Pigskin A Blanket: NFL Week 2 Picks
Point spreads, pigskin, and the pursuit of a profit: weekly football wagers from a wannabe wiseguy
Football is back! Time to fire up the grill, camp out on the couch, and get lost in a blaze of gridiron glory.
I post all my plays in every sport at 52point4percent.tumblr.com, inspired by the 52.4% threshold at which, by laying the standard 11-to-10 house edge, a bettor crosses over into the rarified air of profitability.
With beating the book in mind, here are my Week 2 plays:
Tampa Bay +10 at New Orleans, 2 units
Last time we saw Jameis Winston and he wasn't busy throwing pick-sixes in the pros, he was doing this in the "amateur" ranks:
So as you might guess, even though Tampa Bay can only play better than it did in Week 1, this isn't a play on the Bucs as much as it's a move against the Saints. With an offense searching for a new identity post-Jimmy Graham and led by a declining quarterback, paired with a porous defense, New Orleans isn't worthy of laying double digits to anyone in the NFL right now.
One of my units is for +10.5 (-115), as it surprisingly showed up after I'd played +10. This line should close in the single digits and beating the closing number is always a huge step toward winning.
Cincinnati -3 (-115) vs. San Diego, 1 unit
As a Chargers fan it's painful to admit the Bengals are the superior team, but it would be biased not to, especially with San Diego's offensive line in flux after losing D.J. Fluker to injury in Week 1. The point spread, however, implies the teams are evenly matched factoring in home-field advantage.
Even if the Chargers were as good as Cincinnati, the early wake-up call that comes with a 10 a.m. Pacific Time kickoff may lead to a groggy showing by San Diego.
Washington +4 vs. St. Louis, 1 unit
This is one casual fans will hate and sharps will love, so I don't mind taking the unpopular side. Sometimes it works out alright....
If Kam Chancellor's replacement doesn't fall down on the Rams' game-tying touchdown at the end of regulation and the Redskins don't lose on a game-winning punt return for a touchdown last week, this line is probably right around pick 'em.
The Rams are fresh off what will go down as their biggest win of the season, had to go to overtime to get it, and now face their first road test.
Washington also looked better than expected against a solid opponent last week, but unlike St. Louis didn't pull out a W, so the performance is going overlooked. And with the Redskins playing at home for the second week in a row, the travel and fatigue factors work in their favor.
This line opened St. Louis -2.5 and had to jump three key numbers to get to 4. This is a pivotal point spread in any setting, and with a low-scoring game projected by Vegas, it holds even more relative value in this one.
Chicago +3 vs. Arizona, 1 unit
Another unpopular pick, no doubt. Everyone I know would jump on the Cardinals as the short road favorite, especially with Bruce Arians getting a crack at the Bears after narrowly losing out on a Chicago head coaching job he thought was his before landing in Arizona, yet the line never made it to a field goal in most books. This tells me where the smart money is.
John Fox brings Chicago a significant upgrade at head coach simply by being decent. Even with the roster's limitations, this was on display in Week 1 as the Bears played better than the 31-23 score of their loss to the Packers would suggest.
The Cardinals' historical struggles defending tight ends could come into play with Martellus Bennett on the other side - the three field goals of less than 40 yards Arizona allowed last week might become a couple touchdowns for the Bears given similar circumstances. And as with the Chargers, the early kickoff time may work against the team traveling east.
Green Bay -3.5 vs. Seattle, 1 unit
The Packers are currently better than the Seahawks, their home-field advantage is one of the NFL's best at 4 points, and situationally it's a great spot for Green Bay - still no Chancellor for Seattle; the second straight road game for a questionable road team in the Seahawks, who emptied the tank in their Week 1 overtime loss; and myriad revenge motives for the cheeseheads:
Teaser: Detroit +8 at Minnesota, Indianapolis -1 vs. New York Jets, 1 unit
The Lions head to Minnesota as the better team, and while their well-documented road struggles always come to mind, those home/away splits can be partially attributed to poor coaching. Second-year head coach Jim Caldwell is a definitive upgrade over his predecessors. And the Vikings' inept Week 1 showing, especially along an offensive line missing two starters, may prove to be bigger cause for concern.
Barring a face plant by Detroit, the Colts will be in position to cash with a win by more than a point on Monday Night. With a desperate 0-1 team at home, taking on a content-to-be 1-0 opponent, and Andrew Luck at the helm, the Colts could end the week with a winner and reason to indulge in a celebratory scoop of...