After missing two games by a half-point this weekend, I went 10-5 against the spread. I can’t be too sore about the half-point misses cause the ball will fall in my corner at some point this season. I still had a good week.
Week 1 had a lot of new faces making an impact. Marshawn Lynch was trucking defensive lineman for Oakland after sitting out last season. Rookies like Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt also stole the show.
There are so many good games this week. Vegas doesn’t even know what to do with a lot of these games. They gave way too many games point spreads in-between 4 and 5.5.
Will we see more blowouts like the Rams 46-9 win over the Colts?
How many of these gaudy double-digit point spreads will cover?
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season.
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-6) – My pick is Cincinnati Bengals
My pick may not be very popular given Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton threw four interceptions against Baltimore last week. Baltimore’s defense isn’t THAT good, but it is very alarming for Cincy. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is smart enough to dial back the offense and learn from their mistakes. The Texans started last game with Tom Savage as their starting quarterback, but ended the game with Deshaun Watson. They were beaten by Jacksonville and it wasn’t ever close. Houston and Cincinnati really need to win this game. It’s Week 2 and I’m already throwing around ‘must-win’, but these two teams were thought to be playoff teams. The reason I’m taking the Bengals is the fact that Houston’s offensive line gave up TEN sacks! I know Jacksonville’s front-seven is improved, but not that much. The Bengals have pass rushers and will get after Watson all game. I will have to pick the very unpopular cover.
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints (+7) – My pick is New England Patriots
The Patriots really shat the bed last Thursday against the Chiefs. I haven’t seen a Bill Belichick-led team just give up like that. They came into the game too cocky and didn’t take the win when it was right there. The Chiefs won in a very unconventional way…Alex Smith throwing the ball farther than ten yards! The Saints were dead in the water against Minnesota. Their offense looked rusty and they had no answer for them on defense. Tom Brady will tee off on the Saints secondary and will retake their seat on the throne with a cover in the Big Easy.
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell looked sluggish in his first game back from his preseason-long holdout. QB Ben Roethlisberger was still able to beat the Browns with throws to WR Antonio Brown and TE Jesse James (the new Heath Miller). The Vikings secondary is one of the best in the NFL, so the Steelers will need Bell to come up big if they hope to cover this spread. I expect the Steelers will struggle to get Brown open and Bell will once again have a below average game. The Vikings will keep it close with rookie RB Dalvin Cook on the ground. I’m taking the points.
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas opened up with a few point spreads in-between 4 and 5.5 points this week. That’s the equivalent of throwing a dart blindfolded…and having then having a group decide (public money) to guide the dart to the bull’s eye. This line opened up at -4 and has been bet up a little. I expect this line to end closer to a touchdown in favor of KC. It’s rare that a team goes into New England and smokes them. The Chiefs are going to get the public’s money for the next few weeks. I expect the sharps to hit it as long as it stays under a touchdown. As long as Smith can connect short and their backfield contributes, KC is a tough out. I actually like the Eagles too, but the Chiefs are already in midseason form in Week 2.
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bears’ injury report is way too long for it to only be Week 2. They have already lost WRs Cameron Meredith & Kevin White for the season, and will be without starting MLB Jarrell Freeman and possibly starting CB Prince Amukamara. Tampa Bay had their game cancelled last week due to Hurricane Irma, so this is their season debut. There has been a lot of sharp money come in on the Bears, even though this line has been bet up from -5.5. The Bears crawled their way back into the Atlanta game last week and nearly won the game, but I don’t see it happening this week. I expect a good year from Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston. I have to take the Bucs to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-9) – My pick is Cleveland Browns
I know it’s easy to poke fun at Cleveland, but nine points is a lofty point spread to cover against a division rival. Baltimore will probably win the game thanks to a few choice Joe Flacco throws, but I liked how the Browns fought to stay in last week’s game against the Steelers. They didn’t roll over. The offense had energy with a rookie QB DeShone Kizer, who Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs will try to ‘initiate’ this Sunday. As I said last week, there are players on the Browns defense that intrigue me. I think they will win a game or two more than people think, so I’m taking the points.
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers (-7) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
I’m on the fence about this pick. The Bills handled the Jets very well last week, but nearly every team in the NFL can handle the Jets in similar fashion. On the other side, let’s remember that the Panthers weren’t very good last year. Did our minds just wipe out the entire 2016 season? I don’t get why they are a touchdown favorite. They looked great last week against the Niners, but as I said about the Jets, most teams could have nearly the same outcome against them. This Bills team just feels like they have a different swagger now that Sean McDermott is the head coach…who was the Panthers defensive coordinator the last five years. His squad faced Cam Newton every day, so I think he has an inside edge, so I’m taking the points.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (+2) – My pick is Tennessee Titans
I loved what I saw from Jacksonville last week. They forced turnovers, put pressure on the quarterback and limited the amount of times QB Blake Bortles throws the ball. They were able to run the ball with rookie RB Leonard Fournette (100 rushing yards) and backup RB Chris Ivory even had 42 yards on nine carries. I’m not sure if the defense will be as stingy this week. The Titans are explosive on the ground and QB Marcus Mariota will be looking for TE Delanie Walker and WRs Rishard Matthews and rookie Corey Davis. The Titans have more weapons on offense than the Jaguars defense. This one is a tough one, but I am going with a Tennessee cover in Jacksonville.
Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts (+7) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
I didn’t have to think about this one very long. My Colts are god awful without Andrew Luck. It just shows you how bad former GM Ryan Grigson was at acquiring talent through the draft. The Colts are one of the most shallow teams in the league. It will ultimately cost head coach Chuck Pagano his job after (or during) this season. The Colts are opening up the starting quarterback job this week and QBs Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett will both take snaps with the first-team offense. As far as the Cardinals go, they lost their starting RB David Johnson to a dislocated wrist. He will be out for two-to-three months, but they have some guys to step in while he’s gone. Carson Palmer will rely on RBs Kerwynn Williams and newly-signed Chris Johnson out of the backfield. I’m taking the Cardinals to cover in Indy.
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders (-13.5) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
Ugh, I don’t feel awesome about picking a two-touchdown point spread to cover. I just love Raiders QB David Carr and RB Marshawn Lynch…and hate the Jets offense that much. The Jets problems start with quarterback. They are starting Josh McCown, who has more different NFL jerseys in his closet than nearly any other active player, and the rest of the QB depth chart is Bryce Petty & Christian Hackenberg. If you’ve been reading my site for years, you understand my disgust of the prospect that I could be betting on a Hackenberg-led football team again, but it’s time for the Jets to turn to the future. Oakland may now be my favorite to win the AFC. The addition of a hard-nosed RB like Lynch is exactly what this team needed. I have to take the Raiders to cover, but I’m not betting the farm.
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5) – My pick is Los Angeles Chargers
I’m also torn on this one. I would have loved to see how Miami QB Jay Cutler performed against Tampa Bay in Week 1. That game didn’t happen, so we go into this game without a net. The Chargers front-seven will cause a lot of problems for Jay Cutler. Chargers LB Melvin Ingram and DE Joey Bosa could be the most menacing quarterback-sacking duo in the NFL. We all know what happens when Cutler gets pressured, he throws interceptions. Cutler will go back to his old ways and start trying to force passes in small windows. I’d love if this spread was -3, but I have to take the Chargers to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-14) – My pick is Seattle Seahawks
Holy Balls…what to do, what to do. I hate double-digit point spreads this damn early in the year. I can’t believe I’m taking another ridiculous point spread to cover. Seattle’s secondary did not look good against Green Bay last week. We all know Seattle is a different team at home. There’s just something about San Francisco QB Brian Hoyer that I like that gives me pause. He’s done well in short stretches on of nearly a 1/3rd of the teams in the league. He has WR Pierre Garcon, so it’s not like he is devoid of weapons. This is what is giving me pause. Seattle’s offense has been a tick above average the last calendar year, so they aren’t getting a ton of crooked numbers on the scoreboard. It will be close, but I have to go with the ‘Hawks at home to cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos (+2) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
There are some sneaky good games this week. This one should be fun to watch. We know Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott will be playing for the foreseeable future while he appeals his suspension, so that’s not going to be an issue for awhile. QB Dak Prescott has been a field manager for his career. He needs a running game to be effective. The Chargers weren’t able to forge much of a ground game against the Broncos last week. As far as game-managing QBs go, Denver’s Trevor Siemian is the poster child. He just needs to be accurate and avoid turning the ball over. Denver’s defense is good enough to win games that way. This game could be won or lost by which squad wins the trench battle, Dallas O-line versus the Denver front-seven. The Cowboys offensive line is the best in the league, so Elliott should have plenty of holes. It will be a close cover, but I have to go with Dallas.
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
What should we take away from the Rams 46-9 win over the Colts? It’s hard to figure out. We know QB Jared Goff is accurate, WR Cooper Kupp will be a possession-receiving God, and their defense is solid, at the very least. Their running game is still up in the air as RBs Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown didn’t have much success, other than just draining the clock on a blowout game. I guess that was really their end-goal in a blowout like that. The Redskins had a close game at home against the Eagles. It got away from them a bit at the end, but they were in it until the final minutes. They had no success on the ground, which could be an issue all year. I’m also not sold on WR Terrelle Pryor being a team’s #1 receiver. I have to go with my gut here and take the Rams to cover. They are definitely improved from last season.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-3) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
If Week 1 is any indication of future success, I worry the Falcons may have a Super Bowl Hangover. They were up on the Bears and looked like they were going to seal it in the fourth quarter. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan was making TE Austin Hooper a star. The Bears then put themselves back in the game with a touchdown pass from QB Mike Glennon. Atlanta followed with a field goal and then the Bears were fingertips away from winning the game in the final seconds. I fear the Falcons have that epic Super Bowl collapse in their heads. They will panic every time they are up and the other team looks like they could make the game close…to put it in baseball terms, they have the ‘yips.’ The Packers didn’t impress me much last week against Seattle. It was clear that the Packers are a much better team when Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has all his weapons healthy. I can see Rodgers pound the soft part in the middle of the field non-stop with TE Martellus Bennett. I have to take the points in this game.
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-3) – My pick is Detroit Lions
The Giants were without WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall in their loss to the Cowboys. QB Eli Manning didn’t get any help on the ground and was forced to complete short passes to Shane Vereen to move the ball. OBJ and Marshall are rumored they could be healthy enough to play this weekend, but we will see if they are 100%. The Lions won a offensive battle with the Cardinals last week. QB Matthew Stafford earned his big contract with four touchdowns. He can’t do it all every week. RB Ameer Abdullah and the offensive line will need to carry their share. The Lions have so many targets for Stafford that it’s an embarrassment of riches. The Lions haven’t had much success playing in primetime, but I like their chances. I have to take the points on Monday night.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob