It’s only week 2 in the NFL, which means it’s okay to hitch your wagon to some probably mediocre teams that no one yet believes in. One of them might emerge as a surprise overachiever, but most likely they are destined for the 5-11-to-7-9 crap heap.
Sure, there are some marquee match-ups like San Diego at New England and Philly at Atlanta. But wagering on the big national TV games can be a trap. It’s better to put your money on your best picks, not necessarily on the Game of the Week or the one you know you’ll be watching on TV. So sometimes that means slummin’ it with a few undervalued bottom-dwellers. That’s right, this week I’m rollin’ with the Bills, Lions, and Redskins. Let’s get to the picks to find out why.
Washington Redskins -3.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Cam Newton threw for 400+ yards in his NFL debut at Arizona, which likely means that Arizona’s defense isn’t great (it isn’t). So before anyone catches on that Washington might be a little bit better than expected, let’s lay the small number and bet the Redskins giving 3.5 to a marginal Cardinals team that has an early start on the east coast. Take Washington minus the points.
Buffalo Bills -4 vs. Oakland Raiders
Here’s another west coast team that has to travel east for a 1pm start. But this one, the Oakland Raiders, played a late Monday night game on the road. They did notch a win over a subpar Broncos team, so perhaps people are thinking Oakland’s pretty good. They might be, but Buffalo has perhaps the most underrated QB in the league in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even as they stank last year, the Bills were competive and high scoring in most of their games. Last week they absolutely blew the doors off a Chiefs team that was in the playoffs a year ago. And that was on the road in Kansas City. At home, the Buffalo faithful will be in full force, in hopes that perhaps an onfield turnaround this year might keep the team from moving to L.A. Take the Bills and give the 4 points.
Detroit Lions -9 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Wait…. betting ON the Lions AND giving more than a touchdown? These are the DETROIT Lions? I know, I’m crazy. But this team looks pretty good and this will be their home opener. There’s rarely much to cheer about at Lions home games, but the prospect of going 2-0 and perhaps making the leap to the Next Dangerous Young Team has folks in the D pretty excited. And that Chiefs team that crapped the bed at home last week comes limping in to a dome environment where they’ll likely get their asses handed to them again. It’s a big number, but lay the points and bet the Lions. Yes, bet the Lions.
OK, if you absolutely can’t resist betting on the marquee match-ups, I like the obvious plays on both, so let’s buy some cushion: Tease the Over in the Philly/Atlanta and SD/NE games. (A teaser pairs up 2 bets and allows to move the line 6 points in your favor.) The totals are high: Chargers/Pats is 52.5 and Eagles/Falcons is 49.5. While these conference showdowns might be playoff previews, these are not playoff games, which tend to be tight 24-20 type games. No, week 2 is more likely to produce 31-27, 38-30 type games. If the high numbers scare you off, just tease them down to NE/SD over 46.5 and PHI/ATL over 43.5.
Last Week: 3-1
This Season: 3-1