Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe, and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.
Week one is in the books after seemingly every game flipped on it’s head in the fourth quarter. There were multiple games featuring missed kicks, overtime, and everything else we love about the NFL. Vegas was pretty split on the spread’s this week, with eight of 16 favorites covering the spread. Points were almost as hard to come by than a 49ers first down, though, with five of 16 games going under the total. It would have taken a real dummy to pick the 49ers to cover, I certainly wouldn’t have done that. Across the board, we combined for 8-7, which is a nice way of saying I went 2-3, while my counterparts each went 3-2.
You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll be using for Week 2!
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)||Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)||Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)|
|Pick #1||Eagles/Vikings over 51.5||Browns -6.0||Colts -4.0|
|Pick #2||Saints +3.0||Saints +3.0||Dolphins +3.5|
|Pick #3||Saints/Buccaneers under 44.0||Seahawks +9.5||Patriots/Steelers under 41.0|
|Pick #4||Browns/Jets under 40.5||Bengals -7.0||Seahawks/49ers over 42.5|
|Pick #5||Giants -2.5||Bills -10.0||Bears/Packers under 43.0|
Last week, I picked four spreads and one total and quickly realized I didn’t have any feel for the spreads. I’m going back to the totals for my first pick this week with the Monday night game in Philadelphia. Both of these teams showed they can score in a hurry on Sunday, putting up a combined 61 points. The Vikings’ defense is certainly stronger than the Lions’, but their secondary is shoddy and they didn’t have to deal with a legitimate receiving threat like A.J. Brown in the opener. On the other side, Kevin O’Connell showed he could get Justin Jefferson in favorable matchups just like he did with Cooper Kupp last year. I like both teams to get up and down the field on Monday night, putting this game in the mid-fifties or higher. MIN/PHI over 51.5
I hate betting against Tom Brady. If you lose, you feel like an idiot for betting against Tom Brady, because he’s, well, Tom Brady. I’m not smart, so I’m going to do it anyways. For whatever reason, the Buccaneers have struggled with the Saints since acquiring TB12. This is the first season without Sean Payton as head coach for the Saints so the trend may very well be flipped, but I’m willing to bet Dennis Allen is up to the task. Since Brady’s arrival in Tampa, the Saints are 4-1 against the spread versus Tampa, with the one loss coming in the playoffs. I’ll take the points at home. NO +3.0
Enough about Tom Brady and the Bucs. It’s been 23 years, everyone is sick of hearing about him by now. On to the next pick. You guessed it, we’re headed to the Superdome where the Saints take on the Buccaneers. I’m effectively just doubling down on the same pick. The Buccaneers are averaging 16 points per game against New Orleans since Brady took over at quarterback; that number drops to 13 if you take out the playoff game. Chris Godwin is out for Tampa and Mike Evans has historically had a tough time with Marshon Lattimore. The Saints don’t have much going on offense either, with a third of their week one rushing yards coming on one Taysom Hill carry. I like another divisional slugfest on Sunday afternoon. TB/NO under 44.0
Okay, I promise I’m done with Tom Brady now. We’ll swing over to Cleveland, where the Browns host the Jets in the early window on Sunday. Joe Flacco is still quarterbacking the Jets after throwing the ball 59 times in the opener. I can’t say for sure, but it’s likely his arm is no longer attached to his body. The Jets will probably take a more run-heavy approach this time out, especially given that 59 pass attempts yielded three points against Baltimore. On the other side, Jacoby Brissett completed just 52% of his passes, leaning on the ground game to move the ball. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are a formidable backfield, but the Jets dealt with the Ravens’ rushing attack well and made Lamar Jackson beat them through the air. Rookie Sauce Gardner looks to be the real deal and could help neutralize Amari Cooper, leaving the Browns with few other receiving threats. It’s a low total, but still high enough to get under. NYJ/CLE under 40.5
There’s always a team that you just can’t get a read on. You bet on them, they play poorly, you bet against them, they play well. Last week, I bet on the Panthers, and against the Giants. I’m going to tempt fate this week by doing the inverse and taking the Giants. Brian Daboll won his head coaching debut on the road against the Titans last week, no small feat. Nick Chubb ran all over the Panthers, while Saquon Barkley looked the best he had in years. If I could, I would bet on Matt Rhule to be the first head coach fired this year. With Dak Prescott going down, delusional Giants’ fans may think they have a chance to win the division. Metlife should be rocking for the home opener, I’ll lay two and a half with the Giants. NYG -2.5
