You ready for some overreactions? Because that’s what Week 2 is all about. We saw tons of action in Week 1 and we think we learned a lot about every single NFL team. The reality is we’re Jon Snow and we know nothing. One 60-minute game does not tell the story of anyone; you can learn plenty about various teams but to say we know everything would be foolish.
So let’s be cautious when we make picks in Week 2. Look at Thursday night — the narrative surrounding Carolina and Tampa completely flipped over the course of an evening from the first week. All aboard the Jameis Winston bandwagon.
Lines are adjusted to account for the various public beliefs and you are going to see a lot of people taking some road chalk. Be careful. Be smart. Speaking of being smart, you should be listening to and subscribing to the Pick Six Podcast. It’s our daily NFL pod loaded with great content, including our Friday flagship picks show where we make picks against the spread for every single NFL game and give out our best bets.
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Seahawks-Steelers over 46.5
This is a surprisingly low total for a pair of teams who appear like they might be willing to engage in a shootout. Pittsburgh’s defense didn’t look as sharp as I expected in Week 1 against the Patriots and Seattle just gave up more than 400 passing yards to Andy Dalton. I am concerned with Tyler Lockett’s status here: If he is ruled out for some reason, I might flip this and take Steelers -4, because the Seahawks need a deep threat to take advantage of their running game creating opportunities in play action. Do we really think Russell Wilson is going to simply not score points? I expect a bounce-back from Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster. They were humiliated against the Pats and typically play better at home. It was slightly less pronounced last year, but for his career, Roethlisberger’s adjusted net yards per attempt is a full yard higher at home and his passer rating is 10 points better at Heinz Field. I refuse to believe this is a BAD offense. Seattle’s defense isn’t quite there, so I make Pittsburgh scoring 28+ points here. We just need Seattle to find three touchdowns. Backing Wilson to keep the Seahawks involved in a shootout isn’t a bad move at all. Note that I really do like Steelers -4, so feel free to hit that instead.
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Everyone and their brother is going to be on the Bears after seeing what Denver laid on the field against Oakland in the late game Monday. I get it. Joe Flacco and that Denver offense looked terrible and the pass rush for the Broncos — Von Miller and Bradley Chubb! — was nonexistent. Why wouldn’t you back the Bears as a short favorite? In two words: Mitchell Trubisky. The young Bears quarterback was worse than Flacco last week and everyone apparently has short memories. The Broncos defense is better than it looks and Denver plays much better at home, particularly in the early part of the season. The altitude will wipe out any additional rest advantage the Bears have. I think you see a more impressive effort from the Broncos in the run game and the young pass catchers know they have to step up. This will be a low-scoring rock fight but Denver covers and wins outright on a late field goal.
Another home dog here — it’s a theme this week around the NFL, tbh — that I just don’t think should necessarily be an underdog. Yes, the Falcons looked terrible against the Vikings in Week 1. But Minnesota has an elite defense, an elite coaching advantage and a top-tier home-field advantage. Am I worried about the Falcons offensive line? You bet! I’m not sure they will be good this year. But the Falcons aren’t just going to throw their hands up and move on to 2020 after a bad Week 1. The Eagles were losing to the Redskins — big and early — last week as well. No one mentions it because Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson stormed back, revenge game style. But Case Keenum lit up the Philly secondary early, so Ryan can definitely do the same. Ryan has been pretty good against the spread in his career as a prime-time dog at home, going 3-1 against the spread (2-2 straight up) in the four games where he’s been a dog. The Falcons might have looked terrible, but they wouldn’t 7.5-point underdogs to the Eagles in Philly. This line is wrong.
My one big concern here is the Cincinnati offensive line against the San Francisco defensive line. It got lost in the shuffle of Jameis Winston throwing a pair of pick-sixes, but Nick Bosa and crew got after the Bucs up front. Cincy isn’t great on the offensive line and Andy Dalton isn’t great under pressure. But you know where Andy Dalton is great? At home, at 1 p.m. ET in a brand new Zac Taylor offense. He set a career high for passing yards last week against Seattle IN SEATTLE in Week 1. Maybe the Seahawks defense is bad or maybe running an actual offensive scheme agrees with Dalton. I like him to come close to repeating — anything over 300 yards and two-plus touchdowns qualifies in my opinion — against a 49ers secondary that won’t feast as much on a quarterback who isn’t as prone to making dumb mistakes. John Ross is unlocked, there are multiple tight ends to throw to, Joe Mixon should play and Tyler Boyd is a DFS bargain. Bengals win big after the 49ers spend the week hanging out in Ohio.
Patriots-Dolphins under 49
The Ravens covered this by themselves last week in Miami, so people understandably believe it’s going to a shootout when the high-powered Patriots come to town. But if Bill Belichick is content to humiliate the Steelers with the relatively low score of 33-3, why do you think he’s going to just run it up on his old defensive assistant Brian Flores? The one concern for me would be the Pats feeling the need to feed Antonio Brown and satisfy his ego, but with the recent developments in his situation, I anticipate they’ll be fine keeping him off the radar. New England has been bad in Miami plenty of times — if the Pats go down there and get down 17-0 or some nonsense early, this could be in trouble. But based on the game script we should see from the line (Pats -18.5!), it stands to reason that the Patriots will score a couple touchdowns, smother the Dolphins‘ passing weapons with their stout secondary and then proceed to give Miami a hefty dose of Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. There is also the possibility of the tropical storm shifting course and veering a little south or slowing down and Miami getting some weather lingering around from the weekend. The storm is tracking toward Orlando on Saturday so it’s unlikely, but worth mentioning. Winds would limit the over potential. One little stat for this? The Patriots have been double-digit road favorites nine times since 2008. The under is 9-0 in those games. They’re 14-4 to the under since 2015 as a road favorite of a touchdown or more, although two of those overs were in Miami.
BONUS PICK SIX PODCAST PARLAY OF THE WEEK
Giants under 43.5
Patriots under 49 (-115)
These are the consensus games that R.J. White, Pete Prisco and myself believe in. Toss them in a parlay and let’s hit that thing.
BONUS BONUS UNDERDOG MONEYLINE PARLAY OF THE WEEK
Five underdogs who can win outright? Whaaaaaaaa. Let’s go. If all five of these teams win outright — four are at home and they’re not huge underdogs here, people, all they have to do is pull a slight upset — it pays out 43-1. If you’re taking both parlays and want to avoid the risk of having Joe Flacco ruin two parlays in one fell swoop, I have zero problem with you axing the Broncos and rolling with a four-team parlay. That would pay out about 19-1 which is a perfectly good payout! Feel free to take the Saints out and just go with the three home dogs too — that would pay almost 10-1, which is a perfectly good payout too! If you take any combo of these and it hits make sure and tweet me the stub @WillBrinson.
Week 1 best bets ATS record: 3-2
2019 best bets ATS record: 3-2