Here is a 5-Pack of NFL value plays for Week 2 to build your bankroll, including a nice early season NFC East battle with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Philadelphia Eagles.
Well, after finishing 79-57-2, 58.1%, +21.50 units over all of our NFL picks last season as documented in the Sportsbook Review Forum, we are off to a slow start in 2015 at just 4-7-1, -3.31 units. We did win our most recent play Thursday night though with Denver, which may hopefully springboard us to similar results as 2014 for the rest of this season as we are back now with another 5-Pack of Sunday plays.
That Thursday night game was a thriller too as the Broncos tied the game with 46 seconds left and then returned a Jamaal Charles fumble for a touchdown with 36 second left for the dramatic 31-24 comeback win over the Chiefs after closing as three-point underdogs on the road in Kansas City. Those late theatrics allowed the contest to sail ‘over’ the closing total of 42.
Now it is time to move on to Sunday, and our 5-Pack this week includes four nicely balanced sides as we have two favorites and two underdogs, while our fifth selection goes ‘under’ a total. As has become our norm in recent years, all NFL odds now come from Pinnacle Sports.
Sunday, September 13th
Detroit Lions +2 (-105) over Minnesota Vikings (1:00 ET): Both of these teams were disappointing in Week 1, as the Vikings showed just how meaningless preseason results are as after looking dominant during the exhibition season when the starters were in the game, Minnesota laid an egg Monday night in a 20-3 loss to the team projected to be possibly the worst in the NFC this year in the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings were popular Cinderella picks to make the playoffs this season before the year after showing some promise while going 7-9 last year, but Teddy Bridgewater took a step back in the first game of his second season and the return of Adrian Peterson did not help as he rushed for only 31 yards on 10 carries. Also the short week after playing Monday does not help. The Lions at least showed a pulse, although it was short-lived as they blew a 21-3 lead while losing 33-28 to the Chargers in San Diego. Matthew Stafford started out well but he struggled in the second half and finished a pedestrian 19-of-30 for 246 yards and two touchdown passes but with two interceptions. Stafford has usually rebounded well from mediocre performances throughout his career though and he has a nice touchdown-to-interception ratio of 14/4 vs. Minnesota. And he should get nice support from rookie running back Ameer Abdullah, who rushed for 50 yards on just seven carries in his official NFL debut and who should take over as the lead back over Joique Bell sooner rather than later.
New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills ‘under’ 44 (-108) (1:00 ET): We expected to learn a lot about the Buffalo Bills in their first two games under new head coach and defensive mastermind Rex Ryan, as they opened up vs. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts and now follow up with a date with Tom Brady and the Patriots. Well, so far so good! The Buffalo defense was as great as advertised in the opener, making Luck look probably the most uncomfortable he has looked in his entire NFL career while completing only 26 of his 49 passes for 243 yards (only 53.1 percent completions and 5.0 yards per pass attempt) and being sacked twice and intercepted twice, not to mention being forced into countless hurries. Yes, Brady has had great games vs. good Buffalo defenses in the past and the Patriots had no problems with the defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers to kick off the season, but the Steelers have no defense this year while this may be the best Buffalo defense ever, one that may reach elite status under Ryan this year. Still, it is Brady after all so we are hesitant to pick a side, but we do feel that this will be a low scoring affair as the Bills will probably be conservative on offense all year.
New York Giants -2½ (-108) over Atlanta Falcons (1:00 ET): This could be a case of “buy low, sell high” with the Falcons coming off of an emotional upset of the Philadelphia Eagles at home on Monday night and the Giants losing a game they seemingly had won on the road vs. the Dallas Cowboys, losing due to some inexplicable clock management. Monday was the first game for the Falcons under new head coach Dan Quinn, the former defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks who orchestrated the Legion of Doom and Atlanta showed great improvement defensively over last season for three quarters or so, flying to the ball with great tenacity. However, that defense came back to earth late as the Eagles came back, and the Falcons were rather lucky to hold on for the 26-24 victory as Cody Parkey missed a late field goal that could have won it for Philadelphia. The Giants would now like to atone for giving a win away last week, losing 27-26 to their most hated division rival no less, and we do expect to see much better games here from both quarterback Eli Manning (just 20-for-36 for 193 yards with no touchdowns in Dallas) and wide receiver Odell Beckham (five catches, 44 yards) vs. a Falcon defense that probably overachieved and is ready for some regression coming off a short week and going on the road.
Baltimore Ravens -6½ (-105) over Oakland Raiders (4:05 ET): We are normally contrarian in nature and we especially hate playing road favorites in the NFL most of the time, but we are making an exception here with the Ravens favored by less than a touchdown. The Raiders looked putrid offensively here at home vs. the Bengals during Kickoff Weekend, generating just 243 total yards and falling behind 33-0 before two late meaningless scores accounted for the 33-13 final. Now we feel the Raiders are facing an even better defense in Baltimore, which held the Denver Broncos without an offensive touchdown and to a mere 219 total yards last week, so we have no idea how Oakland can generate any offense here. And perhaps the worst news for the Raiders is that the Ravens still lost that opener 19-13 with a Denver defensive touchdown being the difference. That means that besides being the obviously superior team, the Ravens should be fully focused in this contest to try and avoid an 0-2 start to the season. And one extremely nice stat to remember is that Baltimore is 23-2 straight up as a favorite when coming off of a loss under John Harbaugh, so this game has the real potential to turn ugly rather quickly.
Dallas Cowboys +5 (-110) over Philadelphia Eagles (4:25 ET): Now on the one hand, the Cowboys won a game they deserved to lose last week and the Eagles lost a game they would have won if not for missing a late field goal. Everything else being equal, we would normally look to fade the lucky winner under these circumstances, but things do not seem equal here as last week’s events might actually be over-incorporated in this line with the Cowboys looking like overlays as five-point underdogs. Yes, we get that Dez Bryant is out for a while with a broken foot, but teams often rise up in their first games without injured superstars and the Cowboys have the personnel on offense to do so. The biggest concern for Dallas this year was replacing running back Demarco Murray, but the tandem of Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar actually worked well last week, with Randle rushing for 65 yards on 16 carries and adding 42 receiving yards on three receptions and Dunbar catching eight passes for 70 yards as the third down back. Thus those two combined for 177 yards from scrimmage, which would seem to replace the do-it-all Murray quite well. As long as that continues, Tony Romo will not force passes downfield and he could duplicate his great season of a year ago, when oh by the way, Dallas went a perfect 8-0 straight up on the road during the regular season.