The big games of the week
The best game this week is the battle of the two new Los Angeles franchises. Sean McVay's Rams have become the Super Bowl favourites on the Sportsbook following a strong start to the season, whereupon they haven't given up a point in their past six quarters. This is due to the excellent coaching of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Before the season I wrote this about the Rams chances and the past two weeks haven't given me a reason to change my mind.
'With Wade Phillips at the controls of that defense, I'm sold. What he's done throughout his career and particularly in Denver is top-notch coaching. The Rams are all in and they could be even better than advertised.'
They also have a dynamic offense that can score points any way they desire. Jared Goff might not be the purest Quarterback around in terms of arm strength or smarts but the truth is, he doesn't have to be.
Head Coach Sean McVay has installed a system which allows his signal caller to make easy reads and the addition of Brandin Cooks has given them another deep threat. 246 yards on 12 receptions through two games is a rather tasty 20.5 yards/catch.
On the ground everything runs through Todd Gurley II. The former first round pick went for 2,093 all purpose yards last season and that shows no signs of slowing down. With offensive weapons all over the place and a first rate defense, it surprises me that they are only giving up seven points on the spread in this game.
The Chargers are no mugs but are struggling defensively. Having been dismantled by Patrick Mahomes in week one, they managed to give up 20 points to the woeful Buffalo Bills on Sunday in a 31-20 victory. Star defensive end Joey Bosa is out with a foot injury and that is a major blow.
I've always really liked Philip Rivers as a Quarterback and like his opposite number at the weekend, he has talented players to work with. Keenan Allen is an outstanding wide receiver and Melvin Gordon is a fine rusher. They'll put up points on most teams, even one with such a defense as the Rams.
I really like the Rams/over 48.5pt double at 13/8 on the Sportsbook here.
The other big game on the Sunday slate is the Falcons hosting the Saints. This has points written all over it. The 2016 season saw them combine for 70 and 77 points in their two games but last year those numbers were 37 and 36. The over/under line has been set at 53.5 and with the major players from 2016 still in situ, it could once more be a shootout.
Watching New Orleans struggle to put away Cleveland last week was a bit of a concern but when Drew Brees gets rolling he is a hard man to stop. Matt Ryan led his team on four touchdown drives against Carolina a week ago and we saw Calvin Ridley grab his first score.
Points a plenty in the early Sky game, so much so that the 5/1 on over 68.5 is very tempting.
Acca of the week
This will be the first of two four-folds and I'm tipping up this Sunday and this one is all coming from the standard over/under lines. I'm going with the over in all of them.
Over 44 in Carolina (Evens), over 45.5 in Washington (Evens), over 53.5 in Atlanta (19/20) and over 55 in Kansas City (19/20). This is priced up at 15.21 on the Sportsbook.
The Atlanta and Kansas City games I think go way over. So much so that in my long-shot section later, I'll be extending these lines pretty heavily. Cincinnati travel to Carolina having put up 30+ in back-to-back weeks and any game where Aaron Rodgers is involved, the over is in play.
Nailed this one last time out with my Kansas City/over 53.5pt double at 4/1.
This time around I'm going with a seven point underdog winning straight up on the road. Carson Wentz is getting the start for the defending Super Bowl champions and he may need some time to knock off that rust having not played since last December. This is why the Colts could spring the big upset. They are 12/5 to win this game.
The long-shot of the week
Going for a four-fold acca here this week starting with Saquon Barkley to score anytime (5/4) and Ezekiel Elliott (5/6) doing the same. I'm coupling them with over 68.5pts in Saints @ Falcons (5/1) and over 70.5pts in 49ers @ Chiefs (5/1). This is priced up at 148.5 on the Sportsbook and that seems a very big price to me.
If you are a fan of the 3TDs for both teams in each half bet then the best choice this week is San Francisco @ Kansas City at 150/1
The full picks
Each week I'll pick every game bar the Thursday game according to their handicap on the SBK at the time of writing (home team in caps):
Giants (+6) over TEXANS
Colts (+7) over EAGLES
JAGUARS (-8) over TITANS
PANTHERS (-3) over Bengals
Packers (-3) over WASHINGTON
RAVENS (-5.5) over Broncos
Saints (+3) over FALCONS
DOLPHINS (-3) over Raiders
Bills (+16.5) over VIKINGS
CHIEFS (-6.5) over 49ers
RAMS (-7) over Chargers
SEAHAWKS (-2) over Cowboys
Bears (-5.5) over CARDINALS
Patriots (-7) over LIONS
BUCCANEERS (+1.5) over Steelers
Last week: 6-8
Season Record: 15-14