NFL Week 2 Picks Against the Spread: Trust the Steelers, (gulp) Bills to cover at home
Plus more of Will Brinson’s best bets from Week 2 of the NFL season
- by Will Brinson
- Sep 16, 2018 at 8:31 am ET • 4 min read
Last week I forced the Falcons on Thursday night and this week I wanted to force the Ravens against the Bengals. Maybe I’ll learn my lesson about betting against home teams on Thursday night by some time next century.
At any rate, this is a weird week, because we’re trying to steer clear of Week 1 overreactions. What we saw in the first week is not often reality — the Buccaneers blasted the Saints and the Steelers tied the Browns, while the Chiefs manhandled the Chargers. The results are not necessarily going to simply be the same. In fact, most of them will be different. Football is fickle!
Anyway, holler at me on Twitter @WillBrinson if you love or hate these and let’s stay warm after a nice Week 1 outing that saw us go 4-1. All lines are locked on Wednesday for the SuperContest.
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Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are a darling after their big Week 1 output in Patrick Mahomes’ debut as a full-time starter. They were explosive and enthralling, and that means they’re going to be a little overvalued. But they’re not overvalued on this line, right? Instead it seems too obvious to take Kansas City. But I’m zigging here for a couple of reasons. One, the Steelers are a much better team at home. Two, the Steelers won’t do a bunch of dumb stuff to cost themselves points like the Chargers. And three, while Andy Reid might be a better coach than Mike Tomlin, Tomlin’s managed to dominate the Chiefs with Reid there when he has a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. Ben was back at practice Friday and should be a full go for Sunday’s tilt on CBS.
New York Giants (+3) at Dallas Cowboys
Surprised at the number of people who like the Cowboys in this spot, although hating on Dallas is definitely an overreaction type of situation I suppose. My biggest concern is the Cowboys just looked terrible in a very specific spot, on the interior of their offensive line, where a lack of Travis Frederick showed up in a very big way. The Giants have a strength on the interior, thanks to the presence of Damon Harrison and rookie B.J. Hill. They should be able to get sufficient pressure up the middle to wreck Dak Prescott’s day, and a lack of receiving options will let the Giants keep this close and ultimately win the game. I expect a big outing from both Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham as well.
Buffalo Bills (+7) vs. Los Angeles Charges
Grip your nose as hard as humanly possible and pinch, then pull the trigger on the Bills. This didn’t feel good and it might feel even worse come Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. ET when Philip Rivers has lobbed a pair of touchdowns to Keenan Allen. On the other hand, betting against the Chargers in September has proven to be a profitable enterprise, and this is hardly a favorable situation for them. Los Angeles is traveling across the country to play in a bad spot. Buffalo went 5-2-1 against the spread at home last year, including straight up wins as big underdogs over the Chiefs and Broncos. They went 6-2 straight up at home last year, with their only losses coming to the Patriots and Saints, a couple of decent teams.
Denver Broncos (-6) vs. Oakland Raiders
This is as much a bet against the Raiders as it is for the Broncos. Oakland put everything on the line against the Rams in the first week of the season and could still only hang for three quarters at home in primetime. Denver is not as good as the Rams — not even close, really — but the defense might be better. The pass rushing combo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will create issues for Oakland’s protection (which was surprisingly good against the Rams’ nasty defensive line), and it’s hard to see the Raiders receivers getting open against the Broncos cornerbacks. Jon Gruden already used the “throw it to Jared Cook and Jalen Richard” gameplan once — we’ll see if it can work a second time. Oakland’s defense is coming off a short week and will be playing at altitude — this could be a Royce Freeman breakout game coming.
New Orleans Saints (-8.5) vs. Cleveland Browns
I really struggled with who to take in this final spot — I wanted to go with the Packers or the Vikings depending on Aaron Rodgers’ status, but we don’t know enough about whether the Packers’ quarterback will play to make it a worthwhile play. I don’t want DeShone Kizer +7 but I also don’t want the Vikings -7 on the road against Rodgers after seeing what he did to the Bears last week. So instead I’m going to bet against Hue Jackson, who got his team amped up for a matchup against the Steelers at home but now has to travel on the road against a very angry Saints squad that’s mad about losing to the Buccaneers and Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1. The Saints are a big favorite, but went 5-3 last year against the spread, winning those games by an average of 10.2 points per game.