The Browns somehow went on the road and defeated the Panthers and their former quarterback, Baker Mayfield, to start off 1-0. They held a big lead at one point, but the Panther’s offense started to emerge in the second half. The Panthers led by one with a minute left, but the go-ahead field goal was kicked with almost no time left in the game. The Jets, as expected, accomplished almost nothing on offense with Joe Flacco at quarterback. The defense was actually decent, but the Jets have another rough game ahead of them. The Browns had over 200 rushing yards with their elite running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and they have a decent cast of wide receivers headlined by Amari Cooper to go along with a defense that has talent at all levels. The Browns will continue to have success with their run game and make plays in the passing game when necessary, and the defense should have a dominant performance against Flacco. Inside the Numbers: The Jets are 2-5 against the spread as away underdogs under Robert Saleh. CLE -6
The Saints, despite looking lost on both sides of the ball for three quarters, did just enough to beat the Falcons in the fourth quarter. They scored 17 unanswered points to win 27-26, and Atlanta blew a big lead for seemingly the millionth time. The Buccaneers easily took care of the Cowboys last week, but Tampa Bay is dealing with injuries early. Wide receiver Chris Godwin suffered a hamstring strain that will keep him out for a little while and left tackle Donovan Smith (elbow) may or may not play. Tom Brady is 0-4 against the Saints as a member of the Buccaneers in the regular season, and he just seems to have no answer against their defense. In two of the four games he has played against them, they have failed to score a touchdown. The Saints, who are at home this week, will probably do just enough on offense against a talented Buccaneers defense, while the defense will make Brady miserable all game long. Inside the Numbers: As mentioned earlier, Tom Brady is 0-4 straight up and against the spread against the Saints since joining the Buccaneers. NO +3.0
Against all odds, the Seahawks miraculously pulled off a win against the Broncos, who were led by their old quarterback and franchise legend, Russell Wilson. Geno Smith was unstoppable in the first half, and the Seattle defense forced two fumbles in the end zone to hold on for a one-point win. The 49ers struggled last week with Trey Lance, but he didn’t have tight end George Kittle, and their game against the Bears was played in horrible conditions. There were excuses for his poor play, but I still have doubts about Lance. If he continues to disappoint, the team still has Jimmy Garoppolo, and he could potentially reclaim his role as the starter if things continue to go poorly. The Seahawks will probably rely on the running game and the occasional big play to wide receivers Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. The defense will probably make enough plays against Lance, who has very little starting experience. I think Seattle will be better than expected, and they just might pull off a second straight win. I know it’s early, but I think Seattle might make the playoffs, improbable as it may have seemed before the season. Inside the Numbers: The 49ers are 8-15-1 against the spread as home favorites under Kyle Shanahan. SEA +9.5
The Bengals lost to their arch-nemesis divisional rival Steelers in overtime, but it was very avoidable. Joe Burrow turned the ball over a career-high five times, throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble while also being sacked seven times. Still, they were just a missed extra point away from overcoming all of that to win. The Cowboys got beat up at home by the Buccaneers, and Dak Prescott is expected to miss some time with a thumb injury. The Cowboys are going to rely on backup quarterback Cooper Rush to fill in, and I don’t think it’ll go very well. Rush beat the Vikings on the road last year, but turned the ball over a couple of times. Mike Zimmer’s poor coaching allowed Rush to overcome his mistakes and lead Dallas to a game-winning drive, but I think Rush is set to struggle this week. He won’t have wide receivers Amari Cooper or Cedrick Wilson to throw to, and the offensive line is in much worse shape than last season. The Bengals are going to be motivated to get a win after their heartbreaking loss, and I think they’re going to play angry. A blowout win for Cincinnati wouldn’t be surprising. Inside the Numbers: There is little data to go on, but despite Dallas being 3-1 as home underdogs under Mike McCarthy and Cincinnati being 2-2 as Away favorites under Zac Taylor, I’m going with the defending AFC champions. CIN -7.0
The Bills kicked off their season with a blowout win over the defending Super Bowl champions, destroying the Rams 31-10. Buffalo dominated despite turning the ball over four times. They have had over a week to prepare for the Titans, a team that somehow lost to the Giants at home. The Giants didn’t have their top two pass rushers and still managed to find a way to defeat Tennessee on the road. This is not a good start to the season for the Titans, who were the AFC’s top-seeded team last year. They’re now going to go against a Bills team that has a very talented defensive line and an explosive offense. I think the Bills are going to light up the Titans’ defense and limit the turnovers, while the defense dominates. It’s entirely possible that the Titans go from the top seed in the AFC to missing the playoffs entirely. Inside the Numbers: Buffalo is 10-5-2 against the spread as home favorites since 2020. BUF -10.0
Let’s overreact and underreact to Week 1’s results!
