NFL Week 2 Odds, Picks: Stuckey Breaks Down All 12 Sunday Afternoon Games
Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott.
Here are my quick-hitting thoughts on all 12 Sunday afternoon games on the Week 2 NFL Sunday slate. Also, my Action Network Podcast co-host Chris Raybon will be previewing Bears-Packers SNF, while I’ll be previewing Vikings-Eagles, so make sure you check out those.
I bet the Jaguars +4.5 earlier this week and still lean that side at +3.5 with Michael Pittman likely out. He was really the only reliable option on the outside at receiver for Matt Ryan. Now, it’s a very weak group that might not be capable of taking advantage of a very weak Jacksonville secondary.
The Colts will likely lean on Jonathan Taylor, but I expect the Jaguars’ run defense to improve significantly from a schematic perspective under new defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell.
Notable Trend: Week 2 underdogs off a straight-up (SU) loss have gone 64-32-3 (66.7%) when the line is +6 or fewer since 2005, beating the spread by an average of 1.86 points per game. The Colts have lost six straight in Jacksonville and have gone 1-12-1 against the spread (ATS) in this matchup since 2015.
I’m mainly interested in seeing what adjustments offensive coordinator Greg Roman has made in the offseason to the Cover-0 blitz, which the Dolphins rolled out in their dominant victory over Baltimore last season. That laid a blueprint that other defenses followed against Jackson following that game.
There’s no reason to expect a different initial defensive game plan this season. This game will tell us a lot about the Ravens offense moving forward. I expect a very strong scripted portion initially for Baltimore in front of a great crowd, but maintaining consistent offense throughout could be an issue.
I may look at Ravens 1H small in some capacity, but nothing strong here.
Notable Trend: Over the last five seasons, Lamar Jackson is the most profitable QB against the first-half spread at 35-18-1 (66%). Additionally, John Harbaugh is 139-93-8 (58.9%) in the first half ATS, which is the highest return on investment (ROI) among all coaches since arriving in Baltimore. h/t Evan Abrams
I don’t like many totals this week and try not to play too many early in the season while I gather penalty data to see which areas the NFL may be emphasizing in a new season. However, I did bet this under.
The Browns want to grind opponents down with their rushing attack (and limited passing prowess) and play slowly while doing so. On the other side, New York plays with a much quicker tempo, but you can’t expect much output from the Jets offense against this very underrated Cleveland defense.
I also thought the Jets run defense (a major question mark) held up better than expected last week against the Ravens. That will help against Cleveland. Additionally, the Jets staff hinted at trying to run the ball much more frequently this week after Flacco attempted an astronomical 59 passes that led to a grand total of nine points.
Notable Trend: Over the past five years, the Jets are 12-26-1 ATS (31.6%) on the road, which is the worst in the NFL.
I like the Saints here if you can get a field goal or better. They’re also a very strong teaser piece in a game with a low total.
The Saints defense has given Brady fits over the past few seasons because it can generate natural pressure across the defensive line, while playing sound man-to-man defense on the outside. That’s really the only way you have a shot against Tom Brady. The pressure numbers against the Saints compared to the rest of the league speak for themselves.
Plus, Brady had some of those issues with a much stronger offensive line and fully healthy wide receiver group, which he will not have for this matchup.
Notable Trend: New Orleans is 4-0 SU and ATS over the Bucs over the past two regular seasons, covering by an average margin of 19.5 points per game. The Saints are the first divisional foe to sweep Brady in his career, and they’ve now done it twice in a row.
I like the Patriots here at anything under a field goal. I expect the defense to take advantage of a weak Steelers offensive line while confusing Mitch Trubisky with different looks on the back end.
In fairness, I’m a bit concerned about the Patriots offense after what we heard in the preseason and saw in Week 1. However, New England should be able to lean on their ground game here against a Steelers defense that struggled in that department a season ago. Plus, the impact of losing T.J. Watt can not be overstated enough.
Notable Trend: Bill Belichick is 25-3 ATS (89.3%) after a loss as an underdog or favorite of less than a TD, covering by a ridiculous 11 points per game. Yes a lot of that sample includes Brady, but he’s 4-1 ATS in that situation with Cam Newton, Mac Jones and Matt Cassell.
