WEEK 2 ATS CONFIDENCE RANKS
Each week of the NFL season I will assign confidence ranks to all Sunday and Monday games against the spread. When there are 15 games, I will rank each game from 1 to 15. 1 represents my most confident spread selection while 15 represents my least confident. The confidence ranks do not necessarily represent how I am distributing my bets.
Note: These are not my entire handicaps so keep an eye out on twitter and discord to see all my takes. Some of these selections were made earlier in the week and the line posted may no longer be available. Make sure to sign-up for the Bet Karma NFL Premium package to get exclusive access to our market-beating picks, props, and daily fantasy plays delivered in real-time and posted in our premium Discord channel! And as always, find me on twitter @PICKSwCLARS24 for all the fun and profit!
Week 1 Recap: We had a very profitable week in which we 5-1 on our top 6 plays! Overall my Week 1 article went 7-7-1 due to my bottom 6 selections going 1-4-1. Good thing we don’t bet those! Good luck if you tail this week!
#1 ATS: 1-0
#2 ATS: 1-0
#3 ATS: 0-1
#4 ATS: 1-0
#5 ATS: 1-0
#6 ATS: 1-0
#7 ATS: 0-1
#8 ATS: 0-1
#9 ATS: 1-0
#10 ATS: 0-1
#11 ATS: 1-0
#12 ATS: 0-1
#13 ATS: 0-1
#14 ATS: 0-0-1
#15 ATS: 0-1
This game has moved as much as 4.5 points from Eagles -3.5 on the lookahead to Rams -1 shortly after Sunday. We now find ourselves at a pick em just a couple days before kickoff. I think this is the overreaction line of the week. For starters, the Eagles didn’t play that poorly on Sunday. Wentz made two poor decisions that ultimately lead to Philly losing the turnover battle by 3. It’s hard to win when doing that but this Eagles defense held Washington to 2.2 yards per rush and 5.1 yards per pass. This lead to a Week 1 low of 3.4 yards per play for Washington. This isn’t that impressive being that it’s Washington but they did meet expectations defensively is my point. And what happened offensively? I don’t want to blame injuries but they were without their star RB Sanders and lost several offensive lineman during the game. This was crucial vs Washington because they have a top 5 defensive line in the league. So what changes this week? Well for starters, OL Lane Johnson and RB Miles Sanders are questionable but expecting to play. In addition, they should also get back Barnett from injury on the D-line which is a pivotal part of this defense. He’s big for this matchup because Goff is night and day different when facing pressure vs not. Jared Goff with a clean pocket had a 117 QB rating in 2018 and a 100 rating in 2019. Jared Goff under pressure had a 59 QB rating in 2018 and a 60 QB rating in 2019. It does make sense that a quarterback’s rating would be better clean vs pressured but Goff’s splits are some of the largest in the league. He goes from a top 10 QB in a clean pocket to a bottom 10 QB under pressure. This trend looks to be continuing early this season as well. Last week, Goff had 25 attempts with a clean pocket and had a QB rating over 100. With pressure, Goff had 7 attempts and finished with a 0 QB rating. In addition to Barnett returning, both Hargrave and Graham are trending to playing so this defensive line is looking to be at full strength. And with the Eagles having two of the best tight ends in the league in Ertz and Goedert it will create a large task for the Rams defense as they have one of the worst LB crews in the league. Ultimately, with the Eagles getting healthier and this line still sitting at pick, I don’t see how you can take the Rams. This line moved away from Eagles -3.5 thanks to the Eagles and Rams performances Week 1, and the injuries the Eagles were dealing with. This is another spot where we get to play an 0-1 home team vs a 1-0 road team. This line screams overreaction to me so I’ll take the home team, arguably better coach, better quarterback, better defense, and better roster.
