NFL Week 2 Mega Betting Guide: Picks, Trends, Angles for Every Game
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Everson Griffen, Kareem Hunt, Michael Thomas
- If you're looking for comprehensive betting and fantasy football previews for every Week 2 game, you've come to the right place.
- Our experts cover trends, sharp action, fantasy football sleepers and make the case for a few bets.
All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.
Betting odds: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Spread: Steelers -4.5
- Over/Under: 53.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: The market is all over the Chiefs like flies on manure. With 81% of bets as of writing (see live data here), the Chiefs are getting a level of support that is unheard of for an underdog. The current record for a dog is 80%, and even though I still don’t expect the Chiefs to break the record at closing, there is a chance.
What is perhaps more important is where the line will end up, as the Chiefs, who had reached +5.5 at many books, are down to +4.5. Could it possibly reach +3 if they continue to get record-setting support? Only time will tell. —Mark Gallant
Injury watch: The Chiefs will enter Heinz Field without the services of starting linebacker Ben Niemann (hamstring) and possibly without all-world safety Eric Berry (heel).
Roethlisberger (elbow) didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but said he doesn’t plan on missing any time. Hopefully Big Ben will be under center to welcome back starting TE Vance McDonald (ankle), who was a full participant in practice all week.
Upstart second-year RB James Conner is the man for at least another week with Le’Veon Bell (holdout) still nowhere to be found, but the rushing attack might have to make do without right guards David DeCastro (hand).
Pittsburgh’s defense is expected to have defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (knee), but cornerback Joe Haden (hamstring) could miss some time. — Ian Hartitz
Trends to know: The Chiefs-Steelers over/under opened up at 50.5 and has since been bet up to 53.5 as of writing (see live data here).
When the total increases from the opening to closing lines with Roethlisberger at quarterback, the under has been very profitable at a 49-37-1 against-the-spread mark with a total of 10 units, making Big Ben the most profitable QB to the under when the total increases from open to close. — Evan Abrams
Do the Steelers need Le’Veon Bell? In Week 1, James Conner ran the ball 31 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns while catching five balls for 57 yards.
When Bell has missed games (including playoffs), the Steelers are 12-8-1 straight-up and 8-11-2 against the spread. — John Ewing
DFS edge: Conner is still affordable across the industry. He saw 96.87% of the Steelers’ rushes in Week 1 and he now takes on a Chiefs defense that ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric last season.
Even if the Steelers fall behind, Conner can still do damage through the air (six targets in Week 1).
The Chiefs were torched through the air last week by Melvin Gordon (9-102 on 13 targets) and Austin Ekeler (5-87-1 on five targets).
Conner boasts the highest-projected Plus/Minus among running backs on DraftKings and FanDuel. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Over 53.5
You were warned last week: I’ll be hammering the over in Chiefs games for the foreseeable future. This offense’s ceiling is scary high, and the defense’s floor is frighteningly low.
This is the highest over/under in Week 2, but I’m not sure it matters. Roethlisberger is a completely different quarterback at home, and Antonio Brown has owned the Chiefs of late (6-113-0.8 average in his past four games against KC).
And remember: Those numbers from Brown came against a Chiefs secondary that featured All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters. Kansas City, which shipped Peters to the Rams this offseason, allowed 424 yards passing to Philip Rivers in Week 1 (could’ve been worse, too) and looks like it will again be without Berry.
I also have very little faith that Pittsburgh’s defense can do much to slow Kansas City’s high-powered attack. The Steelers have really struggled since losing Ryan Shazier to his heartbreaking spinal injury on Dec. 4, allowing 38, 27, 6, 24, 45 and 21 points in the six games since (including playoffs).
The quarterbacks the Steelers have played over that stretch: Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, T.J. Yates, DeShone Kizer, Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor. Outside of the GOAT, that ain’t exactly a murderer’s row of opponents, and they scored 26.8 points per game.
