For The Win: Week 2

NFL picks against the Las Vegas lines.

Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I begin my second season writing this column. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?

As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with 1-3 “Stars”, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.

Week 2 can be notoriously tricky. A full week of action in the rearview, we tend to bias ourselves towards what we have just seen and forget all the prior analysis we have done on these teams. My advice would to be stick to your convictions and avoid any lines that appear too good to be true, one way or the other. There is a whole season ahead, so overreacting and blowing a large portion of your bankroll is not the right way to play it.

Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com

(Thursday Night) CINCINNATI at CLEVELAND (-6) (Over/Under 46)

The Browns will have to dust themselves down, shake themselves off and start all over again after a dismal opening to a season filled with hope. Cleveland’s new regime will take time to bed in properly, so losing to a team with arguably the most consistent roster from last year to this in Baltimore is far from a death knell for their young campaign. An 0-2 start, however, with two losses in the division, would certainly raise some eyebrows. Baker Mayfield’s bad habits surfaced again on Sunday, and perhaps the -6 is a little bit generous and says more about what Vegas thinks of Cincinnati than of what they think of Cleveland’s potential dominance in this clash.

The beginning of the Joe Burrow era was entertaining, if a little frantic, at times. The offense was bound to stumble, but the offensive line is already a significant concern and could force the No. 1 overall pick to shimmy, shake and bake to escape pressure and make plays. The Bengals had a feistiness to them, and it is well within the realm of possibilities that they could pull off an upset here. The total seems a tad too high, so the under is a solid play, but it is the +6 that appeals most. The Browns will not earn our trust until they show the market why they deserve it.

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