#1 ATS PICK: Philadelphia Eagles PK (-110) vs Los Angeles Rams
The Detroit Lions are one of the teams I’m highest on in 2020 and this is a great spot to bet them. Thanks to D’Andre Swift literally dropping the win last week we get a juicy 6 point 0-1 underdog to the 1-0 Packers. In past years, I have found it profitable to bet on an 0-1 team when facing a team that won in Week 1. It’s also important not to forget the outcome when Detroit visited Lambeau last season. The refs absolutely stole the win from the Lions making this a great revenge spot. I also think last week will help the Lions come into this game highly motivated. They completely blew last week’s game allowing Chicago to score 21 unanswered in the 4th to comeback from down 23-6. This was a common problem for Detroit last year but it was due to extremely conservative play-calling. We didn’t see that Week 1. Instead they just didn’t capitalize on their opportunities and the ball didn’t bounce their way. Heck, the ball literally bounced off Swift ????. The Lions also had to play that game without Golladay, Okudah, and Collins. All significant players who are questionable and could be back Sunday. Green Bay on the other hand really struggled with Minnesota’s offense, a much more conservative offense than Detroit’s. Minnesota averaged 7.8 yards per play, 6.1 yards per rush and 9.8 yards per pass. All 3 stats were top 2 in the league Week 1 although it’s important to acknowledge a significant portion of Minnesota’s offense was vs a preventive Green Bay defense. Matthew Stafford has also been very successful vs the Packers in the past. He has the skill and playmaking ability to compete with Rodgers punch for punch. It’s important to acknowledge that the Packers lost Taylor at guard who is actually one of their best lineman for the entire season. Lastly, I think this line is simply inflated. The market just witnessed the Packers demolish a Vikings team that was projected to win the division. The problem is, the Vikings may be the weakest team in the division and I don’t think the market has acknowledged that yet. I power rate this game closer to Green Bay -3.5 so I expect a close divisional game that ends in a Detroit cover.**Make sure to monitor Detroit’s cornerback injuries before betting this game.**
#2 ATS PICK: Detroit Lions +6.5 (-110) vs Green Bay Packers
This game features one of the most dynamic, fast paced, unique offenses vs one of the least dynamic, unexplosive, predictable offenses in the league. In Week 1 we saw Arizona run their offense extremely fast. They actually ran no huddle on 41% of their snaps leading to 139 combined snaps (highest total in Week 1) between them and the Niners. I expect more of the same in Week 2. My following example will be drastic but I think it will help get my point across. Pretend you have a touchdown favorite. Now you’re given two options. Option 1: 50 snaps in the game. Option 2: 200 snaps in the game. Which would you choose if you want the best opportunity for the touchdown favorite to cover? Without knowing either team’s game style, you’d probably choose option 2. The more plays that are ran, the greater opportunity there is for the favorited team to create separation. Hence, favorites generally have a greater opportunity for increased margin when the pace is faster. Now this isn’t the case in all scenarios but it definitely makes sense logically. This is also why I’m not as concerned about taking a team by almost a touchdown vs this strong Washington defense. Anyways, this week we get two teams coming off upset victories. Despite both being almost touchdown underdogs in Week 1, I’d argue Haskins “beating” Wentz provides a bigger letdown spot than Murray beating Garoppolo. Which sounds crazier to you? Washington scored 27 points but actually had the lowest yards per play in Week 1. What saved them was the turnover battle, where they went +3 and the fact that the Eagles were easily the most injured team in Week 1. This is obviously not something they will maintain from week to week. Their longest drive the entire game was just 58 yards. We can’t be tricked into thinking this Washington offense is any different from last season after just 1 game. Now how did Arizona handle the Niners strong defensive line lead by Bosa? Kyler Murray’s legs. I predicted before Week 1 that rushing QBs would see increased success early this season due to the lack of a preseason and a bizarre offseason and that certainly showed with Murray. He was making plays with his legs and consistently extending plays and drives. What did Murray’s rushing ability do to the Niners? It neutralized their biggest strength, their defensive line. And what is Washington’s biggest strength? Their defensive line. You see where I’m going with this. Take Kingsbury and Kyler to cover for the second consecutive week before the market catches up to their quickly improving offense. **Make sure to monitor Arizona’s offensive line injuries before betting this game.**
#3 ATS PICK: Arizona Cardinals -6.5 (-115) vs Washington Football Team
