Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Oakland Raiders (1-0)
The Chiefs won 40-26 week 1, but it came against a Jaguars team that lost its starting quarterback in the first half. The Chiefs had an impressive point total and a 46.67% first down rate (3rd highest of the week), but the Jaguars’ defense is a far cry from what it was in 2017 and the Chiefs continued to have serious issues on defense, allowing the Jaguars to pick up first downs at a 42.00% rate and allowing sixth round rookie backup quarterback Gardiner Minshew to move the ball effectively in his first career action.
The Chiefs have another easy game this week against a Raiders team whose week 1 win came against an equally underwhelming Broncos team, but it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see the game turn into a shootout. The line isn’t huge at Kansas City -7, but the Raiders could easily get a late garbage time cover at the very least here at home in Oakland. We’re not getting a ton of line value with the Raiders, but I have this line calculated at Kansas City -4.5 with the Chiefs missing top receiver Tyreek Hill and possibly left tackle Eric Fisher due to injury, so Oakland is the pick for pick ‘em purposes.
Kansas City Chiefs 33 Oakland Raiders 28
Pick against the spread: Oakland +7
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
The Bengals entered the season as one of the most banged up teams in the league. In the off-season, they lost first round rookie Jonah Williams for the season, long-time starting guard Clint Boling to an injury related retirement, and several other players like wide receiver AJ Green, left tackle Cordy Glenn, and cornerback Darqueze Dennard indefinitely due to various injuries. Despite that, they almost pulled the upset week 1 in Seattle, as one of the biggest underdogs of the week. They lost by just 1 point in a game that swung on the Seahawks recovering 3 of 4 fumbles and the Bengals won the first down rate battle by 3.67%.
The Seahawks were an overrated opponent, especially with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah out with injury, but the Bengals get another opponent this week that could be overrated. The 49ers won 31-17 in Tampa Bay week 1, but they lost the first down rate battle by 3.85%, winning largely due to takeaways, which are inconsistent week-to-week. Jimmy Garrappolo looked rusty in his return from injury and the Bengals defense looked significantly improved in week 1 over last season’s underperforming unit. We’re not getting much line value with the Bengals -1, but I have these two teams about even in my rankings, so this line should be closer to -3. The Bengals are my pick for pick ‘em purposes, but there’s not enough here to bet on them.
Cincinnati Bengals 20 San Francisco 49ers 17
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -1
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-0)
This game is tough to predict. On one hand, this line suggests the Titans are only about even with the Colts, favoring them at home by a field goal, which I don’t think is accurate. A lot of attention is being paid to the Browns’ disappointing start to the season, getting blown out by home by 30 against the Titans last week, but the Titans are not getting attention for their strong performance in the 43-13 victory. They dominated the game as much as the final score suggested, winning the first down rate battle by 11.31%, the 4th highest margin of the week. The Titans looked likely to have a strong running game and defense this season, but their passing game looked strong as well, with several new weapons added in the off-season and Marcus Mariota looked much healthier and more comfortable than he did most of last season. If that can continue, this should be a very competitive team in the AFC.
However, this is also a tough spot for the Browns, as they have to turn around and play another game in 4 days on Thursday Night Football against the Jaguars. Favorites are just 55-75 ATS since 2012 before Thursday Night Football and the Titans could easily overlook the Andrew Luck less Colts with another game right around the corner. The Titans were highly inconsistent last year, as they beat four playoff qualifiers, but couldn’t make the playoffs themselves because of losses to the Bills and Dolphins. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see them follow up a big road win in Cleveland with a disappointing home performance against the Colts, especially before a short week. I’m taking the Titans for pick ‘em purposes, but I can’t be confident in them at all.
Tennessee Titans 20 Indianapolis Colts 16
Pick against the spread: Tennessee -3
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
The Seahawks were one of the highest favored teams week 1, at home against a very banged up Bengals team, but they ended up winning by just 1 point in a game they easily could have lost. They lost the first down rate battle by 3.67% and the game largely swung on the Seahawks recovering 3 out of 4 fumbles in the game. Fumble recovery rate is very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis, so they won’t be able to count on that again this week.
