NFL Week 2 odds, picks, best bets: Colts steal a divisional win in Tennessee, Bengals down 49ers
Other best bets include the Chiefs and Raiders hitting the over
First, a thank you. Second, an apology. Then, a few excuses. Lastly, redemption (hopefully) in the form of five brand new picks. If you don't care about any of the first three items and just want my picks, feel free to keep on scrolling until you reach the GIF of Jyn Erso -- and if you don't know who Jyn Erso is then we probably can't be friends.
Thank you to everyone who did not tweet at me or email me to inform me that my five best bets for Week 1 went 0-5. Either no one read myor everyone read it, but was nice enough to understand that bad weeks happen to everyone, even to someone who went 49-35-1 with his weekly best bets last season. Or maybe some people read it, but nobody really cared. I'm guessing it's a combination of options 1 and 3.
But that was bad. I apologize. 0-5 weeks shouldn't happen. But it did. The Bears lost by more than three against the Packers, the Redskins-Eagles game featured more than 45.5 points, the 49ers and Buccaneers did not combine to score more than 50.5 points, the Seahawks did not cover the 9.5-point spread against the Bengals, and the Panthers did not lose by 2.5 points or fewer against the Rams. Putting 0-5 into actual words -- describing how it happened -- hurts. It's probably why I've spent every day since Sunday listening to Lana Del Rey's new album.
But in my defense -- and here come the excuses -- how was I supposed to know that the Panthers would inexplicably fumble twice and miss a field goal in the first half, making the West Coast team in the early time window in an East Coast game look like the more awake side? How was I supposed to account for the 999 touchdowns that were called back in the 49ers-Buccaneers game -- not to mention Robbie Gould's 57-yard field goal hitting the crossbar and bouncing out. One of these days, . How was I supposed to know Case Keenum and the Redskins would generate 17 points on their first three series, which pretty much wrecked the under almost immediately? How was I supposed to know Andy Dalton would find a way to throw for 418 yards in Seattle? How was I supposed to know that Mitchell Trubisky would look like the worst quarterback in football?
OK, I probably should've seen the Trubisky thing coming considering Pick Six Podcast three times a week -- sometimes even more frequently with all of our emergency podcasts.less than three months ago. I also probably should've seen the Dalton thing coming considering I talk to Bengals fan John Breech on the
Pete Prisco and R.J. White joined Will Brinson on the Friday edition of the Pick Six Podcast to break down the gambling angles on all the games and give their best bets. Give it a listen below and be sure to subscribe:
For a whole host of reasons, that 0-5 really did happen. Now, it's time for redemption. It's a long season. Even though I didn't post a 0-5 record even once last season, there's plenty of time for a bounce-back -- then again, there's also plenty of time for me to sink even further into the abyss, but I digress. Below, you'll find my five best bets for Week 2, right after I provide one final reminder that I really did do pretty well with my picks last season. I swear I'm not making that record up!
Last week: 0-5
Last year: 49-35-1
1. Panthers -6.5 vs. Buccaneers
When in doubt, go with what you trust. And what I trust is Jameis Winston being a not good quarterback -- something I've been repeating for a while now. Winston looked dreadful in his debut under Bruce Arians, even against one of the worst secondaries in football. At home, the Buccaneers lost by 14 points to the 49ers. Winston threw two pick-sixes, which makes it pretty easy to figure out how and why the Buccaneers lost.
As for the Panthers, they really should've beaten the Rams on Sunday, but their sloppiness doomed them. The good news is that the line is only at -6.5 because the Panthers inexplicably did not beat the Rams.
To be clear, this pick isn't about overreacting to Week 1. It's about factoring in what we saw in Week 1 and using what we learned in conjunction with what we saw all of last season, when the Panthers started 6-2 before Cam Newton's shoulder injury derailed their season and the Buccaneers looked like one of the worst teams in football regardless of who was starting at quarterback. The Panthers are the better team. They're at home. And it's a short week.
Give me the Panthers to beat up on the Buccaneers. When in doubt, trust Jameis Winston to be Jameis Winston. Since 2015, when he entered the league as the top overall pick, nobody has thrown more interceptions than Winston and his 3.12 interception rate is substantially higher than any of the quarterbacks directly beneath him on the leaderboard.
More importantly ...
What picks can you make with confidence in Week 2? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that is up over $7,000 on its top-rated NFL picks.
Like the Panthers, the Colts were unlucky to take a loss in Week 1. During their overtime defeat to the Chargers in Los Angeles, the most clutch kicker in NFL history, Adam Vinatieri, missed two field goals and an extra point. But what's important is how good Jacoby Brissett looked, completing 77.8 percent of his passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns without turning the ball over. He did that against a pretty good defense, too.
Meanwhile, the Titans are getting a bit of a bump here after their blowout win over the Browns. The win was impressive, but the final margin of victory does not accurately portray how this game played out. Yes, the Titans deserved to beat the Browns. But no, they did not deserve to win by 30 points. This was a 15-13 contest late in the third quarter and then Baker Mayfield completely imploded with three interceptions in the fourth quarter, all of which were turned into Titans touchdowns. The Titans played well and look like a possible playoff team, but they didn't look as impressive as the final scoreline (43-13) indicates.
