It was another 1-2 week for my best bets in Week 2, with Dallas showing their true colors in Denver while the Eagles couldn’t quite hang with the Chiefs for the entire game. However, overall it was a strong week, with the full slate going 10-5 (there was no line for the Vikings, and it’s the same situation today). So I just need to get better at picking out my best bets.
This week there are a massive ten road favorites as the NFL settles into a rhythm and it becomes very clear who is good and who is not. While picking out-right winners in that case is fairly simple, picking the spreads, especially with many in the 1-3 point range, is very tricky.
While teams like the Broncos and Chiefs feel like certs to win and cover, the Rams, Browns, and even the Falcons are far from sure things.
So which lines are we picking this week?
Houston Texans (+13) over NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
This is a massive line, and with the Patriots’ injuries at wide receiver it’s hard to see them racking up the points, especially against a defense that can be fearsome up front.
Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Rob Gronkowski all left the Week 2 game in New Orleans with lower body injuries, making them serious doubts for Sunday. Even with Tom Brady, an offense focused around Brandin Cooks, running backs catching passes, and a ground game is unlikely to hold onto a 14+ point lead.
There are a few caveats that suggest it could be a dreadful day for Houston though. They have no receivers themselves, having cut their #2 Jaelen Strong this week. Rookie quarterbacks also have a terrible record when facing a trip to the Patriots.
That’s the worry in this case, that the Patriots could produce a gameplan that, despite their defensive deficiencies, confuses and confounds Deshaun Watson and open a wide lead early on. However, the back door is wide open with this line, and that’s what I’m betting on.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-8.5) over Cincinnati Bengals
I don’t expect Cincinnati’s touchdownless streak to continue beyond this game, however that doesn’t mean they can hang with the Packers.
Mike Daniels, the hero of Week 1, suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2, and Jordy Nelson also had to leave the game, however as long as Aaron Rodgers is there the Packers are going to be beyond a team like Cincinnati.
Marvin Lewis fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese in an attempt to improve the offense, but with poor blocking exposing old weaknesses in Andy Dalton there is no offensive system you can implement in a week that can suddenly make this offensive line good. Even if Daniels can’t play, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry will provide enough pressure to force poor throws from Dalton and keep the Bengals offense under control.
Denver Broncos (-3) over BUFFALO BILLS
Denver leaves home for the first time this season, can they come back with a third win? I think so. The Buffalo Bills, for as firm as the defense was against Carolina on Sunday, are not a good side. They can’t hang with Denver though.
The Bills have scored 24 points this year against two defenses that are poor (NYJ) and good (CAR). But neither are on Denver’s level. Buffalo don’t have a receiver that can consistently win against Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, or Bradley Roby. They struggled mightily to run the ball last week and now face a front that dominated Dallas’ offensive line.
It’s a total mismatch and the only thing that could lead to a Bills win is if Vance Joseph can’t take his show on the road.
Rest of the picks
Rams (-2) over 49ERS
Ravens (-3.5) over JAGUARS
Falcons (-3) over LIONS
Browns (-1) over COLTS
JETS (+6) over Dolphins
Saints (+6) over PANTHERS
EAGLES (-6) over Giants
BEARS (+7) over Steelers
Seahawks (+3) over TITANS
Chiefs (-3) over CHARGERS
Raiders (-3) over REDSKINS
Cowboys (-3) over CARDINALS
Last Week: 10-5-0 (1-2-0)
Overall: 16-14-0 (2-4-0)
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