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Week 2 NFL Picks Against the Point Spread

Mario Mergola

Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola

I know I constantly write about how much I love Opening Day. I do. But it’s Week 2 that always has my heart.

I always write about perception, reality, and the disconnect between the two. Can we ever have a more severe disconnect than people making snap decisions after just one week of football? No. This is it.

This is the week where people will go against their preseason beliefs. Will declare a team ‘dead.’ Will crown a team ‘champion.’

Will change their minds.

We won’t. This is the week in which we will hold firm to the teams we projected to be good, bad, and somewhere in-between. We will waver, occasionally, in select spots – as you will see in this column – but only with valid reason.

We will take the best week for perception to be off and find the reality hidden within.

Below are predictions for each game against the spread. Spreads have been taken from various websites and are subject to change. The spread in parenthesis denotes the selected team. An asterisk denotes a confidence pick.

*Confidence Picks – 2019 Season: 2-5-1 (Last Week: 2-5-1)

(2018 Season: 63-48-4) (2017 Season: 53-48-4) (2016 Season: 53-67-3) (2015 Season: 69-45-2) (2014 Season: 61-46-2) (5-Year Total: 299-254-15)

All Picks Against Spread – 2019 Season: 7-8-1 (Last Week: 7-8-1)

(2018 Season: 137-118-12) (2017 Season: 137-119-11) (2016 Season: 123-136-8) (2015 Season: 143-117-7) (2014 Season: 149-114-4) (5-Year Total: 689-604-42)

picks against the point spread

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

It didn’t take long for me to get to type one of my favorite lines: we expected this to happen.

Think back to last week’s column. To the preseason predictions. Everything I had written to that point suggested that the Tennessee Titans were going to beat the Browns. Therefore, when the Titans proceeded to beat the Browns, we had to prepare for the fallout.

Forget about the Browns for a moment – we will cover them in their write-up – and focus instead on the Titans. They were an overlooked squad with talent. They were underdogs because of hype. They were ignored.

Now, no one is ignoring the Titans.

There is undoubtedly going to be a split between people who think last week was an indictment on Cleveland and those who are now awoken to what Tennessee could do. Regardless of what side is correct, it is undeniable that the Titans can be good. And that, as we have established, had not previously been accepted by the football-watching world.

On the other side of the game the Indianapolis Colts were the ones getting unwarranted love and support, as many tried to give reasons as to why Andrew Luck’s retirement wouldn’t doom the team. It’s foolish. The Colts are doomed. But, this doesn’t mean that the Colts will be entirely without bright spots.

As much as I argue against Jacoby Brissett, he flashed some moments of optimism in last week’s game. He was also asked to travel to Los Angeles and take on a Chargers team that had just enjoyed a 12-win season. While the task is not much easier on Sunday, the downgraded expectations allows from some nice value.

The Titans remain a team on-the-rise, and returning home after the thrashing they handed the Browns in Cleveland will help from falling into a ‘trap.’ But, the Colts – a division team after suffering a tough loss – are in an ideal position for our against-the-spread purposes.

Tennessee wins by a single point, but Indianapolis beats the spread.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts (+3)

Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos

I’m torn in one area. That is, we had two nationally televised games in which two teams were completely abominations. And now they meet on Sunday.

After the Chicago Bears’ lifeless home loss to the Packers, I started to note to myself that Chicago would be ready to win its next game. And then the Denver Broncos had a lifeless road loss to the Raiders, and I started to note to myself that Denver would be ready to win its next game.

Thanks a lot, schedulers.

I love to look for edges wherever I can find one, and I am upset when one washes out another. So, I must look elsewhere. Literally elsewhere. To the location.

This statistic will absolutely go circulating around the football world over the next few days, but the Broncos are absolutely unreal at home in September. How unreal? They’ve won thirteen consecutive home September games.

The reasoning is simple. The high altitude of Denver is something that takes preparation, and it is simply not easy to prepare for such a task. And that’s especially true when the opponent rarely travels to Colorado. The last fifteen non-conference opponents to play in Denver in September all lost. That means the last NFC team to win a road game against the Broncos in September was the Philadelphia Eagles in 1983.

1983. More than thirty years ago.

I don’t like to rely on outdated numbers, but this isn’t the case of debating Ron Jaworski and John Elway – the two starting quarterbacks from the aforementioned game – it is to highlight how difficult the task is for the Bears on Sunday. And we look for any edge we can get.

This is quite the edge.

One team had to bounce back from a public display of ineptitude, and Denver’s home field give it the advantage it needs. The Broncos win by a touchdown and beat the spread.

Confidence Pick: Denver Broncos (+2.5)

Click here to sign up for Sporfolio to see the rest of Mario Mergola’s NFL picks against the point spread. Mergola finished with the highest total of correct NFL picks against the spread for 2015 and 2016 – tracked by NFLPickwatch, and finished 2018 with an accuracy of 56.8% for his confidence picks. His 5-year record for all NFL games against the spread is 689-604-41!