Raybon’s 8 NFL Picks: Spreads, Totals, Props & Teaser Bets For Week 2
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Darius Slayton, Levine Toilolo
- Our Chris Raybon explains his betting card for the Week 2 slate of the NFL season.
- His picks feature spreads, totals, teasers, and props from eight different games on the slate.
- Check out Raybon's full breakdown below.
Chris Raybon, a senior NFL and fantasy football analyst, highlights his favorite Week 2 NFL picks below. He has a 260-196-15 (57%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.
Week 2 NFL Picks
Click on a pick to skip ahead to that analysis.
Over 46.5 Rec Yards
4:25 p.m. ET
Giants +5.5 at Bears
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
The Giants’ 5-8 record against the spread (ATS) in Daniel Jones’ starts doesn’t inspire much confidence, but a closer looks reveals he’s had to contend with a vicious slate: Seven of those eight losses have come against the Vikings, Patriots, Cardinals, Cowboys, Packers, Eagles and Steelers. Against the likes of the Bucs, Washington Football Team, Jets and Bears, he’s 5-1 ATS, including a cover against the Bears last November.
The Giants have improved more than the Bears since then, and put forth better tape for a longer portion of the game last week against the Steelers while the Bears stunk it up for three quarters before the Lions collapsed in the fourth quarter after half of their defense either got hurt or ejected.
Against one of the league’s top defenses, the Giants showed both quick-strike ability with Darius Slayton’s 41-yard touchdown grab and long-drive sustainability, grinding out a 19-play drive that ended with an ill-timed interception and a 14-play scoring drive in the second half against Pittsburgh — and they did it all with zero running game as the Steelers stymied Saquon Barkley to six yards on 15 carries.
Barkley should have an easier time against a Bears defense that let Adrian Peterson rush for 93 yards on 14 carries (6.6 yards per carry) and allowed 29/138/4.8/1 total on the day.
The Bears are the type of team that’s good enough to beat any team, but bad enough to lose to any team, and they probably won’t be blowing many teams out. Case in point: Since the start of last season, only four of the Bears’ nine wins have come by more than five points, meaning that overall, they’ve won by six or more points in only four of their last 17 games (23.5%).
I have this power rated as Giants +4, so I would play it down to +5, but would prefer to buy +5.5 up to +6 if possible to lock in the key number.
Panthers +8.5 at Buccaneers
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
Especially after what we saw from the Bucs last week, it’s way too early in the season to count on them to cover a large number.
Tom Brady didn’t look sharp in Week 1, which is not an overreaction, but more so a fairly predictable expectation after changing teams for the first time in two decades. After averaging just 5.98 yards per attempt from Week 7 on last season, Brady began his Bucs tenure by posting just 6.6 yards per attempt against the Saints while throwing two interceptions.
In addition to the normal, pandemic-induced lack of familiarity with his new weapons, Brady has gotten in limited practice time with both of his top receivers of late, with Mike Evans working through a hamstring issue and Chris Godwin (doubtful) now in concussion protocol.
Carolina’s offense showed promise in Week 1, rattling off 6.0 yards per play while taking one sack. And even after falling just short of the cover, Teddy Bridgewater’s all-time ATS record as a starter still sits at 28-8 (77.8%).
The defense gave up 34 points to Las Vegas and will continue to be an issue as it breaks in its young pieces, but as crazy as it sounds, the Raiders offense featuring one of the NFL’s best lines and continuity at the quarterback and running back spots may go down as a tougher out than this early-season version of the Brady-led Bucs.
And for as bad as you may think the Panthers are, this is still a huge number. Consider this: Seven of the Panthers’ 12 losses since the start of 2019 have come by one score or less, meaning that amid their rebuild, they’ve still managed to keep 70.6% of games within a spread of +8 or less.
To illustrate just how tough it is to cover in this spot, look no further than the 28-51-3 (33.7%) record of NFL favorites when the spread is between -8.5 and -10 since 2015 — the year the extra point was moved back — including a 21-42-3 (33.3%) mark at home.
I would lock this in at anything more than a one possession spread, i.e. +8.5 or better.
Vikings +3 at Colts
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
My co-host Stuckey chose the Colts as one of his top three picks on this week’s edition of the Action Network NFL Podcast, so I’ll be hearing about this one if the Vikes don’t cover. I have been lower on the Colts than most and still view the Vikings as better on a neutral field, so I have this game power rated as Colts -1.5.
