NFL Week 2 Mega Betting Guide: Predictions & Previews For Every Game

NFL Week 2 Mega Betting Guide: Predictions & Previews For Every Game article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, Baker Mayfield

Will our overreactions be founded or flipped upside down in Week 2?

Our staff helps sort through every 1 and 4 p.m. ET game on Sunday to separate fact from fiction (and find the best betting angles, of course).

Here are the games they’ll hit on in this preview:

  • Cardinals at Ravens: 1 p.m. ET
  • Chargers at Lions: 1 p.m. ET
  • Colts at Titans: 1 p.m. ET
  • 49ers at Bengals: 1 p.m. ET
  • Jaguars at Texans: 1 p.m. ET
  • Vikings at Packers: 1 p.m. ET
  • Cowboys at Redskins: 1 p.m. ET
  • Seahawks at Steelers: 1 p.m. ET
  • Bills at Giants: 1 p.m. ET
  • Patriots at Dolphins: 1 p.m. ET
  • Chiefs at Raiders: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Saints at Rams: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Bears at Broncos: 4:25 p.m. ET

All odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).

See how they’re betting all 13 games, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds, analysis of the biggest matchups and much more. (Including picks.)


Go To: ARI-BAL | LAC-DET | IND-TEN | SF-CIN | JAC-HOU | MIN-GB | DAL-WAS | SEA-PIT | BUF-NYG | NE-MIA | KC-OAK | NO-LAR | CHI-DEN


Cardinals at Ravens

  • Odds: Ravens -13
  • Total: 46
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens were the biggest surprise of Week 1, absolutely dismantling the Dolphins on the road. They’re now large 13-point favorites in Week 2 against the upstart Cardinals.

Below, our experts break down everything you need to know about this game, including our projected odds, notable mismatches, betting trends and more.

Cardinals-Ravens Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Cardinals

Arizona is dealing with just a few injuries, though none that are noteworthy.

Meanwhile, the Ravens are expected to be without starting CB Jimmy Smith (MCL) for a few weeks. CB Marlon Humphrey also missed practice on Wednesday. The lone absence of Smith is good news for the Cardinals’ past-catchers, but Arizona still owns the second-lowest implied team total (16.5) for Week 2.

Mark Ingram and Marquise Brown also popped up as limited in practice, but there’s nothing to suggest they’ll miss this game. Justin Bailey

Note: All injury info in this guide is as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Ravens -11
  • Projected Total: 46.5

This is one of the most intriguing Week 2 matchups from a handicapping perceptive.

We have to gauge just how much of the Ravens’ 59-10 stomping of Miami was them being way better than we thought vs. the Dolphins being way worse than we thought. I’m going to take the high road here and say both, to a certain extent.

Jackson should be able to torch bad defenses, and he gets another one this week.

But we have an equally challenging team to cap in the Cardinals. We didn’t see flashes of what kind of potential their Air Raid had until late in their Week 1 tie. The Ravens defense will be a much tougher test, but the unpredictability in how to game plan against the Cardinals goes in their favor this week.

It seems as if the market has overcorrected. Despite being as many as 2.5 points off my projected line at some books, it’s across pretty insignificant numbers and is a projection with less predictability, so I’m staying away from this one.

I had this total pegged at 46.5 on Sunday night, so when I saw 42.5 sitting there, I had to pounce as soon as the market opened.

Sure enough, books took a beating on the over — likely from both sharps and public bettors — and now it’s as high as 46.5 at some books. I would say that’s just right: We need to project the Cardinals’ pace to elevate the scoring environment considerably, not to mention that the Ravens offense is much more explosive than we realize and is facing a very vulnerable defense.

Unfortunately, I think the value in this market is all but gone. Be sure to follow me in The Action Network app to get alerts when I bet an opening number in the future. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Ravens’ Run Offense vs. Cardinals’ Run Defense

In Jackson’s eight starts last year (including playoffs), the Ravens had a 1940s-esque 61.1% run rate and were efficient on the ground, managing 5.0 yards per carry and sporting a 54% rushing success rate.

That ground-based dominance was apparent in Week 1. While Jackson’s aerial exploits grabbed most of the headlines in the team’s 59-10 win, what really stands out is that the team continued to run relentlessly, amassing league-high marks with 46 carries and 265 yards on an aggressive 63.0% run rate.

All of that production came with positive game script against a tanking Dolphins team, but the early action suggests that the Ravens will stick with the ground game whenever they can.

In Ingram — a between-the-tackles grinder with sufficient speed and under-appreciated agility and vision — the Ravens have a player whose skill set matches the strength of their offensive line, which returned all five starters this year and in 2018 ranked No. 1 with a power run-blocking success rate of 78% (per Football Outsiders).

And that’s to say nothing of the rushing threat Jackson presents. While he had just six yards and three carries in Week 1, he’s perhaps the best dual-threat quarterback in the league: In his eight starts last year (including playoffs), he averaged 76.3 yards and 0.5 touchdowns rushing on 16 carries per game.

With Ingram and Jackson spearheading the running attack, supported by Gus Edwards and Justice Hill in the backfield, the Ravens have the means and the will to run the ball as often as possible. Given that run-game aficionado Greg Roman is the offensive coordinator, that’s likely what they will do.

And the Cardinals should be almost powerless to stop them. The Cardinals last year were No. 29 with a 68.5 run-defense grade (per Pro Football Focus), and they were actually dead last with a power run-blocking success rate allowed of 80%.

In other words, in 2018 the Cardinals were the worst team in the league at stopping the kinds of runs the Ravens executed better than any other team.

And it doesn’t help at all that the Cardinals are without their top cornerbacks in Patrick Peterson (suspension) and Robert Alford (leg, injured reserve). Their pass defense is unlikely to lend any support to their run defense.

The Ravens could be looking at yet another game of 40-plus carries. — Matthew Freedman

Kyler Murray-Kliff Kingsbury
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury

Expert Pick

PJ Walsh: Cardinals +13

Overreaction season is in full effect, and the market appears to be too high on the Ravens following their dismantling of the Dolphins in Week 1. Koerner projects this line at +11, indicating small line value with Arizona.

In addition, our Bet Labs data reports that bettors are biased by recent results in Weeks 1 and 2 of the NFL season and overly rely on the previous season’s records. Since 2003, underdogs that won six or fewer games the prior year are 119-84-5 (58.6%) against the spread during the first two weeks of the following season.

In fact, I wrote about this as a key mistake to avoid in Week 1, and dogs off six or fewer wins in 2018 went 6-2 ATS last week.


Chargers at Lions

  • Odds: Chargers -2.5
  • Total: 47.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Chargers and Lions are coming off interesting Week 1 results. The Chargers needed overtime to get by Jacoby Brissett and the Colts, while the Lions had to settle for a tie after blowing an 18-point lead against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.

Despite receiving an overwhelming majority of the betting support, the line has moved away from the Chargers. Los Angeles opened as a 3-point road favorite but has since moved to -2.5.

Let’s see what our NFL analysts have to say about that, including how Sean Koerner projects this spread, and how our staff is betting the matchup.

Chargers-Lions Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Lions

It’s been a rough week for the Chargers: Hunter Henry suffered a fractured tibia and will be out for awhile and the Chargers are concerned with the knee injury that WR Mike Williams suffered in Week 1. Williams missed practice Wednesday, and with the Chargers’ brass pessimistic about his status, I wouldn’t expect him to suit up in Week 2.

Henry and Williams combined for 24% and 40% of the Chargers’ target share and Air Yards share in Week 1. Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler could be in for a busy day through the air.