At worst, I think the Colts can keep it close and emerge with a push. But I also think the Colts are better than the Titans and are good enough, even in a post Andrew Luck world, to steal a road divisional game.
Want a free shot to win $1,000,000 just for picking winners? How about 17 of 'em? Join Parlay Pick'em now to play every week for a million-dollar jackpot and our $10K season prize.
The Chiefs' offense still being out of this world and the Chiefs' defense still being terrible do not exactly qualify as breaking news. Against a good Jaguars defense, the Chiefs' offense dropped 40 points with Patrick Mahomes throwing for 378 yards and Sammy Watkins breaking out for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Against Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew for most of the game, the Chiefs' remodeled defense allowed 26 points. In relief of an injured Foles, Minshew went 22 of 25 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. So yeah, the Chiefs defense is still not fixed even after changing defensive coordinators and swapping out Dee Ford, Justin Houston, and Eric Berry for Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu.
On the other hand, the Raiders' offense being good does qualify as breaking news. Against what was expected to be a good-to-great Broncos defense, the Raiders scored 24 points with Derek Carr completing 22 of his 26 passes for 259 yards. Carr, a quarterback who entered the game averaging 6.7 yards per attempt for his career, averaged 10 yards per attempt against the Broncos.
Most importantly, he was kept clean. A year after allowing 52 sacks, the Raiders' offensive line allowed zero sacks and zero quarterback hits against the likes of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Given Carr's career-long struggles against pressure (both real and phantom), the Raiders' offensive line submitting that dominant of a performance is important. If it continues, Carr could be in for a bigger than expected season. If you listen to the Pick Six Podcast, you probably know how hard it is for me to admit that. But I can't deny the fact that Carr's numbers started to worsen as soon as his protection ahead of him worsened. If the offensive line plays as well as it did against the Broncos for the rest of the season, the Raiders' offense is going to be better than many of us assumed.
So, instead of taking the Chiefs to cover a 7.5-point spread in Oakland, where they only just barely beat the Raiders last year, I'm taking the over. The Chiefs almost always drop 30 or so points, and their defense is bad enough to allow the Raiders to get theirs too -- though some of it might come in garbage time.
Last year, the two teams combined for 73 points in Oakland.
So, it turns out, Lamar Jackson really can throw the football. In Week 1, Jackson completed 85 percent of his passes for 324 yards, five touchdowns, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Yes, Jackson did all of his damage against the Dolphins, a team that already has a stranglehold over the top pick in next year's draft. Yes, Jackson seldom dealt with pressure against a terrible defense.
But anytime a quarterback completes 85 percent of his passes for 324 yards, five touchdowns, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating, it's impressive. Tearing up bad defenses is what good quarterbacks are supposed to do. It might just be the case that Jackson is already a good quarterback. While Chandler Jones should be expected to apply pressure against Jackson, I think the Ravens' offense is explosive and dangerous enough to hit on enough big plays to do their part in reaching the over. They just have so many different ways of attacking defenses -- don't forget about Jackson's ability to run, even though he rarely used it against the Dolphins.
Meanwhile, even after scoring 24 points after halftime against the Lions, Kliff Kingsbury's Cardinals haven't convinced me that they're going to be a good offense. But they did convince me that they're capable of scoring points when the opposing defense has a big lead and starts backing off.
Ravens win, but the Cardinals score enough points in garbage time for the over to hit.
5. Bengals -2 vs. 49ers
After spending all offseason talking about how terrible the Bengals were going to be (partially just to get on Breech's nerves, I'll admit) and after taking the Bengals to get crushed in Seattle, I'm hopping aboard the Bengals bandwagon -- for this week, anyway. But I'm taking the Bengals -2 not because I believe in them, but because I believe in the 49ers even less than I believe in the Bengals.
The 49ers were remarkably lucky to escape with a 14-point road win in Tampa Bay, getting gifted two pick-sixes by Winston. On the other side of the ball, Jimmy Garoppolo looked almost as bad as Winston against what was the worst defense in football a year ago.
As for the Bengals, they probably should've beaten the Seahawks in Seattle. But because they didn't, they're only favored by two points. At the very least, this feels like it should be Bengals -3.
I'll take the home team that looked better in Week 1. Ignore their records. The Bengals were better than the 49ers in Week 1.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Join our Free $1,000,000 Parlay Challenge
Herbert made the right decision to return to school but he'll have competition to be the draft's...
SportsLine's advanced computer model simulated Monday's Jets vs. Browns game 10,000 times.
The Ben Roethlisberger elbow injury will be a season-ender for Pittsburgh's starting quarterback
The news the Saints feared has arrived, and they're left with a decision to make
Agholor had a crucial drop on Eagles final possession that would have given Philadelphia the...
The Tennessee Titans retired the numbers of McNair and Eddie George prior to Sunday's game