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Here we go, we are back for the NFL picks for this week. Last week we went a modest 1-1-1 ATS and were down -0.7 units. With the way things started out, that's not the worst thing in the world. We were right about the Saints, had the Chargers' sweat, and the Browns were, unfortunately, the Browns. There's a reason why Week 1 has basically evolved into "national jump to conclusions week," and that may be the case more so with no preseason this year.
As we surveyed everything going on, we got a lot more action for you this week with 10 total plays, and before you get reading, if you like the picks - or want to fade them - go ahead and use MyBookie when you place your wagers. When you sign in, use promo code "TORRES" and you automatically double your deposit. So if you put in $50, you get $100 put into your account automatically.
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Now, to the picks!
Thursday Night: Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns
Point spread: Cleveland (-6)
Fun fact Thursday is my 25th birthday, and you know your boy isn't going to lose money on his birthday. So we have to take advantage of the birthday karma, and we have a really intriguing matchup on Thursday night between the Browns and Bengals.
I know you guys are rolling your eyes about the Browns pick against the Ravens. In my defense, the Browns did not play as bad as the 38-6 score would indicate. They were able to run the football, averaging 5.1 yards per rush, but it was unfortunate QB play from Baker Mayfield that did the Browns in. After a turnover on the first drive and a fake punt attempt on their own 30, the Browns were down 10-0 before anyone blinked an eye. Odell Beckham did not do them any favors catching just three balls on 11 targets.
On the other side of the football, the Browns defense played surprisingly decent giving up 28 of their 38 points off of their own offense's turnovers. The Browns held the Ravens potent rushing attack to 3.5 yards per carry, but Lamar beat them with stellar throws in the deep passing game. This week the Browns get a much easier test facing the Bengals at home on a short week. The quick turnaround will help new head coach Kevin Stefanaski forget his poor debut. Thursday is a great bounce-back spot for Cleveland, getting to play on a short against a rookie QB. The Browns desperately want to win to avoid falling to 0-2, and Baker needs to beat Joe Burrow to protect his future as a starting NFL quarterback. It's hilarious calling a week two matchup a "must-win," but this feels like that for Cleveland.
Baker will have the chance to succeed against the worst secondary in the NFL, and Beckham should dominate against Cincinnati corner Mackensie Alexander. According to the advanced analytics, Chargers wide receivers were open on nearly 50 percent of his routes against Alexander last week, and LA quarterback Tyrod Taylor was afraid to throw the ball downfield. We know Baker isn't afraid to let it fly, which will be a good week to do it.
On the defensive end, the Browns pass rush should dominate Cincy's porous offensive line. Joe Burrow was hit more than any QB not named Daniel Jones last week. If the Browns are able to control the Bengals running game, it's going to be a long day for Burrow.
Baker and Browns come into this game with a sense of urgency, and they take an early lead in this one. We will take the Browns in the first half of this one. If the Browns get out to a lead early, the Bengals will play fast in the second half, and Taylor will let Burrow air it out quite a bit. I think the game script will put the over in play too.
If Baker Mayfield ruins my birthday, I swear to god...
Picks: Browns first half -3 (1 unit) and over 43.5 (0.5 unit)
Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles
Point spread: Pick 'em
Interesting line movement in this game, as the Eagles opened at (-2.5) and this was quickly bet to Rams (-1). Over the course of Wednesday, it came back to a pick-em, and no one knows where this line will end up.
However, I believe it belongs way more towards Rams (-1) than the opening line, after the Eagles dreadful 27-17 loss to the Washington football team 27-17. In that game, the Eagles missed four offensive line starters along with running back Miles Sanders. Left tackle Lane Johnson and Sanders are expected to be back while everyone is questionable. Carson Wentz was under siege in the Eagles' opener against a talented Washington defensive line — he was pressured on over 40% of his drop backs, and the eight sacks he took were twice as many as any other quarterback in Week 1.
On the other hand, Aaron Donald applied a 31 percent pressure rate by himself in Sunday night matchup against the Cowboys. Add in Leonard Floyd off the edge in the Rams stellar back end and I don't see how the Eagles can move the ball in this one.
The Rams are coming in with much momentum after their win against the Cowboys. Their offense was very efficient, both running and passing. Jared Goff looks more comfortable than he has been in the past, and Sean McVay did a stellar job of getting the ball out of his hands quickly against Dallas. I had leaned Rams to begin, and I am going to trust the line movement here. Rams get this win on the road.
The pick: Rams Pick 'em (1 unit)
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Point Spread: Buffalo (-6)
Everyone and their mother are the Bills this week, literally. Close to 97 percent of the money is locked in the Bills. As of Wednesday morning, only nine tickets have been placed on the Dolphins at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, only NINE.
Those percentages equal an automatic fade for me, so we will side with the house here since the the books usually don't lose. Those big hotels in Vegas aren't built from 99% of the public winning, that's for damn sure. Also, I believe the spread will continue to climb, and you will probably get a better number for the Dolphins at 6.5 or seven on Sunday. However, we will take the six for timeliness of the picks.
Overall, this is a simple gut play for me. There is a significant overreaction to Josh Allen's performance over the abysmal Jets. The Dolphins defense is a more considerable step up for Allen and the Buffalo offense. Speaking of Miami, they did a decent job limiting a new Patriots offense, especially when you remember that with the Cam Newton signing they had no way to prepare.
Look for the Bills to get off to a sluggish start, and they wear down in the fourth quarter. Fitzmagic puts up at least 17, which will be good enough to get in the back door.
Every week there is one team that ends up as the money line parlay and teaser killer, and for Week 2 the Dolphins are it. Fade the public.
The pick: Dolphins +6 (0.5 unit) (will double down with a better number on Sunday).
Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals
Point spread: Arizona (-6.5)
Alas, my favorite bet of the week, as coach Kliff Kingsbury leads his team against the Washington football team. Ron Rivera was the only new head coach to win in Week 1 with his new team, and now the narrative after Week 1 is that the Washington Football team may not be that bad. Wrong! Washington is still a 4-12 football team that ran into a team with almost its entire offensive line missing. Credit to Washington's D-Line which is still very talented, led by No. 2 overall pick Chase Young. However, that's the only good unit on the roster.
On the other hand, the Cardinals lived up to their preseason hype in the first week of the season, upsetting the NFC's reigning champion, the San Francisco 49ers 24-20 on the road. New star receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a fantastic debut catching a career-best 13 passes for 151 yards. Hopkins's presence takes the Cardinals offense to another level. Also, Kyler Murray got off to a great start to the year, throwing for 251 yards and a touchdown while adding 91 yards on the ground. Murray's elusiveness will neutralize the Redskins pass rush, and he will be able to make plays outside the pocket.
Defensively, I expect the Cardinals to shut down the Washington offense. Despite scoring 27 points against the Eagles, Washington's offense ranked 28th in offensive DVOA in Week 1 and Dwayne Haskins graded as a bottom-five passer from within the pocket last week as well. Washington does not present any explosiveness offensively.
This is my favorite play of the day; the Cardinals make another statement and win big. Cardinals by three touchdowns.
The pick: Cardinals (-6.5) 3 units.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears
Point Spread: Chicago (-5.5)
Whoever doubted my guy Captain Mitch?!?! The Bears are coming off an insane 4th quarter comeback win against the Lions where Mitch Trubisky threw the best pass of Week 1 with the game-winning pass to Anthony Miller. The Bears looked bad through the course of that game, but a perfectly played 4th quarter and a dropped TD pass by Deandre Swift helped them secure the win.
Meanwhile, the Giants looked like a JV high school team on Monday night. They couldn't score the ball with 1st and goal on the 3-yard line, the offensive line couldn't block, and the secondary couldn't defend my grandma in a wheelchair. But nobody had a worse night than Daniel Jones last week. The Giants offensive line was abysmal, allowing Jones to be hit on 30 percent of his drop backs. Jones had flashes of brilliance, but those moments were whipped away with disastrous interceptions. Star running back Saquon Barkley could not get anything going; he was hit behind the line of scrimmage on over 50% of his runs and only gained six rushing yards against the Steelers. Now that same offensive line has to face Khali Mack and the Bears front seven on a short week. If I were Daniel Jones, I literally would wet the bed every night thinking about Khali Mack. We shouldn't overreact after one week, but I can't see the Giants offensive line fixing their problems over the course of four days. Its apparent starting rookie tackle Andrew Thomas is not ready to play in the NFL.
Defensively, the Giants were not much better, ranking 30th in defensive DVOA against the Steelers. That might be because their former top defensive back DeAndre Baker might go to jail this week for armed robbery in Florida, and it doesn't help that top rookie draft pick Xavier McKinney is not expected to play. Bears top wideout Allen Robinson, who certainly had a busy week in his own right, is going to play pissed off. Look for Bears to feed their talented WR after he voiced some of his frustrations over social media.
The Giants look like a 2-14 team, and this is one of the rare times you get to bet against them while giving up less than a touchdown. This is the best spot for Trubusky to show he can be a quality QB in this league. I think he takes full advantage, and he has his best game as a pro. Bears win comfortably.
The Pick: Bears -5.5 (1.5 units)
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts
Point spread: Indianapolis (-3)
I am still trying to figure why the Vikings are a three-point underdog in this matchup without any home-field advantage. It makes no sense. Remember, the Vikings were a 2.5 point favorite against the Packers, and now are a three-point underdog against a Colts team who just lost to the projected worst team in the league? I understand the Vikings defense got obliterated by Aaron Rodgers, but its not like they lost to Gardner Minshew. Minnesota has a lot of new faces at the corner and the defensive end positions. Mike Zimmer is a great defensive-minded coach, and I trust him to improve the defensive effort.
Meanwhile in Indianapolis, new QB Phillip Rivers had a modest Colts debut despite the loss, completing 76 percent of his passes, throwing for 363 yards, but two costly interceptions did the Colts in. Over his last 20 regular-season games Rivers has averaged nearly 1.5 interceptions per 40 pass attempts, second to only Jameis Winston with that many starts. The Vikings secondary is vulnerable against the pass, but they still feature two ball-hawking safeties in Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris- who tied the lead for most interceptions in 2019. The Colts should move the ball through the air against the Vikings defense, but I expect Rivers to give the Vikings one or two extra possessions.
On the defensive side, the Colts weren't much better than Minnesota in Week 1. The Colts allowed Minshew to thrive, becoming the most efficient passer in Week 1, completing 19 of his 20 passes and tossing three touchdowns. The Vikings quietly carved a solid Packers defense scoring 34 points, averaging an astonishing 7.8 yards per play. Star receiver Adam Thielen is going to be lined up against his long time former teammate Xavier Rhodes, whoever gets the best of that matchup will likely decide the game. There should be a lot of points in this one.
There is value on the Vikings money line, but I think the safer play is the over. Without Marlon Mack, the Colts will test the Vikings secondary early and often. I don't see the Vikings generating pressure against the Colts O-Line, so Rivers will have ample time to throw the football.
The Vikings offense is going to shred the Colts. There is an easy possibility both teams get into the '30s in this one.
The pick: (Over 48.5 1 unit.) (Vikings ML +140 0.5 unit)
Bonus Picks: Ravens -7 and Tampa/Carolina Over 47.5. (0.5 units each)
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