Week 1 was a sluggish and often messy debut for the NFL, with 11 games going under and 10 underdogs grabbing the ATS money. It frustrates me to not book a win on that sort of week, because dog-chasing and steering into chaos is the backbone of my handicapping ethos.
So it goes. It's a long season.
Here are my five Darts for Week 2.
Seahawks +5 at Lions
Seattle played one good half against the Rams, then one lousy half. It wasn't as bad as the final score suggests. And the offensive line issues that came up in the second half, that's the sort of stuff you can iron out — or at least patch together — during the week. We're generally looking for buy-lows and sell-highs in the handicapping game, the zig-zag spots, and this is one of them.
Chiefs -3.5 at Jaguars
This pick is so square, it's divisible by four. But Andy Reid gets a partial bye week — he excels in these spots — and the Chiefs should have stars Chris Jones and Travis Kelce back. Kansas City shakes off that messy opener.
Jets +9.5 at Cowboys
The Jets defense always gives you a puncher's chance, and as unbeatable as Dallas looked last week, that's now baked into the line. Even if you're the biggest Cowboys homer in the world, you have to concede that last week likely represents the high end of their range. I'm generally looking to fade outlier performances, both good and bad. There's a gravitational pull back to the middle.
Patriots +3 vs. Dolphins
New England won the stats against Philadelphia, doing an admirable job against Jalen Hurts — the best anyone's done in over a year. Tyreek Hill went bonkers against the Patriots back in 2018, but his production in this series has been muted since: 4-64-1, 8-90-0, 4-55-0. Those are acceptable lines, but they don't take over the game. Maybe Bill O'Brien can make this Patriots offense competitive; you know the New England defense will be a plus unit.
Steelers +2.5 vs. Browns
The Steelers were shellacked, no doubt about that, but how much credit goes to the Niners and how much blame goes to the Steelers? I'll give Pittsburgh a mulligan. I still like Mike Tomlin as an underdog, especially at home. Deshaun Watson's Week 1 showing was screened by the Cincinnati no-show; he left a lot on the field, too.
Last Week: 2-3