Detroit is the healthier team, but they’re still 2.5-point home dogs. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Chargers -2.5
  • Projected Total: 46.5

This is a key number battle we need to keep an eye on.

Despite the Chargers getting nearly 80% of tickets as of writing (see live public betting data here), this number has dropped from -3 to -2.5. That’s a pretty severe reverse line move, and it looks like the majority of the moneyline bets are coming in on the Lions.

There’s no doubt the Chargers should be favored here, but the sharps have made an early statement that the line should not go back up to the key number of 3. This is likely only going to come down, not up.

I have this total pegged just a hair lower than the current total. It opened at 47 and has been bet up as much as one point at some books.

People are really buying into the Lions’ offense taking a huge step forward after lighting it up in Week 1. But we have to remember that was against the fast-paced Cardinals, who have one of the softest pass defenses in the NFL with Patrick Peterson suspended and Robert Alford on IR. The Chargers are a much tougher test, and the Lions will go back to their slower-paced approach this week. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Lions’ Running Game vs. Chargers’ Run Defense

One of the biggest surprises from Week 1 was Marlon Mack’s performance against the Chargers defense. Mack racked up 174 yards on the ground and the Colts totaled 203 rushing yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Coming off a performance like that, this is a sub-optimal time for Los Angeles to travel to Detroit and face the Lions rushing attack.

While the Lions’ back-field underwhelmed in Arizona, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will not be scared to run the ball. Look for the Lions to feature both Kerryon Johnson and C.J. Anderson early, establishing the run and opening up the passing game.

Johnson is the key to the Lions’ offensive gameplan. When the Auburn product received at least 10 carries last season, he produced 85 total yards or a touchdown 83.3% of the time.

Even with an ideal rushing opportunity against an Arizona team that ranked 29th in Football Outsiders‘ run defense DVOA last season, Matthew Stafford passed for 385 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end T.J. Hockenson (6 receptions, 131 yards, 1 touchdown) and wide receiver Danny Amendola (7 receptions, 104 yards, 1 touchdown) also provided big performances in a game where no Detroit rusher eclipsed 49 rushing yards.

With Chargers safety Derwin James injured, the Lions should be able to have some success through the air. But if LA can’t improve on a pitiful Week 1 performance against the run, it will be very difficult for the Chargers to notch a road win. Mike Randle

Marlon Mack-Fantasy Football
Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Marlon Mack

Expert Pick

Randle: Lions +2.5

There are multiple factors that support taking Detroit as a 2.5-point home underdog.

First, the Chargers will likely be without Henry and Williams, two key offensive playmakers. That leaves Los Angeles with wide receivers Travis Benjamin (12 receptions in 2018) and Dontrelle Inman (28 receptions) and tight end Sean Culkin (one reception) supporting Allen. The Chargers will try and move Allen around to avoid a matchup with Darius Slay, but without a healthy supporting cast, the Lions should be able to limit Allen’s production.

The Los Angeles offensive line struggled against the Colts in Week 1, allowing four sacks. The job won’t get easier this week as the Lions sacked Murray five times in Week 1 and ranked seventh with 43 sacks in 2018. They added free agent Trey Flowers, who grabbed 21 sacks over the past three seasons, to an already potent pass rush.

On the other side of the ball, Detroit’s run-first offense should have enough success against the Bolts to keep this within the number.

And finally, there is some contrarian value with the home team. Per Bet Labs, teams that receive less than 30% of the bets in Week 2 are 47-28-2 (63%) against the spread since 2003. Currently, the Lions are only receiving 22%, making the +2.5 line very enticing.Randle


Colts at Titans

  • Odds: Titans -3
  • Total: 43.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Titans blew out the Browns, 43-13, to open the season. But how much should we read into that win?

Our analysts break down the most important angles of this AFC South showdown, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pick.

Colts-Titans Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Titans

The Titans are in pretty good health, which can’t be said for the Colts. They placed WR Devin Funchess (collarbone) on injured reserve earlier this week and DEs Jabaal Sheard and Kemoko Turay missed practice on Wednesday. Sheard was out Week 1 as well, so he’ll need to get in some practices to improve his outlook.

If Sheard and Turay are both ruled out, that would make their pass-rush less effective considering they ranked in the top three on the Colts last year in both quarterback pressures and hurries, per Pro Football Focus. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Titans -3.5
  • Projected Total: 43

Public bettors are still supporting Cleveland after the 43-13 beatdown Tennessee delivered, and I thought that if they were consistent, they’d at least give the Titans enough credit for their win to put pressure on this line up until -4. And that appears to be the case.

The Titans have received more than 60% of the action as of writing, which looks like it will be enough to move them off the key number 3 and to 3.5. That’s when sharp bettors will come in hard on the Colts (if they like them here). If it doesn’t get much resistance the other way, I think it will end up closing at -4.

I’m not going to touch this one, but I’m always fascinated by the public vs. sharp action once a line moves from -3 to -3.5.

As for the total, I’m a bit puzzled. I had it pegged at 43, so I wasn’t surprised to see most of the action come in on the under. But the line has somehow crept from 44.5 to 45 at some books. I think I’ll nibble on the under at 45 as 45.5-46.5 isn’t a range of key numbers, while 43-44 is (in a sense).

Both teams prefer their quarterbacks to be game managers, run the ball and allow their above-average defenses help them win the game. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Colts HC Frank Reich vs. Titans HC Mike Vrabel

After Andrew Luck announced his retirement, I obviously had to adjust my numbers for the drop-off at the most important position on any NFL roster. Even after the adjustment, I had the Colts rated slightly better than the Titans.

This Colts offensive line is the real deal — it’s one of the best units in the league that will enable Indy to travel well. Marlon Mack had a huge performance against the Chargers last week in a game the Colts could have easily won. And that performance wasn’t a fluke. Over his past six games, Mack has 122 carries for 660 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and six touchdowns.

Indy was committed to the run in both wins over Tennessee last season and that won’t change this week.

Don’t overreact to the Titans win last week. They did some good things on offense with play action, but the Browns were an absolute mess. The penalty yards were even worse than they appear in the box score as they also took away a lot of big plays for the Cleveland offense. Plus Indy completely shut down Tennessee in both meetings last season and matches up fairly well overall.

But the biggest mismatch of all in this game in my book is coaching!

It’s not rocket science. I just trust Reich to out-scheme Vrabel here. Reich will have a few extra wrinkles that swing a drive or two. And in a matchup of two very evenly matched teams, that makes all of the difference.

Frank Reich-Jacoby Brissett
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Frank Reich, Jacoby Brissett

I make this line 2.5, so I jumped on the field goal at plus-money and think the Colts are an intriguing moneyline option.

Mack should continue his success on the ground and the Colts’ unique zone-based defensive scheme should force Marcus Mariota into a few mistakes that help them pull out a road win in what should be a competitive divisional game. In six career games against the Colts, Mariota has eight touchdowns, six interceptions, three fumbles and has been sacked 16 times. That includes five sacks and five turnovers in the two meetings last year. Stuckey

PRO System Match

Underdogs have historically performed well in division games as increased familiarity among opponents keeps games competitive, and it’s been profitable to bet small dogs in these matchups to win outright.

Even though teams matching this Pro System have a losing record of 108-112-2, bettors have still been able to turn a profit due to plus-money bets. A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $4,602 following this strategy since 2003.

The Colts +150 are a match for this system on the road in Tennessee. John Ewing

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Colts +3

Like I outlined above, the coaching mismatch will determine this one.