I was concerned about the Seahawks’ defense coming in the season, even after they acquired Jadeveon Clowney from the Texans, but their offensive performance week 1 was concerning as well. Russell Wilson played well, but his lack of supporting cast was evident. He was sacked 4 times on 24 drop backs, was supported by just 3.05 yards per carry from his running backs, and had just 5 passes caught by wide receivers. As a result, the Seahawks had just a 30.61% first down rate.
The Seahawks get a boost from on defense this week from the return of defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who missed week 1, but their offense isn’t getting any reinforcements and the Steelers’ defense gets back safety Sean Davis, who was badly missed in their loss in New England last week. This line at Pittsburgh -3.5 suggests the hometown Steelers are the slightly better team. I have a little bit bigger of a gap between these two teams and the Steelers are likely underrated after having to face such a tough opponent week 1, but we’re not getting enough line value with the Steleers to bet on them. If this line moves down to 3 before gametime, I would reconsider.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Seattle Seahawks 20
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh -3.5
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
This is a rematch of last year’s controversial NFC Championship game, which ended with the Rams pulling the upset in New Orleans and advancing in part due to a non called pass interference that prompted the league to change the rules to allow for pass interference to be challenged and reviewed. The Saints now travel west to face the Rams in Los Angeles. Having homefield advantage will benefit the Rams, but they’re not quite as good of a team as last season, losing several starters on both sides of the ball this off-season, including key players like Ndamukong Suh, Rodger Saffold, and LaMarcus Joyner.
The Rams won week 1 in Carolina, but that game swung on a few plays, as the Rams recovered all 4 fumbles in a game they won by 3. They also lost the first down rate battle to a Carolina team that then went on to lose at home to the Buccaneers. Despite that, the Rams are favored over the Saints, albeit only by 2 points. We’re not getting a ton of line value with the Saints and the Saints have really struggled in the first couple weeks of the season in recent years (3-15-1 ATS since 2010), so this is only a low confidence pick, but the money line is worth a small bet at +110.
New Orleans Saints 33 Los Angeles Rams 30 Upset Pick +110
Pick against the spread: New Orleans +2
New England Patriots (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)
This line favors the visiting New England Patriots by 19.5 points here in Miami, just the third time in the past 30 years that a team has been favored by 17 points or more on the road. It’s understandable why this line is where it is. The Dolphins stripped down their roster this off-season, to accumulate cap space and draft picks for the future, and are left with not only the least talented team in the league by far but also a demotivated one, as the players don’t believe the front office and coaching staff are trying to compete this season. They lost their home opener 59-10 to a Ravens team that lost 6 defensive starters in the off-season and might not even end up being that good. The Patriots, meanwhile, are defending Super Bowl Champions and coming off of a dominant performance against the Steelers week 1.
That doesn’t mean this game is a lock to be a blowout though and, in fact, neither of the last two teams to be favored by 17+ on the road came close to covering. In week 13 of 1992, the Bills actually lost on the road in Indianapolis as 20-point road favorites, while the Patriots nearly lost in week 13 during their perfect season in 2007 as 17-point road favorites in Baltimore, salvaging a win in the last minute.
Does that mean this game will be close too? Well, when we include teams favored by 14-16 points on the road, we see that big road favorites actually have a winning record against the spread (15-11 ATS since 1989), so there really isn’t a larger trend. The Patriots have struggled in Miami in the past and they have started slow in past seasons and this game might be more about getting Antonio Brown acclimated than anything, but even if that’s the case they could still win this game with ease. The Patriots appeared to be in mid-season form last week and they’re in a great spot with only a game against the Jets and backup quarterback Trevor Siemian on deck. Favorites of double digits are 44-31 ATS since 2002 before being favorites of double digits again, which the Patriots almost definitely will be next week. I can’t take the Patriots with any confidence this week because this line has kind of gotten out of control, but I am expecting a blowout.
New England Patriots 31 Miami Dolphins 10
Pick against the spread: New England -19.5