Are you looking for a vote of confidence when picking winners, spreads and over/ unders? Let me be that football wizard who has seen the prophecies of victory and has the ability to put your wagering soul at ease. In this weekly column, I'll go over every match up and let you in on the deciding factors which will lead me to my winning visions for the week ahead. I'll also throw in the occasional article and words of advice on wagering strategies. But hey, if for some reason any of Nick's picks let you down, I'm cool with you telling your bookie it was all my fault.
'CRACKING THE NUT' IN WEEK 2: - This is one week to keep the kids' college funds safe and secure in the bank. Sure, you want to make some wagers, football is here! I know I'm going to seek a little action, but TEMPER, TEMPER, TEMPER all expectations of winning big in week 2. The match-ups are just insanely terrible and the odds of your favorite tickets winning, just won't be there. Normally, I start each new season with a limited bankroll anyway, and then gradually increase my confidence week to week, as teams reveal to me their true identities. It's an okay week for single game wagers, not-so-hot for parlays. GREAT week for voodoo, good luck charms, ancient amulets, talismans(no, the plural is not 'talismen'), trinkets, jujus and zemis. But not rabbit's feet... it's the 21st century and carrying fur-lined animal bones around in your pocket is a little too 'serial killer' for today's scene.
WEEK 2 PICKS:
HOUSTON TEXANS 20 @ CINCINNATI BENGALS 16 - Going against public opinion here, I actually think Houston will pull this off on the road. The Texans are on the rise, albeit slowly, and will be facing a Cincinnati team in disarray... especially with the confusion in the running attack. Take Houston and the 6 points they're given with the 37.5 under.
CLEVELAND BROWNS 13 @ BALTIMORE RAVENS 27 - Cleveland almost pulled off a victory at home against Pittsburgh in week one. With Deshone Kizer at the helm, they were kind of exciting to watch, especially when compared to the Browns of every season I can ever remember. Now even though they will continue to evolve and get better as a team, they will fall short this week on the road against the Ravens. Baltimore simply has more skill and experience on offense. In addition, their defense will create huge problems for a Cleveland team that's perpetually rebuilding. Snag the Ravens with the -8 points and cautiously consider the 39 over.
BUFFALO BILLS 20 @ CAROLINA PANTHERS 30 - It's the Panthers' home opener and Cam Newton will most likely be sharper than he was in week 1. The Bills have McCoy, which should keep Carolina's defense busy, but they are a great squad and should hold their own. Other than TE Charles Clay, I don't see many other Buffalo players, besides Shady and a decent defense, that will be a factor. Go with Carolina and the -7.5 points and the 43 over.
ARIZONA CARDINALS 23 @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 13 - What's there to say? David Johnson won't be playing for the Cardinals any time soon and there will be a running back by committee. But, they have Larry Fitzgerald, experience, defense and coaching. The Colts still suck in a major way, especially without Andrew Luck, so this shouldn't be much of a contest. I would give more points to Arizona, but I want to see how efficient they are running the ball with their new personnel first. Definitely take the Cardinals and the -7, but lean towards the 44 under.
TENNESSEE TITANS 20 @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 16 - The Jaguars lost their best receiver for the season in Allen Robinson due to injury and Blake Bortles is not that great. The only bright spot is rookie RB Leonard Fournette. The Titans looked a little rough around the edges last week at home, but the Raiders seemed like they had something to prove with the return of Marshawn Lynch to the NFL. I think Marcus Mariota will find more consistency with his receivers and hopefully the running game can find the holes. They should eke this one out in the end, so prudently take the Titans and the -2 along with the 43.5 under.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 19 @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 37 - I don't need the Chiefs to beat the Patriots to let me know they're a quality team. This one should be an easy victory for Kansas City. They don't give up many points to opposing teams at home and Alex Smith has new toys to play with. I'm also not an Alshon Jeffery fan of the Eagles and think Nelson Agholor's week 1 performance was fluky. I'm a fan of Philly RB L. Blount, but not this week. Take K.C. and the -5.5 with a sh*t-eating grin on your face and go with the 47.5 over.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 37 @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 27 - A lot of people are thinking 'shootout' in this match-up of legendary gunslingers. All I know is that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots probably don't lose two in a row. There should be many points scored, especially against the Saints' horrible defense. It would be safe to put the flow down on the Patriots and -6.5 they're given, and there shouldn't be a doubt going with the 55.5 over.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 27 @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS 34 - Another game worthy of the 'shootout' classification. The Vikings proved they have a legitimate RB in Dalvin Cook, even though he played against that spongy line of the New Orleans Saints. QB Sam Bradford, along with wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, seem to have found a rhythm. However, Ben Roethlisberger is one of the winningest QBs at home over the last handful of years and has weapons galore in Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant. Not only that, the classic Steel Curtain defense is on the rise, especially with the addition of rookie linebacker T.J. Watt. This contest will most likely be a close one, but go with Pittsburgh and the -5.5 paired with the 45.5 over.