There are just as many reasons to be concerned about the Colts as the Vikings — if not more. For one, though the Vikings got picked apart by Aaron Rodgers for 364 yards and four touchdowns, he was completing high-difficulty throws. According to Next Gen Stats, his expected completion percentage was 58.6%.
This creates a Catch-22 situation for Philip Rivers. If he attacks the Vikings secondary that’s not there yet, it also means attempting the exact type of aggressive throws the Colts want to limit due to Rivers’ propensity to throw backbreaking interceptions on such plays. Rivers not only threw two picks in last week’s game, but he tossed a third but got bailed out by a penalty that negated the pick that didn’t lead to it.
The Vikings should also see an increased snap count in Week 2 from Yannick Ngakoue after he only played 56% of the snaps in his first game in purple and gold. As noted by Arif Hassan of The Athletic, Ngakoue has a track record of success against the Colts’ elite offensive line. If his 31 pressures over his last six games against Indy were extrapolated to a 16-game season, he would rank third in the NFL in pressures and seventh in pressure rate.
And while much has been made of the Vikings’ defensive woes, what about the Colts? Indianapolis allowed Gardner Minshew to go 19-of-20 for three touchdowns, no picks and a 78.6% expected completion percentage. That was the highest of any quarterback in Week 1!
The Colts’ struggles against an inferior opponent are more alarming to me, especially considering Kirk Cousins ripped off 10.4 yards per attempt last week. He had a poor stretch in the second quarter, but some of that was bad luck, with the Vikings getting “punished” for a goal-line stand against Green Bay by being backed up in their own end, then surrendering a safety on Cousins’ only play action attempt of the game.
And the fact that the Colts allowed undrafted rookie James Robinson to rip off 90 yards on 17 touches in his first NFL game doesn’t bode well for defending Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, who combined for 100 yards on 18 carries (5.6 yards per carry) with a TD last week against Green Bay.
What’s more troubling is the fact the Colts still might not have solved their kicking issues, as rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 30-yard field goal last week. With Rivers behind center, an equally shaky pass defense in comparison to Minnesota and a question mark at kicker, the Colts simply have more ways to blow this game than the Vikings.
And if we’re overreacting to Week 1, the Colts’ performance was still more alarming considering they put up fewer points than the Vikings and their lack of defensive resistance came against a greatly inferior opponent.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will need time to fully fix this defense, but he’s been strong at righting the ship following a loss, leading his team to a 27-9 (75%) record against the spread off a loss since taking over in 2014. Zimmer is also 17-12 (59%) ATS in his career as a road dog and 17-7 (71%) ATS in his career against the AFC.
This is also a classic overreaction spot: When both teams are coming off an ATS loss the previous week, small road underdogs (+4 or less) are 59-41-2 (59%) ATS since 2003, according to our Bet Labs data.
Packers -6 vs. Lions
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
The Lions played the Packers close on both matchups last season, but the Packers are catching them at the right time. The Lions will be down cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (hamstring, out) and Justin Coleman (hamstring, IR), and will have to rely on rookie No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah more than they ever intended in his first NFL action.
All of this is not ideal, of course, when you’re facing a locked-in Aaron Rodgers, who went 32-of-44 for 364 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1, including 14-of-17 for 156 yards and two touchdowns to Davante Adams.
On the other side of the ball, Matthew Stafford will be without top wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who averaged a superb 10.3 yards per target and led the league with 11 TDs last season. Stafford will need all the help he can get, as he’s 28-44-2 (39%) ATS against teams with a winning record in his career.
Rodgers, meanwhile, tends to deliver in these spots: He’s 21-11 (66%) ATS in divisional home games, and even though Green Bay will allow no spectators for its first two home games, it’s tough to ignore Rodgers’ track record at Lambeau:
Given the Lions’ injuries, I have this game power rated as Packers -7. I would bet Packers -6 up to -120. If the best you can get is a -6.5, I would rather tease along with either the Chiefs or Steelers.
49ers-Jets Under 41.5
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
Jimmy Garoppolo won’t get top wide receiver Deebo Samuel back for at least another couple of weeks, and wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Richie James Jr. are battling hamstring injuries. Even more importantly, George Kittle (knee) has also been ruled out. That means Garoppolo will have to rely on throwing to his remaining tight ends and running backs, positions that accounted for 66% of his targets in Week 1.
Raheem Mostert’s 76-yard touchdown reception notwithstanding, targeting these positions will lead to shorter completions and require longer time of possession to score.