Don’t let the high number scare you away from this one. — Scott T. Miller
Bet to watch: Steelers -4.5.
I think bettors are getting a bit carried away with their love for Kansas City based on what they saw in Week 1.
As Mark pointed out, the Chiefs have a chance to be the most popular underdog bet we’ve ever tracked. And while their offense certainly did look good in Week 1, a one-game sample size isn’t enough for me to buy in.
Since 2005, teams that scored 28 or more points in Week 1 have gone 28-52-5 ATS (35%) the following week. Those that have also given up at least 28 points have gone just 7-17 ATS (29%) in Week 2.
The preseason lookahead line was Steelers -7, which was of course under the assumption that Bell would be playing. But even the best backs in the league are worth only about a half-point to the spread.
I got the Steelers at -4, but I’d take them at anything less than -6. — Danny Donahue
Betting odds: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: Falcons -5.5
- Over/Under: 44.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: This game has the market split: 50% of spread bettors were on each side at the time of writing. However, the bets on Atlanta have been substantially more sizable, as they account for 75% of the money (see live data here). —Mark Gallant
Trends to know: After losing to Philadelphia in Week 1, the Falcons return to Atlanta for their home opener on Sunday. Maybe it’s playing in front of their fans or the benefits associated with home-field advantage, but playoff teams from the previous season have gone 43-28-3 against the spread (61%) since 2003 in Week 2 home openers. — John Ewing
Cam Newton has excelled as an underdog in his career, going 29-19 ATS (+8.8 units), making him the third-most profitable quarterback as an underdog since he was drafted by the Panthers in 2011.
Furthermore, Cam is 8-6 straight-up (+9 units) as an underdog since 2015 — this after starting his career 11-22-1 SU as an underdog. — Evan Abrams
DFS edge: Even though the Panthers’ offensive line is banged up with Daryl Williams (knee) getting placed on IR, the Falcons’ defense may be in worse shape.
Linebacker Deion Jones (foot) and Keanu Neal (knee) are both on IR. The loss of Jones is huge considering he was PFF’s No. 1 LB in pass coverage last season.
This game sets up well for an elite pass-catching running back like Christian McCaffrey, whose 80 receptions last year ranked 13th among running backs AND receivers. McCaffrey boasts the sixth-highest median projection among running backs on the main slate. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Falcons -5.5.
The Falcons may have had two of the most devastating injuries in Week 1. Atlanta’s defense had top-five potential, but losing Jones and Neal changes the unit’s ceiling.
That said, I don’t see those two injuries hindering the Falcons this week against a Panthers team also ravaged by injuries.
The Panthers’ O-line is a disaster right now. With the aforementioned Williams injury, Carolina will be without both of its starting tackles (Matt Kalil is also on IR). You can also add guard Trai Turner to the injury list, as he’s officially listed as questionable (concussion).
Carolina will really miss tight end Greg Olsen this week; he would have been able to help exploit the loss of Jones and Neal.
Olsen’s absence also really stings because of the underwhelming receivers Cam has at his disposal. They will have a tough time getting separation against Atlanta’s two excellent cover corners.
Carolina’s defense isn’t much better: Thomas Davis is suspended and fellow linebacker Luke Kuechly is banged up.
The Panthers’ secondary is extremely vulnerable, which spells doom against a deep Atlanta receiving corps. Carolina will have to cover Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley with a rookie (Donte Jackson) and two corners (Captain Munnerlyn and James Bradberry) who received sub-50 grades from Pro Football Focus in 2017.
I think Matt Ryan will be laser focused after Atlanta’s loss in Week 1. Plus, the Falcons have a few extra days of prep.
I bet the Falcons -5.5, and I still like them if the line ticks back up to -6. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints
- Spread: Saints -9
- Over/Under: 49
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The Saints aren’t quite as big of favorites as they were in Week 1 against the Buccaneers, and I doubt we’ll see this line reach -10 at the majority of books.
As of writing, about 64% of bettors are still expecting a bounce-back performance from New Orleans, taking the Saints in the -8 to -9 range (see live data here).
This comes as a bit of a surprise — considering the Saints’ ugly loss to the Bucs and the Browns’ tie with the Steelers — since public bettors tend to make decisions based on what they saw lately.
Injury watch: The Browns offense is as healthy as it could be, but a trio of defensive starters — linebacker Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle), cornerback E.J. Gaines (knee) and free safety Damarious Randall (head/neck) — could all join defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) on the sideline after failing to practice in full on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Saints’ suddenly-suspect defense is fully healthy.
The offense will also more than likely be at 100%, although left tackle Terron Armstead (knee), wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) and guard Andrus Peat (quad) were limited in practice Thursday.
Stud wide receiver Michael Thomas (illness) missed practice on Wednesday, but was a full participant on Thursday and is fully expected to play on Sunday. — Ian Hartitz
Trends to know: If the Saints let you down as 10-point favorites a week ago, history says they’ll make it up to you against the Browns.
Since 2003, teams that lost their previous game as double-digit favorites have gone 35-22-2 (61%) against the spread the next week. And if the team is favored, the record improves to 19-9-1 (68%) ATS. — John Ewing
Did you know? There is no way the Saints can lose consecutive home games with Drew Brees and Sean Payton, right?
Since Brees and Payton’s first season together in 2006, the Saints have lost at home and then played at home the next week a total of eight times.
The Saints were favored in all eight games but are only 3-5 ATS and 4-4 straight up, losing two of their last three games SU in the spot since 2010. — Evan Abrams
DFS edge: The Saints are the league’s only offense averaging more than 30 points per game at home since 2015.
This has resulted in Brees posting some Roethlisberger-esque home/away splits in recent seasons, as Brees has averaged an additional 4.2 DraftKings ppg with a +3.1 Plus/Minus and a 58 percent Consistency Rating in the Superdome since 2014 (per our NFL Trends tool). — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Over 49.
While the Saints and Bucs combined for 88 total points in New Orleans last week, the Browns and Steelers played to an ugly 21-21 tie, which is likely why this line opened so conservatively (47.5).
That Browns-Steelers game might be getting overweighted, though. It was played in heavy winds (which have been known to limit offenses), there were two missed field goals and it was Josh Gordon’s first game action with Tyrod Taylor.
All of that creates value on the over in this matchup.
It can often be a fool’s errand to chase line movement, but when the total in a Saints home game with Brees at quarterback has increased by 0.5 to 2 points, the over has gone 23-10-1 (69.7%).
An increase of more than 2 points is when the value starts getting sapped: The over has gone just 5-6 (45.4%) in such situations.
Games with Taylor have been similarly profitable, with the over going 13-5 (72.2%) in his career in games where the total increased at least 0.5 points from open. — Chris Raybon
Bet to watch: Saints -9.
The Saints defense gave up 529 yards and 48 points to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1. It was a throwback to the 2014-16 seasons, when New Orleans finished 31st, 32nd and 31st in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric.
It’s important to not overreact to one game. Last season, the Saints were eighth in defensive DVOA. They still have Pro Bowl players in defensive end Cameron Jordan and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, and there’s a good chance we’ve seen this team’s worst defensive game of the year.
Even if New Orleans can’t figure it out on that side of the ball, there is no way a Taylor-led offense can keep pace with Brees, Thomas and Alvin Kamara.
Cleveland has never scored more than 30 points under Hue Jackson. Over the past two seasons, New Orleans has topped 30 points in 16 regular-season games. — Ewing
Betting odds: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
- Spread: Jets -3
- Over/Under: 43.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Sam Darnold is already receiving the majority of bets as a favorite in just the second game of his career, which is probably not what most would have expected a couple months back.
