WIN: Jaguars -3 over Giants (-110): Jaguars 20, Giants 15. This game was worrisome for a while as the rain continued to come down in the Meadowlands. It seemed like that might be the great equalizer, but as expected, the more talented team pulled away near the end of the game. Saquon Barkley was held in check until he sprung a huge touchdown run in the second half. Luckily, the vaunted Jaguars defense came up in big spots where they needed to and got us a big win. Total win: $9.55.
WIN: Patriots -6.5 over Texans (-110): Patriots 27, Texans 20. Phew! The Patriots seemed to have this game in hand for most of the second half, but Deshaun Watson and the Texans made a push in the fourth quarter. They got the ball back with time left and a chance to tie things up, but luckily, they weren’t able to do that. It’s hard to bet against the Patriots when they’re a less than touchdown favorite in the regular season at home and they showed why against a good Texans team on Sunday. Total win: $9.55.
WIN: Rams -3 over Raiders (-110): Rams 33, Raiders 13. If you bet this at -3, which is what this game was at when last week’s column came out, good for you. It moved all the way to -6.5 by kick off, meaning L.A. needed to win by a touchdown to win you money. It ended up not mattering as they outscored the Raiders 23-0 in the second half, but they trailed at the half, which caused blood pressure to rise a little bit. Again, though, especially if you got the Rams at -3, take the more talented team even if they’re on the road. That talent will win out nine times out of 10, just like the Rams showed in the second half. Total win: $5.73.
LOSS: Bengals at Colts UNDER 46.5 (-165): Bengals 34, Colts 23. The over hit by 11 points, but it was close until the end. When Cincinnati scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown in the closing seconds, it moved the point total from 50 to 57. Either way, we underestimated how good Andrew Luck would be in his return to the football field and that’s where this bet went wrong. With Joe Mixon looking like a star in the making, the Bengals were able to match Indy offensively and that made conditions ripe for the over to hit. Total win: $0.
WIN: Rams at Raiders UNDER 49.5 (+145): Rams 33, Raiders 13. This one got close, but essentially played out exactly how we thought it would. If you remember, our only worry was that the Raiders would keep it close enough to push this over. However, the Rams buckled down and shut out Oakland in the second half. It makes us wish we had bet more than our $2 out of our $20 to spend on this game, because it provided the best value at +145 odds. Total win: $2.90.
PIGGY BANK: $27.73 (39% return on investment)
OVERALL PICK PERCENTAGE: 80%
After a great Week 1, let’s get right into Week 2 picks. This is the best time to take advantage of overreactions from oddsmakers and other bettors and find solid value picks. Based on Week 1 performances, some teams will be over or underrated and it’s our job to figure out who those teams are and who is going to find a way to cover in the week ahead.
You can find all point spreads on our website, by clicking right here.
Just like last week, we’re going to go with three point spread picks to go along with two over/under picks. This is not a rule of thumb, it’s simply how things have worked out over the first two weeks. We’ll start with the point spread picks. Remember, we only have $20 to spend.
Eagles -3 at Buccaneers (-110)
This looks like the safest bet on the board. Yes, the Buccaneers surprised everybody by beating the Saints 48-40 in New Orleans, but don’t expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to be a world beater again. He’ll be playing a competent defense this time around. Tampa does get the game at home, but unless they control the clock, which is unlikely given their questionable running back situation, they’re in big trouble.
Especially with the Eagles looking to move to 2-0 before QB Carson Wentz returns from injury, there will be a sense of urgency. That should lead to a worst-case scenario of a push, with a game decided by 7-14 points much more likely.
The bet: $7.50 for total payout of $14.31.
Patriots -2 at Jaguars (-110)
Here’s another road favorite pick and it’s a little bit riskier given how good the Jacksonville defense is. As great as he still is, Tom Brady can’t escape the pocket when hurried, so he could be in for a long day if that Jaguars front seven is humming. Still, it’s hard to pick against the Patriots in almost any regular season game when all they have to do is win by a field goal.
Especially with Leonard Fournette potentially out with a hamstring injury, the Patriots offense boasts far more weapons than that of the Jaguars and even playing on the road, Tommy Terrific and Co. should take care of business.
The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.73.
Giants +3 at Cowboys (-110)
Finally, we have a road underdog for you. There’s a very real possibility the Giants win this game outright, so if you believe in them to do so and want a higher payout, bet the money line, which should be sitting around +125 instead of taking the three points and sitting at -110. The bottom line is that Dak Prescott is a fraud, which means Ezekiel Elliott is going to be facing a whole lot of eight-man fronts.
The Giants have the defensive pieces to hold Dallas’ offense under control and New York generally plays well on primetime, where they’ll be on Sunday Night Football. This is a divisional game and it’s easy to imagine it being decided by a field goal either way. That means if you bet the point spread, the worst you could do is a push.
The bet: $2.50 for total payout of $4.77.
Panthers at Falcons OVER 44 points
It’s easy to look at the Panthers’ 16-8 win over the Cowboys last weekend and assume this is an easy under pick. However, consider the fact that Carolina will be playing on turf, where Cam Newton can get out and run more. Also consider that Atlanta should be able to iron out some of the kinks they showed against the Eagles in Week 1. One point of emphasis: get Julio Jones the ball in the red zone. Matt Ryan has been terrible at it for the last year plus.
If Ryan looks like he did against the Eagles in Week 1, these teams won’t approach 44 points. However, there’s every reason to believe he’s in for a bounceback game at home against a potential playoff opponent. In addition, Atlanta’s defense is banged up, with a couple players potentially having to sit out of this game. Neither of these teams likes to drain the clock, so let’s watch the points rack up and hope for the over to hit.
The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.
Patriots at Jaguars UNDER 45 points
Just like last week, when we took the Rams -3 and the UNDER 49.5 (we won both bets), this week presents a challenge with the Patriots -2 and the UNDER looking enticing. Rooting for a point spread as well as an over/under in the same game can be tricky, so if you don’t want that complication in your betting interest this weekend, feel free to find something else you like.
However, there is value in this under pick. With Fournette potentially out, the Jaguars lose their biggest weapon on offense. They showed in last year’s AFC Championship Game that they have the firepower defensively to at least contain Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. This game will be played in Jacksonville, which should provide the defense even more of an edge. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the Patriots win a 20-13 type game this early in the season. All that combines for the 45-point over/under to look like it should lean heavily toward UNDER.
The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.73.
As we mentioned last week, you do have the option to parlay all five of these games together. Do remember that if you do this, ALL 5 of the picks have to hit in order for you to win. However, your reward for taking the risk is a massive pay day.
The parlay option: $20 for total payout of $507.06.
Bonus tip: It’s going to be raining in Washington D.C. all week and possibly into Sunday, because of the Hurricane that is projected to hit the East Coast on Friday. This will likely make for wet and sloppy field conditions at FedEx Field as the Redskins host the Colts. The over/under for point total in 45.5 in that game. Monitor weather conditions and consider the under as an alternate bet to one of the picks above. Always factor weather into your football betting decisions. It won’t necessarily make or break the outcome, but in a situation like last year where the Bills and Colts played in a foot of snow, betting the under early would’ve been like printing money as the game finished 13-7 in overtime.
Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.