OK, so I went 2-3 last weekend and I have to admit I was a bit nuts by going with 5 favors and so much chalk. I should have known better and this week I promise to diversify my picks and offer some insight so that my selections may seem more convincing.
Without further ado, here are my Big Five Bets for Week 2 of the NFL.
New England -6.5
OK, so I said I will be diversifying my picks and not taking too much chalk. However, I cannot resist taking New England this week. According to my GE model, New England should beat Miami by 13.31 points so there is value to be had with New England favored by a TD at home. Usually New England is favored by double digits when playing the Dolphins at home. Of course Miami nearly beat Seattle on the road but keep in mind that New England beat Arizona on the road without some key weapons and New England has a great track record against Miami. I have a feeling that all of the travel Miami has had to endure will catch up to them and that my model will hold true with New England winning by at least 2 TDs.
San Francisco +13.5
Now, there are several things working against the 49ers this week. First of all, they go up against a team that has 4 extra days of rest (Carolina last played Thursday, Sept. 8 and the 49ers this past Monday). The 49ers also lose a day for cross country travel and have to deal with a 3 hour time zone change. The game is also early so that can present a challenge for someone used to West Coast time. Let's not forget that this Panthers team is still very good as they are defending NFC Champions with the same core group of players and are very hungry after losing a heartbreaker in Denver last week. Of course these 49ers don't quite seem like the same crappy 49ers from last year. Chip Kelly clearly had these guys playing mistake free, disciplined football on Monday night and Gabbert did a great job of managing the offense. Yes, the 49ers played the Rams but to beat an NFL team 28 - 0 is nothing to brush off. I think 13.5 points is too much and the betting public still thinks this is last year. It's not and I think we see a 49ers team that will compete and stay within 7 - 10 points of Carolina. The GE Model has Carolina winning by 8.51 points so getting 13.5 points for SF is great value.
One should be wary of betting on a division rivalry game like this one. However, getting 3.5 points for a team that I think is more well rounded and slightly better than its opponent is too good to pass up. The game is in Pittsburgh but if you look at the last few games in this rivalry, the location doesn't seem to matter. What does matter is that each player on both teams wants to knock the other guy's head off and this should be a battle tomorrow. Pittsburgh really doesn't have an answer for AJ Green and Cincy's D is good enough to contain Brown. I think this game comes down to a field goal but it won't matter since getting 3.5 points will still get me the cover for Cincy. The GE Model has Pittsburgh winning 0.68 points so I think I will take a road dog again.
Now it's time for a home dog in another divisional matchup. Of course Cleveland is a terrible team. We should just call them the Bad News Browns. Well at least the Indians look poised to making the MLB postseason and the Cavs ended Cleveland's half century long championship drought! OK, so why take the Browns here? The GE model has the Browns losing to the Ravens by 3.15 points so again, we have good value. I still don't think the Ravens are capable of winning a game by a TD on the road. This might be a different year for Baltimore than last year but I am not buying it. McCown is back for Cleveland and I think we see a more galvanized Browns team than last week. Typically championship calibre teams should be favored by a TD on the road and that is not Baltimore. Baltimore may win but like most divisional games between somewhat equally matched up teams, this game should be close.
One more home dog to finish off the Big Five Bets for this week and hopefully if my morning picks treat you well, then put some of your earnings on Minnesota. I feel very good about this one. In fact, I would say New England is my best best of the week and this one is a close second. Personally, I think this is a sign of the public being in love with Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers. For the Vikings to be a home dog by 2.5 points when they are defending NFC North champs and breaking in a new stadium is simply a slap in the face and they will use this as bulletin board material. Furthermore, the game is on national TV on Sunday night and Minnesota beat Green Bay at Lambeau at the end of last season to win the division title. How the Vikings are underdogs is beyond me. The Vikings looked sharp on the road last week while Green Bay didn't have it too easy in Jacksonville. Like most games in this rivalry, it will be close but expect Minnesota to win this game outright. The GE model has Minnesota winning by 1.21 points so consider even taking the money line on the Vikings.
There you have it. 4 dogs and 1 favor. I think there is good value in all five of these picks. Consider doing a couple of 2 team parlays in the morning and if all goes well, hammer the Vikings in the late game.