A contrarian is defined as a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion, especially in stock exchange dealing. Sports betting is not the same thing as investing in the stock market, but the similarities are undeniable. When you bet on sporting events, you get to watch your investments take physical form, competing before your eyes.
NFL betting allows a person to witness their pigskin stocks beating the heck out of each other on the gridiron. A sportsbook gives you access to a living, breathing stock portfolio. I guess that makes me The Wolf of Ball Street.
Over the last five NFL seasons, the winning percentage for underdogs has been 34.2%. My Week 1 Contrarian picks proved to be solid, going 2-1 ATS (Packers and Broncos) and 1-2 straight up (Packers). That makes my official contrarian record 3-3 so far, and 50% is better than 34.2%. My picks this week may shock you, but there’s a method to my madness. The Week 2 NFL odds have given us a few juicy sleeper picks.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS
Underdog Betting Vitals
Moneyline: Dolphins +200
Point Spread: Dolphins +6 (-120)
The Bills kicked off the season with a 27-17 victory, beating up on the already-floundering NY Jets. Buffalo looked pretty strong overall, but QB Josh Allen’s ball security issues are something Miami can capitalize on. Coach Brian Flores will undoubtedly be siccing the dogs on Allen in an effort to separate him from the ball. The Dolphins’ D will work to keep Allen in the pocket and put him on the ground.
Miami hung around in its Week 1 matchup against the Patriots in Foxboro, but ultimately lost 21-11. The play that broke the Dolphins’ backs was Ryan Fitzpatrick’s third interception of the day, late in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick has certainly seen better days, but New England did have the top defense in 2019.
Look for Fitzpatrick to lock in and throw strikes against the Bills in Miami’s home opener. Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins lost both games to Buffalo last season, but Fitz was the only QB to throw for over 300 yards against the Bills in 2019. Also, this Miami Dolphins team had an offseason overhaul and is much better for it.
Over seven career starts, Fitzpatrick has a 3-4 record against Buffalo. Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa is peeking over his shoulder, and Fitz will be motivated and focused. The Dolphins will win a hard-fought battle with the Bills to get their first W of 2020.
It’s Raining Ducketts: Miami Dolphins ATS +6 (-120)
Miami Dolphins Moneyline +200
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX
Underdog Betting Vitals
Moneyline: Vikings +150
Point Spread: Vikings +3 (-105)
In Week 1, both the Vikings and the Colts were the victims of bloodthirsty underdogs. The Vikings were outplayed by the Packers, and the Colts were straight stunned by the Jaguars. The trend of losing to an underdog will continue in Week 2 for Indianapolis.
The Minnesota defense gave up the fifth-least points in the NFL last season. The Colts have lost RB Marlon Mack for the season to a torn Achilles, and Philip Rivers will not have the same success throwing on the Vikings he did against the Jags. The Vikings are seething after losing their home opener to the Packers, and will pay that pain forward in Indy.
From a psychological standpoint, the Colts are reeling from injuries and humiliation. The Vikings, on the other hand, are just plain mad. Minnesota scored 24 points in the fourth quarter vs Green Bay, and fought to the bitter end. The connection between QB Kirk Cousins and WR Adam Thielen was real, and RB Dalvin Cook is a beast. Expect the Vikings’ offense to dominate the Colts’ middling defense, and the 2020 Purple People Eaters to feast.
It’s Raining Ducketts: Minnesota Vikings ATS +3 (-105)
Minnesota Vikings Moneyline +150
New Orleans Saints @ Las Vegas Raiders
Monday: 8:15 p.m. on ESPN and ABC
Underdog Betting Vitals
Moneyline: Raiders +200
Point Spread: Raiders +6 (-115)
This type of game is what being a contrarian is all about. The 1-0 Raiders will be fired up to play in their new stadium, and no one expects them to win (except for me). Las Vegas has a golden ticket to victory with RB Josh Jacobs. The Raiders will feed Jacobs the rock consistently, which enables Las Vegas to score points and keep Drew Brees off the field.
When Brees is on the field, he’ll be without top WR Michael Thomas. This represents a huge blow to New Orleans. Brees will have to turn to his security blanket, TE Jared Cook, who will be swarmed by the Raiders’ linebackers.
Lucky Jackson says that Raiders’ QB Derek Carr leads Las Vegas on a thrilling game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. It’s Monday Night Football, but the Saints are getting taken to church like it’s Sunday morning. Viva Las Vegas!
It’s Raining Ducketts: Las Vegas Raiders ATS +6 (-115)
Las Vegas Raiders Moneyline +200