This matchup features two teams hoping to keep their undefeated seasons alive. I think this is a great spot for the Las Vegas Raiders. Here’s why. This is the Raiders first game in both their new stadium and new city. I think Gruden has this team pumped up and ready to rock. The Saints on the other hand have to travel cross country for this game and have a slightly later start time (8:20pm local time). This isn’t huge but it starts to flirt with where the body clock takes it toll. We also need to look at how Sean Payton and the Saints typically start seasons. The answer is slow. They are 2-11 ATS and 3-10 SU in the first 2 weeks of the regular season the last 6 years. And this is a prime let down AND lookahead spot. They just played a very important game vs a divisional rival in Tampa Bay and they have a strong NFC conference opponent in Green Bay next week. Do you think there could be a lack of focus in this game? If there was any game on New Orleans entire schedule that they would care a little less if they won/won by margin wouldn’t it be this game? An AFC opponent who is not predicted to make the playoffs won’t really alter the Saints conference tie breakers, playoff position, etc. I think there is a small chance Sean Payton uses this game to just focus on more X’s and O’s. Now from a matchup perspective. This Raiders defense can be exposed through the air. We saw that with Teddy and Carolina last week. You can argue all you want that Drew Brees is still elite but he is definitely on his downturn. Is it setting in more and more? It’s too small of a sample to make many assumptions from but he struggled to throw downfield in Week 1 and only had 160 yards vs the Bucs. The Saints dominated that game by going +3 in the turnover battle. The thing is, Derek Carr does not turn the ball over. Drew Brees time is coming; he’s now 41 years old and he’ll most likely be without arguably the best WR in the NFL this week, Michael Thomas. Thomas usually requires extra attention which opens up the field for other receivers as well as the running game. Thomas says he won’t miss time but the team even tried to put him on IR for 3 weeks. If he plays, it most definitely will not be close to 100%. The lookahead on this game was New Orleans -4.5 WITH a healthy Michael Thomas. Now we’re catching an extra point and a half? I power rate this game closer to New Orleans Saints -5.25. Add in all the situational spots and the loss of Michael Thomas and I’ll trust Las Vegas to keep this close.
#4 ATS PICK: Las Vegas Raiders +6 (-110) vs New Orleans Saints
You’ve probably heard it already but the Colts had over 400 yards of offense along with 0 punts in Week 1. The difference was Minshew and the Jags made plays whereas Rivers and the Colts did not. They had 5 drives inside Jacksonville’s 30 yard line that accounted for only 6 points. This is something that won’t consistently happen. Defensively, the Colts blitzed the least in the NFL last week yet they had the 4th highest rate of pressure. Although it was vs the Jaguars, this is still a positive early on in the season. What does Cousins struggle under? Pressure. Ultimately, Rivers will have to limit stupid turnovers so games like Week 1 don’t happen again. On the other hand, the Vikings are exactly who we thought they were. Vikings Under 9 wins was one of the three season win totals I bet. And boy oh boy does it look good after Week 1. To my prediction, the defense looked a lot worse than it has in years past. Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme is a challenging one and expecting 5-6 new starters to mesh and perform at a high level in Week 1 was a huge ask. The Packers scored 43 points as Aaron Rodgers was rarely pressured by a weaker Minnesota defensive line. The Vikings defense generated just a 9% pressure rate (lowest in NFL) despite blitzing at the 3rd highest rate. Rodgers picked apart the defense with quick and precise passes. Rivers in Week 1 averaged the 2nd quickest time to throw of any QB in the league. Additionally, the Colts most commonly operate out of 11 personnel which just so happens to be what Green Bay operated out of most in Week 1. I see more troubles coming for the Vikings defense. My handicap really comes down to this though. The market priced the Vikings -2.5 vs the Packers in Week 1. We saw the money pour in on Green Bay and the line closed around PK. Definitely warranted. Now I would only expect the Vikings to be downgraded across the market for future weeks. Their lookahead for Week 2’s game was Indianapolis -3. So how did this line move after the Week 1 performances? It really hasn’t. In fact, Indianapolis is -2.5 some places. This means the market actually downgraded the Colts more than they downgraded the Vikings. I don’t have any issue with this if you came into the season lower on the Vikings but the market didn’t. They were priced at 9 wins and a 3 point favorite vs the Packers in Week 1. I can fairly confidently say I think the Colts will perform closer to market expectations than the Vikings this season. Therefore, the reaction to the Week 1 line in favor of the Vikings makes zero sense to me. I acknowledge Zimmer is 11-1 ATS off a loss the past 3 seasons but I trust an even better coach in Frank Reich to outduel Zimmer in this 0-1 vs 0-1 scenario. Lastly, the Colts have a significant continuity edge which definitely shined across the league in Week 1 (12-4 SU, 11-4-1 ATS).
