NFL Expert Picks for Saints-Rams, Chiefs-Raiders & Bears-Broncos

NFL Expert Picks for Saints-Rams, Chiefs-Raiders & Bears-Broncos article feature image

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jared Goff, Drew Brees

  • Our experts offer their three best picks for Sunday's late afternoon games.
  • See how they're betting Saints-Rams, Chiefs-Raiders and Bears-Broncos.

Will Bears-Broncos live up to its billing as the lowest total of Week 2? What should we expect from the offensive showdown between the Rams and Saints? Are the Raiders being undervalued at home?

Our staff reveals their three favorite bets for Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET slate.

All odds as of late Saturday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).

Here are the games they’ll hit on:

  • Chiefs at Raiders: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Saints at Rams: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Bears at Broncos: 4:25 p.m. ET

Now let’s dive in.

Matthew Freedman: Chiefs -7 at Raiders

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET

Last week, the sharps were on the Jaguars at +3 or +3.5 — and maybe they were right — but I was on the Chiefs then, and I’m happy with the process. Even though the sharps are probably going to be on the Raiders at +7, I’m backing the Chiefs once again.

Am I a square? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Since head coach Andy Reid joined the franchise in 2013, no team has had larger offensive reverse home/away splits than the Chiefs. Most teams score more points at home than on the road. But not the Chiefs. Under Reid, they have averaged 2.95 more points on the road than at Arrowhead Stadium.

In other words, the home-field advantage that most teams have when they play pretty much any other team: That’s drastically diminished when they host the Chiefs. It might even be nonexistent.

As a result, we might expect the Chiefs to be a great team against the spread on the road — and that’s exactly what we see in the historical data. Reid’s Chiefs are 32-16-1 ATS away from home, good for a 30.7% ROI (per Bet Labs). Since joining the Chiefs, Reid has been the most profitable coach to back on the road.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andy Reid

And from a football perspective, I like this line regardless of Reid’s ATS history. This is a game with two bad defenses. In 2018, the Raiders were last in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA, and the Chiefs were last in rush-defense DVOA. But in today’s NFL, the passing game matters much more than the running game. Even with a poor stop unit, the Chiefs have the defensive edge. Their weakness is not nearly as large of a liability.

And although the Raiders offense is probably better than it was last year, the Chiefs still have the best offense in the league.

Let’s say that the Chiefs’ ability to travel well and the modest defensive edge they have counterbalances the Raiders’ home-field advantage. In that case, is the Chiefs offense at least seven points better than the Raiders offense? I think so.

Chad Millman: Rams -2 vs. Saints

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

Let’s get smart, people.

Don’t be fooled by the Saints’ dramatic comeback win over the Texans. They were dominated in the first half of that game, made a furious comeback in the second half and then needed some really bad defensive strategy decisions on the part of the Texans to get into field goal range for the game-winning kick. Also, don’t forget, their defense got shredded by Deshaun Watson in the first half and, ummm, on two plays in 30 seconds in the final minute of the game.

Meanwhile, the Rams did this: Used the first half of the Panthers game to knock off all the rust accumulated by not playing in the preseason, looked better than a team most professional bettors loved, shut down a comeback from King-of-the-comeback Cam Newton and left with a cross-country road win. And yet — YET! — the line has moved off of Rams -3, thanks to the public being fooled by the way the Saints won, not the way they actually played.

Not me, though. Gimme the Rams as a short home fave.

John Ewing: Bears-Broncos Over 40.5

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

The Bears failed to score a touchdown and kicked one field goal in their opener — tied for the fewest points scored in Week 1. Denver wasn’t much better putting up 16 points against an Oakland unit that finished 30th in defensive DVOA in 2018.

The offensive struggles by the Bears and Broncos hurt over bettors to start the season. Each team went under their Week 1 total. The public hasn’t forgotten the poor performances as more than 60% of tickets are on the under as of writing.

Recreational gamblers are overreacting to one bad offensive game, which could be costly. Historically, it’s been profitable to bet the over when both teams went under the previous week.

The most profitable time to bet the over after teams went under is early in the season when we can take advantage of bettors putting too much emphasis on a small sample of player and team performances.

Since 2003, bettors following this strategy in Weeks 2-4 have gone 100-62-1 (61.7%). A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $3,354 following this system.

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