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The Crow’s Nest CT Memorial Gambling Degenerates Pick-Em Page – NFL Week 2

Week 1 Picks Record:  10-5-1 SU, 10-5-1 ATS, 11-4-1 O/U
Season Record:  10-5-1 SU, 10-5-1 ATS, 11-4-1 O/U

I’m not going to pat myself on my back TOO hard, but I did pretty well last week.  It started with a disastrous pick in the Eagles/Falcons game (although, Matt Ryan and the Dirty Birds came within 12 yards of making my record look a lot better), but my picks as a whole were spot-on.

Week 2 is traditionally OVERREACTION WEEK™ in the NFL, where the spreads take wild swings in the opposite direction based solely on teams’ performances in Week 1.  This is a week when expert handicappers typically take a lot of underdogs to cover, because the street’s expectations after Week 1 are usually waaaay out of line with the actual quality of the teams.  The adage to apply to all weeks, but especially after Week 1, is:  “An NFL team is never as bad as they look in a given game, and they are never as good as they look in a given game, either.”  Keep this sage advice in mind, and take my picks with a grain of salt – or, you can take them to the bank.  Your choice.  J

(For consistency’s sake, the lines used will be the updated spreads from Caesar’s Palace Sportsbook in Las Vegas at the time of publication.)

With all that said, let’s start PICKING!

Thursday (tonight), 8:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (+1 / 44.5 Over/Under):  See the adage above; this game is very hard to pick precisely because the Ravens can’t possibly be as good as they looked against the Bills at home.  (Or could they?)  Cincinnati, on the other hand, fell behind early at Indy and fought back to win somewhat comfortably.  The line opened as a Pick-Em and has only recently been bid in the Ravens’ direction.  One of these teams will be 2-0 and have a 10-day rest period before they play again.  Points will probably be at a premium, and in that scenario, you should usually go with the home team.  PICK:  Cincinnati (SU and ATS), UNDER 44.5

Sunday, 1:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts at Washington Team (-6 / 48):  This spread started at WAS -5, and the wise guys have also been moving in that direction.  I have no doubt that Colts QB Andrew Luck is back; his laser throws (even under pressure) were difficult for the Bengals’ secondary to deal with.  However, Cincy’s secondary and Washington’s secondary are different animals.  Expect the home team to put even more pressure on Indy, and for QB Alex Smith to have some success against a Colts defense that looked worn down toward the end of last week’s game.  PICK:  Washington (SU and ATS), OVER 48

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-5.5 / 44):  This matchup is probably the most interesting game of the week.  Is Atlanta in trouble?  Has their offense disappeared, or was that game more an indication of Philadelphia’s strengths on defense?  The Falcons play another stout defensive unit in Carolina in their home opener, and if they haven’t gotten their offensive issues resolved this week, it may be a long day for Matt Ryan and Co.  However, having said all that, I have confidence that they will get it right and win a close, surprisingly low-scoring game at the Benz.  PICK:  Atlanta (SU), Carolina (ATS), UNDER 44

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (PK / 46):  This line started at GB -2, and a massive amount of Viking money coming in has pushed it to a Pick-Em.  QB Aaron Rodgers’ health, of course, is what’s causing the line to fluctuate like it is.  But until I see evidence that Rodgers on one leg is worse than any QB on two legs this side of Tom Brady, I have to go with him at home.  PICK:  Green Bay (SU and ATS), UNDER 46

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills (+7.5 / 43):   After getting ambushed at home, the Chargers hit the road to tussle with a Bills team that is dealing with a bit of an existential crisis after their beatdown at the hands of the Ravens.  The line itself has not really moved at all since it opened, which means that there is no real motivation amongst the betting population to touch this game, and for good reason.  How exactly will the state of mind of an angry Chargers team match up with a Bills side that cannot possibly play worse than they did last week?  Rookie QB Josh Allen gets his first start, and that’s a good thing, because the last time Nathan Peterman faced this same Chargers team, he threw five interceptions.  FIVE.  Again, I get a feeling that the old adage above will be played out here.  The Chargers will win, but not by more than a touchdown.  PICK:  LA Chargers (SU), Buffalo (ATS), UNDER 43

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (+2/ 44.5):  The waterlogged Titans journey back to Nissan Stadium for their home opener, after a very sloppy performance last week vs. the Dolphins (who, like their namesakes, seemed to do better in water).  After enduring the longest game in NFL history, and with a somewhat banged-up Marcus Mariota, they will have a hard time keeping up with a motivated Texans team that nearly pushed the Patriots to the brink on the road.  PICK:  Houston (SU and ATS), UNDER 44.5

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5 / 53):  Can it be true?  A high-scoring aerial slugfest?  In Pittsburgh?  Yes, it’s definitely a possibility.  KC has probably the most dynamic offense in football, and both teams have issues on their defensive lineups that mean that they will have to score often to keep up with each other.  I will take the Steelers to win at home, if only because they cannot afford to take a loss coming out of a lackluster tie in Cleveland.  PICK:  Pittsburgh (SU and ATS), OVER 53

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-2.5 / 43):  This line is the biggest mover of the week – it opened at MIA -1, and has completely reversed itself.  The betting public is going gaga over QB Sam Darnold, and for good reason – last week on Monday Night Football (absent a pick-6 on his first throw), he looked like a seasoned veteran instead of a raw rookie starting his first game.  Miami has problems of their own, and looked equally as sloppy as the Titans in their game last week.  My thinking is that they will feel the effects of that 7-hour contest in the rain and the Jets will keep rolling – in spite of the dreaded Monday Night Hangover®.  This game’s my CT MEMORIAL PICK OF THE WEEK™.  PICK:  NY Jets (SU and ATS), UNDER 43