I’m higher than almost anybody on the Giants, but I still don’t see value in this number. It’s a decent buy-low, sell-high Week 2 spot on the Panthers, but I think the line is generally fair. However, the Panthers are an elite teaser piece since you can get them above a touchdown in a game with a low total.
Notable Trend: Since entering the league, Daniel Jones is 10-0 ATS as a single-digit underdog on the road, but he’s just 5-10 ATS at home as a single-digit underdog or favorite of less than a field goal.
I liked the Lions initially here and bet them -1 early in the week. I will likely keep the position, but have soured a bit on it after some of the injury concerns on the Detroit offense.
A healthy offensive line could neutralize the Washington defensive front (still without Chase Young) and allow Jared Goff time to take advantage of Washington’s weaknesses on the back-end of its defense at linebacker and secondary. DeAndre Swift sounds like he’s planning on playing, but his status is unknown after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
Notable Trend: The Lions could potentially end their record-streak of 24-straight games without closing as a favorite.
I’m really concerned about the 49ers offense, primarily due to the state of the offensive line, especially if George Kittle can’t go.
On paper, San Francisco should shred this Seattle run defense, but I’m not rushing to lay over a touchdown here even in a good situational spot against a Seattle team on a short week.
Plus, for whatever reason, San Francisco has really struggled as a favorite (and at home) under Kyle Shanahan. If anything, I’d use the 49ers as a teaser piece to get them below a field goal.
Notable Trend: Shanahan is just 14-25 ATS as a favorite, including 6-15-1 (28.6%) at home. Only Mike Tomlin has been less profitable as chalk among active coaches. Interestingly, the least-profitable as a favorite of 135 coaches since 2003 is Mike Shanahan.
I bet Atlanta +10.5 here. I believe the Falcons will be a feisty ATS team early in the season. The offense has more pop than some realize, and the defense at least has a strong cornerback group, which gives you a chance in the NFL. Plus, historically, we have seen improvement in the production of defenses under coordinator Dean Pees in his second season.
In regards to the Rams, while I don’t want to overreact to one game, I have my concerns about the defending Super Bowl champions. The defense may take a slight step back, while the offense might be in some trouble. Allen Robinson looked stuck in the mud last week, as did Cam Akers.
Maybe Matthew Stafford isn’t 100% healthy either, but I’m mostly concerned with the offensive line, which got absolutely abused against a Bills defense that didn’t blitz one single time. Now, Los Angeles is a bit beat up and will be without its starting center, which isn’t ideal against Grady Jarrett.
Notable Trend: Over the past 10 years, teams that lost by double-digit in Week 1 are 36-23-1 ATS (61%) in Week 2, which favors the Rams in this case and speaks to week-to-week overreactions.
This spread and total look right to me. If you grabbed Raiders -3 or Cardinals +6, nice work.
Notable Trend: Week 2 underdogs that failed to cover by a TD or more in Week 1 are 53-38-2 ATS (58.2%) since 2005.
I’d lean Denver here, especially if it gets under 10. This is a good bounce-back spot in its home opener against the lowly Texans.
I had the Seahawks last week, thinking the Broncos offense would struggle out of the gates in a raucous environment after not working together in the preseason. We did see some expected issues with pre-snap penalties — which shouldn’t be an issue at home — but the offense hummed all night long, grading out as a top-five unit in Week 1 by almost every metric outside of goal-to-go situations.
Nathaniel Hackett left a lot to be desired from a game-management perspective, but Denver should cook here.
Notable Trend: After a loss, Wilson is 29-17-4 (63%) ATS, including 10-3 (76.9%) as a touchdown-plus favorite
I played the Cowboys +7.5 and like them at anything above 7. Teams in recent years have enjoyed plenty of ATS success with backup quarterbacks, as the market tends to value the starter too highly.
The Cowboys defense can create more issues for Joe Burrow here. Cincinnati’s upgraded offensive line will pay dividends as the season progresses, but there will be growing pains due to a lack of continuity after not working together much in the preseason.
Getting over a touchdown was just too much to pass up at home with this Dallas team in a game with this low of a total. I expect the Cowboys to lean on the run game, which should work much more efficiently against the Bengals than it did last week against the Buccaneers’ elite run-stuffing unit, while getting a spirited defensive effort to keep this one close.
Notable Trend: Week 2 underdogs coming off an against the spread loss are 56-32-2 (63.6%) since 2005.