Lastly, I’m not a big trend player, but to illustrate why you shouldn’t overreact to the Titans’ blowout win over the Browns: Over the past decade, there have been only nine teams that covered by 28 or more points in Week 1. Those nine teams are 0-9 against the spread in Week 2.

That sample includes the 2015 Titans, who beat the Bucs 42-14 to open the season before losing to a pathetic Browns team the following week. The 2019 Titans fit that mold.


49ers at Bengals

  • Odds: Bengals -1.5
  • Total: 45.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

One of these teams won last week, but it’s not the one the market has pushed the line toward.

The Bengals, who played the Seahawks close in a 21-20 road loss, have been bet up to 1.5-point favorites after opening as 2-point underdogs.

But are the 49ers being undervalued following their Week 1 win in Tampa?

Our analysts break down the most important angles of this game, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pick.

49ers-Bengals Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Neither

The Bengals are in rough shape for this one.

WR A.J. Green (ankle) and T Cordy Glenn (concussion) still aren’t practicing after being out in Week 1.

Joe Mixon (ankle) also hasn’t returned to practice after leaving last week’s game. If Mixon misses practice on Friday, there’s a good chance he could be ruled out, which would benefit Giovani Bernard fantasy investors.

The 49ers are banged up on both sides of the ball, which isn’t great since the season just started. DE Nick Bosa (ankle) missed practice on Thursday, Tevin Coleman (ankle) is likely out again with his high-ankle sprain, and WRs Jalen Hurd (back) and Trent Taylor (foot) still aren’t practicing.

Deebo Samuel, Marquise Goodwin and Richie James Jr. saw most of the work in Week 1 among 49ers wide receivers. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: 49ers -1
  • Projected Total: 46

The wrong team is favored in this matchup.

I think the Bengals are much better than we anticipated. New head coach Zac Taylor is tailoring the offense to be similar to the Rams, and it showed with a 400-plus yard passing game from Dalton in Week 1. The public seems anxious to buy into them in the short term and I can’t blame them.

Still, while no one was confusing the 49ers of being a 10-plus win team entering the season, it’s interesting to see the public sour on them in what was admittedly a sloppy 31-17 win over Tampa Bay.

This feels like a bit of a Week 1 overcorrection, but going from 49ers -1 to +1.5 is a 2.5-point move that doesn’t cross over a key number. I’ll be much more interested in the 49ers if this gets to 3, which should trigger a bet. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

49ers’ Pass Defense vs. Bengals’ Pass Offense

These two teams are actually quite similar: They both have questionable offensive lines, injuries at running back and will face dominant defensive fronts that should control the line of scrimmage.

You have to like the matchup for both tight ends, but I think the Bengals are better set up for success through the air, even without Green.

A week after Andy Dalton threw for a career high, he will get to face almost the same exact defense as coordinator Robert Saleh comes from the Pete Carroll coaching tree — they both like to bring a safety in the box and close off the middle of the field.

Taylor, a disciple of Sean McVay, is obviously very familiar with this scheme having just come from the NFC West. He’s going to run a lot of 11 personnel and attack what remains a very vulnerable 49ers secondary, especially at safety. Yes, Ahkello Witherspoon had a great game in Tampa, but it’s just one week. I need to see more before I believe that’s a performance you can count on.

The more household name, Richard Sherman, is on the other side at corner. He had a solid 2018, but mainly because nobody would throw to his side as a result of the weakness at the other corner spot. But he’s getting older and has definitely lost a step, which is going to make guarding quicker receivers even tougher.

Enter John Ross, who is fresh off a Week 1 explosion and is one of my biggest breakout candidates for 2019. I think the Bengals can exploit the 49ers’ secondary down the field with Ross and Boyd, much like they did against the Seahawks.

John Ross
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: John Ross

I don’t expect either team to have much success running the ball. And both defensive fronts should make plays, but I trust the Cincy passing game more at this point. I think their receivers have better matchups across the board.

Jimmy Garoppolo looked completely off against a bad Bucs defense. He has a group of raw receivers who are trying to pick up a complex Kyle Shanahan offense. The timing looked off, and I imagine that will take some time to fix. Jimmy G will also be without receiver Trent Taylor, who he has a great rapport with out on the field. Stuckey

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Bengals -1.5

The records of the 1-0 Niners and 0-1 Bengals could be easily flipped.

San Fran benefited from a number of Tampa Bay miscues last week, including two gift pick-6s. The Bengals, meanwhile, lost by one in Seattle in a game they out-gained the Seahawks 429 to 233 with a 6.1-to-4.8 yards per play advantage.

I’m higher on the Bengals and lower on the 49ers than most, so in a game I make a coin flip on a neutral field, I like the Bengals at anything under a field goal in Cincy. I’d also throw them in with the Ravens moneyline if you’re looking for a small plus-money parlay.


Jaguars at Texans

  • Odds: Texans -9
  • Total: 43.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

It’s difficult to start a season as poorly as the Jaguars did in their 40-26 loss to the Chiefs, a game that featured both ejections and injuries. Along with losing the game, Jacksonville also lost its starting quarterback Nick Foles to a collarbone injury.

Now the Jaguars will take a rookie quarterback into a divisional matchup with the rival Houston Texans as 9-point underdogs. Is this line too high for the Texans to cover?

Our experts break down the most important angles of this matchup, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds and our staff’s favorite picks.

Jaguars-Texans Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Texans

The Jaguars have an abundance of names names on their injury report. Most notable is defensive end Yannick Ngakoue who hasn’t practiced this week.

His potential absence would be good news for Deshaun Watson given that Ngakoue led the Jags in quarterback pressures, hits and was second on the team in sacks last season. Cornerback A.J. Bouye was also added to the injury report on Thursday, but he still got in a limited practice.

Keke Coutee (ankle) is back to practicing in full, but DeAndre Hopkins (ribs) has been limited over the past two days. However, the Texans limited him in practices most of last season, so there’s likely nothing to worry about here. —Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Texans -7.5
  • Projected Total: 43

The Jaguars lost Foles to a broken collarbone, so they’re going to have to roll with Gardner Minshew. I have this drop-off being right around 3.5 points.

Minshew is a raw rookie who had an up and down preseason. He at least got to see in-game action against the Chiefs and did look fairly comfortable considering he was thrown into the fire. His ability to move around the pocket and scramble if needed is going to make this feel like a Blake Bortles-led Jaguars going forward.

I’m thinking the Texans -9 is too much of an adjustment. The Jaguars defense is still very solid and could keep this a low-scoring game, which can make getting a big number like 9 even more valuable. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Texans RB Duke Johnson vs. Jaguars’ Linebackers in Coverage

The Texans went 2-0 against the Jaguars last season, but Watson was held in check through the air (6.2 yards per attempt, 186.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game). In the words of the late Notorious B.I.G: Things done changed.

Last season, Watson didn’t have an able blindside protector like Laremy Tunsil to combat the Jags’ ferocious pass rush, and didn’t have a reliable check-down option who could make plays in space. Instead, he had to constantly rely on Hopkins to win against Jalen Ramsey and Bouye.

Week 1 served as a reminder that Ramsey and Bouye can be beat — I think Sammy Watkins (9-198-3) just scored another touchdown — but it also exposed the Jags’ linebacking unit, which combined to allow 13-of-14 passes for 138 yards to be completed in their coverage, including 9-of-9 for 68 yards vs. running backs, according to Pro Football Focus.

Lamar Miller (IR; ACL) averaged just 2.1 catches for 15.1 yards in his three years as the Texans lead back and managed all of three catches for -1 yards on five targets in two meetings with the Jags last season — he’s no Johnson.

