- Baltimore (-6) @ Oakland
Picking against the Oakland Raiders these days is akin to punching a guy in the face while he is wearing glasses. However, there are just enough unknowns to this season for people to not think that the Raiders totally suck; and we miraculously still have a line available with them as less than a touchdown underdog. I’ve been in the Bay Area all week and the Raider Nation down here has already lost hope – of a 6-win season.
There will be problems with the Oakland secondary this week as two starters are out -- Charles Woodson and Nate Allen. The Baltimore defense might have lost against the Broncos, but statistically they were in the top 5 in the NFL in Week 1. The Broncos getting used to the new Gary Kubiak offense was part of that, but the Raiders are getting used to a new head coach too. Add in the fact the Derek Carr won’t be 100% while throwing with a bruised hand and you have the makings of a blowout. In their last 8 meetings, the Ravens are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS against the Raiders, much like the rest of the league. Baltimore wins this one, big. Betting System: Piling On Until Proven Wrong.
- Seattle @ Green Bay (Over 49)
I’ll leave the ATS pick in this one to Mr. Davies, but I’d like to discuss the total. It’s higher than you would usually see for a Seattle game at 49, but I think it is warranted. Furthermore, I think it’s finally time for me to admit that the Seahawks defensive secondary is in a period of transition, and not in a good way. They were consistently picked apart with soft coverage underneath the deep cozy blanket up top provided by safety Earl Thomas. If the Rams can score 34 on you then you may be in for a long game against Aaron Rodgers. Really crappy tackling versus the Rams, which allowed Benny Cunningham to look like an actual NFL starting running back, plagued the Seahawks in Week 1 as well.
Not to be outdone, the Packers missed 10 tackles as well in Week 1, led by the best/worst name in the NFL with 4 missed tackles in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The defense lost inside linebacker, Sam Barrington, to injury for the rest of the year, which will force Clay Mathews to play on the inside more often than not in order to defend the run. Barrington’s absence could lead to matchup issues against TE Jimmy Graham as coverage duties could fall to a new starter depending on the route Graham is running. Hopefully, Seattle decides to use him in the passing game before it is too late.
The last time these two teams played we had an absolutely crazy ending to a football game. Actually, with these teams that happens more often than not. You might remember that Aaron Rodgers was dealing with an injured calf in the NFC Championship and I think that really affected his output. Fully healed and allowed to scramble, Rodgers should be able to find some holes in the soft belly of the Seattle secondary to extend drives at the frustration of us here at Field Gulls.
With defensive question marks on both sides of the ball, and fully competent quarterbacks and offensive personnel to take advantage of mismatches, I like the prospect of a shootout. It may start slow, but expect the usual fireworks at the end of a Packer vs. Seahawks game to materialize, which should be enough to take this game over the posted total. Betting System: Emotional Hedging.
- Houston @ Carolina (-3)
The Houston Texans looked positively awful for the first 45 minutes of their game against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 1. So awful, in fact, that starting QB Brian Hoyer was pulled for Ryan Mallett in the 4th quarter. Mallett went on to score two touchdowns in garbage time to make the score closer than it should have been and KC held on to win 27-20. This has caused quite a stir in Houston, as more than a few fans in the base were clamoring for Mallett to be the starter in Week 1. Now they have garbage time stats to back up their argument. And what do you know? Mallett has been named the starter for this game on the road against Carolina.
The Texans defense wasn’t absolutely terrible against the Chiefs though, but with the Houston offense turning the ball over multiple times in the opponent’s red zone it is hard to put up good scoring stats. There was obviously a singular mismatch that was taken advantage of as TE Travis Kelce had over 100 yards and 2 TD’s seemingly out of nowhere. Of course, a lot of the reason that the Houston defense looked anything near acceptable was the play of J.J. Watt, who racked up another two sacks on Kansas City quarterback, Alex Smith, and six of the seven Houston tackles for loss in the game. He will be drawing double teams in Carolina for sure.
The Panthers had offensive scoring drives that were 14, 12, and 15 plays each, which led to a 47% 3rd down conversion percentage. Third down killed the Panthers last year and 47% is an improvement. If anything, the Panthers offense left a lot on the table as receivers dropped some real purd-ee passes by Cam Newton – some in the end zone no less. Don’t forget this was a win against a Gus Bradley led defense.
Given that we have a subpar quarterback on the road against a tough defense in Carolina, this is an easy pick to make. I mean, if there is speculation on who the starter will be you don’t have an ideal situation going in, period. I’m taking the Panthers in this one and taking them right now while I can get them at -3. Betting System: Bad QB on the Road.
All odds and trends provided by Sportsbookreview.com.
As always, do your due diligence and be aware that lines are made to get action at 50% on each side. Good luck!