It’s a little late, but you’ve still got time to make your pick against the spread for Week 2 of the NFL season.
The odds are looking ready for the taking as we’ve gotten a better understanding of how some teams are going to look this season. There’s still a lot to learn, but we can take advantage of what we know to make smart bets before kick off on Sunday.
Here’s a look at all of my picks this week as well as an overview of three close-calls with my reasoning behind them.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (+7.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
If you watched the Philadelphia Eagles in just the first half and the San Diego Chargers in just the second half of their Week 1 games, you might be confused by this pick.
As road underdogs last week, Philly blew up the scoreboard through three quarters but it took its foot off the gas and narrowly survived a late comeback by the Washington Redskins. Covering the spread hasn’t been kind to the Eagles over the years, though. In their last 12 times, they are just 3-9 and 0-5 in their last five home games. Against Philip Rivers they’re 1-5 in their six tries.
Meanwhile, Rivers has led his team to straight-up wins over the Eagles in four of their last six meetings. The Chargers’ front seven is adept at stopping the run, but they’ll have a true test against Chip Kelly’s high-tempo offense. If Rivers can put up points to force the Eagles to throw, they have a shot to not only cover but win the game.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3) at Buffalo Bills
Two similar teams will meet in Buffalo this week. Carolina failed to cover the spread last week against Seattle, but kept it close, while Buffalo somehow almost beat the New England Patriots and easily covered the sizeable advantage for the Pats.
Like the Patriots, the Panthers boast a competent rushing defense that will give C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson problems on the ground. Leaving it up to rookie quarterback EJ Manuel may not be a favorable outcome for the Bills, even at home. Alternately, Cam Newton will get a chance to have a big game against a defense that’s much weaker in all aspects than the Seahawks unit he faced last week.
According to Oddsshark, the road team has covered the spread in the past four meetings between the two teams. Expect Newton and the Panthers to extend that streak to five against a beatable Bills defense. Keep in mind, Tom Brady was playing without several key contributors and still managed to have a decent game last week against them and get the win.
DALLAS COWBOYS (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs
Don’t put too much stock into what the Kansas City Chiefs did in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags figure to finish the season at or close to the bottom in every statistical category. Blaine Gabbert has been abysmal and the Chiefs’ took advantage to keep his team out of the end zone.
The Chiefs haven’t played well as home favorites, going just 1-6 against the spread in those situations. This is a new-look team from seasons of the past, though. Andy Reid’s familiarity with the Cowboys may come in handy, but the Cowboys’ defensive switch and play-caller shift during the offseason will keep him a step behind.
Expect Tony Romo and his explosive offense to continue where they left off against a New York Giants pass defense that shouldn’t be underestimated. Don’t expect the grass surface to slow down Romo either, the ‘Boys are 6-4 when playing on it in their last 10 tries.