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Play 'em straight, parlay 'em together, whatever you fancy! Here's Ben Rolfe's top picks for this Sunday's slate

Week 1 is done and dusted and now we have the opportunity to use what we learned last week to take advantage of some Week 2 lines. With 14 games on Sunday, let’s take a look where we can find some value this weekend.

Here are this week’s NFL Picks:

Best Bet for Sunday:

Chicago Bears @ Denver Broncos | 4:25pm EST

2u –Denver Broncos ML @ +125

- Per Statchecker, the Denver Broncos are 51-28 in home games since 2010.

- Per Statchecker, the Chicago bears are 32-40 on the road since 2010, and 15-25 in the last five years.

My initial feeling in this game is that the rest disparity would be too much for the Broncos to overcome. However, there is no better leveller than playing in Denver early in the season when opponents are lacking that true game fitness. In fact, the Broncos are a whopping 22-1 straight up when playing at home in Weeks 1 or 2. It is such a good leveller that in games where they are coming off just six days rest the Broncos are 26-16 at home since 2010. In contrast the Chicago Bears are a woeful 3-7 on the road coming off nine or more days rest. Nether team shone in Week 1, but the home field advantage should be too much in what could be a very low scoring game in Denver.

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers | 1:00 pm EST

1u – Pittsburgh Steelers -4 @ -105

- The Seattle Seahawks have not won their first road game of the season since 2013.

- 2018 was the first time the Steelers have lost their first home game of the season since 2002, and they are 41-34-2 at home ATS since 2010 according to Statchecker.

This is a fascinating matchup between two teams who did not look right in Week 1. The Seahawks labored to a win over a Bengals team many expect to struggle this season. They then had to travel cross-country for an early kick-off on the East Coast. Recently Seattle has actually thrived in that situation, going 4-0-1 ATS when playing an early kick off on the East Coast. However, in the past four years West Coast underdogs are 13-26-3 ATS and Seattle is 1-12-1 straight up in road openers. The Steelers were embarrassed last week by a very good Patriots team. They now return home likely desperate to not fall to 0-2 and potentially two games behind the Ravens.  The Steelers shot themselves in the foot with penalties and drops last week, and I expect them to bounce back in a big way this week. This game will not be a walkover, but the Steelers should be better in all aspect of the game and come away with the win.

San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals | 1:00pm EST

1u – San Francisco 49ers +2 @ -105 

- Andy Dalton was sacked five times last week by the Seattle Seahawks

- The San Francisco 49ers allowed a total of just 295 yards, forced four turnovers and sacked Jameis Winston three times last week.

This game is actually a strange scheduling quirk that has put the home team at a disadvantage. The Bengals have had to travel from the West Coast for this game, while the 49ers have travelled to Cincinnati from Tampa Bay, via Youngstown. Usually the 49ers would have to contend with adjusting their body clocks to the East Coast time zone but having spent over a week on the East Coast they should be fully adjusted. The 49ers defense looked good last week and now they go up against a banged-up Bengals offensive line, who struggled to protect Dalton at times last week. Despite the numbers at statchecker telling me that this game should suit the Bengals I am going to take the road team getting the points, given the bizarre scheduling quirk of this game.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Detroit Lions | 1:00pm EST

1u – Under 48 Total Points @ -110

- The under hit on 6-of-8 occasions in games played in Detroit last season per statschecker

- Both the Chargers and Lions played overtime games in Week 1 of the preseason, which should have tired out both teams heading into this game.

This is an interesting game between two teams who I fully expect to look to use the running game plenty this week. The Lions threw the ball 45 times last week, which is rare for a Darrell Bevell ran offense. That was obviously inflated by playing an extra 15 minutes of football, but even so it was a different game script to a normal Bevell offense. As for the Chargers they should rely heavily on the run this week, after Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson had monster days running the ball against the Colts last week. The Chargers are also in a situation where we they have a weak offensive line going up against a very talented defensive group. Expect to see the Chargers use the run game a lot this week to try and slow down the pass rush, as well as open up a very talented defense which was good last week until the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans | 1:00pm EST

1u – Jacksonville Jaguars +9 @ -117

- Deshaun Watson was sacked six times by the Saints on Monday Night Football

- The Jacksonville Jaguars scored 26 points and put up 428 yards of total offense against the Chiefs last week.

I was actually really impressed with elements of both of these teams last week. The Achilles heel on both teams was their defense, but against the Chiefs and Saints it was always going to be tough. The Jaguars offense was especially impressive, even once Gardner Minshew had to step in for Nick Foles. Against a Texans defense that looked fairly toothless last week, and with limited tape on him to this point, Minshew should be able to move the ball and put up points. As for the Texans, well their offense looked slick, but there were concerns. Deshaun Watson is still getting hit, having taken six sacks, and while that line will get better I am somewhat worried for his health. At times he was struggling and being looked at by the trainers and if the Jaguars defensive line smell blood they will be looking to hit him hard and often. 9.5 points is just high enough where I feel comfortable taking the Jaguars, even on the road with their backup QB.

By Ben Rolfe

Article Author


Ben is a football guru with years of experience covering the NFL. You can always count on Ben to pick a winner on Sunday!


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