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“Shorestein Says” 2019 NFL Week 2 Pick

“The Money Zone”:  Games that have a “Calculated vs. Actual” difference of between 2 and 6 points are considered The Money Zone.  Since 2015, games that fall within this tier have hit above 55% on a sample of just under 500 games.  I consider games in this tier to have a statistical advantage in the long run.  This is a completely objective calculation that does not account for injuries, roster changes, weather etc.  However, I believe the smartest investment is to make small bets on each one of these games and slowly increase them over time if you are successful.

**2019 Money Zone picks are 4-2 (66.66%) ATS!**

“Shorestein Says” Picks of the Week:  Each week I select between 3-5 of my favorite games and do additional analysis on them.  Read below for my in-depth analysis.  **2019 “Shorestein Says” Picks of the Week are 3-1 (75.00%) ATS !**

New Orleans +2.5 @ LA Rams: I like the Saints to continue as a strong road team this year.  Alvin Kamara looks as explosive as ever and their track record away from home has only got better over the last 2 seasons.  They are 10-6 against the spread on the road since 2017, and I think that coincides with the improvements that they made to their offensive line, running game, and defense.  They are no longer the classic “soft, dome team”.  They’re still treated like a dominant dome team but they’ve really evolved away from that.  It’s also rare to get New Orleans as an underdog as they were only in that spot three times last year and they won all of them.

While the Rams have the best defensive player in the world on their D-line, they have struggled to stop the run the last 2 seasons yielding 4.8 yards / carry in 2018 and 4/7 in 2017, both of which rank near the bottom of the league.  I think its partly due to Donald’s aggressiveness to get to the QB, and that sometimes leads to wide running lanes for the right type of backs.  The Saints feel unstoppable when they are running the ball with efficiency and Brees is getting the ball out fast.  They eat up time of possession as they methodically move the ball down the field.

Michael Thomas will probably see a lot if Aqib Talib, which I think will encourage Brees to use his other speedy receivers in mismatches.  Marcus Peters was absolutely destroyed in the regular season matchup a season ago.  I’d be shocked if Sean Payton didn’t draw up specific plays to use his aggressiveness against him.

The Saints still feel like the Rams robbed their Super Bowl season from them a year ago.  I think the revenge factor will be real.  The Saints were awful in the red zone in the playoff loss as they had numerous opportunities to turn the game into a blowout in the first half.  Don’t expect them to make that mistake again.  The Saints were also the best team against the run last year, and they are coming off a poor performance against Houston.  I think that will draw more attention to the issue to slow down the Rams running game. Consequently, this should mitigate Goff’s play action deep cross throws which are his most effective by far.  Goff has made some poor decisions against aggressive, turnover-forcing defenses like the Bears, Patriots, and these Saints.  Opportunities for turnovers should be there.

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