Nevertheless, the line is stuck on the key number of NYJ -3 across the market. The juice is leaning toward the Dolphins, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see a wave of sharp action push them to +2.5 before the week is over. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Jets upset the Lions as a 7-point underdog in Week 1. Under Todd Bowles, the Jets are 2-6 straight-up and against the spread after pulling an upset win in their previous game, failing to cover the spread by 9.2 points per game.
Teams that win by double digits in Week 1 after finishing below .500 SU the season prior are only 13-19-5 ATS (-6.5 units), including 0-4 ATS last season. — Evan Abrams
Are we sure the Jets are good? Sure, New York smashed Detroit. But the Jets defense picked off Matthew Stafford four times, returning one for a touchdown, and had a punt return for a touchdown.
That’s not likely to happen again.
In the first half of the season, it has been profitable to fade non-playoff teams from the previous season when they have a winning record and are favored: 248-192-16 ATS (56%) since 2003. — John Ewing
Injury watch: The Dolphins defense is good to go, but left guard Josh Sitton (shoulder) wasn’t able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Former first-round wide receiver DeVante Parker (finger) is expected to make his season debut after practicing in full Thursday.
Jets receivers Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson will now have to battle Jermaine Kearse (abdomen) for targets, as Kearse practiced fully on both Wednesday and Thursday.
New York’s defense likely won’t have linebacker Josh Martin (concussion) or safety Marcus Maye (foot) for at least another week. — Ian Hartitz
DFS edge: Enunwa’s 0.97 Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR) — a volume metric that combines target share and share of team air yards — trailed that of only Julio Jones (1.18) and Odell Beckham Jr. (1.02) in Week 1.
Enunwa is only $5,000 on FanDuel with a 91% Bargain Rating and has the highest projected Plus/Minus of all wide receivers. — Joe Holka
Bet to watch: Dolphins +3
The Jets are winning the Super Bowl. Darnold is the new Tom Brady. Bowles is the next Bill Belichick. Eric Tomlinson and his nine career catches are the second coming of Gronk.
Can we please stop this already? It was one game.
The Jets are still a below-average football team that simply had an outlier performance against a team that they match up very well against.
I bet the Jets last weekend because 1) the 7-point spread was inflated and 2) the Lions (who have probably the worst defensive line in football) couldn’t exploit the Gang Green’s offensive line (which is maybe the worst in football).
Well, the Dolphins have the defensive line talent and depth to create chaos for the rookie quarterback making his first start in New York.
While Darnold did look great — and I like his future — he essentially operated from a completely clean pocket all day. Life won’t be as easy on Sunday.
On offense, I actually liked some of the things I saw from Miami against Tennessee, especially from its O-line and Ryan Tannehill, who is 3-1 in his career at MetLife.
I’m a big fan of running back Kenyan Drake, and Miami has more weapons on the outside with Kenny Stills and the return of Parker.
Throw in a short week for the Jets after a road game and I’m on the Fins +3. (And no, I can’t believe I’m playing the Dolphins twice in the first two weeks either.) — Stuckey
Betting odds: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
- Spread: Packers -1
- Over/Under: 46.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: This came off the board for a bit due to the uncertainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ health (knee), but was back up at the time of writing with 86% of bettors were taking the Vikings +1 (see live odds here).
If Rodgers is out, those Vikings bettors will have some great closing-line value, as most folks in the industry expect the line to move to Vikings -7.
Trends to know: If Rodgers plays, I have an important reminder: It hasn’t been profitable to bet against No. 12. Including the playoffs, when Rodgers & Co. are getting fewer than 50% of spread tickets, the Packers are 13-7-1 against the spread. — John Ewing
Rodgers isn’t just valuable to the Packers; he’s also cashed with regularity for bettors.
Since Rodgers’ first start for the Packers in 2008, only five other NFL franchises have profited bettors at least 10 units: Patriots, Vikings, Bengals, Saints and Colts.