San Francisco is also shaky on the interior offensive line: Daniel Brunskill is a new starter at guard, and the 49ers may be down to their third-string center with starter Weston Richburg (knee) on PUP and backup Ben Garland (ankle) failing to suit up in Week 1.
So we’ll get the better of the two offenses in this game at less than 100% while traveling across country for a sleepy early start against a listless Jets offense that doesn’t have the ability to force San Francisco into a shootout: New York averaged only 17.3 points per game last season and needed extended garbage time just to get 17 in Week 1 against a defense of similar quality to San Francisco in Buffalo.
The Jets and 49ers both played to totals of 44 in Week 1, but the 49ers offense the Jets will face won’t be nearly as aggressive (or effective) throwing as the Bills were last week, and the Jets offense the 49ers will face has zero resemblance to that of the Kyler Murray-led Cardinals.
I bet this under at 43.5 but like it down to 41.5.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz Over 46.5 Rec Yards
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
Since Eagles head coach Doug Pederson took over in 2016, Ertz is averaging 75.8 yards and 0.60 touchdowns per game at home compared to 48.8 yards and 0.30 TDs per game on the road.
Despite posting only 3/18/1 on seven targets in Week 1 and getting out-produced by fellow tight end Dallas Goedert, Ertz led the Eagles in routes run (38), according to Pro Football Focus.
Carson Wentz is coming off a shaky start in which he was clearly out of rhythm with newer faces, such as DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor, so I expect him to lean on his longtime go-to guy in this one.
Dallas was unable to get much from its tight ends against the Rams, due to Blake Jarwin going down with injury. However, the Rams ranked 21st in Football Outsiders’ DVOA vs. tight ends last season and allowed the ninth-most yards per game to the position (55.8).
Texans +7.5 vs. Ravens
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
Baltimore is obviously the superior team, but Houston has what it takes to keep this game closer than this line indicates.
New defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver’s unit proved in Week 1 it could limit big plays from an explosive passing game and will force Baltimore to drive the length of the field. And on offense, Deshaun Watson has the weapons necessary to make Baltimore pay for blitzing — something that wasn’t the case in last season’s matchup.
Per The Athletic’s Aaron Reiss, Watson has been the league’s second-most high-variance quarterback since being drafted in 2017, so we shouldn’t overreact to last week’s slow start. In fact, the best time to bet on Watson to deliver has been when expectations are low: According to our Bet Labs data, he has pulled off a 12-6 record against the spread as an underdog in his career. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson can be hit or miss as a favorite, compiling an ATS record of 9-10 (including postseason).
2-Team Teaser: Steelers -1.5 & Chiefs -2.5
Steelers vs. Broncos Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
Chiefs at Chargers Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
The Chargers were a functional calf muscle away from going to overtime against the Bengals in Week 1. And that doesn’t bode well for their chances of covering against the Chiefs, especially at a teased down number, and especially not with head coach Andy Reid having extra time to prepare after opening the season last Thursday.
According to our Bet Labs data, Reid is 38-25 (60.0%) against the spread with more than seven days to prepare, with a sample size large enough to produce an A-graded trend.
That’s not the only trend working in the Chiefs’ favor. We also have Reid on the road since taking over in Kansas City (36-18-1, 67%); Patrick Mahomes as a favorite (19-11-1, 63%); and the always trusty “fade the Chargers in LA” (14-7-1, 67%) angles.
Meanwhile, the Steelers face a Broncos team with a banged-up No. 1 receiver in Courtland Sutton (questionable, shoulder) and left tackle in Garrett Bolles (elbow, questionable) while running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) is out.
The Broncos should post some big offensive performances once Lock is able to develop more chemistry with Sutton (whose numbers took a hit last season once Lock took over), Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. When that happens, the offense can stop calling the numbers of Nick Vannett, DaeSean Hamilton and Jake Butt in key situations. That would also instill enough trust in Denver head coach Vic Fangio that he no longer thinks it better to pray for a missed chip-shot field goal than a scoring drive from his offense.
This is not the week for that, though. The Steelers ranked top-three in both passing and rushing DVOA last year and returned every key piece from that unit.
Denver was impressive against the run last week, limiting Derrick Henry to 3.7 yards per carry, but struggled to contain the Titans’ passing attack in key spots. The Broncos limited Ryan Tannehill to 5.79 yards per attempt, but he was able to complete 29-of-43 passes (67.4%) with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Titans also went 8 of 17 (47.1%) on third and fourth downs.
I have the Chiefs power rated at -8.5 and the Steelers at -7.5, and would tease both of these up to -2.5 (i.e., a spread of -8.5).