The former Brown averages 9.2 yards per reception in his career, nearly two full yards more than what Miller has posted with Houston (7.4), and Johnson got right to work with four catches for 33 yards in his first game with the Texans last week.

Houston’s arsenal of downfield weapons (Hopkins, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills) will be the top priority for Jacksonville after getting destroyed by Watkins last week, leaving Johnson with ample space to operate against Quincy Williams, Najee Goode, Myles Jack and Co. — Chris Raybon

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41)

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Jaguars +9

I think this line is a complete overreaction to Week 1.

The Jaguars got stomped on their own field in embarrassing fashion, primarily due to their highly-touted defense not showing up. Jack got thrown out in the first half and the secondary was confused and/or missed assignments on a number of big Chiefs plays on offense (credit Andy Reid and Co. for the scheming).

Still, the Jaguars have one of the NFL’s better defensive units, one that has given Watson fits throughout his young career. Houston tried to upgrade its offensive line with the signing of Tunsil, but this is still not a strong unit and it showed in Week 1 against the Saints.

After New Orleans recorded six sacks on Monday night, the Texans’ offensive line is right back in the basement at 32nd overall in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, which is where they finished last season.

It’s only one game, but this unit still has a long way to go and the Jags have the personnel up front to get to Watson with the talent at corner on the back end to match up on the outside.

The Texans also don’t have a top-tier tight end to exploit one of the Jaguars’ biggest coverage weaknesses. Johnson could have some success out of the backfield as Raybon alluded to above, but I fully expect a major bounce-back performance from the Jaguars defense in week two.

Minshew got thrown into the fire in Week 1 and looked much better than I anticipated. He can do enough against a very poor Texans secondary to keep the Jags within this number.

I make this Jaguars +7, so will gladly take anything above a touchdown. The extra day of rest and prep also doesn’t hurt Jacksonville.


Vikings at Packers

  • Odds: Packers -2.5
  • Total: 43.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Packers offense left something to be desired in their season-opening slugfest in Chicago. But are Aaron Rodgers and Co. being undervalued in another NFC North matchup at Lambeau?

Our experts break down the most important angles of the Packers’ showdown with the Vikings, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick.

Vikings-Packers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Vikings

Both teams are decently healthy for this divisional matchup.

The Vikings aren’t facing any key injuries on the injury front, but the Packers could be without G David Bakhtiari (back), who missed practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Packers -3.5
  • Projected Total: 45

Books are getting hammered on this under, and why wouldn’t they?

The Packers opened the season with a 10-3 snooze fest on Thursday Night Football, and the Vikings attempted only 10 passes in Week 1, relying solely on the run game and their defense to beat the Falcons, 28-12. That recency bias is leading the public to gang up on the under.

It’s worth seeing if the pressure can cause the line to dip past the key numbers of 43-44 and come in on the over with that extra value. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Packers’ Defense vs. Vikings’ Offensive Line

I still don’t think the market is properly valuing the Packers’ dramatic improvement on defense.

Not only did their young corners gain valuable experience last season, the Packers upgraded at safety by signing one of the best (Adrian Amos) and drafting Darnell Savage, who fits perfectly at Mike Pettine’s robber position. They also improved their pass rush with Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, who combined for 16 pressures and 2.5 sacks in their team debut.

They looked extremely meek on the other side of the ball, but what did we really expect from a new offense on the road against one of the best defenses? It should look much crisper this week, especially with the extra time to prepare off the Thursday night game.

The Vikings will likely rely heavily on the run again, which will keep the clock moving, and I expect the Packers to be on the slower side early in the season as they learn their new offense.

Unlike the Falcons, the Packers actually have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. They are actually capable of matching up with the Vikings’ excellent defensive front and reading their exotic blitzes — a luxury Matt Ryan did not enjoy last week.

That should give Rodgers enough time to exploit a banged up Minnesota secondary. I expect Davante Adams to have a big game against the declining Xavier Rhodes. In two meetings last year, Adams tallied a total of 13 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Davante Adams-Xavier Rhodes
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Davante Adams, Xavier Rhodes

And can we please stop saying it’s been almost 1,000 days since the Packers beat the Vikings? Not only is that meaningless (the Packers now have a defense), but Rodgers didn’t play in one of those games, he got hurt in the first quarter of another, and a ridiculous roughing call on Clay Matthews cost them the win in another.

Now that the Packers have a defense on par with the Vikings, Green Bay should win this game at home with its advantage in the trenches. The Vikings still have one of the worst in the NFC, especially up the middle. The Packers’ defensive line should have success blowing up the A and B gaps, while the Smiths should continue to generate pressure off the edge.

Coming into the season, I had the Packers rated as the best team in the NFC North, although not by an enormous margin. That didn’t change after Week 1, which means I make them greater than a 3-point favorite at Lambeau. Therefore, I see value in Green Bay at a field goal or less.

I also like the under in this divisional matchup featuring two of the NFC’s better defenses.Stuckey

PRO System Match

Underdogs have historically performed well in division games as increased familiarity among opponents keeps games competitive, and it’s been profitable to bet small dogs in these matchups to win outright.

Even though teams matching this Pro System have a losing record of 108-112-2, bettors have still been able to turn a profit due to plus-money bets. A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $4,602 following this strategy since 2003.

The Vikings are a match for this system as field goal underdogs in Lambeau. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Collin Wilson: Under 45

One of the more eye-popping stats from Week 1 was plays per game for the Vikings and Packers. While Minnesota turned in 49 plays against a 2018 average of 62.7, Green Bay had just 57 snaps versus an average of 64.1 last season. The under for this game is supported by a poor yards per play from Green Bay, going 3.9 yards on both sides of the ball. Minnesota is just +0.4, indicating that this game in Lambeau will be decided by each teams defense.

Historically, the total has gone under seven of the last nine matchups between these two teams in Lambeau.

The Vikings have gone over the total just once in their past seven games. They have a renewed interest in the run game, leading the preseason in rushing yards per game. That played out against Atlanta as the Vikings elected to pass 10 times versus 48 rushing attempts.

With the focus on the rebuilt Green Bay defense, expect plenty of punts as Minnesota got the worst pass blocking grade in Week 1 per Pro Football Focus.

I grabbed the under at 45, but still see value at 44.


Cowboys at Redskins

  • Odds: Cowboys -5.5
  • Total: 46.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Redskins were surprisingly frisky in Week 1 before ultimately falling to the Eagles. Meanwhile, the Cowboys ran through the Giants, easily covering the 7-point spread. Who has the edge in this divisional matchup?

Below our experts break down notable injuries, highlight our projected odds, show a Pro betting system and give their favorite betting picks.

Cowboys-Redskins Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Cowboys

Heading into their second game of the season, the Cowboys are healthy for their divisional matchup against Washington.

The same can’t be said for the Redskins, who are expected to be without Derrius Guice (knee) for six to eight weeks. Jordan Reed (concussion) has had some extra time to recover after he didn’t play in Week 1, and he’s now logged back-to-back limited practices. Friday will be a big day for him if he can clear the concussion protocol. The Redskins are optimistic about his status for Week 2. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Cowboys -3.5
  • Projected Total: 46

Books appear to be getting flooded with Cowboys action, as they’re accounting for at least 85% of tickets and money as of writing (see live publish betting data here). But the line has only moved from -4.5 to -5, which is pretty weak. I’m thinking the sharps agree the line should be closer to -3.5 and might be waiting for it to climb to a better number like 6 before coming in on Washington.

