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All times Eastern | Game odds via SportsLine consensus
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- The Pick: Justin Jefferson Over 93.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
- Key trend: Jefferson averaged 106.4 yards per game last season and had 150 yards last week.
Speaking of Fantasy football, who was the first player chosen in your draft? I'll bet it was Justin Jefferson because Justin Jefferson is the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL right now. Minnesota's opponent knows the one player they need to take out of the game every week, and they're rarely successful in doing so.
Last week, Tampa Bay said, "We can't let Justin Jefferson beat us!" Jefferson finished with nine receptions for 150 yards. But he didn't score a touchdown, and the Bucs did win ... so, they were half right.
As for this game, I don't like the spread now that it's down to six points, but I liked Vikings +7 because the market is looking too closely at last week's results. The Vikings lost, and the Eagles won. The results ignore that, from a success rate standpoint, Minnesota was better on both sides of the ball than the Eagles. Philadelphia jumped out to a 16-0 lead, but seven of those points came on a pick six. The Eagles offense had only one touchdown drive in the entire game, and it was a 26-yard drive. They finished with 251 yards and averaged only 4.1 yards per play.
Minnesota's offensive line struggled with Tampa last week because the Bucs blitzed on 44.7% of dropbacks. The Eagles don't blitz as often and only brought pressure 22.4% of the time last week. Kirk Cousins should have more time in the pocket this week, and the more time Cousins gets, the more time Jefferson has to leave the poor guy covering him in the dust.
👀 Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model has a B-grade on the Eagles -6, and our SportsLine handicappers have roughly a billion plays they like, too.
💰 The Picks
Navy at Memphis, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
- The Pick: Memphis -13 (-110)
- Key trend: Memphis went 5-3 ATS in conference play last season.
I understand Navy has an excellent record against the spread in conference play and as an underdog, but what that trend doesn't consider is how much worse Navy has been recently. It's easy to write off Navy's performance against Notre Dame, but it's not as easy to write off last week against Wagner. Navy won 24-0, but that's not encouraging. The week before, Wagner lost to Fordham 46-16. It's one of the weaker teams at the FCS level. The Midshipmen only putting up 24 points is a red flag.
My bigger concern is on the defensive side of the ball. Wagner played into Navy's hands by running the ball 32 times. Memphis will be able to do what Notre Dame did: torch the Navy secondary through the air. The Tigers don't have the most explosive downfield passing attack, but their receivers have done an excellent job of picking up yards after the catch, and Navy should have a tough time keeping ballcarriers in front of them. I don't see Navy being able to keep up.
Twins at White Sox, 7:40 p.m. | Watch live: MLB.tv
- The Pick: Twins (-185)
- Key trend: White Sox starter Jose Urena is 11-34 since 2019.
We're not using much science for this pick. It's strictly common sense. The Minnesota Twins will win the AL Central, not because they're great but because they're the best of a terrible group that is the division. Seriously, the Twins have the seventh-best record in a 15-team American League.
Tonight, they're facing a terrible White Sox team that traded away nearly anything it had of value and has already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Jose Urena will take the mound for the White Sox, the latest team to give him a chance, for reasons I don't quite understand. Urena had two decent seasons in 2017 and 2018, and he has been awful since. In 82 appearances (59 starts) since the 2019 season, he's posted a 5.57 ERA with a record of 11-34. He's a bad pitcher on an awful team, and he's backed by a lousy bullpen. Take the Twins.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Larry Hartstein has a look at some officiating angles you should be aware of for Week 2 of the NFL season.