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February 23, 2019

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Vegas pick ’em: NFL week 2 winners against the spread

Detroit Lions

Carlos Osorio / AP

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford reacts as wide receiver Calvin Johnson, left, and running back Reggie Bush celebrate Johnson’s a 67-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of an NFL game against the New York Giants on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, in Detroit.

Week 2: Seahawks at Chargers

What bet would you take in the Sun's Game of the Week? (Public Opinion: 0-1 season to date)
Seahawks minus-6 — 55.0%
Over 44 points — 20.2%
Chargers plus-6 — 15.5%
Under 44 points — 9.3%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Sports books won week 1.

Of the 16 NFL games staged to start the season, six featured a single side drawing more than 70 percent of the betting action in Las Vegas according to William Hill sports books. Five of those teams — New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos — failed to cover the point spread.

The lone exception was the San Francisco 49ers, which beat the minus-4.5 line against the Dallas Cowboys with a 28-10 victory.

Let the experience work as a reminder of the dangers of consensus when it comes to football betting. With that in mind, let’s try to get the sports books back in week 2.

Talking Points’ new series picking every game against the spread got off to a nice start, going 9-6-1 in week 1. It’s an inherent disadvantage picking every game, which is why I’ve separated the selections into three categories — plays, leans and guesses. The group record is at the top of each section.

Find the week 2 pick ’em against the spread below, and make sure to come back tomorrow for our Game of the Week and contest column.

Plays (2-2)

Chicago Bears plus-7 at San Francisco 49ers Everything sets up even more perfectly than imagined for a side I labeled as my favorite of the early season weeks ago. The gap between these two teams is not nearly as wide as perceived despite polarized week 1 results.

Cincinnati Bengals minus-5 vs. Atlanta Falcons Falcons are in for a culture shock encountering a defense that actually puts up a fight. Bengals will enjoy going up against one without much of a knockout punch.

Minnesota Vikings plus-3.5 vs. New England Patriots The common perception seems to be, “the Patriots can’t possibly start 0-2.” Well, why not? New England’s offensive line is in shambles, and its rush defense looked just as shoddy. That’s a precarious problem heading into a matchup against Adrian Peterson.


Leans (5-2)

Carolina Panthers minus-2.5 vs. Detroit Lions Will continue to look for spots to back Carolina, a team that the betting market has undeservedly marginalized. As long as Cam Newton plays, the Panthers aren’t equal to the Lions like the spread implies. They’re the better team.

San Diego Chargers plus-6 vs. Seattle Seahawks Seattle had the best performance of week 1, but now might be the time to jump off the defending Super Bowl champions. The Seahawks’ value has inflated drastically, as the line on this game was minus-2.5 when it opened over the summer.

Buffalo Bills plus-1 vs. Miami Dolphins Is beating New England at home as a 4-point underdog really more impressive than knocking off Chicago on the road as a 7-point underdog? The betting market suggests so, as Buffalo went from a 1-point favorite to a 1-point underdog. I disagree.

Baltimore Ravens minus-2.5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers The Ravens have only given the Steelers less than a field goal at home once in the John Harbaugh era. They won that 2011 game 35-7.

St. Louis Rams plus-6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Could easily envision a repeat of week 1 for the Buccaneers, who have a porous offensive line that matches up disastrously against the likes of Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald along the Rams’ defensive front.

New York Jets plus-8.5 at Green Bay Packers The Jets quietly had one of the most dominant performances to open the season. It may have just been the Raiders, but the Jets limited to them 3.2 yards per play on defense while the offense looked shockingly competent in overcoming a minus-2 turnover differential behind 259 yards from quarterback Geno Smith.

New York Giants plus-2.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals Trying my hardest to abide by the typically shrewd rule of not overreacting to week 1, a particularly difficult challenge in this case. The Giants looked irrefutably poor in a blowout loss to the Lions on Monday Night Football, but I expected them to bounce back and the Cardinals to regress all offseason.

New Orleans Saints minus-6 at Cleveland Browns Never want to give this many points with a road team for an actual bet, but the discrepancy in firepower between the Saints and Browns make this resemble a militia going up against a two-man street gang.


Guesses (2-2-1)

Jacksonville Jaguars plus-6 at Washington Redskins Now feels like an inopportune time to saddle Robert Griffin III, who’s paralyzed by new coach Jay Gruden’s rigid offense, with the biggest point spread of his career.

Tennessee Titans minus-3.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys In one of the toughest contests of the week, I prefer to fade the dreaded public underdog. Early returns indicate two out of every three tickets coming on the defensively atrocious, offensively stumbling Cowboys.

Houston Texans minus-3 at Oakland Raiders Having picked Houston to win the AFC South, I feel like I’ve backed myself into a corner with this one. Can’t pick a division winner to lose against the worst team in the NFL.

Kansas City Chiefs plus-13.5 at Denver Broncos This point spread was 6.5 points lower when it opened over the summer, and 3 points lower on the look-ahead line last week. Expecting a decent effort out of the Chiefs, who should draw motivation after a week of hearing about how their season is over.

Philadelphia Eagles plus-3 at Indianapolis Colts It’s the Backdoor Bowl, as these two teams probably delivered the two worst beats of week 1 with fourth-quarter comeback covers. I anticipate another set of bettors coming down with aneurysms Monday night, as this line is dead-on.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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