The Redskins are, of course, going to regress offensively from Week 1, but I don’t think we can write them off completely. Give me Washington if the line gets pushed up to anything north of 6. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Cowboys’ Run Offense vs. Redskins’ Run Defense

Last year, the Redskins run defense was terrible (per Football Outsiders), ranking No. 29 in adjusted line yards per attempt (4.97), No. 28 in power run success rate (76%) and No. 26 in stuffed run rate (15.8%) and second-level yards per attempt (1.37).

Meanwhile, the Cowboys have three All-Pro linemen in left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin, and perhaps most importantly, they now seem to have an offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore who schemes intelligently and calls plays aggressively.

Although Moore will likely lean on the passing game as he did in Week 1, whenever he does shift to the run, he should have strong success attacking a traditionally weak front seven.

Since the Cowboys drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott in 2016, they are 5-1 straight-up against the Redskins with a point differential of 8.7, and almost all of their success has come via the running game. While quarterback Dak Prescott has averaged just 201.2 net passing yards per game (including sacks), the Cowboys have averaged a robust 139.2 yards and 2.2 touchdowns rushing on 32.8 carries per game against the Redskins.

I’m not sure why this game should be much different than the last six games between the divisional rivals. Matthew Freedman

Ezekiel Elliott
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott

PRO System Match

Underdogs have historically performed well in division games, as increased familiarity among opponents keeps games competitive. It’s been profitable to bet small dogs in these matchups to win outright.

Even though teams matching this Pro System have a losing record of 108-112-2, bettors have still been able to turn a profit due to plus-money bets. A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $4,602 following this strategy since 2003.

The Redskins at +218 are a match for this system in Week 2 after covering against the Eagles in the opener. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Chris Raybon: Washington +5.5; Under 46.5

Both of these teams played in high-scoring affairs in Week 1, and it looks like the public thinks the Cowboys should be able to pull away after Prescott dropped four touchdowns on the Giants in a resounding 35-17 win, inflating the spread from its +4 open to +5.5 even though the line should be closer to 3.5.

I see an entirely different game script playing out in this game. The Redskins outplayed the Eagles in Week 1, finishing with better marks in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. What did them in was going away from the run game at the wrong time with a quick three-and-out on three incompletions midway through the third, as well as a myriad of penalties and two 50-yard TD bombs to DeSean Jackson.

Back in Washington, I think they will lean on Adrian Peterson and cut down on the penalties, which tends to be easier at home.

There’s also an overreaction to the Dallas passing attack: Prescott has tossed 20 TDs in 12 games since the team acquired Amari Cooper, but eight of them came in two games against the Giants.

Explosive plays and penalties are notoriously tough to predict but obviously swing games and warp perceptions, which works in favor of the Skins and the under this week.

We tend to underrate the Redskins in spots like this: Per Bet Labs, the Redskins are 31-24 against the spreads as an underdog under Jay Gruden, including 9-5 since the start of last season (6-2 as a home dog). I saw enough value on this to grab at the dead numbers of +5.5 and 46.5, but would invest more if it gets to the key numbers of +6 and 47, respectively.


Seahawks at Steelers

  • Odds: Steelers -4
  • Total: 47
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Neither the Seahawks nor the Steelers looked terribly impressive in Week 1. The Seahawks squeaked by a lowly Cincinnati team, 21-20, as 9.5-point home favorites, while Pittsburgh had its doors blown off by the Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

Bettors seem to be pretty split over which team will bounce back in Week 2 as the Seahawks are seeing a slight majority (52% of tickets at time of writing) of the action.

Our analysts discuss which team has a better chance of righting the ship in Week 2. Sean Koerner also breaks down his projected odds.

Seahawks-Steelers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Seahawks

JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe) and James Conner (illness) were both limited on Wednesday, but they bounced back to full practices on Thursday, so they should be all systems go in Week 2. Right now, the biggest question marks for the Steelers are C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) and CB Joe Haden (shoulder), who have missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tyler Lockett (back) went from a missed practice on Wednesday to limited on Thursday, so he’s trending in the right direction. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Steelers -3
  • Projected Total: 45.5

After being embarrassed by the Patriots on SNF, we’re getting quite the overreaction to the Steelers offense looking like a real issue. Obviously if you watched the game and reserved all bias, you too should have come to that conclusion. They were severely out-coached, but that’s a common theme for teams facing the Patriots.

It seems as if the public is backing the Seahawks here, but they had their own issues on the defensive side of the ball, allowing Andy Dalton and John Ross to have career games.

Look for Big Ben to bounce back here. The line moving from -3.5 to -4 tells me the sharps are in agreement.Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Seahawks’ Rushing Attack vs. Steelers’ Run Defense

When Pittsburgh’s defense is at its best, it always stops the run — especially at home.

The Steelers held their opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground in six of eight games in 2018 (and one of the games they allowed 100 or more yards was Week 17, when resting starters). Despite getting blown out in Week 1, Pittsburgh held Sony Michel to just 59 yards on the ground and rookie middle linebacker Devin Bush excelled with 11 tackles.

The Seahawks prioritize establishing the run, even when it isn’t working. Despite struggling to gain yards with the rush in Week 1, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer still ran the rock 25 times, averaging a putrid 2.9 yards per carry.

The Seahawks are always aware of pace of play. They ranked 26th in pace of play in 2018 and were the 25th-fastest team in Week 1 against the Bengals.

If the Steelers can contain the Seattle rushing game, this could become a laugher. Seattle needs to control the ball which is predicated on a strong running game. That will be a tough goal to achieve as the Seahawks are already thin at receiver and with Lockett questionable, it will be tough to keep the Steelers from selling out against the run.

If Chris Carson and backup Rashaad Penny can keep the Steelers defensive front off-balance, Seattle will keep this game close. Otherwise, Pittsburgh’s offense will turn this into a blowout. Mike Randle

Expert Pick

Collin Wilson: Steelers -3.5/4

While the Patriots were rolling over the Steelers on SNF, bells went off in my gambling brain to alarm me that Pittsburgh was an automatic play for Week 2.

Not only does Seattle has to travel from the West Coast to play a 1 p.m. ET kickoff, but the Steelers are always an attractive team to back when they are coming off a loss.

Per Bet Labs, Pittsburgh is 37-21 since 2010 against the spread when it is coming off a loss. When the Steelers are at least a 3-point favorite, they are 18-5 against the number.

The Steelers took it on the chin in Week 1, but there were still positives from the game. The offensive line graded as the eighth-best in pass blocking, a stark contrast to the Seahawks, who ranked 30th per Pro Football Focus. The entire offensive line for Seattle can be exposed not just in passing downs, but standard rushing downs where it ranked 28th.

This spread has been bouncing between -3.5 and -4, so be sure to shop around for the best number.


Bills at Giants

  • Odds: Bills -1.5
  • Total: 44
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Second-year quarterback Josh Allen engineered quite the comeback on the road in Week 1 against the Jets after falling behind 16-0.

Allen and the Bills get the opportunity to make it 2-0 at MetLife Stadium against the Giants and bettors are essentially split on whether they can do it with 48% of spread tickets backing Buffalo as of Thursday.

Our experts break this matchup down from every angle, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds and our staff’s favorite picks.

Bills-Giants Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Bills

The main injuries for the Bills consist of  starting cornerback Taron Johnson who has yet to practice and Cole Beasley was absent on Thursday after coming down with an illness. We’ll have more clarity on Beasley based on what he can do on Friday.

The main injury story for this matchup is on the Giants as three of their receivers in Sterling Shepard (concussion), Darius Slayton (hamstring) and new injury report addition, Cody Latimer (calf), have shaky statuses heading into Week 2. Shepard has yet to get in a practice this week, which doesn’t bode well for his outlook.

