to at least produce a touchdown at OVER 6.5, even with high juice.

My Picks:
First Quarter Total: OVER 6.5 at -145 (Risking $145 to win $100)
First Half: Pittsburgh +.5 at -115 (risking $15 to win $100)
Pittsburgh +2.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)




Minnesota at Philadelphia (Thursday)
Line: Eagles -6.5
Total: 49

– Is the “bet against the visiting team on a short week” angle valid? Here’s the first of many Thursday night NFL games (throwing out the opener, which wasn’t really a short week for the visiting team), which common sense would say does put visiting teams at a disadvantage. This is especially true for teams that played the previous Sunday and therefore have only 4 days to prepare for their next opponent, which includes 1 day for travel. TNF became a thing in 2012, so now there’s enough data to be statistically relevant. The 11-season results show TNF home teams are 69-47 SU and 58-52-6 ATS (52.7 pct,). Last season, road TNF teams went 11-8 SU. O/Us are split 57-57-2. Note: I pulled these records from VSiN. Although those numbers don’t provide any useful trends, we can automatically disregard the “betting against the visiting team” angle, which appears to be a myth. Rambling on about a “short week” is mumbo-jumbo and produces no real use to bettors, as we conclude this is simply factored into the line.

– In their Week #1 openers, neither the Vikings or Eagles looked like the two teams that finished with the NFC’s best records last season. Philadelphia built an early and easy 16-0 lead at New England and then sleepwalked through the remaining 3/4ths of the game en route to a lackluster 25-20 victory. The Eagles offense was held to 251 total yards and looked out of sync. There’s also some questions about the Eagles defense, which is massively overhauled from last season with 5 new defensive starters and 3 new coaches, including DC Sean Desai. The Eagles gave up nearly 400 yards to the Patriots. They’ll face a major test this week against Minnesota’s talented receivers. Minnesota dominated the game last week statistically, out-gaining the Bucs by 369-242, but lost and failed to cover due to turnovers. The passing attack looked to be in midseason form, largely thanks to WR J. Jefferson (9 caches for 150), who could be the go to threat for the Vikings. Nearly all of Minnesota’s offensive production came through the air. The running game was non-existent, with only 41 yards on 17 carries. The big question is — do we trust the Vikings one-dimensional offense to move the ball, keep the Eagles offense on the sidelines, and score enough points to get the win and/or cover?

– If you bet the game, I think Minnesota is probably the correct side. We get the “bounce back” theory in play here. So, the Vikings may have a little more urgency to win, or at least play a tight game and get the cover. I’m also comfortable fading the Eagles, which didn’t look like last year’s Super Bowl team in the opener. The previous year’s runner-up has historically been a solid fade the next season and even though Philadelphia edged out a slim cover and win last week, the bet against angle still has some solid backing evidence. It scares me that the Vikings may not be able to run the ball and may have to rely primarily on the pass, which puts all the pressure on QB K. Cousins and his receiving corps. Cousins isn’t a QB who instills great confidence, but getting a generous number of points and facing a defense that looks vulnerable to the pass and still has some questions overrides my concerns. I also lean UNDER the total, which seems a bit high at 49. I’ll also take a bite at the Vikings Team Total prop in the first half to go OVER 9.5 points, even though it’s juiced to -130.

Final Picks:

Minnesota +6.5 (Risking $110 to win $100)
Minnesota/Philadelphia UNDER 49 (Risking $110 to win $100)
First Half: Minnesota Team Total OVER 9.5 at -130 (Risking $130 to win $100)



Last Week’s Results:

Carolina +3.5 (Risking $220 to win $200) — LOST
Player Prop: J.K. Dobbins OVER 59.5 rushing yards [-115] (Risking $115 to win $100) — LOST
Player Prop: Gus Edwards OVER 28.5 rushing yards [-110] ( Risking $110 to win $100) — WON
Player Prop: Dobbins to have more rushing yardage than Pierce [-120] (Risking $120 to win $100) — LOST
Cincinnati -2 (Risking $220 to win $200) — LOST
First Quarter: Tampa Bay +1.5 [-130] (Risking $130 to win $100) — WON
First Half: Tampa Bay Team Total OVER 9.5 [-120] (Risking $240 to win $200) — WON
Tampa Bay +5.5 [full game line] (Risking $220 to win $200) — WON
Player Prop: Derrick Henry OVER 78.5 rushing yards [-115] (Risking $115 to win $100) — LOST
First Half: Tennessee +1.5 [-115] (Risking $115 to win $100) — WON
Tennessee +3 (Risking $220 to win $200) — WON
First Half: Pittsburgh +1.5 [-125] (Risking $125 to win $100) — LOST
Pittsburgh +2.5 (Risking $220 to win $200) — LOST
Washington Team Total OVER 22.5 [-115] (Risking $230 to win $200) — LOST
Washington -7 (Risking $220 to win $200) — LOST
Player Prop: Carlson (PK) to go OVER 1.5 successful field goals [+115] (Risking $200 to win $230) — LOST
Las Vegas +3.5 (risking $110 to win $100) — WON
Miami +3 (Risking $110 to win $100) — WON
Miami / LA Chargers OVER 51 [-105] (Risking $210 to win $200) — WON
First Half: NY Giants +1.5 (Risking $110 to win $100) — LOST
NY Giants +3.5 (Risking $110 to win $100) — LOST
Kansas City -5 (Risking $220 to win $200) — LOST
Kansas City Team Total OVER 28.5 (Risking $230 to win $200) — LOST


  1. Nolan,

    The Vikings were widely available at 7.5. Do you think it’s wise to take 6.5 now?


      Where was +7.5? All I saw were +6 and a few +6.5 juiced up.

      — ND

  2. The screen was mostly 7.5 Monday morning


      Yeah, I missed the early train.

      — ND

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