#5 ATS PICK: Indianapolis Colts -2.5 (-115) vs Minnesota Vikings
Before Week 1 this line was Cowboys -6.5. Then Week 1 was played. The Falcons played Russell Wilson and the Seahawks but failed to stop the air raid. Wilson went 31/35 for 322 yards, 4 touchdowns, a ypp of 8 yards. While on the other hand, the Cowboys played Jared Goff and the Rams on Sunday night and got upset. But let’s dig deeper into both of these games and what happened. The Falcons got wrecked on 4th downs in the game both offensively and defensively. The went 0 for 4 on 4th downs in which 3 attempts happened in the first 3 quarters. Being those first 3 attempts were before the 4th quarter, they weren’t out of desperation. These are plays that can really change the outcome of a game and not a single attempt went Atlanta’s way. Even Seattle’s 4th and 5 was converted for a touchdown. Additionally, the Falcons defensive gameplan was for a Seahawks team that focused on establishing and pounding the run. So what happened? The Seahawks actually passed the ball at the 2nd highest neutral play-calling rate. A night and day difference from 2019. Raheem Morris even mentioned after the game they weren’t prepared for Seattle’s aggressiveness through the air. I’m not saying the Falcons defense is top notch but I do think they are better than what was shown Week 1. Their defensive line did get a fair amount of pressure on Wilson. Now let’s take a look at the Cowboys game. The Rams executed offensively just about everything they wanted to through the air despite only posting 20 points. They allowed 8.7 yards per pass (2nd highest in the NFL Week 1) to Jared Goff, a weaker quarterback than Matt Ryan. What is most significant was how injured Dallas got. They’ve now lost starters TE Blake Jarwin, RT La’el Collins, OLB Leighton Vander Esch and OLB Sean Lee. On top of RT Collins being injured, they’ll be without his backup Cameron Erving. But what did this line open back up after both games were played and Dallas lost several key starters? Cowboys -6. Interesting. Not to mention the Falcons are extremely healthy right now and have the continuity edge. Teams with the continuity edge went 12-4 SU and 11-4-1 ATS in Week 1. I expect to see more of the same in Week 2 as Week 1 was like a preseason game in some areas for a lot of teams. My power ratings make this game closer to Dallas -4 and I expect Atlanta to see tons of offensive success this week.
#6 ATS PICK: Atlanta Falcons +6 (-110) vs Dallas Cowboys
#7 ATS PICK: New York Giants +6 (-120) vs Chicago Bears
#8 ATS PICK: Kansas City Chiefs -8 (-110) vs Los Angeles Chargers
#9 ATS PICK: Pittsburgh Steelers -7 (-110) vs Denver Broncos
#10 ATS PICK: San Francisco 49ers -6.5 (-115) vs New York Jets
#11 ATS PICK: Tennessee Titans -7 (-120) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
#12 ATS PICK: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8 (-110) vs Carolina Panthers
#13 ATS PICK: New England Patriots +4 (-110) vs Seattle Seahawks
#14 ATS PICK: Baltimore Ravens -7 (-110) vs Houston Texans\
#15 ATS PICK: Buffalo Bills -5 (-110) vs Miami Dolphins
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