Given that the Giants could potentially have an incredibly thin receiving group on Sunday, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley could be in for some massive target shares. The Bills have their fair share of injuries, but they’re healthier than the Giants. — Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bills -1.5
  • Projected Total: 41.5

The Giants predictably flopped against Dallas, so their stock took only a minor hit. The Bills, however, are the team we need to get right here.

Buffalo managed to pull off the 1-point road win despite a -3 turnover margin. That’s almost unheard of, and we could underrate the Bills heading into this week as a result.

Allen looked a bit off in the first half but really started to pick things up in the second. Not to mention that the Bills started to use Devin Singletary out of the backfield more, likely realizing he’s their best running back.

Betting behavior is a bit split here, and I would say I’m being fairly conservative making the Bills only 1.5-point favorites, which happens to align with the market. It’s a “gamble,” but I would say the bet here would be to take the Bills and bank on Allen limiting the turnovers. If he can do that — which I think he can — they could win by three or more with ease.

Under 41 hit with ease in Bills-Jets last week. I’m showing value on the Bills’ under again this week against the Giants at 43.5. It looks like there’s enough pressure from the market to push this up to 44 or even 44.5.

Waiting to lock in another key number for a total at 44 would be smart, and I think it’ll get there. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Bills WRs vs. Entire Giants Secondary (Except Janoris Jenkins)

It’s not often you’ll see the Bills’ passing game on the right side of a biggest mismatch, but quick! Name someone in New York’s secondary besides Jackrabbit. I bet you can’t. (OK, maybe Jabrill Peppers. Maybe). Now, name someone in New York’s secondary other than Jenkins who who forced even one incompletion last week.

This time, I know you can’t because none of them did. At all. On 18 targets. While Jenkins held his own, allowing 2-19-0 on five targets, the rest of the Giants safeties and corners got mashed for a combined 18-of-18 for 269 yards and four touchdowns, per Pro Football Focus.

A whopping 14 of the 18 completions went for first downs. Antonio Hamilton, a 2016 undrafted free agent and former Raider (you know your secondary is bad when it’s comprised of no-name former undrafted Raiders) was picked on the most, surrendering seven catches for 77 yards. Not that draft pedigree made any difference: 2019 first-rounder DeAndre Baker gave up a 4-132-1 line on four targets.

Bills offseason acquisition John Brown got loose for a 7-123-1 line in his first game with the team, and the Giants can’t necessarily count on Jenkins shutting him down after Jenkins tied for the second-most touchdowns (seven) and sixth-most yards in coverage (788) among corners last season.

Beasley caught five passes in his first game with the Bills and had his second-biggest game of 2018 (6-94-1) against the Giants in Week 17.

No. 3 option Zay Jones (five touchdowns in his past six games dating back to 2018) and No. 4 Robert Foster (63.9 yards, three touchdowns in last eight) and should be able to get theirs against this secondary.

The Giants allowed a combined 6-54-2 line to Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin, so we could even see Buffalo’s pair of rookie tight ends Tommy Sweeney (2-35-0 last week) and second-rounder Dawson Knox get in on the action.

The thing about mismatches in the secondary, though, is that your quarterback has to be accurate enough to exploit them. The good news? Even the broad side of the barn they said Allen couldn’t hit can get open against the Giants. Chris Raybon

Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: John Brown

Expert Pick

Mike Randle: Bills -1.5

While the Bears enjoyed a stellar 2018 defensive season, the Bills weren’t too far behind. Buffalo ranked second in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, and held the Jets to 175 passing yards in Week 1.

The Bills upgraded their run defense in the draft, selecting defensive tackle Ed Oliver with the ninth-overall pick. Their front line totaled four sacks against the Jets, an encouraging sign for a defense that ranked 26th as a unit last season.

The Giants’ defense was gashed by the Cowboys, allowing nearly 500 yards of total offense. Big Blue struggled to contain Dallas’ vertical passing game, allowing receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup to combine for 13 receptions and 264 receiving yards.

While the Bills don’t possess the same caliber of offensive weapons, their receiving corps is versatile and deep. Allen can take deep shots with field-stretchers Brown and Jones, with Beasley giving the inaccurate Allen a reliable short-to-intermediate slot target.

The Giants will certainly get Barkley more involved after only 15 touches against Dallas, but quarterback Eli Manning will need to likely need to perform under pressure. Per PlayerProfiler, Manning’s 30% completion percentage when under pressure ranked 21st among all NFL quarterbacks.

Koerner expects Allen to limit his turnovers while the Bills defense causes problems for the limited Giants offense. With the line dropping to Bills -1.5, look for Buffalo to notch its second consecutive win at the Meadowlands.


Chiefs at Raiders

  • Odds: Chiefs -7
  • Total: 53.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

As expected, the public is all over Kansas City. The Chiefs are getting 71% of the spread bets as of Thursday, but the line has still moved toward the Raiders, moving to Chiefs -7 after opening at -8 and briefly touching -9.

Is now the time to pounce on KC as a road favorite?

Our analysts break down the most important angles of this matchup, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pick.

Chiefs-Raiders Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes (ankle) gave us all a scare last week when he got rolled up on, but he practiced in full on Wednesday, so it doesn’t appear to be an issue.

Tyreek Hill (collarbone) is expected to be out four to six weeks, but this offense has shown it still function at a high level without their speedy receiver. After Hill went out in Week 1, Mecole Hardman was in on 53 of the Chiefs’ 59 snaps.

Meanwhile, Oakland placed S Johnathan Abram (shoulder) on injured reserve and OL Gabe Jackson still isn’t practicing. The loss of Abram is perhaps the biggest loss with a high-octane offense up next. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Chiefs -7
  • Projected Total: 53

The Chiefs picked up right where they left off, dropping 40 points on a very good Jacksonville defense. Unfortunately, they lost their top playmaker for multiple weeks.

If Hill were healthy, this line would likely stay at -7.5 or even -8. But he warrants a 0.5-point drop toward a key number like -7, and that’s where the line will correctly park. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Chiefs’ Pass Offense vs. Raiders’ Pass Defense

No Tyreek Hill. No problem.

The Chiefs will be without their playmaking All-Pro wide receiver, but they still have all they need to have a big aerial performance against the Raiders.

The high-scoring capabilities of the Chiefs passing game hardly need to be covered. The Chiefs were No. 1 in the league last year with 35.3 points per game and 6,810 offensive yards for the season, and much of that production came through the air.

Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce are the best in the NFL at their positions, and they had success against the Raiders last year. Across their two divisional games, Mahomes had an outstanding mark of 10.5 adjusted yards per attempt, and Kelce averaged 8.5 receptions, 115 yards receiving and a touchdown on 11 targets.

Simply put, the Chiefs are good at pass offense, and the Raiders are not good at pass defense.

In 2018, the Raiders defense ranked dead last in the league with a 28.3% pass DVOA (per Football Outsiders), and it hasn’t been significantly improved this offseason.

No. 1 cornerback Gareon Conley (neck) suffered an injury in Week 1 and is likely to sit, so on the outside the Raiders will go with Daryl Worley and Trayvon Mullen. Last year, Worley had below-average coverage grade of 51.1 (per Pro Football Focus), and Mullen is a rookie making his first NFL start: It will be almost impossible for Mahomes to be too aggressive in targeting their coverage.

Wide receivers Sammy Watkins, Hardman and Demarcus Robinson should collectively win their matchups when split out wide.

Sammy Watkins
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sammy Watkins

And last year the Raiders were specifically No. 32 in pass DVOA against tight ends with a 39.7% mark. Mahomes could seriously get 150 yards and two touchdowns through Kelce alone.

And Vontaze Burfict and Tamir Whitehead respectively had 42.5 and 51.6 PFF coverage grades last year. They might be the league’s worst pass-defense linebacking tandem. Running backs Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy should easily exploit them as receivers.

Regardless of whom Mahomes throws the ball to, he should have success as long as the Raiders are on the other side of the field. — Matthew Freedman

Expert Pick

Freedman: Chiefs -7

Last week, the sharps were on the Jaguars at +3 or +3.5 — and maybe they were right — but I was on the Chiefs then, and I’m happy with the process. Even though the sharps are probably going to be on the Raiders at +7, I’m backing the Chiefs once again.

Am I a square? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Since head coach Andy Reid joined the franchise in 2013, no team has had larger offensive reverse home/away splits than the Chiefs. Most teams score more points at home than on the road. But not the Chiefs. Under Reid, they have averaged 2.95 more points on the road than at Arrowhead Stadium.

Chiefs-Bengals-Betting-Odds-Picks-NFL-Preseason
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andy Reid

In other words, the home-field advantage that most teams have when they play pretty much any other team: That’s drastically diminished when they host the Chiefs. It might even be nonexistent.

As a result, we might expect the Chiefs to be a great team against the spread on the road — and that’s exactly what we see in the historical data. Reid’s Chiefs are 32-16-1 ATS away from home, good for a 30.7% ROI (per Bet Labs). Since joining the Chiefs, Reid has been the most profitable coach to back on the road.

And from a football perspective, I like this line regardless of Reid’s ATS history. This is a game with two bad defenses. In 2018, the Raiders were last in pass defense DVOA, and the Chiefs were last in rush-defense DVOA. But in today’s NFL, the passing game matters much more than the running game. Even with a poor stop unit, the Chiefs have the defensive edge. Their weakness is not nearly as large of a liability.

And although the Raiders offense is probably better than it was last year, the Chiefs still have the best offense in the league.

Let’s say that the Chiefs’ ability to travel well and the modest defensive edge they have counterbalances the Raiders’ home-field advantage. In that case, is the Chiefs offense at least seven points better than the Raiders offense? I think so.


Patriots at Dolphins

  • Odds: 18.5
  • Total: 48.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Fun fact: The Patriots are 1-5 in their last six road games in Miami dating back to 2013, including a last-play miracle win in 2018. Still, the Patriots are favored by 18.5 points over the lowly Dolphins after both teams were on opposite sides of huge blowouts in Week 1.

An even more fun fact: As of Thursday evening, more than 70% of betting tickets are on the Patriots to cover a nearly three touchdown spread on the road.

Our experts break this matchup down from every angle, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds and our staff’s favorite picks.

Patriots-Dolphins Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Patriots

The Patriots don’t have anyone noteworthy on their injury report leading up to their game in Miami.

However, the Dolphins have a few starters who haven’t practiced this week: Albert Wilson (calf), linebacker Trent Harris (Foot) and safety Reshad Jones (ankle) have all been absent this week.

The Patriots are -3000 on the moneyline. Good luck, Miami. — Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Patriots -15.5
  • Projected Total: 48.5

This is a fascinating matchup to handicap.

The public will be backing New England here all the way. The Dolphins got creamed by 49 points while the Pats blew-out the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. The key here will be to see where the sharps resistance comes into play.

I don’t think anyone wants to take the Dolphins, but when it comes to setting an imaginary number of points to give them, there will come a point when the Dolphins become the sharp play. I’m guessing once we get to +20 or +20.5, you’ll see sharp action bet it down.

I don’t think it will get to +21, but I’ll be willing to bite the bullet here and back the worst team in the league against the best team in the league. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Patriots’ Run Offense vs. Dolphins’ Run Defense

Last year, the Patriots were one of the best running teams in the league, and a lot of their success was attributable to the play along their offensive line, which ranked No. 2 with a run-blocking grade of 72.1 (per Pro Football Focus) and No. 3 with 5.03 adjusted line yards per carry (per Football Outsiders).

The Pats were No. 4 with a stuffed rate of just 15.9% and avoided negative yardage on a vast majority of their running plays. Under offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, the Pats are consistently strong at getting movement in the running game.

As for the Dolphins, they are already in full-on tank mode. In Week 1, they allowed the Ravens to steamroll them for a league-high 59 points, 46 carries and 265 yards rushing.

On defense, they’re in the middle of tearing down and rebuilding the unit, which means that they are incredibly naked right now, especially in the run game.

Gone from last year’s front seven are edge defenders Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn, tackle Akeem Spence and linebacker Kiko Alonso. I don’t even know who’s starting in their place — but I do know it doesn’t matter.

Against the Patriots’ run game, the Dolphins will look defenseless. — Matthew Freedman

Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sony Michel

Expert Pick

John Ewing: Dolphins +18.5

This line is crazy.

The Patriots thumped the Steelers and the Dolphins got rolled by the Ravens in Week 1, but no team (not even the reigning Super Bowl champions) deserves to be nearly three touchdown favorites on the road.

Historically, large road favorites have not performed well for bettors.

Since 2003, road favorites of seven or more points have gone 122-144-6 (45.9%) against the spread and teams favored by double-digits on the road have gone 34-47 (42.0%) ATS. The Patriots (-19 at Ravens on Dec. 3, 2007) were the largest road favorite since 2003 and they failed to cover.

History says bettors should be careful backing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and so does the math.

The Action Network NFL simulations project the Pats to win by 10.8 points on average. The public loves New England, but will likely be disappointed by the results on Sunday.


Saints at Rams

  • Odds: Rams -2
  • Total: 52
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

In a playoff rematch from last season, the Saints will look to get revenge against a new rival in the Rams.

Below you’ll find injury notes, key matchups to watch, our projected odds, favorite betting picks and more.

Saints-Rams Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Saints (not by much)

The Rams are looking good with just DL Michael Brockers (shoulder) missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Eric Weddle (concussion) took a nasty hit on Sunday, but Sean McVay is expecting him to play.

For the Saints, Ted Ginn (illness) returned to full practice on Thursday, so he should be good to go. Outside of that, tackle Ryan Ramczyk (thigh) was added to the injury report. Overall, everyone of importance on the Saints’ injury report was at least limited, so there’s a possibility that everyone will be ready for this projected high-scoring affair. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Rams -3
  • Projected Total: 56

The total opened at 54, which I felt was a couple points too low in what should be a shootout in Los Angeles. Both teams should push the pace here, which will amplify the scoring environment that much more.

Early action has been on the under and has pushed it all the way down to 52. I have a hard time believing it can get much lower, so I’d recommend taking it now before the tide eventually turns and trends back to the opening line. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Rams WRs vs. Saints CBs

Saints cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore, Eli Apple and P.J. Williams got lit up for 10 catches, 155 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets last week. Each allowed a catch of 37-plus yards while failing to break up a pass. This comes after each finished in the top 15 in yards allowed in coverage last season.

If there’s one team that can exploit this, it’s the Rams.

Last season, Rams wideouts finished third in receiving yards, fifth in receptions and tied for eighth in TDs. At New Orleans in Week 9 last season against this same group of corners, all top-three Rams wideouts ate: Brandin Cooks went 6-114-1 on eight targets; Cooper Kupp, 5-89-1 on six targets; and Robert Woods, 5-71-0 on eight targets.

In the conference championship, Cooks dropped an 8-107-0 line, Josh Reynolds chipped in 4-74-0 and while Woods was held largely in check with 39 yards, he still piled up six catches on nine targets. Their collective production could have been a lot greater, too, as each had a drop.

