Beating the Spread: Week 2 Picks

Week 1 is in the books and it brought with it plenty of intriguing storylines. The key to Week 2 is trying to filter through the noise and not get fooled by early September performances. Some teams looked like they were already in mid-season form (see: Patriots) while others looked like they just broke rookie minicamp. I must say that I’m feeling mighty good about my Ravens division winner bet right now.

As far as our staff picks, I was fortunate enough to flash out of the gates like Hollywood Brown on a post pattern, notching a perfect 5-0 week. While three of my picks were comfortably in the win column early, it took some late heroics from Kyler Murray and DeShaun Watson to cover the other two. I’ll take it.

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
Tampa Bay Carolina Car -5 50
San Francisco Cincinnati Cin -1 45
LA Chargers Detroit LA -2.5 47
Minnesota Green Bay GB -3 44.5
Indianapolis Tennessee Ten -3 44
New England Miami NE -18.5 47.5
Buffalo NY Giants Buf -2 43.5
Seattle Pittsburgh Pit -3.5 46.5
Dallas Washington Dal -4.5 46
Arizona Baltimore Bal -13.5 46.5
Jacksonville Houston Hou -9 43.5
Kansas City Oakland KC -9.5 53.5
Chicago Denver Den -1 40.5
New Orleans LA Rams LAR -3 53
Philadelphia Atlanta PK 51
Cleveland NY Jets Cle -2.5 46

Staff Picks

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: It was tough to tell last Sunday if Minnesota was going to be good or Atlanta was just imploding. Either way, I like their defense to take advantage of Aaron Rodgers early in the learning curve of the new offense and at least keep this one close if not win it outright (MIN +3).  I took the longshot Titans to win the AFC South in my preseason picks (this was before the Andrew Luck retirement news) and I’m feeling pretty good about the start. Improvement under a second-year Head Coach from a team that made the playoffs a season ago could mean big things in Nashville and I like them to take care of business at home against the Colts (TEN -3). If you watched Lamar Jackson highlights from Sunday, you’ll understand why I’m feeling good about another divisional pick – the Ravens to win the AFC North. They come into Week 2 with a huge line over the Cardinals at 13.5 and that’s too rich for my blood with the volatility of the Kyler Murray offense. However, I do like this game to put up some points with Jackson likely to find similar success against a defense still missing Patrick Peterson (ARZ-BAL Over 46.5).  I was in attendance in the Super Dome last year for the Rams-Saints and took the over bet, which they easily cleared in a Saints 45-35 victory. This year the game is in LA and while 53 is a big number to hit, I like the potential for a lot of points from each offense here (NO-LAR Over 53). Finally, let’s talk about a game that could put football back 50 years. The Bears and Broncos are set to square off in the lowest over/under line at 40.5 in Week 2. Chicago’s defense looked hapless in Week 1 and the Broncos could only muster 16 against the Raiders. Both defenses are highly talented and this one figured to be a grinder (CHI-DEN Under 40.5).

 

Erik Smith: The Ravens are 13.5 point favorites after they thrashed the Dolphins in week one. The Ravens are good, but that’s a lot of points, especially without cornerback Jimmy Smith this week. I’ll be rooting for a Kyler Murray backdoor cover, but I’m fine with that, Murray looked good playing from behind last week. I’ll take the Cardinals (+13.5) in this one. Playing on the road in Atlanta is a tough draw, but I just think the Eagles have a better team top to bottom. The Falcons looked lost in their opener, and I don’t think they will fix everything in one week. The Eagles (PK) will win this one outright. I continue to think the Colts are undervalued, and they lost a gritty battle on the road in overtime last week. They play a Titans team that I simply don’t believe in, and I think the Colts will keep it close and possibly win straight up. I’ll take the points, Colts +3. While Gardner Minshew looked impressive in the opener filling in for the injured Nick Foles, a road test in Houston is a whole different animal. The Texans looked explosive on offense and were every bit as good as the Saints in hostile territory. On their home turf, the Texans may light up the scoreboard. The Jaguars’ issues from last year already resurfaced with fights and ejections against the Chiefs, and I don’t think they can hang with a desperate Texans (-9) team. Vegas seems to be wanting us to pick the Seahawks with this line, so I’ll do the opposite and take the Steelers. I wasn’t impressed with Seattle at home against an inferior Bengals team, and the Steelers will be focused after a Week 1 humiliation. PIT -3.5.

 

Tom Schweitzer: Rough start to the year for me! I usually try to avoid overreacting after week 1, but in a couple of cases, I feel like I was so far off that I need to make a big adjustment. First, the Detroit Lions (+2.5) defense looked surprisingly fast and disciplined in their matchup with the Cardinals. The game ended in a tie only because they were too conservative in the 2nd half and because Larry Fitzgerald made a few incredible catches. The Chargers were unable to protect their QB or stop the Colts defense last week, so I think they’re a prime upset candidate in Detroit this weekend. On a similar note, Washington’s (+4.5) offense was much better than I expected given the surprise breakout of Terry McLaurin and long-overdue deactivation of Adrian Peterson. I think they can keep it close against the Cowboys. The Vikings blocked a punt and picked off Matt Ryan early in the game, allowing them to take an early 14-0 lead and attempt only 10 passes against Atlanta. That won’t fly against the Packers(-3) at home off 10 days rest. I thought Gardner Minshew looked impressive in relief of Nick Foles last week. The look-ahead line for this game was Jaguars +3, and as much as I like Foles, 6 points is too much of an adjustment. I think the Jaguars (+9) test the Texans off their short week. Lastly, I thought the Browns looked as sloppy and as poorly-coached in Week 1 as they did with Hue Jackson at the helm. I remain cautiously optimistic about their long-term outlook, but for now, they have no business being a road favorite against the Jets (+2.5).

 

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

 

(Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)

Jeff Berckes

In addition to writing fantasy football content for QB List, I write Bears stuff for Windy City Gridiron and co-host the podcast Bears Over Beers. Follow me on Twitter @gridironborn

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Comments


Tom (@QBLTom)

We posted this piece right before it was announced that Sam Darnold would miss Monday’s game with mono, Le’Veon Bell needs an MRI, and probably a third terrible thing that Adam Gase will announce in an awkward press conference. Tough luck, but it happens. The casinos don’t give you your money back, so I will let my bet ride for official record-keeping purposes. But with the Jets-Browns line off the board and likely to re-open around Browns -4.5, I’ll add in a 6th pick just for fun. I think the Raiders’ only chance to beat the Chiefs is to slow things down and control the ball with their short passing game. Tyreek Hill being out lessens (if only slightly) the Chiefs big-play potential, so I think the total stays Under 53.5.

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