This feels like an overreaction to last week. The Colts closed as seven-point road favorites against the Texans, and I don’t think the Jaguars are all that different from them. Washington, led by Carson Wentz, scored 28 on 390 yards against the Jags last week. The Colts are a far superior offense than the Commanders. Ultimately, the Colts had some untimely turnovers and poor red zone efficiency in their 20-20 tie in Houston. They had no trouble moving the ball however and had a league-high 517 yards of offense. Trevor Lawrence is still going through some growing pains in year two of the league. The Colts have lost six straight in Jacksonville, but I think they reverse the trend and cover on Sunday. IND -4.0
Mike McDaniel and Miami got off to a great start to the new regime in their 20-7 victory over the Patriots. They led the league in pass rate over expectation in that game and did a fantastic job at getting the ball in Tyreek Hill’s hands. The Ravens have been hit pretty hard on the injury front with starting cornerback Kyle Fuller out due to an ACL tear and starting tackle Ja’Wuan James to an Achilles injury. The Ravens didn’t really look that impressive against the Jets, and their offensive weapons, Lamar (who might not run without a contract) and Andrews aside, aren’t inspiring either. The Dolphins have an elite secondary group to take Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman out of the picture too. Remember what happened last year when these two teams matched up? Miami’s defense held them in check to just 10 points. They retained their defensive coordinator, Josh Boyer, from last year and you best believe he’ll craft something to slow down Lamar Jackson and company once again. MIA +3.5
Going to keep this one simple. We’ve got two bad offenses and two quarterbacks that I don’t believe in. The Steelers’ offense only put up 13 points in regulation and did not look good with Mitch Tribusky handling the ball. Najee Harris is banged up, and now they are facing a stiffer test with the Patriots’ defense. Mac Jones is dealing with a back ailment and has one of the most lackluster pass-catching groups in the league. TJ Watt is out, but Pittsburgh’s defense still possesses the talent to tame the Pats who put up just 7 points in week 1. Don’t even bother watching this game. NE/PIT under 41.0
Leave it to the Seahawks for some prime-time voodoo magic in Seattle. Don’t know how my Broncos lost that game, but give credit where it is due: Geno Smith looked pretty good, and shockingly, the Hawks were 6th in pass rate over expectation. They trade away Russell Wilson, and the run-heavy scheme goes away? We’ll see if it lasts, but I think they can muster some points to contribute to this low total. Seattle’s defense though? Bad, bad, bad. Denver moved the ball with ease against them and should’ve/could’ve scored 30 points if it weren’t for two fumbles on the goal line. They had 5.31 YPC, so it’s safe to say the 49ers will run all over this defense. I think they bounce back in their home opener. Pray for the forecast to clear up though. SEA/SF over 42.5
It’s hard to fully grade out what the Bears did last week considering the weather they played in, but we all know that the Bears are bad, especially on offense. Facing the stout Packers’ defense at Lambeau with the potential for rain again, it’s hard to foresee Chicago’s offense putting up more than a couple of scores. Green Bay’s offense was clearly out of sync as well and struggled to get anything going against the Vikings who shouldn’t scare anyone defensively. Aaron Rodgers and his receiving corps clearly have some work to do. I’m expecting GB to pound the rock, work the clock, and suffocate the Bears on both sides of the ball. They played at the slowest offensive pace last year, and they will likely do more of the same on SNF. I lean to the Packers covering -9.5 as well considering the 20-7 ATS record Rodgers has against Chicago. CHI/GB under 43.0
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)