Week 2 will feature a full slate of NFL games, but there are a chosen few where the lines seem a bit soft.
Let’s isolate those contests and grab the cash this weekend.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Sunday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m. ET
After a quick check of the NFL odds, it appears the New England Patriots will be lining up against the Miami Mannequins this coming Sunday.
Many of the best online sportsbooks are dealing the Pats as 19-point road favorites, and despite the lofty line, there will be plenty of squares lining up to bet them hand over fist. After all, New England trounced the Steelers by 30 points at home last week while the Dolphins made the Ravens’ second-year quarterback, Lamar Jackson, look like a lock for Canton in their 59-10 season-opening drubbing.
On its own, that would be more than enough to woo the chalk-eaters to gleefully back New England in their NFL picks, but factor in Antonio Brown as a newly added weapon of destruction in the Evil Genius’ arsenal, and now you’ve got the lock of the century. We’re not quite sure what number the books could toss out to prevent the public from mindlessly betting the Patriots in this scenario, however, the oddsmakers know that if they get too greedy, the sharps will grab all those points on the home underdog and could make it a costly error.
There are a few reasons why the Dolphins are a value bet here. First and foremost, Antonio Brown has yet to be integrated into an offense that is highly complex and will take time to assimilate. Secondly, the Patriots have historically not fared well in Miami as evidenced by the following:
— Patriots are 1-6 ATS in their last seven meetings in Miami
— Patriots are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a losing home record
— Dolphins are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games vs. a team with a winning road record
Last year, the Pats rolled into Miami in early December as 9 1/2-point road favorites and lost the game, 34-33. The year before that, New England was installed as a 10 1/2-point favorite and lost that contest by the score of 27-20.
Finally, let’s not delude ourselves that this year’s edition of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the one waxed last week by the Patriots, is anything more than a .500 team if they’re lucky. Teams are never are good as they look on their best day, nor as bad as they look on their worst. Grab the points, and the value, on the Fish and cash a ticket.
Final score: Patriots 31, Dolphins 17
Free NFL pick: Miami +19
Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m. ET
Don’t wait too long on getting down on a value-laden road underdog here because this line is slowly trickling down to 13 ½ at some of the best online sportsbooks. The hoopla will be centered on Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson’s Herculean performance in Week 1 when he torched the Dolphins for five touchdown passes and 324 yards through the air. Let’s take nothing away from the second-year quarterback because he was superb.
However, there will be another young gun roaming the gridiron at M&T Bank Stadium this Sunday and he happens to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Kyler Murray. In his rookie debut, Murray rallied his troops from an 18-point deficit, culminating in a 27-27 tie with the Lions. Let’s be clear, the Ravens will not win by double-digits every week and Lamar Jackson will not evoke images of Thor’s Hammer leaving his opponents thunderstruck after every game.
Jackson was terrific last week while Murray was better than expected and poised beyond his years in the first game of his professional career. This two-touchdown impost is an overreaction to a stunning performance by the Ravens and it wouldn’t surprise us if they took the Redbirds lightly this week with a visit to Arrowhead looming in Week 3. Don’t be a square, be a sharp and back the Cardinals +14 this week.
Final score: Ravens 27, Cardinals 20
Free NFL pick: Arizona +14
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