It appeared that we were going to have a blistering opening week with our NFL betting series, as the picks I gave out for the early window on Sunday went 4-0, including the Lock of the Week. However, the afternoon slot was a disaster, and after losing those three bets, we finished the week at a disappointing 4-3 record. Given how crazy some of those opening day results were, I'm not too upset about at least achieving a winning record as we learned a little more about each team. It's also a great feeling and sign of things to come that our weekly lock starts hot at 1-0 this time around.
Reminder to myself: don't bet on the Packers in Week 1 ever again, remember that the Chiefs are still the Chiefs regardless of who's in their wide receiver room, and respect the defenses in the loaded AFC West (though we probably would have gotten the over in the Chargers-Raiders game if Derek Carr hadn't been trying to force the ball to Davante Adams all game).
There's hardly ever a "normal" week in the NFL, but hopefully there won't be as many surprising results as we saw last week in Week 2. Or if there are, let's just hope we stayed away from them. Let's improve upon our winning season and get further into the money with the following eight bets, which included a BSSR Lock of the Week all-time first.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Under 44.0
One thing we learned from Tampa's opening game is that their defense is ferocious. After allowing an opening drive field goal to Dallas, they held the Cowboys scoreless and under 200 total yards for the remainder of the affair. Some of that defensive effort was certainly due to Dak Prescott leaving with an injury, but his numbers while he was in the game were unremarkable at best. The Bucs know they don't have to air it out and put up tons of points to win, so why would they? It's much better for them to preserve their 45-year old QB, run the ball, and throw short distances when necessary.
As for the Saints, they managed only 27 points against a weak Falcons defense and were actually outgained in that contest. There's a chance Alvin Kamara will be out for this game, which further weakens New Orleans' offense despite having a solid host of weapons around Jameis Winston. I'm thinking this game will play out something like 24-17 in favor of Tampa Bay.
Jacksonville Jaguars +3.0 vs. Indianapolis Colts
This is a bet that you just absolutely have to place and not look back. On paper, the Colts are a much better team. And on paper, they've been the better team in all of the last eight seasons. Despite that, Indianapolis hasn't won a game in Jacksonville in that time frame. No one knows what the deal is, and I certainly don't either. But after watching the lackluster performance from the Colts in Matt Ryan's debut, I don't have much faith that they'll march down to Duvall County and flip the narrative that has been set for seven straight years prior. Even if the Colts do find a way to reverse the curse and snag a win, it should almost assuredly be by a razor thin margin, which is why I think the Jaguars at +3 is a very favorable bet.
Los Angeles Rams -10.0 vs. Atlanta Falcons
I know how bad the Rams looked in their debut against the Bills. But let's be honest. How many teams are actually going to look good against the Bills? L.A. was dominated in all facets, but that doesn't change the fact that they're still a top-3 team in the NFC, and perhaps even the league as whole. The Rams will have had ten days to prepare for Atlanta and I'm expecting them to come out with a vengeance on both sides of the ball. Think of last season when Green Bay lost 38-3 in Week 1, just to double up a team they were supposed to beat in Week 2. I expect this Rams team to experience a similar sequence.
Seattle Seahawks +8.5 at San Francisco 49ers
I know the 49ers had to deal with highly abnormal weather conditions in Chicago last week. I know the Seahawks had the benefit of playing with the 12th Man behind them in Week 1. And I know the whole city of Seattle had revenge on its mind when they knocked off the Broncos on Monday night. But I still can't justify a spread of 8.5 in favor of San Francisco here. We still have no insight into how good Trey Lance is, but it's not a great sign that he was outscored by Justin Fields and the Bears offense, regardless of what the weather was like in that game. Geno Smith played fantastic and the Seahawk defense was locked in, and if they can replicate either of those two things on the road against the Niners, this game could be decided in the closing seconds.
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys Under 42.0
Cincinnati's defense isn't quite as good as Tampa's, but they did manage to hold the Steelers to 20 points in regulation despite five(!) turnovers by Joe Burrow in Week 1. Going up against backup QB Cooper Rush in Dallas, this Bengal defense should be swarming early and often. It feels like the Cowboys will start to rely more on the ground game and try to pound their way to a win, which will take some air out of the ball and shorten the game. My biggest concern is that we have one or two big defensive plays that lead to touchdowns, but I picture more of a low-scoring, 24-13-like game to get Cincinnati into the win column.
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles Over 50.5
While Minnesota's defense actually looked formidable in their Week 1 drubbing of the Packers, the Eagles' D looked anything but that. I know the Lions are a better team than they've been in recent years, but how many times this season will they put up 35-plus points? Probably not many. Philadelphia notched 38 points of their own without DeVonta Smith even catching a pass, and it looks as if their contests will tend on the higher scoring side. Justin Jefferson is poised to have a career season, and his productivity will provide a boost to other receiving threats, as well as Dalvin Cook out of the backfield. It seems like a pretty safe bet that both of these teams will potentially approach the 30-point mark on Monday night.
Lock(s) of the Week: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Under 40.5 AND Steelers Team Total Under 19.5
For the first time ever, I'm giving out a double Lock of the Week here in what may be an overconfident play based on my success in Week 1. The offensive futility of New England is what allowed the Lock to hit last week, and I'm going to try to rely on them to make it happen again in Week 2. As I mentioned earlier in this article, the Steelers forced a whopping five turnovers against the Bengals in their season opener. And still, it took them a pick six, a missed extra point and missed field goal by Evan McPherson, and nearly the entirety of overtime to score 23 points and get the win. I mean, this Pittsburgh offense is pathetic with Mitch Trubisky at QB. Both the Pats and Steelers were nearly identical offensively in their first games, with the only real difference being New England turning the ball over three times to Pittsburgh's zero.
I think there's no way this game goes over 40.5 points, and if there is a team that figures it out on offense, I'm guessing that it'll be the Patriots. That's why my other play here is the under on Pittsburgh's team total of 19.5. Barring any major turnovers or special teams plays that lead to points, we'll be off to an unprecedented 3-0 start to the Lock of the Week after just two weeks of the NFL season.
Written by Nick Swatson