NFL picks against the spread: Chiefs still having trouble covering

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We think of the Kansas City Chiefs as a juggernaut, and they are. Just not to bettors since the middle of last season. 

Since Nov. 1 of last year, the Chiefs have covered the spread once in 12 games. Their 1-10-1 record against the spread has cost bettors a lot of money. 

Week 1 continued the trend of the Chiefs winning but not by much. The Cleveland Browns went out to a 14-0 lead. The Chiefs rallied to win, 33-29, but failed to cover the 5.5-point spread. It has been strange: The Chiefs have been great, going 17-2 in Mahomes' last 19 starts, but almost never winning by more than a touchdown. 

Whatever the reason for the Chiefs' ATS slump, it has become more difficult to bet one of the NFL's best teams. They are 3.5-point favorites vs. the Baltimore Ravens at BetMGM in the marquee Week 2 game. 

The Ravens have some issues. They allowed almost 500 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders last week and allowed Las Vegas to put together multiple key drives late with the game on the line. The Ravens' injuries are substantial. They also have a short week after an overtime loss on Monday night. 

As long as the spread remains over a field goal, the Ravens are the pick. Baltimore has been a great team for years, Lamar Jackson mostly played well in the opener (two fumbles were bad but that hasn't been a big issue for him through his career) and they'll be back at home with their backs against the wall. Having talked through the game with Scott Pianowski on our weekly look at the NFL lines, I agree with him that the line isn't giving enough respect to the Ravens. Or maybe too much to this Chiefs team that rarely covers a spread anymore. 

Receiver Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs have been very good, they just haven't covered the spread that often lately. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Receiver Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs have been very good, they just haven't covered the spread that often lately. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

Here are the rest of the against-the-spread picks for Week 2: 

Washington (-3.5) over Giants

We had a full betting breakdown of this game in our Daily Sweat, which is Yahoo Sportsbook's first look at the betting slate every morning. 

Bengals (+2.5) over Bears

Maybe I'm overreacting to Week 1, something we'll try to avoid this week. But the Bears' showing in Week 1 gave me no confidence to take them this week, even giving less than a field goal at home. I still don't get why Andy Dalton is starting. If they lose here, it might be Justin Fields time. 

Browns (-12.5) over Texans

Do we believe the Texans are good, after they blasted the Jaguars? Maybe, but I'm not buying it yet. I just think the Jaguars are the worst-coached team in the NFL and that's why Houston looked good. The Browns should cruise. 

Colts (+4) over Rams

I won't give up easily on the Colts, who have a great coaching staff and will rebound from last week. The line is not really an overreaction to last week, but I doubt many people take the Colts. 

Bills (-3.5) over Dolphins

I assume the urgency here will be with the Bills. They don't want to go 0-2, especially letting an AFC East rival get a second win in the division. The line is a little higher than I'd like but I still believe in the Bills as a Super Bowl contender. 

Patriots (-6) over Jets

When this line came out, it was Patriots -3.5. A lot of value has been extracted since then, but do you believe in the Jets keeping it close? Bill Belichick is 21-6 against rookie quarterbacks, and that won't be the last time you hear that stat this week. 

49ers (-3) over Eagles

Yes, the Eagles' Week 1 performance gives me some pause. They looked very good. I just know the 49ers absolutely demolished the Detroit Lions for 58 minutes (we won't remind you of the final two minutes, 49ers +9 bettors). I hate taking so many road favorites already, but I do think the 49ers are really, really good. 

Raiders (+5.5) over Steelers

The emotional letdown and the short week are concerns for the Raiders. But it's a team that put up almost 500 yards against the Ravens. The Steelers got a massive Week 1 win at Buffalo, but their offense still worries me. The Raiders can keep this close. 

Panthers (+3.5) over Saints

Whether you believe in betting traps or not, admit that this line looked strange on first glance. The Saints were perhaps the most impressive team in the NFL in Week 1. The Panthers won too, but nobody is talking about them. The Panthers have a good defense and the offensive firepower to win this. 

Broncos (-6) over Jaguars

Do I like laying this many points with the Broncos? Oh, no. But I am not backing the Jaguars again in Week 2. I might not until Urban Meyer gives some flimsy reason to step down in October and USC waits a month before announcing they've hired him. 

Vikings (+3.5) over Cardinals

A lot of these picks are taking the teams that are coming off the worst losses in Week 1 and backing them. Well, aside from the Jaguars, who have less leadership than a second-grade class with a first-time substitute teacher. The Vikings didn't look great in Week 1, but losing to the Bengals wasn't that awful. Arizona looked amazing. Just remember, when we think we know all the answers, then the NFL changes the questions

Falcons (+12) over Buccaneers

This is not a game I'd be betting on. I don't like double-digit NFL favorites, generally speaking. But the Falcons haven't shown anything good, going back to the preseason. Now they get the Bucs on extra rest? It's very possible this one gets ugly. The only reason to not pick the Bucs in your survivor pools is you want to save them for later. 

Cowboys (+3) over Chargers 

One of those games that I'm excited to watch because I have no idea who will win. In that case take the points, right? I'd like to believe the Chargers, who had a really good win at Washington, won't disappoint us any more. But they always do. 

Titans (+5.5) over Seahawks

The Titans might be one of those teams that is trying to let us know they're going to be awful this season. If you saw one thing from their opener that was positive, it's one more than I saw. But, as we've asked about a few Week 1 disappointments, unless we believe the Titans are already a lost cause, this is a good spot to take them. Even though it isn't easy. 

Packers (-11.5) over Lions

Another double-digit favorite, and I might consider the Lions if the Packers weren't so bad in Week 1. That doesn't make logical sense until you look at it this way: It's going to be a long week at Lambeau Field for everyone. Good teams who get embarrassed usually bounce right back. And the Packers are good ... I think. 

Last week: 6-10

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