Beating the Spread: Week 2 Picks

Our Week 2 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

It’s always nice to get off to a good start on the season and both Erik and I were able to secure 3-2 records in the opening week. I’ll stand by my Miami underdog pick and it almost held up but I think my process was fine there. I’m incredibly pleased that I picked to Cardinals to cover against the 49ers and was excited to see them pull off the upset. Vegas will quickly adapt and there won’t be any free takes on the Cardinals again if they continue to play well. As the books adapt, so must we.

We’re officially adding a third picker into the article series. Bryan Sweet enters with a lead after hitting 4 of his 5 picks I had him send me before kickoff. Just so he’s on the record and you can get an idea of how he’s forming his bets, Bryan chose the Washington Football Team +6, the Rams +3, Jacksonville +8, and Baltimore -8. His one miss was taking the over in the Cardinals – 49ers and he almost cashed that. Four out of five is a great start.

If he would’ve hit that last bet, I think we’re going to call it a Bingo and keep track of a perfect week. I know I hit two Bingo weeks last year, helping propel me to a strong season overall. That achievement should probably get tracked somewhere as we move along so we’ll lock those in when they happen.

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

Week 2 betting lines: (Away Team / Home Team / Line / O-U)

Away Team Home Team Line O/U
Rams Eagles Rams -1.5 46
Panthers Bucs Bucs -9 48.5
Broncos Steelers Steelers -7.5 41.5
Falcons Cowboys Cowboys -5 52.5
49ers Jets 49ers -7 42.5
Bills Dolphins Bills -5.5 41
Vikings Colts Colts -3 48
Lions Packers Packers -6 49
Giants Bears Bears -4.5 42
Jaguars Titans Titans -9 42.5
Washington Cardinals Cardinals -6.5 46.5
Ravens Texans Ravens -7 51.5
Chiefs Chargers Chiefs -8.5 47
Patriots Seahawks Seahawks -4 45
Saints Raiders Saints -6.5 51.5

 

Staff Picks

Analyst Jeff Berckes Erik Smith Bryan Sweet
Pick #1 BAL -7 CAR/TB U48.5 JAX +9
Pick #2 KC -8.5 MIN/IND U48 KC -8.5
Pick #3 GB -6 DAL -5 DET/GB O49
Pick #4 MIA +5.5 KC -8.5 SEA -4
Pick #5 NE/SEA U45 NO -6.5 ATL/DAL O52.5
2020 Record 3-2 3-2 4-1

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: The thing about Week 2 is avoiding overreactions. It’s a dangerous game so really, I want to play this one close to the vest. I’ll start off with the Ravens taking care of business against the Texans. While I don’t think the Texans are a bad team, they sure got a raw deal drawing the Chiefs and Ravens in the first two weeks. The Ravens steamrolled the Browns, a talented team that projects somewhere around the Texans this year. I hate betting against Deshaun Watson, but betting with Lamar Jackson right now is money in the bank. Baltimore -7

The same logic holds for my next pick with the Chiefs heading to play the Chargers. If there’s one advantage that we’re all going to look back on and say, “aha!” it’s that the teams that retained continuity from last year were able to start off fast. The Chiefs return basically everyone and added another ridiculous weapon in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chargers changed QBs and have already lost their biggest defensive playmaker in Derwin James for the season.  I’ll lay that big point total out there for the Chiefs -8.5.

I’ve made it clear that I’m a Bears fan and I hate to give anything to the Packers. Anything. I don’t draft their players in fantasy and in general, I’m always going to take the under on Packers wins even if that isn’t a wise investment. The hatred is deep. But when Aaron Rodgers starts out the year in fire-breathing dragon mode and gets the Lions secondary coming off a meltdown against Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears, I’ll put my differences aside. I think the Packers roll easily in this one. GB -6

Call me crazy, but I’m going to try this again. If it fails this week, I won’t do it again, but I think the Dolphins can keep pace with the Bills. They get to play at home in the humidity and I think Head Coach Brian Flores is building a mentally tough team. They hung with the Patriots most of the game last week and I have a hunch they can hang tight and possibly pull an upset off against the favored Bills. Miami +5.5

The Patriots head out to the Pacific Northwest to face Russell Wilson. I don’t expect a lot of points in this one because I think the Patriots want to try and shrink the game, control the football and not allow Russ to cook. I don’t really have strong feelings about picking a side in this one as both teams usually start off a little slow, but I do feel pretty good about it being a low scoring affair. NE-SEA Under 45

 

