NFL Picks: The Best Week 2 Spreads & Totals To Bet For Sunday
Getty Images. Pictured: DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Jackson
One way I find betting edges is to compare the odds to my NFL Power Ratings — if there’s a notable difference between my projections and the market, I’ll make a bet. (You can read more about my methodology here.)
Each week of the season I’ll highlight the biggest of those edges. We’ve got six for Week 2, so let’s jump right in!
Week 2 NFL Picks
Click on a pick to skip ahead to that analysis.
Giants +210 at Bears
Jets +7 vs. 49ers
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
The injury report for this game could be mistaken for a CVS receipt.
Each team will be without key players on both sides of the ball: The Jets will be without RB Le’Veon Bell as well as WRs Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims while the 49ers will be without TE George Kittle, WR Deebo Samuel and CB Richard Sherman. These losses could force both teams to play at a slow pace and lean on the run game, which is why I locked in the under 43.5 earlier in the week.
The absence of so many key players can also help even the playing field, which would help an inferior team like the Jets. They continue to be stingy against the run (second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA), which will be even more valuable against the 49ers. Getting +7 becomes even more valuable in a game that should be low scoring.
The lack of fans should reduce the expected home-field advantage, but the 49ers traveling from the West to East Coast for an early game should still be a factor. As of writing, 80% of the tickets are on the 49ers (see real-time public betting data here), but sharps seem to be plugging their nose and betting on the Jets at the key number.
Bet the Jets at +7 and no lower.
Giants +5.5 at Bears
Giants +210 ML
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
The Bears were able to score 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points to upset the Lions in Week 1. But a considerable part of their comeback had to do with all three of Detroit’s starting corners going down and Jamie Collins getting ejected in the second quarter, which why this line feels like a Week 1 overreaction.
The Giants should have a solid run defense this season, which should help keep them if the Bears were to get an early lead.
Daniel Jones exceeded my Week 1 expectations against an elite Steelers defense. He has a very aggressive playing style that allows the Giants to stay in games despite being outmatched nearly every week.
Daniel Jones vs. Mitch Trubisky will have a much wider range of outcomes than your average QB matchup.
Trubisky ranked third in Aggressive throws at 36% in Week 1 (per Next Gen Stats), and if he continues to try to fit the ball into tight windows, it will only increase his week-to-week variance. That’s why I also like taking the Giants moneyline — the broader range of outcomes should make us less confident in the spread and ML, which favors the underdog.
I would bet the ML down to +180 and the spread down to 3.5.
Jaguars-Titans Under 44.5
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
In 2019, the Titans ran the ball at a 61% rate when leading (highest in the NFL), so I expect this to be a Derrick Henry game considering the Titans are 7.5-point home favorites. Injuries to wide receivers A.J. Brown (out) and Corey Davis (questionable) will only force the Titans to feed Henry even more.
On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars threw only 57% of the time when trailing the Chargers last week (eighth-lowest rate). Gardner Minshew averaged the second-lowest Intended Air Yards at 4.5 — a huge reason he completed 19-of-20 pass attempts was due to the conservative play-calling by new head coach Jay Gruden. Minshew’s Expected Completion Rate was 78.6% (highest of the week).
If both teams are operating run-heavy conservative game plans, the flow will play to the under. I have it set closer to 42, and getting the key numbers of 43 and 44 provides a ton of value.
I would bet the under down to 43.
[Bet the Jags-Titans Under at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]
Washington vs. Cardinals Under 47.5
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
I was eyeing this under in Week 1 when advanced lines were posted. I had this total projected at 43.5 while the market was at 46 — I thought both defenses were underrated. And sure enough, neither team’s Week 1 performance led me to change my underlying projections.
Washington ranked first against the pass and seventh against the run in DVOA in Week 1, so the Football Team should be able to slow down the Cardinals offense.
The Cardinals tend to lean on the run when leading — they had the 10th-highest run rate with a lead in 2019 — and they’re favored by seven points here. The Football Team doesn’t have the offensive talent to play from behind and threw only 59% of the time when trailing last week (11th-lowest rate).
All of these factor point toward the under. I would bet down to 45.5.
[Bet the Washington-Cardinals Under at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]
Texans +7.5 vs. Ravens
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS
This is the biggest overreaction to Week 1.
Sure, the Ravens are arguably the best team in the NFL and are currently tied for first in my power ratings — I get that I’m taking the inferior team here. But Houston is far better equipped to keep up with Baltimore than Cleveland was in last week’s blowout.
Deshaun Watson can pull off the backdoor cover, just as he nearly did against the Chiefs in Week 1. Yes, he lost DeAndre Hopkins over the offseason, but this is still an excellent WR unit with Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills. Watson did show some rust with new teammates Cooks and Cobb in the season opener, but we should expect that to improve over the coming weeks. And having a healthy Fuller and Cooks will help make this offense even more explosive.
I think the Texans will be able to keep this game closer than 80% of the public thinks. I have this spread projected as Ravens -6 and would bet the Texans until it reaches +6.5.