Stuckey’s Week 2 NFL Betting Guide: The Market Hasn’t Caught Up to a Pair of Favorites
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Khalil Mack
- Stuckey details two of his favorite betting strategies for Week 2 of the NFL season and shares his thoughts on which team he's targeting in Survivor Pools
Generally speaking, Week 2 of the NFL season usually presents a lot of value in regards to overreactions in the market after Week 1.
While I have a few bets this week based on that sentiment, my two favorite bets don’t fit that mold. I actually think the market still hasn’t caught up to two teams in particular, which is the reason for the two short favorites I like on Sunday.
Let’s dive in.
NFL Week 2 Favorite Bets
Packers -2.5 vs. Vikings
1 p.m. ET, FOX
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 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 Aaron 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 13 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
And can we please stop saying it’s been almost 1,000 days since the Packers beat the Vikings? Not only is that meaningless, but Rodgers didn’t play in one of those games, he got hurt in the first quarter of another and a ridiculous roughing the passer 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. I grabbed it at 45.
Bears -2.5/1H ML Split at Broncos
Despite both teams’ tragic Week 1 showings, I’ll swim with the public and bet on a bounceback from the Bears in a good situational spot. I just don’t think the market is capturing how bad this Broncos team is — even after a season-opening loss to the Raiders.
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.
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 huge void to fill. Fangio had three plus-corners and one of the league’s best set of safeties in Chicago. There’s only so much he can do with one reliable healthy cornerback in Chris Harris Jr.
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 in front of a statuesque Joe Flacco. This will likely decide the outcome.
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.
I understand Fangio knows this Bears offense as well as anybody but that works both ways. And I just think this Broncos team is much worse than people realize. Maybe I’m wrong but I’m willing to put my money up to make Denver prove it.
Week 2 Survivor Thoughts
After a rough start, the Eagles brought it home for us, so we at least live to see Week 2.
I’m not going with the obvious pick on the Patriots. I try to avoid road teams in divisional games at all costs — although I wouldn’t blame you for going with the defending champs here. I just think I can keep them in my back pocket for a later date.
I’m rolling with the Ravens in their home opener. Baltimore will face a rookie quarterback and a Cardinals defense without its two corners on a unit that can’t stop the run. This could get ugly in Charm City.