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3 / 43.5):  The line hasn’t moved since it was originally posted, with the Eagles getting a +6 power rating advantage over the homestanding Bucs.  The good news for Tampa Bay is that QB Ryan “FitzMagic” Fitzpatrick looked like Joe Montana last week while carving up the Saints’ defense like a Thanksgiving turkey.  More good news:  Tampa Bay’s DLs, Vinny Curry and Beau Allen, will be extra motivated to make an impression on the team they helped to a Super Bowl win (ugh!) last season.  The bad news?  Philly’s defensive line, as was aptly demonstrated against Atlanta last week, is decidedly not the Saints’.   The Eagles’ 10-day “mini-bye,” and Coach Todd Peterson’s ability to look at tape on Fitzpatrick as well as Todd Monken’s offensive scheme from last week, will make the difference in this one.  PICK:  Philadelphia (SU and ATS), OVER 43.5

Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints (-9 / 49):  Two words:  Bounce Back.  That is all.  PICK:  New Orleans (SU and ATS), OVER 49

Sunday, 4:05pm ET

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-13 / 45.5):  The line started at LAR -10.5, and has been bid all the way up to 13 by the betting public (in some casinos, it’s gone to 14).  Is Arizona REALLY 13 points inferior to the Rams, even on the road?  I have more faith in the Cardinals and QB Sam Bradford (returning to his old stomping grounds at the LA Colosseum) than that.  Almost never do you see a point spread this large, particularly early in the season, and there’s a reason why.  This line reeks of an OVERREACTION, and I think the score will bear that out.  Also, LA has to deal with the dreaded Monday Night Hangover®, which is endemic of teams missing one day of preparation for Sunday games after having played the previous Monday night.  Bottom line:  the Rams will still win, but AZ will cover.  PICK:  LA Rams (SU), Arizona (ATS), OVER 45.5

Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-6 / 47.5):  Despite their loss to Minnesota last week in the Bank, I saw a lot of good things from the 49ers.  QB Jimmy Garoppolo actually played a much better game than I expected against perhaps the most complete defense in football.  Detroit is, quite frankly, a mess, particularly on defense.  Question of the week:  What in the world has happened to QB Matt StaffordPICK:  San Francisco (SU and ATS), OVER 47.5

Sunday, 4:25pm ET

New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars (+1 / 45):  This spread seems to be a function of one factor:  Tom Brady.  The Pats looked shaky late against the Texans last week, and Jacksonville looked really impressive against the Giants in New York, although QB Blake Bortles looked like… well, Blake Bortles.  Fortunately for the Jags, they don’t have to rely on Bortles to win a shootout with Brady, and RB Leonard Fournette will be able to find some holes against the Patriots’ improved front seven.  The fact that the over/under is set at 45 points amazes me (unless the bookmakers expect that the teams will score 3-4 defensive touchdowns, which may not be out of the question).  PICK:  Jacksonville (SU and ATS), UNDER 45

“Oakland” Raiders at Denver Broncos (-6 / 46):  All right, at halftime of the Monday night game, could anyone have seen the Raiders with a lead over the Super Bowl-contending LA Rams?  Coach Jon Gruden devised an offensive game plan that, frankly, flummoxed Rams D-Coordinator Wade Phillips – at least, until he was able to make second-half adjustments.  Denver is a rock as a home favorite, and the Raiders are also going to have to deal with the dreaded Monday Night Hangover® to boot.  PICK:  Denver (SU and ATS), OVER 46

Sunday, 8:20pm ET

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3 / 42):  I really do like this Saquon Barkley kid.  I really do.  As I said in my Crow’s Nest column earlier this week, he’s going to take over games.  I don’t know if it will be this week against a tough Cowboy defense on the road, but I do think that he will rip off at least two or three long gainers, and may take one to the house.  That being said, it’s hard to pick against a Dallas team that has historically covered the spread over 63% of the time in home openers.  PICK:  DALLAS (SU and ATS), UNDER 42

Monday, 8:15pm ET

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-3 / 43):  The Seahawks come into this contest having endured a tough outing in Denver last week, and are back (still?) on the road to take on the Bears at the SpaceShip on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Again, as I stated last week, the ‘Hawks have been historically bad as a road team straight-up, and they are giving three points to a Bears team that got Aaron Rodgers’d late last week.  Regardless of the final score at Lambeau, LB Khalil Mack showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with.  ‘Hawks QB Russell Wilson better bring his titanium underwear to the party on Monday.  PICK:  Chicago (SU and ATS), UNDER 43

 

Well, that’s it for this week.  Just remember that these picks are the products of an old, fat guy with arthritis who is sitting at a computer in Kansas City and should not be counted on as Nostradamus-like.  (At least, not until I prove otherwise.)  Your mileage may vary, caveat emptor, there are no warranties, and I could die tomorrow.  And speaking of dying – as the late, great philosopher Kasey Kasem said, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”

See you degenerates next week!

Steve Shute

Steve Shute

Back in 1996, when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy and bulletin boards like the old SP Times "stream-of-consciousness" page (lovingly referred to as "the SPiT") were the main sources to get Bucs information online, Steve Shute decided to build his own site and "scoop" the local media. He created the first fan-focused site dedicated to the Bucs, "The Crow's Nest," which existed from 1996-2001, when the demands of his professional life and the stress of chasing kids and building homes finally got the best of him. Steve has been a rabid Bucs fan since 1978, "since he could remember," and has suffered through the ups and (mostly) downs of following his favorite team, both near and far. He now resides in Kansas City with his wife of 27 years and his five boys, all of whom he is diligently looking to pass his Bucs Fever to. He also works as an IT consultant, and in his spare time, he serves as Mayor of Gardner, Kansas. You can reach Steve at steve@steveshute.com.

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