Big Five Picks for 2018 NFL Week 2

Hopefully you read your post last week. We had a very good week! 4-1! Great way to start the season!

The plan is to do no worse than 3-2 each week. If we can alternate between 4-1 and 3-2 weeks, that puts at 70% which is very, very profitbale. Even 60% is very profitbale. For those new to the world of sports wagering, you will break even with a 52.4% winning percentage assuming that the book takes a 10% juice for each wager. Of course there could be some hiccups along the road like 1-4 and 2-3 weeks so going 5-0 from time to time might be necessary. Let's see if we can go 5-0 this week! We were awfully close to a perfect 5-0 last week if not for the Steelers fumbling it twice near the end of regulation against the Browns.

Here are our plays for Week 2 based on our newly minted model for the 2018 season (lines were established by Westgate this past Wednesday for the SuperContest).

  1. Carolina +6
  2. LA Chargers -7
  3. Philadelphia -3.5
  4. Indianapolis +6
  5. New England -1

Initially we liked the Baltimore Ravens but decided to stay away. Good thing for us since they are losing 28-14 at the time this article is being written! We also liked Detroit and Oakland both as 6 point road dogs and the Cowboys as a 3 point favorite at home on Sunday Night Football. However, the offenses for both the Raiders and Cowboys struggled quite mightily last week so it's best to stay away from them in hotly contested divisional matchups this week. As for Detroit, are they really that bad that they would be a 6 point dog to the 49ers? The Lions did after all go 9-7 last year barely missing the postseason and did crash the posteason party the year before also with a 9-7 record. The 49ers haven't been to the postseason since 2013 and their record for the last 4 seasons is 21-43, one of the worst records in the NFL during that time span. The real issue with the Lions is their new head coach. There are reports that Matt Patricia's style is not resonating well with his players. Check out this video clip by Colin Cowherd while discussing Matt Patricia on his show The Herd on Fox Sports.

It's quite insightful when you think about why assistant coaches from the Bill Belichick coaching tree have struggled as head coaches. Belichick is no doubt a football genius but not a good mentor unlike Bill Walsh and those who came from his coaching tree such as Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, Dennis Green, and Tony Dungy.

Like us, Cowherd also picks his top 5 teams every week based on the point spread and we are certain he won't select Detroit this week! He was solid last year finishing with at least a 60% winning percentage. Last week he was 3-2 so we take some pride in doing him one better! Let's see how we compare this week!

Here is our analysis for our Big Five Picks.

  1. Carolina will square off againt divisional rival Atlanta in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of Super Bowl LIII. Winning a road game against a tough opponent like the Falcons won't be easy, especially when that opponent has had three extra days of rest and are probably very hungry after losing another heart breaker in Philadelphia. We don't expect the Panthers to win but we also don't think they should be a 6 point dog. Carolina has had just as much success as the Falcons over the past 5 seasons going 51-28-1 and earning a trip to the Super Bowl. The Falcons also earned a trip to the Super Bowl the season after the Panthers participated in Super Bowl 50 and have been a perennial playoff team like the Panthers. The point is that these are both good football teams with lots of talent between them. This will be a close game so we will gladly take the 6 points regardless of where the game is played and the extra rest for Atlanta.

  2. We went against the Chargers last week which of course treated us well. This time we will go with the Chargers. Why? Because Buffalo is an absolute garbage team. Really. I don't say that lightly about NFL teams but this squad is truly a JV squad when you compare them to the other 31 professional football teams. I know it's always fun to hypothetically match up the best college football team like Alabama against the worst NFL team like Buffalo and most likely Buffalo wins but I wouldn't be surprised if Alabama made it a game. Buffalo is that bad and we highly recommend to bet against the Bills every week until they prove they can actually come close to covering a spread. QB Josh Allen will be in a for a rude awakening in his first NFL start when he faces the relentless pass rush the Chargers will bring to the table, even without Joey Bosa. Additionally, the Chargers offense is plenty talented, more so than Baltimore. Expect a similar result so only giving up 7 points is nothing.

  3. The Eagles are like Rodney Dangerfield, NO RESPECT! They were underdogs for every postseason game during their Super Bowl run last year even though they had home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. They were also underdogs at home last week which is highly unusual for a defending Super Bowl champion opening the season. Now they are favored but by only 3.5 points against the lowly Bucs. True, the Bucs put up 48 points against the Saints in the Superdome and now they are home. However, the Saints defense is swiss cheese ... the Eagles defense is one of the best in the league. From a talent standpoint alone, the Eagles are way ahead of the curve compared to Tampa Bay. Like the Chargers - Bills game, we are not giving up too many points for a superior team against a team that is mediocre at best.

  4. So far we have selected teams who are legit playoff contenders. The Colts were one of those teams before Andrew Luck started to get pummelled consistently thanks to his awful offensive line. Luck missed almost the entire season last year but there is good reason to believe that the old Andrew Luck is back. He looked very comfortable in the pocket against a decent opponent last week and now his team is getting 6 points on the road against a mediocre team. While Washington took care of Arizona last week, we are talking about Arizona. They are probably just as bad as Buffalo. While the Redskins are perhaps a better football team than the Colts, it's not by much. The Colts have the offensive firepower to keep pace with the Redskins. The Colts may even win this game as long as Andrew Luck stays upright. Getting 6 points is too good to be true and consider taking the Colts on the money line.

  5. Finally, we end with one of the best teams for the past two decades: the New England Patriots. They are actually our play of the week. Last week, that team was the Bears and we never worried about them covering even with Aaron Rodgers miraculous comeback. This is pretty much a pick 'em game with the Patriots favored by 1.5 points. The game is on the road for New England and the Jaguars had the Patriots on the ropes for 3 quarters in the AFC Championship game last season at Gillette Stadium. Jacksonville has a very good defense and we all know that the best way to beat Tom Brady is to knock him on his ass often with a solid pass rush. However, the Patriots are a smart team so expect them to protect Brady with lots of short passing plays and a heavy dose of the run game. On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars offense is nothing special. They were able to keep a dynamic QB like Deshaun Watson in check so defending againt Blake Bortles should not be a problem. What the Jaguars can do well on offense is run the ball but Leonard Fournette is questionable with a hamstring injury. While we expect him to play, we all know that Belichick is the master at taking away the opposition's best offensive player. He did that with DeAndre Hopkins last week and he will do that again with Fournette. The Patriots should be in control for most of this game winning by at least a touchdown.

When selecting your best five teams against the spread, it is wise to think of your list of teams as a stock portfolio. Most likely you will invest in well known companies with strong earnings like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. Choosing football teams is no different: you just have to find good value. The "buy low and sell high" mantra definitely applies to the NFL. You may not roll with New England as a 15 - 16 point favorite at home against Buffalo (back door covers are a real thing!) but whenever you get a superior team favored by less than a touchdown or even a field goal, you should be confident in selecting that team. Four of our selections this week are very good football teams and one is on its way to returning to the NFL elite with a healthy Pro Bowl level QB behind center (Colts and Andrew Luck if you can't tell). It would not be crazy to think that Carolina, Philadelphia, LA Chargers, and New England are all playing in the conference championships in late January. It would also not be crazy to see the Colts return to the postseason. With a combined spread of -5.5 for Carolina, Philadelphia, LA Chargers, and New England and +6 for the Colts, we feel good about our selections for this week and hopefully you do too! Best of LUCK (get it!) and we will check in again next week.