CHICAGO BEARS 20 @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 30 - The Bears now have the exciting play of rookie RB Tarik Cohen added to the mix. But unlike Atlanta who didn't expect to see that much of him, Tampa Bay will definitely prepare for a possible 'heavy' workload. Other than the running game, Chicago has nothing worth putting money on and I just see Jameis Winston and the rest of the Buccaneers rolling on the Bears. No brainer going with Tampa and the -7 matched with the 43 over.
MIAMI DOLPHINS 16 @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS 37 - The Chargers are going to whoop some Jay Cutler and Dolphin ass this coming Sunday. Even though Miami's new QB has a very good receiving core, he has to face a tough defense that includes the pass rushing tandem of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Not only that, Jay Ajayi was just added to the injury report. Even though he is expected to play, his usage might be limited, affecting how well they can move the ball with the ground game. Los Angeles has Philip Rivers, great receivers and a Melvin of their own: pass catching stud RB Melvin Gordon. Contain the party in your pants when you grab the Chargers and -4.5 points. The 45 over should be a pleasure walk as well.
NEW YORK JETS 9 @ OAKLAND RAIDERS 44 - This is one game I feel very confident throwing some green on. The hapless Jets have no chance at all and the Raiders will give them a west coast beat-down. All I need to say is Josh McCown/ Matt Forte vs. Derek Carr/ Marshawn Lynch/ Amari Cooper & Michael Crabtree. Double down on the black and silver this week. Taking Oakland and -14 is as good as a nocturnal emission, while the Raiders should hit the 43.5 over all on their own.
DALLAS COWBOYS 16 @ DENVER BRONCOS 20 - Even though Dallas beat the Giants last week, they didn't put up that many points, especially with New York's defense being on the field for a lopsided amount of time. Now going into Denver and having to face the 'No Fly Zone' secondary, I just don't think Dak and Dez have the chemistry to get it done, especially since Bryant will be matched against CB Aqib Talib. With the passing game shut down, the Broncos pass rush should have an easier time handling Ezekiel Elliot. On the other side we have young QB Trevor Siemian and the receiving duo of Thomas/ Sanders. C.J. Anderson is running the rock and should keep Dallas' D on their toes. I'm going against the critics on this one and suggesting you take Denver and the +2.5 points. Pull the lever on the 42.5 under.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 20 @ LOS ANGELES RAMS 26 - I'm liking the new Wade Phillips' Rams defense. Sure, they looked amazing against the sorry Colts last week, but they are a ferocious group, and only going to get better as the season moves on. The QB play of Jared Goff is coming together as well as that of target Cooper Kupp. This will be a sloppy game but the Rams should pull it off. I would have no problems taking Los Angeles and the -2.5 but would stick with the 46 point under.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers 6 @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 37 - I'd only want to watch this game if I was a Seahawks' fan. It's going to be ugly and one-sided. Seattle didn't score many points against Green Bay last week, but they played an Aaron Rodgers'-led team in Lambeau Field. This week will be different as they are home against one of the worst teams in the NFC... in which the acronym this game means NO F*CKING CONTEST. The Seahawks all day with the -13.5 but take the 42.5 over with a grain of salt.
GREEN BAY PACKERS 34 @ ATLANTA FALCONS 30 - Another game including premiere quarterbacks. Definitely a lot of points will be had and it will come down to the wire. Emotions will be running high in Atlanta because of the first game in their new stadium, but I'm going against public opinion again and siding with the Pack to pull this one out of their ass(that kinda rhymed). Green Bay with the +2.5 points their given is my vote along with the 54 over.
DETROIT LIONS 20 @ NEW YORK GIANTS 27 - I'm not believing the Lions' hype and not giving up the Giants just yet. Eli will get it going, even though it may take a few star players(you know who I'm talking about) to help chip in. He is a two-time Superbowl champion, so I have faith in him at home on Monday Night Football. I really don't see any highlight reel action in this game, so going to bed early and missing the fourth quarter shouldn't be an issue. All day Giants and the -3.5 points stitched to a 43.5 quilted under.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: