After an exciting Week 1 and the successful return of the NFL, we look ahead to Week 2 and Nick Ballistreri spotlights his 5 best bets of the week.
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NFL ATS RECORD: 4-2
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Pick: Bills -6
The Bills looked dominant in Week 1. Although they played the Jets, who are equivalent to a college team right now, they took care of business in a 27-17 victory. The game could’ve been a much bigger margin, but Josh Allen fumbled twice in plus territory. He made up for his miscues with his first ever 300+ yard passing game.
The Dolphins got Bill Belicheck’ed. With a new quarterback, the Patriots still controlled tempo, the line of scrimmage, and played suffocating defense. The Dolphins had no answers, and their offense struggled to get anything going–scoring only 11 points. It might be time to insert Tua sooner than later.
If the Dolphins struggled to score against the Pats, they’ll have the same issue with the Bills. This line is a little fishy to me, but it’s under a touchdown so I’ll ride with Buffalo here.
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Vikings +3
What happened to the Vikings defense? They allowed 43 points in Week 1 to Green Bay, and were absolutely shredded on the back-end. The good news for them is that this week, they’re playing Philip Rivers and not Aaron Rodgers, so look for them to respond.
The Colts were a trendy playoff pick, and while they still have a chance for that in a weak division, I don’t like this matchup. They won’t be able to drive the ball downfield like the Packers did and take advantage of the Vikings secondary, and Dalvin Cook should be expected to have a big day. Take the points with Minnesota.
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
Pick: Jets +7.5 (buy half-point)
What am I doing here? The defending NFC Champions failing to cover against…the New York Jets? Yes, let me explain.
The 49ers didn’t look good last week, and I told you to bet the Cardinals to cover (winner). There problems look to get even worse this week. They’re dealing with injuries all across the field, with them placing Richard Sherman on the IR and George Kittle being questionable at best.
Another overlooked factor: the air quality in San Francisco has been bad all week, and I can’t imagine the 49ers are getting in good practices. Add in the fact that this is a cross-country flight for a 1:00 EST kickoff, and there a bunch of factors working against them.
Again, the Jets aren’t the best opponent, but they could sneak in some solid drives to get some points on the board. I’m not picking the Jets to win, and am buying half a point to cover myself, but this game will be closer than most think.
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
This line opened at -7.5 in favor of Dallas, and is all the way down to 4.5. The public has already lost faith in the Cowboys, but I don’t think they should’ve.
Their opener was essentially a preseason game. With a new coaching staff and no preseason, this was the first time they played live against any other opponent. They couldn’t protect the passer, missed a field goal, and had a questionable OPI called against them…all on the road. They still only lost by 3. That should be signs for optimism in my opinion.
The Falcons have a swiss-cheese defense, and on paper, the Cowboys have one of the best offenses in football. Look for them to exploit the weaknesses in the secondary, and for Dak Prescott to have a huge game. Take the Cowboys with the cover for their first win of 2020.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears
The Bears looked horrible for three quarters against the Lions, but still came out with a victory. I’m not sure if that’s win for Chicago or a loss for Detroit. Even with the choke-job, the Lions still had a chance to steal the game at the end but their game-winning touchdown was dropped.
The Giants impressed me last week. Yes, they lost. And yes, they were definitely outplayed. But the Steelers are a good team this season, and that defense will make any young quarterback struggle. Daniel Jones showed some poise in this game, and even with Saquon Barkley struggling the offense moved the ball. Take the Giants to cover this 5.5 spread on the road.