Upset Picks for Week 2 in NFL


Saquon Barkley, Giants Running Back

Saquon Barkley is poised to have a huge day in Chicago against the Bears suspect front seven. Photo from @NYG_Nation10 (Twitter)

  • The New York Giants should be prepped for the Chicago Bears’ D after getting pummeled by Pittsburgh last week
  • Can the Las Vegas Raiders notch an upset over the New Orleans Saints in their first game in a new home?
  • It was a good start to the year, as last week’s picks went 3-0, winning 4.2 units

“The journey of a thousand bets begins with a single winner” — Lao Tzu’s degenerate brother Steve

In the case of Upset Picks, our journey through the NFL season began with three winners. The odds were in our favor though, as six dogs won outright across Week 1 in the NFL. Upsets may be a little harder to find in the Week 2 odds: 11 of 15 games have a spread of five points or greater.

It would be easy to get cocky and think I have this thing figured out, but I’m actually going light this week. There’s only two games where I really like the underdog’s chances at an outright win, so I’ll be betting a standard amount and saving some units for later in the year. (Which is allowed under Upset Picks Rule #3: Eric makes up all the rules.)

Giants Ground Game Buries Bears

The Bears are favorites heading into their home opener, but there were a couple of things that stood out in Week 1.

New York Giants vs Chicago Bears

Team Moneyline
New York Giants +200
Chicago Bears -235

All odds taken Sept. 19th from DraftKings

The Giants vs Bears odds have Chicago giving 5.5 points this weekend at Soldier Field, which feels like a lot. And while you’re never supposed to overreact to Week 1 performances, there are some lessons to learn from the first game of the year, specifically from the Bears side of things. (No, the lesson is not “Mitch Trubisky is the GOAT!”)

My big takeaway from Chicago’s miracle rally in Detroit is that their defense will not be getting back to its unstoppable status from 2018 anytime soon. With no Eddie Goldman on the line, the Bears got gashed on the ground by a 35-year-old Adrian Peterson; linebacker Danny Trevathan looked terribly slow in coverage; and the pass rush got no push against a mediocre Lions O-line.

Chicago’s aging D could get a boost if Robert Quinn is available to go this week. Without him, it’s hard to feel great about the Bears after Detroit averaged 5.4 yards per carry on first-and-10. Sunday is shaping up to be a banner day for Saquon Barkley, who was bottled up by the Steelers in Week 1.

Without any help from his ground game and with Pittsburgh blitzing over 60% of the time, Daniel Jones was still able to make some difficult throws and keep the Giants offense moving. The second-year QB continued to have brutal turnovers in key spots, but those mistakes will prove less costly than usual against a Bears offense that is averaging 17.9 points per game in Trubisky’s last 16 starts.

Chicago is 1-5 in their last six home openers. At least this year, they won’t be sending fans home devastated.

Pick: 1 unit on Giants moneyline (+200)

Raiders Open Vegas Residency With Upset Over Saints

While it doesn’t have the electricity that it would pre-Covid, football has come to Sin City!

New Orleans Saints vs Las Vegas Raiders

Team Moneyline
New Orleans Saints -230
Las Vegas Raiders +195

A majority of Saints vs Raiders betting trends are getting placed on the visiting squad, moving a line that opened at New Orleans -5.5 to -6 at some books. Considering how bad the Saints offense looked in Week 1 and the subsequent injury to Michael Thomas, I would’ve thought the line would be heading in the opposite direction.

Concern about an ancient-looking Drew Brees is the main reason I’m shorting the Saints on Monday night, but it’s not the only one.

The Raiders offense continues to make strides in their third year under Jon Gruden. Last week, they demonstrated tremendous balance against the Panthers, running the ball 31 times and passing it 30. Running back Josh Jacobs came out hot, forcing 10 missed tackles and rushing for 3 TDs in the season opener. Derek Carr even dialed up a few deep shots, something that has sorely been missing from his game in recent years.

The Saints needed takeaways to spark their offense against the Bucs, scoring 17 points off turnovers. The Raiders have been very good at protecting the ball over the last year, averaging just one turnover a game in their last 17.

It’s easy to see the Las Vegas coming out hot in this one, even without fans: teams opening new stadiums in the last decade are 4-2 SU in their first regular season game at home.

This is a great spot to back the Raiders. It’s Vegas after all; the house always wins.

Pick: 1 unit on the Raiders moneyline (+195)

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Eric Thompson

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