I was happy with the start of my season-long NFL contest, going 5-2 in Week 1. As for this week, it’s one of my favorite times to bet on the NFL because there are overreactions to the 60-minute sample size we saw from teams in Week 1.
I’ll use lines from the Las Vegas SuperContest, a popular football challenge hosted by the Westgate SuperBook. The point spreads for the contest come out Wednesday evening and are locked at those numbers for the rest of the week.
I’m in a competition where I pick seven sides a week using the SuperContest’s lines, so in this weekly breakdown I will unveil my first impressions of the games and point spreads. I hope this can be a guide for people who are in similar NFL pick’ems or looking to bet games.
Note: My picks could change based on information and any news that is not factored into the contest line. I will discuss and finalize these picks on a Periscope show I host called Weekend Warriors. The show will be live for an hour on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on the Stadium Periscope channel or the Stadium Twitter account. After the show, I will tweet my seven picks for the contest from my Twitter.
Here are my thoughts for Week 2.
Sides I’ll likely use
Lions (+6) over Packers: My favorite side of the week so far is the Lions catching six points in Green Bay. Last year, the 3-12-1 Lions lost two very tight games against the 13-3 Packers. In fact, the Packers didn’t have the lead for one second against the Lions and won both games on game-winning field goals as time expired. When these two teams played at Lambeau Field last year, the Packers closed as a 3.5-point favorite on a Monday night. Now the line here is Packers -6 — and there will be no fans in attendance, unlike the game last year. This line is simply too high based on the results of last week when Aaron Rodgers carved up the Vikings’ shaky secondary and the Lions squandered a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. I’m predicting Detroit will cover the number in another close battle between the division foes.
Patriots (+4) over Seahawks: The Patriots enter this game in unfamiliar territory. They are regular season underdogs for the first time since Week 1 of 2016. Being in the underdog role will happen more often for New England without Tom Brady, but there was a lot to like from Cam Newton in his Patriots debut. While there isn’t much of a sample size of Bill Belichick as a regular season underdog, the Patriots are 6-1 against the spread as the ‘dog since 2014. I personally projected the Seahawks as a 2.5-point favorite, so there’s line value on the Patriots. Seattle let Russell Wilson throw last week and he torched Atlanta’s secondary, but New England has a much better defense, especially on the back end. I’ll take New England here with a chance to win outright.
Picks I’m considering
Eagles (-1) over Rams: Some sportsbooks post look-ahead lines for upcoming games and before Week 1’s action, the Eagles were a 3.5-point favorite against the Rams. The banged-up Eagles then lost to Washington after having a 17-0 lead at one point, and the Rams ended up closing as a favorite and beating the Cowboys on Sunday night. There is hope early in the week that running back Miles Sanders and offensive lineman Lane Johnson will play, which would be a big boost for the Eagles. I like them to improve to 1-1 on the season with a win over the Rams.
Cowboys (-4.5) over Falcons: This is another strong line move compared to last week when the Cowboys were -7 on the look-ahead line, but that was before both teams lost in disappointing fashion in Week 1. I understand the line move to -4.5 because the Falcons ended up closing as a favorite against the Seahawks after an aggressive Sunday morning line move on Atlanta. The Cowboys closed as underdogs after nearly four months of being a field goal favorite in that game. However, I could only look to the Cowboys here at this number. Dak Prescott and Dallas were a much better team at home than on the road last season, so this could be a good “buy low” opportunity.
Dolphins (+5.5) over Bills: The 1-0 Bills head to the South Florida heat to play the 0-1 Dolphins in Week 2. We’ve seen an adjustment of Bills -3.5 to -5.5 — with some books even showing -6 in the market. The Bills took care of the Jets while the Dolphins fell short against the Patriots in Week 1, but I don’t think that should have moved the line like it did. I mentioned the game is in Miami, and I can see a northeastern team like Buffalo wearing down as the game goes on. I’d love Dolphins +6, so I will consider them in the contest at +5.5.
Colts (-3) over Vikings: These are two teams coming off disappointing losses in Week 1. The Colts’ loss was inexcusable against the Jaguars, but they did outgain Jacksonville 445-241 in yardage, making the result feel more like a fluke. The Vikings’ loss to the Packers is much more concerning and that performance was a reason why sharp bettors loved their regular season win total under 9 before the year. The Vikings have a lot of new starters on defense and Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme takes time to learn, so not having a normal offseason or preseason hurt a team like Minnesota. I suspect the Vikings will continue to struggle in the early portion of the season, which is why I like the Colts at -3 or better.
Giants (+5.5) over Bears: The Bears were very fortunate to beat the Lions. Mitch Trubisky was bad for three quarters before his heroics in the fourth quarter led to a 17-point comeback. I believe what we saw from Trubisky in the first three quarters is who he is as a QB and would be hard-pressed to back him as a favorite. The Giants are traveling on a short week, so the situational spot isn’t great for them but I’ll consider them and possibly bet on New York if a +6 line pops up between now and kickoff.
Titans (-8.5) over Jaguars: This line movement is probably a warranted adjustment from -11 after the Jaguars upset the Colts and played better than expected last week. As for the Titans, they beat the Broncos on a late field goal, but probably should’ve won more comfortably after longtime Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed three field goals and an extra point before kicking the game-winner. I could only look toward Tennessee here at a discounted price, expecting to see a huge game from Derrick Henry. The Titans could be a good teaser leg if they stay at -8.5 or less.
Texans (+7) over Ravens: The situation sets up nicely for the Texans. They have extra time to prepare after playing in the opener on Thursday, and they’re also seeking revenge for a 41-7 drubbing in Baltimore last season. The question is if you can trust Bill O’Brien to take advantage of those possible edges. I’m not sure I can, but since the line on the look-ahead was Ravens -5.5, I have to consider the Texans with the contest line moving to the key number of a full touchdown.
Games I’ll likely avoid
Bengals at Browns (-6): The battle of Ohio sees two 0-1 teams play each other on Thursday night. The look-ahead line was Browns -7.5, so we witnessed quite the downgrade on Cleveland after their poor Week 1 showing in Baltimore. Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow had a slow start to his NFL career and faces the tough challenge of playing on the road in a short week. However, I don’t have interest in betting the Browns as favorites yet.
Panthers at Buccaneers (-9): The Buccaneers struggled on offense in Week 1, but they have a chance to bounce back against a very bad Panthers defense. I just don’t feel comfortable laying the points with Tampa Bay.
Broncos at Steelers (-7): I would’ve liked the Steelers under a touchdown, but now that we are seeing -7, I could only look at betting Pittsburgh in a six-point teaser if the spread goes up.
49ers (-6.5) at Jets: These are two teams I don’t want to bet early in the season. The 49ers’ offense was exposed last week due to a lack of healthy weapons. The Jets played poorly and were unorganized at Buffalo and I have no interest betting on them for the time being.
Washington at Cardinals (-6.5): I took these two squads last week and they came away with outright upsets. However, I usually like to fade teams coming off big divisional wins, so I’ll pass this game.
Chiefs (-8.5) at Chargers: I think this number is spot on. I don’t want to bet against the Chiefs because of their ability to score and the Chargers’ new stadium also has a fast track. But I try to avoid road favorites of over a touchdown.
Saints (-5.5) at Raiders: I considered the Saints but with wide receiver Michael Thomas out this week, I’m going to stay away due to concerns about New Orleans’ passing game.