NFL Picks To Bet For Week 2: Cowboys vs. Chargers Spread & Over/Under, Plus More For Sunday’s Late Games
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Herbert
- The Los Angeles Chargers host the Dallas Cowboys in the game with the highest total of Week 2.
- Our betting analysts are finding two ways to bet Chargers-Cowboys and other late afternoon matchups.
- Find out why the Chargers-Cowboys spread and over/under are among their favorite NFL picks for Sunday.
Cowboys at Chargers
Sean Koerner: I was bullish on the Chargers heading into 2021 and Week 1 made it clear that they are Super Bowl contenders. A more analytical approach to in-game decision-making and play-calling will take this team to the next level. Year 2 quarterback Justin Herbert will also benefit from playing behind a much better offensive line this season.
The Cowboys will be without RT La’el Collins while the Chargers will be without RT Bryan Bulaga, so let's call those losses wash. However, the Cowboys will be without DE Demarcus Lawrence, which is a big enough loss to be worth 0.5-1 points to the spread. His absence should allow Herbert more time to throw against the Cowboys' shaky secondary and clear a path for the Chargers to cover this spread.
This line is sitting between Chargers -3 and -3.5 as of writing, but if you only have access to -3.5, I would recommend (as always) to buy the -3 — the Chargers winning by three points is the most likely outcome. That said, considering this game should be a shootout (the 55-point total is the highest of Week 2), the odds of the hook coming into play here are going to be lower than your typical matchup.
I'm projecting the Chargers as 4.5-point favorites here and I'm only awarding them 0-0.5 points for home-field advantage. There should be plenty of Cowboys fans attending at SoFi, making it more of a neutral-site matchup.
Cowboys at Chargers
Raheem Palmer: My model makes this total 55 points, yet oddsmakers opened the lookahead line at 51.5, which was was too low as evidenced by them then re-opening it at 52.5 after Week 1 — a full point higher than what was less than seven days before.
If you listened to the Action Network podcast with myself and my colleague Brandon Anderson, you’ll know that I picked the over 51.5 points based on those lookahead lines. And I believe there’s still some value at over 54.5 at FanDuel.
Both of these teams have high-powered offenses capable of coming close to hitting this total themselves. Amd both will be taking a step down in competition after playing what’s believed to be two of the leagues' best pass rushes in the Buccaneers with Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh and the Football Team with Chase Young and Montez Sweat.
Even with the tough matchup against the Bucs, we saw the Cowboys light up the scoreboard with 29 points, +0.13 expected points added (EPA) and a 51.2% success rate. Dak Prescott appears to be an early MVP candidate as the Cowboys had a dropback success rate of 56.5%, fifth among NFL teams. They should have no problems putting up points against this Chargers defense.
Meanwhile, Justin Herbert is a rising star in this league, and it’s never been more evident than his performance against Washington in which the Chargers constantly found themselves in third-and-long yet still converted 14-of-18 third downs. Although they put up just 20 points, the Chargers were victims of a red-zone turnover and drove the ball up and down the field at will, attaining 27 first downs. Herbert threw for 337 yards and a touchdown with a dropback success rate of 55.8%, seventh-best to start the season, and we can only expect that to improve against a Cowboys defense that gave up 31 points to the Bucs despite generating four turnovers.
This game is primed to be a shootout. Jump on the over 54.5 before the entire market reaches 55.
Vikings at Cardinals
Chris Raybon: This is a spot to back the Vikings. Coming off a loss, Mike Zimmer-coached teams cover the spread twice as much as they don’t, going 30-15 ATS (67%) in his career.
As impressive as the Cardinals looked against Tennessee, some of their underlying metrics provide a reason for pause. Kyler Murray made some impressive plays, but overall, the Cardinals were only 19th in offensive success rate (47%) and 25th in passing success rate (41%), according to Sharp Football Stats.
And per our Action Labs data, Week 2 dog off loss +6 or less are 57-33-2 (63%) ATS since 2005.
Minnesota still ended up ranking an above-average 14th in overall DVOA last week. Ultimately, I think these are two average teams and that Arizona is getting an overreaction bump after mashing an unprepared Titans squad.
I would bet this to +3.
Falcons at Buccaneers
Mike Randle: Week 2 is littered with overreactions, and this receiving yardage prop is a prime example.
Brown was superb in the Bucs' opening win over the Cowboys, leading Tampa Bay with 121 receiving yards. However, with the Bucs favored by 12.5 points at home against the Falcons, I expect a much more diverse offensive attack.
Wide receiver Mike Evans will likely be much more involved after a disappointing three reception, 24-yard stat line against Dallas. The Buccaneers will also look to establish the run, something they failed to do against the Cowboys.
With Evans, Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and running back Leonard Fournette all involved in the passing game, Brown's line is set too high after the opening-week performance. On our FantasyLabs Player Prop tool, my colleague Sean Koerner has set Brown's projected receiving yardage at 50.6 yards, a full 28.2% lower than prop line. This is rated a 10 out of 10 prob by Sean's model.
I'm taking the under on Brown's receiving yardage total and would do so down to 68.5 yards. I expect the Buccaneers to get up early and coast to an easy NFC South home victory.