NFL Week 2 Betting Picks & Preview
Week 1 Recap: A year ago, I went 5-0 in Week 1. That certainly set the tone for what wound up being a huge season. This year? Not so much. I hit the Rams as a 1.5-point road favorites versus the Panthers, but the Redskins and Eagles sailed over the total (my selection was under 45) while a sloppy Jameis Winston ruined my Bucs (-1) selection in what wound up being a 1-2 start to the year.
It’s a long season. What I wrote last week still applies: Limit your plays, don’t chase and stay patient.
- Spread: Vikings +2.5
- O/U: 44
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, September 15
As you’ll also read below, I don’t believe the Falcons are as bad as they looked last Sunday in Minnesota, but I do think the Vikings are that dangerous. Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen harassed Atlanta’s overmatched offensive line and made life hell for Matt Ryan. That trio could also make life miserable for Aaron Rodgers this weekend.
Green Bay guards Billy Turner and Lane Taylor struggled last Thursday night against Chicago in the NFL’s season-opener. According to The Athletic, Turner allowed a team-high 3.5 quarterback pressures and was partially or fully responsible for two of the Bears’ five sacks. Taylor, meanwhile, struggled to open running lanes for Aaron Jones, who could struggle to generate anything against a Minnesota run defense that held Atlanta to just 48 rushing yards. (Granted, the Falcons ditched the run in the second half because they were trailing by multiple scores but it’s not as if Devonta Freeman and Co. moved the ball when they did have opportunities.)
On the other side, Dalvin Cook showed what this Vikings offense can be if he’s healthy. Cook and Minnesota’s defense was so effective last week that Kirk Cousins only had to put the ball in the air 10 times. With Stefon Diggs battling a hamstring injury, Cook figures to see plenty of touches again on Sunday.
Mike Pettine’s defense, which features newcomers Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos and Preston Smith, was outstanding last week in Chicago. That said, deer-in-the-headlights Mitch Trubisky won’t be lining up under center for the Vikings on Sunday. Not that he’s a world-beater, but with a sound running game and new outside zone system that highlights his strengths, Cousins should put more pressure on the Pack than Trubisky.
NFL Week 2 Selection: Minnesota Vikings +2.5
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- Spread: Seahawks +4
- O/U: 47
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, September 15
Mike Tomlin’s squad has some serious issues. From having zero success in short-yardage situations to bad drops by Donte Moncrief to communication problems on defense, the Steelers looked like they were still in a preseason fog.
The Seahawks are not the Patriots, but I don’t know how the Steelers fix all of their issues in just one week. So why lay four points? This is the equivalent of a salesman selling you a car with transmission problems and suggesting you pay over retail value. That doesn’t make any sense and neither does laying over a field goal with a Pittsburgh team that isn’t as talented as we’ve seen in recent years.
Granted, it’s not as if the Seahawks put on a clinic as a large home favorite last Sunday versus the Bengals. But that’s also at the root of bettors getting value this weekend. Oddsmakers know bettors will buy on Pittsburgh rebounding at home and Seattle struggling on the road. That said, the reality is that the Steelers will likely go with a run-heavy game plan after Ben Roethlisberger put the ball in the air 40-plus times last week.
I see James Conner and Chris Carson becoming the focal point of their respective offenses, which leads to a defensive struggle as both teams attempt to play keep away. If I’m right, I’ll love having the four points in my back pocket when the game comes down to a field goal.
NFL Week 2 Selection: Seattle Seahawks +4
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- Spread: Eagles -2
- O/U: 52.5
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday, September 15
The Falcons aren’t as bad as they played last Sunday in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have real problems. Injuries to a handful of key defenders–Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen—early in the season derailed their 2018 campaign, but the offensive line was just as big of a problem. That’s why GM Thomas Dimitroff gave good money to free agent guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown and invested first-round selections in guard Chris Lindstrom and tackle Kaleb McGary.
The result, at least for one week, was Matt Ryan taking four sacks and absorbing seven quarterback hits last Sunday. Jake Matthews, the team’s best offensive lineman outside of center Alex Mack, surrendered a sack on the Falcons’ first offensive play. Things only went downhill from there, as Ty Sambrailo didn’t play well in a rotation with McGary and Carpenter struggling at left guard.
What’s worse is that Lindstrom was excellent, but he suffered a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve. Brown, who wasn’t even active last week, will slide in at right guard for Sunday night’s tilt with the Eagles.
Minnesota’s front seven gave Atlanta’s offensive line fits and Ryan figures to take another beating this weekend. After watching film of the Vikings’ domination, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett must be smelling blood in the water. This is another horrible matchup for the Falcons, who also got nothing out of Devonta Freeman and their running game.
I do expect Atlanta’s defense to play better than it did last Sunday when Grady Jarrett was the only consistent performer. Still, Carson Wentz is coming off a 313-yard, three-touchdown performance versus the Redskins in which he hooked up with newcomer DeSean Jackson for touchdowns of 51 and 53 yards. The deep strike is back in Philly’s passing game and it’s only a matter of time before Wentz and Co. dissect what should be yet another weak game plan by Dan Quinn.
NFL Week 2 Selection: Philadelphia Eagles -2
2019 ATS Results
Week 1: 1-2