Erik Smith: I’m breaking my cardinal rule of avoiding over/unders, and doubling down on my rule-breaking by taking two of them. The first is in the Carolina and Tampa Bay game, where the point total feels too high for me. Teddy Bridgewater and Tom Brady both take care of the ball, so hopefully, we avoid big play turnovers here. Brady may be without Chris Godwin, and while Mike Evans seems to be recovering from his injury, Brady hasn’t had much of a chance to form a connection with him yet. Rob Gronkowski had a slow start to the season as well, and I think this leads to a ball-control offense with an emphasis on the running game. On the other side, the Buccaneers stout run defense has a history of keeping Christian McCaffrey in check, and they held their own against the Saints passing game last week. CAR/TB U48.5

My second over/under is in Indianapolis, where I think we have these two teams pegged all wrong. Minnesota was forced into a shootout as Aaron Rodgers went nuclear last week, while Indianapolis is likely regretting allowing Philip Rivers to pass 46 times in their Week 1 loss to the Jaguars. I expect both teams to revert back to run-heavy offenses, burning the clock and keeping this game moving quickly. I also expect these defenses to have a chip on their shoulder after frustrating performances against last week’s competition. MIN/IND U48

Ok, back to the lines, where I’m riding the favorites this week. I don’t think the Falcons are a very good football team, but with such a focus on fantasy football in the modern age, we often get tricked into thinking they are closer to average because of their stat lines. The Seahawks dominated Atlanta on their own field in the opener, with Matt Ryan racking up stats in garbage time. With Dallas starting 0-1 as well, these are two desperate teams, and Dallas just has more talent on both sides of the ball. I wish the line was a tad lower, but isn’t that always the case? DAL -5

For my next favorite, I’m taking the Chiefs in Los Angeles against the Chargers. I can’t get it out of my head how conservatively the Chargers played against the Bengals, even while trailing in the second half. They refused to get Austin Ekeler involved in the passing game, and have lost their star safety and center to injuries already. This is not a team I feel comfortable with playing in catch up mode, so assuming Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid can solve this defense relatively early, I expect Kansas City to run away with this one. KC -8.5

For my final favorite, I like the Saints on the road in Las Vegas. This line feels a little low, and while losing Michael Thomas hurts, this Saints team barely missed a beat last year when they lost Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara. The Saints defense looked excellent against Tampa Bay last week, so I expect them to dominate both sides of the ball here. With an excellent offensive line, they can lean on Kamara and Latavius Murray if they have a lead, and if this somehow turns into a shootout I still think Brees can get this done without Thomas. NO -6.5

 

Bryan Sweet: The Titans are content running the ball and controlling the clock and the Jaguars might not be as bad as perceived before the start of the season. Minshew isn’t going to complete 95% of his passes or be as efficient as last week, but this team can still stay in games and Tennessee struggled to put points on the board against a Von Miller-less defense in week one. The Titans get the win, but the Jags cover. Jaguars +9

I normally hate giving points to a home team in a division game, but the lack of a true home-field advantage this season makes laying points a little more palatable. The Chiefs have an ultra-efficient offense and can hang points on anybody in a hurry. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Kansas City sprint out to an early lead and lean on their rookie RB and the savvy of Mahomes to melt the second half away. The Chargers struggled with a bad Cincinnati team last week and should have been taken to overtime. I see the Chiefs rolling by at least 14. Chiefs -8.5

Green Bay and Minnesota combined for 77 points in week one as Aaron Rodgers quashed any talk of a Jordan Love emergence, at least for one week. Detroit allowed Mitch Trubisky to throw for three TDs in the second half as they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again. The Lions moved the ball well against a stout Bears defense, so I think the winning team is going to have to score a bunch to win. I don’t know who ends up victorious, but a 38-31 type game seems feasible so the over is the play. Lions/Packers Over 49

Let. Russ. Cook. Russell Wilson once again showed just how good he is as he dismantled Atlanta to the tune of four TD passes. The addition of Earl Thomas brings back memories of the “Legion of Boom” days in Seattle and can turn any game with a single play. New England can never be counted out of a game, but with all the opt-outs on their defense, it’s hard to see them keeping pace with Seattle. I’ll gladly lay the points with the team that looks like a serious contender in the NFC. Seahawks -4

What happens when you take two teams with potent offenses and less-than-average defenses? You get a football game that provides a lot of points. The Cowboys lost their starting MLB, Leighton Vander Esch, for the foreseeable future and had trouble containing the Rams offense in week one. Atlanta is going to try and outscore most opponents with their suspect defense and should be able to move the ball in this game. Who gets to 1-1 after this game? I don’t know, but it’s going to take a bunch of points to get there. Falcons/Cowboys Over 52.5


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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