I am happy to introduce a new series this NFL season, where I give my top five betting picks each week. I know that I didn’t publish an article for Week 1, but for what it’s worth I went 4-0-1 on my own picks. I had the Chiefs -9 Packers money line, Chargers -3 (which pushed), Saints -3.5 and Steelers -6. You’ll just have to trust me that I’m not making it up. Anyway, here are my five favorite picks for Week 2!
Last week: 4-0-1
Season total: 4-0-1
49ers -7.0 (-105)
The 49ers took a tough loss to the Cardinals in Week 1, and perhaps suffered a bigger loss with George Kittle sustaining a knee injury. He will miss Week 2 and the Niners are banged up at wide receiver too, but their matchup agains the Jets is too enticing.
For what it’s worth, New York isn’t in great shape either. Le’Veon Bell was placed on IR and Jamison Crowder has been ruled out, and the Jets’ projected offensive starters are as follows:
QB: Sam Darnold
RB: Frank Gore
WR: Breshad Perriman, Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios
TE: Chris Herndon
Not very inspiring given they’re going up against the defending NFC champions. The Jets struggled against an elite defense in Week 1 against the Bills and the 49ers have an equally strong core, so I expect Darnold to have a difficult day once again. I’m not hitting the panic button on the 49ers after one game.
Prediction: 27-13 San Francisco
Ravens -7.5 (-105)
Last week, the Texans took on the defending Super Bowl champions in the Kansas City Chiefs, and let’s just say that didn’t go too well. I think Baltimore is at the very least just as good as the Chiefs, so I expect a similar outcome to Kansas City’s 14 point victory over Houston in Week 1.
The Ravens boast a daunting defense, especially in the secondary, so Deshaun Watson will have a difficult challenge ahead of him on Sunday. The Ravens also trounced the Texans in a 41-7 drubbing last year in a game that featured Houston allowing seven sacks. It might not be a bad idea to buy a half point and get the line to -7 just in case, but I like Baltimore a lot in this one.
Prediction: 34-21 Baltimore
Vikings ML (+148)
When I saw this line I was baffled that the Vikings were underdogs. Yes, they allowed 43 points to the Packers, and their defense, which is supposed to be the strength of their team, did not look good at all against Aaron Rodgers. But they have the Colts in Week 2, and Philip Rivers is not Aaron Rodgers and TY Hilton is not Davante Adams.
Marlon Mack suffered a season-ending achilles injury in Week 1, so perhaps we see a breakout game from Jonathan Taylor. But it’s not like Aaron Jones even had that great of a day on the ground against Minnesota in Week 1, averaging a pedestrian 4.1 YPC. I think the Vikings’ roster is simply better at every position except offensive line, and their loss to Green Bay is less discouraging than the Colts’ opening loss against the Jaguars. At the very least, their money line is good value at plus odds. But if you want to be safe, then take them at +3.
Prediction: 26-23 Minnesota
Bills -5.5 (-110)
I know -5.5 is a big number with a still unproven quarterback against a division rival, but you can’t deny how good Buffalo looked last week. Granted, it was against the Jets, but Josh Allen looked great throwing the ball, Stefon Diggs made an impact in his Bills debut and the defense did its job.
The Dolphins aren’t as bad as the Jets, but they’re still far away from contending. I Expect the Bills to get pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick and force him to make poor decisions, which is ultimately always the downfall with him under center. Buffalo beat Miami by double digits in both meetings last season and the Dolphins just got gashed on the ground by Cam Newton to the tune of 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Josh Allen could do something similar with his legs this week. The Dolphins just aren’t there yet.
Prediction: 27-17 Buffalo
Packers -6.0 (-110)
This one feels like a no-brainer to me. The Lions are coming off a devastating and potentially confidence-crushing loss in Week 1 to the Bears, and the Packers are riding high off their shootout victory over Minnesota.
The Lions are also incredibly banged up with Kenny Golladay and Desmond Trufant among others already declared out. CJ Moore and Darryl Roberts are two more defensive backs who enter the contest as questionable, so it’s safe to say Detroit’s secondary is hurting. And that could spell issues for the Lions, as Aaron Rodgers could exploit that after he already torched the Vikings last week for 364 yards and four touchdowns. These two teams traditionally play hard-fought, close games, but all the pieces are there for Green Bay to earn a double digit victory.
Prediction: 34-20 Green Bay