Sunday NFL Picks for Ravens vs. Texans & Chiefs vs. Chargers
Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes
- The Texans to cover as 7.5-point underdogs against the Ravens. Cases for both sides of the Chiefs vs. Chargers spread. Two player props.
- Our staff highlights how they're betting Sunday's late games with five of their top Week 2 NFL picks below.
Week 2 NFL Picks
Sean Koerner: Texans +7.5 vs. Ravens
This is the biggest overreaction to Week 1.
Sure, the Ravens are arguably the best team in the NFL and are currently tied for first in my power ratings — I get that I’m taking the inferior team here. But Houston is far better equipped to keep up with Baltimore than Cleveland was in last week’s blowout.
Deshaun Watson can pull off the backdoor cover, just as he nearly did against the Chiefs in Week 1. Yes, he lost DeAndre Hopkins over the offseason, but this is still an excellent WR unit with Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills. Watson did show some rust with new teammates Cooks and Cobb in the season opener, but we should expect that to improve over the coming weeks. And having a healthy Fuller and Cooks will help make this offense even more explosive.
I think the Texans will be able to keep this game closer than 80% of the public thinks. I have this spread projected as Ravens -6 and would bet the Texans until it reaches +6.5.
Chris Raybon: Texans +7.5 vs. Ravens
Baltimore is obviously the superior team, but Houston has what it takes to keep this game closer than this line indicates.
New defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver’s unit proved in Week 1 it could limit big plays from an explosive passing game and will force Baltimore to drive the length of the field. And on offense, Deshaun Watson has the weapons necessary to make Baltimore pay for blitzing — something that wasn’t the case in last season’s matchup.
Per The Athletic’s Aaron Reiss, Watson has been the league’s second-most high-variance quarterback since being drafted in 2017, so we shouldn’t overreact to last week’s slow start. In fact, the best time to bet on Watson to deliver has been when expectations are low: According to our Bet Labs data, he has pulled off a 12-6 record against the spread as an underdog in his career. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson can be hit or miss as a favorite, compiling an ATS record of 9-10 (including postseason).
Koerner’s Ravens vs. Texans Props
Marquise Brown Over 51.5 Rec Yards (-110) [Bet now at BetMGM]
I can’t believe we are able to buy low on Hollywood Brown after he dropped 101 yards on the Browns in Week 1. His 80% routes run was encouraging and could have been higher if it weren’t for the blowout.
This week’s matchup against the Texans should be much more competitive, and I think he clears this line with ease. Bet to 54.5
Mark Ingram Under 52.5 Rush Yards (-110) [Bet now at FanDuel]
The Ravens’ backfield is going to be a headache to project as long as Ingram, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are all healthy.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman told the media that the team’s backfield rotation is “going to be different every week.” While I still expect Ingram to be the team’s lead back, it’s smart to bet the under on a yardage prop this high whenever you have this much uncertainty in a backfield.
I have him projected closer to 45.5. Bet to 50.5
Stuckey: Chargers +8.5 vs. Chiefs
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
As I mentioned multiple times on our podcast, Chargers unders were squarely on my radar to start this season.
With Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, Anthony Lynn can now run his snail, rush-heavy, conservative offense. And Taylor won’t turn it over like Philip Rivers did too often last season.
The Chargers want to grind the clock, rely on their solid defense and try to win games like they did last week by a score of 16-13. They did play a little faster and took a few more deep shots than I expected last week, but I expect an extremely conservative game plan on Sunday as long as the game stays within reach.
While a rush-heavy attack with Tyrod Taylor under center lowers the ceiling of Los Angeles in today’s NFL, it’s a strategy that could have some success against the more talented Chiefs.
You can run the ball on Kansas City, and that’s how you keep Patrick Mahomes off the field. And when Mahomes did take the field last year, the Chargers did as good of a job as anybody in the NFL — Mahomes threw for fewer than 200 yards in both meetings with a total of two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Chargers lost both those meetings but out-gained Kansas City, 438 to 310 yards, in a 7-point loss. And in a 10-point loss later in the season, they also finished with more total yards and dominated time of possession. Both games basically came down to turnovers as L.A. had six to Kansas City’s two. Taylor should keep those down this season.
I’m not sure the Chargers can win this game against a Chiefs team that has absolutely dominated the division in recent years but I do think L.A. can stay within a touchdown. I make this line around KC -6, so the +8.5 is even more enticing in what I expect to be a lower-scoring game than the total implies.
This is wild. The Chiefs are 27-2 in their past 29 division games. The two losses came by a combined 2 points on miraculous comebacks with touchdowns as time expired.
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) July 1, 2020
It’s also scary fading Andy Reid with extra time to prepare after a Thursday night opener — he’s 33-22-1 against the spread (ATS) with eight or more days between games — but I can’t pass up the home division dog catching over a touchdown here. And yes, I’ll always have a soft spot for competent NFL home dogs of seven or more, which have gone 153-136-6 ATS (52.9%) since 2003.
Michael Arinze: Chiefs -8.5 at Chargers
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
I’m gonna have to fade Stuckey here.
Watching this week’s Thursday Night Football matchup between the Bengals and Browns really gave a glimpse into how offensively challenged the Chargers are with Tyrod Taylor. They were lucky to escape Cincinnati last week with a win as they easily could’ve lost the game if not for an offensive pass interference call on A.J. Green with seven seconds left in the game. Los Angeles had a negative yards per play of -1.1 last week, which shows that they actually got outplayed by rookie quarterback Joe Burrow in his NFL debut.
Next up is Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Last week, the Chiefs actually ran the ball more than they threw it as Andy Reid was intent on testing out his new toy in running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Mahomes was efficient with his arm and completed 24-of-32 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns. That’s all without any pass completions of more than 20 yards and an average yards per attempt of just 6.59, which was in the bottom-half of all Week 1 quarterbacks. And yet the Chiefs still strolled to a comfortable double-digit win over the Texans — that’s scary for a team that didn’t even look to go vertical down the field.
Figure this: In their last five games on the road against the Chargers, the Chiefs are 5-0 straight up and against the spread with four of those wins by double digits.
Don’t overthink this one. The Chiefs will roll on Sunday in Los Angeles — big. I’d play this up to -9.5.