The going may get tougher this time around in L.A. Whereas Jared Goff has tended to struggle on the road, averaging a meager 233 yards (7.6 per attempt) and 1.7 TDs passing per game in 17 road games in the McVay era, Goff has torn it up at home to the tune of 313 yards (8.8 per attempt) and 2.1 TDs in 15 games. And in the 11 in which he had Kupp at his disposal, he has been even more efficient, ripping off 9.2 yards per attempt. Chris Raybon

Expert Picks

Chad Millman: Rams -2

Let’s get smart, people.

Don’t be fooled by the Saints’ dramatic comeback win against the Texans. They were dominated in the first half of that game, made a furious comeback in the second half and then needed some really bad defensive strategy decisions on the part of the Texans to get into field goal range for the game-winning kick. Also, don’t forget, their defense got shredded by Deshaun Watson in the first half and, ummm, on two plays in 30 seconds in the final minute of the game.

Meanwhile, the Rams did this: Used the first half of the Panthers game to knock off all the rust accumulated by not playing in the preseason, looked better than a team most professional bettors loved, shut down a comeback from King-of-the-comeback Cam Newton and left with a cross-country road win. And yet — YET! — the line has moved off of Rams -3, thanks to the public being fooled by the way the Saints won, not the way they actually played.

Not me, though. Gimme the Rams as a short home fave.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Drew Brees, Aaron Donald

Mike Randle: Over 52

These two prolific offenses have delivered high-scoring games every year since 2016. In those three regular-season meetings, the Rams and Saints have combined for an average of 72 total points per game, highlighted by last year’s 45-35 Saints win in New Orleans. In that game, New Orleans rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

The Saints will have revenge on their mind after last year’s brutal no-call in a 26-23 overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game.

Both quarterbacks will move the ball on offense. In his last five regular-season meetings with the Rams, Drew Brees has averaged 312.8 passing yards, 2.2 touchdowns and 28.1 fantasy points. In Goff’s three career meetings with New Orleans, he’s thrown for an average of 316.3 passing yards and 2.7 touchdowns, and he’s produced 27.6 fantasy points per game.

The Saints face a Rams defense that was gouged by Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey last week for 128 rushing yards at an average of 6.7 yards per carry. In 2018, the Rams ranked 27th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA and are currently 28th among all teams after Week 1. New Orleans will bring a rushing attack that totaled 148 yards at an average of seven yards per carry with Alvin Kamara (97 yards, 7.5 yards per carry) and Latavius Murray (43 yards, 7.2 YPC).

The Rams should also be able to score on a Saints defense that allowed 414 yards of offense in their thrilling 30-28 home win over Houston.

In this meeting between two (now) rivals, with a litany of offensive playmakers on both teams, grab the over on the 52-point total. I would bet this line up to (and including) 53.


Bears at Broncos

  • Odds: Bears -2.5
  • Total: 40.5
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Bears managed three points in their season opener, but the defense looked every bit as dominant as it did in 2018.

What should you expect from Chicago in Denver?

Our analysts break down the most important angles of this game, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pair of expert picks.

Bears-Broncos Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Bears

Denver will be without starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee), which is not ideal with a solid Bears pass-rush up next.

Other players in question are LB Todd Davis (calf) and FB Andy Janovich (pec). Davis got in limited practices this week but didn’t suit up in Week 1 while Janovich hasn’t practiced this week.

Trey Burton’s (groin) status still appears to be up in the air, even though he’s logged in limited practices.

The biggest potential loss for the Bears could be NT Eddie Goldman (oblique), who missed practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. He was one of the team’s best defenders against the run. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bears -0.5
  • Projected Total: 39

This is an interesting matchup as both teams performed poorly on national TV in Week 1. It seems that the public is being more forgiving of the Bears’ dud and is willing to side with them as the line is now up to 2.5 and pushing up to the ultimate key number of 3.

If and when this line gets to 3, it will be time to come in on the Broncos.

Another angle for this matchup is the under. We have two very good defenses facing two offenses that looked underwhelming in Week 1.

The total has dropped from 41 to 40.5, and I ultimately think the pressure will push it below 40. Forty and 41 are key numbers for totals, so I’m willing to wait and see if it goes back up to 41 or beyond. But if it stays at 40.5 or drops any further, this will be a pass for me. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Bears’ Defensive Front vs. Broncos’ Offensive Line

The Bears proved they still have one of the NFL’s best defenses in their season opener. If you thought otherwise, you’re crazy.

They were always going to have a huge advantage over the Broncos’ O-line in this matchup, but now it’s an even bigger mismatch with news that James will not play on Sunday. The drop-off to backup Elijah Wilkinson is significant.

There’s only so much highly-respected OL coach Mike Munchak can do with this unit in so little time. While I love the hire long-term, Chicago’s endless list of fully capable pass rushers should feast against this subpar line trying to protect a 34-year-old Joe Flacco.

Expect to hear Mack’s name called all game as he gets two dream matchups on the outside against either tackle: Garett Bolles or Wilkinson. If the Raiders (a defense with the lowest pressure rate in 2018) were getting to Flacco, just imagine what the Bears will do. I mean this is a defense that took down Aaron Rodgers five times last week and were one of four teams to finish with at least 50 sacks last season. Stuckey

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Bears -2.5/First-Half Moneyline Split

Despite both teams’ tragic Week 1 showings, I ultimately trust Chicago more for three primary reasons.

1. The rest and preparation advantage.

The Broncos played on Monday night in Oakland while the Bears kicked off their 2019 campaign last Thursday against the Packers. That gives Matt Nagy and Co. four extra days of preparation for this matchup.

That’s massive.

2. Vic Fangio is limited schematically on defense.

He just can’t do what he wants with his current set of corners. He likely won’t have Bryce Callahan available again, which is a massive void to fill. Fangio had three plus-corners and the best set of safeties in Chicago. There’s only so much he can do with one reliable healthy cornerback in Chris Harris Jr.

Broncos-Odds-Win Total-Projections
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Vic Fangio

The Raiders constantly picked on Isaac Yiadom and the Bears should do the same. There’s a reason the Broncos have been searching for corner help this week — their secondary is a mess. That’s a hard thing to fix on a short week.

3. The mismatch in the trenches.

And last but certainly not least is the aforementioned advantage the Bears’ defensive front will enjoy against the Broncos’ offensive line. This will likely decide the outcome.

I’ll swim with the public and bet on a bounceback from the Bears in a good situational spot. I like anything under a field goal and would split it up with a 1H wager on Chicago, mainly to take advantage of the Mitchell Trubisky splits. He’s been much better throughout his career in the first quarter during the scripted portion of games.

John Ewing: Over 40.5

The Bears failed to score a touchdown and kicked one field goal in their opener — tied for the fewest points scored in Week 1. Denver wasn’t much better putting up 16 points against an Oakland unit that finished 30th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA in 2018.

The offensive struggles by the Bears and Broncos hurt over bettors to start the season. Each team went under their Week 1 total. The public hasn’t forgotten the poor performances as more than 60% of tickets are on the under as of writing (see live public betting data here).

Recreational gamblers are overreacting to one bad offensive game, which could be costly. Historically, it’s been profitable to bet the over when both teams went under the previous week.

The most profitable time to bet the over after teams went under is early in the season when we can take advantage of bettors putting too much emphasis on a small sample of player and team performances.

Since 2003, bettors following this strategy in Weeks 2-4 have gone 100-62-1 (61.7%). A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $3,354 following this system.