Thursday, September 13, 2018

GUEST POST: NFL Week 2 Picks: That Cheat Carroll Feeling

Winning. It feels good, even if it's only for a fleeting moment. And when it comes to gambling, it's always fleeting, at least for yours truly.

That's why when things actually break right, like last week's 9-6-1 performance against the spread, it feels good to bask in the sunshine of success for one hot minute. It also gives me a good reason to break out the classic gif of Pete "Cheat" Carroll strutting in the rain -- always a crowd favorite -- because that's what it felt like after the Rams took care of business on Monday night, wrapping up a strong opening week.

God, that never gets old.

Anyway, betting $205 brought back $337 in profit -- a juicy 160 percent return for Week 1. After looking at the last five opening NFL weekends, we told you here last week -- and on the Roto Pope podcast, of course -- to back up the truck on the dogs. Between a slate of teasers pushing the Texans, Giants, and 9ers into double-digit territory, and the Jets and Browns (a tie!) covering, that strategy worked out well for the most part. Here's a 32 ounce Miller High Life lifted in honor of Sam Darnold.

The Roto Pope didn't do too shabby, either. He blessed us with some tidbits from Week 1, with the Bucs +410 and +10 and the Jets +230 driving him into the black. Of course, that helped offset his Bills and Raiders bets, but that's the beauty of betting on the heavy dogs.

But alas, we must move onto Week 2. And last week's data-driven approach has been replaced, due to time constraints, with a more..."feel" based approach for Week 2. If it sounds like I'm not thrilled with my process, that's because I'm not. Still, I can't gloat about a hot start if I'm not willing to keep tabs on the rest of the season.

Contrast my half-assed analysis with the Pope's approach, though. His Berkeley-trained brain scans the lines each week, converts them into probabilities and compares them against the average of some data-centric models like FiveThirtyEight to make his picks. (Sounds smart.) His goal is to maximize ROI, so any bets with an implied ROI of 20 percent or more are thrown onto his "short list," before he adds a sprinkle of subjective analysis and ultimately makes his calls.

Here's what he's feeling this week as hit "auto" bets:

-- The Cardinals +645 at the Rams
-- The Cowboys -140 moneyline and -3 spread hosting the Giants
-- The Seahawks +150 moneyline and +3.5 spread in Chicago

And, if you're inclined to follow me back into the depths of gambling hell, my picks are below. Yes, I'm still riding the dogs hard in Week 2.

The Picks: 

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (+1) 

Indianapolis Colts (+6) at Washington Redskins

Carolina Panthers (+6) at Atlanta Falcons

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (+6) 

Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) at Buffalo Bills
Feels like I'll regret this one, but hard to picture Bills keeping up with Bolts' weapons

Houston Texans (-2) at Tennessee Titans

Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
From what I've read, the KC defense is supposed to be hot garbage. But Big Ben looked like hot garbage last week. I know he morphs into the best QB ever at home, but I still want the points here

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-3) 
Darnold fever

Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cleveland Browns (+9) at New Orleans Saints
We sure the Saints are that good, man? I'm riding these fat Browns lines until I remember how bad of a coach Hue Jackson is. Although this should've been plenty of a reminder last week

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-13) 

Detroit Lions (+6) at San Francisco 49ers
Players are already bitching about Matt Patricia's tiring practices and stupid rules. He's also potentially a total scumbag. And the Lions looked like shit on Monday. And they're playing on short rest. Whatever, I'm still taking the points

New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars (+1) 
Jacksonville could be without Lenny Fournette, but offense isn't really their thing, anyway. The Pats, meanwhile, are down to signing guys off the street to fill in around Tom Brady. I'll take the Jags winning 5-3 here.

Oakland Raiders (+6) at Denver Broncos

New York Giants (+3) at Dallas Cowboys

Seattle Seahawks (+3.5) at Chicago Bears

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