Early NFL Week 2 Picks, Predictions: Bets for Chargers vs Chiefs, Cardinals vs Raiders
(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images). Pictured: Patrick Mahomes
You’ve spent months thinking about all these Week 1 NFL games, just like everyone else. And hey, we’ve got all the Week 1 picks and coverage you need.
But today, we’re going to do something you won’t find anywhere else. We’re going to start making money on next week’s games before this week’s games even happen.
Welcome to The Lookahead.
On Fridays, we’ll look ahead to the following week’s games, getting out in front of the line movement we can expect by the time Sunday night hits. We’ll do our best forecasting the story of this weekend and try to get some tasty, tasty closing line value (CLV) for next week.
It’s all about the number and getting ahead of a line move. We’ll start with two similar picks.
The Chiefs open the season against the Cardinals, and Kansas City has the fastest rising spread in the league. Arizona is without DeAndre Hopkins (suspension) and possibly J.J. Watt (calf), and the Cards simply aren’t the same without those two. Arizona’s defense isn’t great either, so the Chiefs could put up a big number and remind everyone their offense is more than just Tyreek Hill.
The Chargers, on the other hand, could be in a dogfight against the division-rival Raiders. L.A. will likely be without star acquisition J.C. Jackson (ankle surgery), the man who would have been tasked with defending Davante Adams in his Raiders debut. Las Vegas has won four of six against the Chargers.
There’s a real chance the Chargers could be 0-1 heading to Kansas City on a short week for Thursday Night Football without their top corner against a Chiefs team flying high off a big win. And if that happens, we are never getting Chiefs -2.5 after Sunday.
Patrick Mahomes is usually a hefty favorite these days, though his ATS record covering big spreads is iffy. But when Mahomes is either an underdog or a favorite of three points or less, he’s a stunning 12-2-1 ATS, covering 86% of the time by 6.5 points and winning seven of his last eight straight up.
Bottom line, we’re getting Mahomes at close to a coin flip, and we may not get that chance if we wait til Sunday night.
THE PICK: Chiefs -2.5
Weirdly enough, these two teams are on the other end of those Week 1 games we just discussed. We got ourselves a little NFL square dance.
Okay, so let’s lather, rinse, repeat.
Again, we’re projecting the Cardinals to lose big in Week 1. They might close a full touchdown underdog to the Chiefs, and Kyler Murray and the offense have struggled mightily without Hopkins. Maybe Arizona gets blown out by double digits as Kansas City runs up the score.
As for the Raiders, they’ve got plenty of buzz themselves in the loaded AFC West. If Vegas goes out and upsets the Chargers in Week 1 with Derek Carr and Davante Adams leading the way, they’ll be one of those teams everyone is talking about.
If that’s the script, we’ll never see this Raiders -2.5 on Sunday night. It’ll cross that key number and then some.
The Cardinals might have the worst corners in the league and could get exposed by Mahomes in Week 1, and then face Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller next. The Raiders also get a revenge-game spot for Chandler Jones after he left Arizona this offseason; the Cards have a shaky offensive line that might struggle against Jones and Maxx Crosby.
It’s a favorable matchup for the Raiders. Even if our Week 1 script doesn’t go as planned, worst-case scenario, we might lose a point or two the other direction and that’s not a huge risk with this line.
It’s almost all upside, and we might lose the key number if we wait. And that’s why we look ahead to next week and get these bets in now before Sunday’s results.
THE PICK: Raiders -2.5