Of those five teams, Rodgers’ profit differential is larger than that of any other quarterback for the other five teams, including Tom Brady. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The Vikings’ secondary is fairly healthy with cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander (ankle) and Trae Waynes (leg) getting in full practices on Thursday, but Minnesota could be down some players in the trenches if defensive end Everson Griffen (toe) and center Pat Elflein (shoulder, ankle) are ultimately unable to suit up.
Rodgers (knee) hasn’t returned to practice this week, but the Packers confirmed he doesn’t necessarily need to practice in order to start Sunday.
Wide receiver Davante Adams (shoulder) appears on track to suiting up after returning to practice Thursday, but the defense could be without safety Josh Jones (ankle) and linebacker Oren Burks (shoulder). — Ian Hartitz
DFS edge: Rodgers’ status remains uncertain, and his matchup against the Vikings’ talented defense is certainly less than ideal.
Still, the all-world quarterback demonstrated the ability to consistently dominate on essentially one leg after suffering a hamstring injury in 2016.
Overall, Rodgers averaged 25.6 DraftKings PPG with a +2.7 Plus/Minus in 11 games before his injury, compared to 26.8 PPG and a +4.7 Plus/Minus in eight games after (including playoffs).
Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs is one of the league’s best when healthy, and also when indoors.
Overall, Diggs has averaged 16.7 PPR points per game in 18 career games indoors … but only 11.6 PPR points per game in 26 outdoor matchups (including playoffs). He’ll be playing outdoors on Sunday at Lambeau Field — Ian Hartitz
All eyes on Rodgers: You can’t bet this game without knowing the status of Rodgers. The Vikings have the superior roster, but do you want to fade Rodgers at home where he’s 44-24-3 ATS (64.7%), covering by an average of 4.5 points per game?
How about inside his division? 35-19 ATS (64.8%).
How about inside the division at home? 18-9 ATS (66.7%).
Nope and nope.
Rodgers’ greatness transcends matchups, especially at home. Everybody knows it, but he still will find a way to outperform the spread. The Packers at home with Rodgers are the Patriots of the NFC.
If Rodgers doesn’t play, you’ll get DeShone Kizer, a guy who turned it over twice in 14 snaps in Week 1.
When Rodgers sits out, the Packers are just 2-8 ATS (20%) at home since Rodgers took over as starter in 2008. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills
- Spread: Chargers: -7.5
- Over/Under: 43
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: The Bills’ decision to start rookie Josh Allen has not exactly enticed bettors to take them plus the points this Sunday.
The Bills were +7 for a few days this week, before extremely lopsided action on the Chargers forced the books to move up to +7.5.
Buying low on Buffalo? The Chargers will be one of the better defenses in the league, but they are not fully healthy yet. With defensive end Joey Bosa in a boot, defensive tackle Corey Liuget serving a suspension and cornerback Trevor Williams still getting up to speed, this team is far from 100%. And its young linebackers aren’t good enough to pick up the slack.
Despite how bad the Bills looked in Week 1 — and I have them rated as the worst team in the NFL — I don’t think a notoriously slow-starting Chargers team deserves to fly across the country here as a 7.5-point favorite.
The Bills might have the worst offensive line in the league, but they won’t have to worry about containing both Bosa and Liuget.
Plus, you could do a lot worse than just fading every NFL favorite of more than 7 points.
Since 2003, favorites of 7.5 points or higher in the NFL are 74-95-1 against the spread (43.8%) for an ROI of -12.2%
Even Tom Brady, who is a sparkling 133-81-8 (62.1%) since 2003, has a losing ATS record as a 7.5-point favorite or more.
For you trend players, home dogs off a loss of 40+ points (which the Bills suffered in Week 1) are 10-3-2 ATS since 1995.
The lesson? Teams are generally never as good or as bad as they look on a week-to-week basis in the NFL. — Stuckey
To Stuckey’s points, a great time to buy low on a team is after a poor offensive showing, especially if the team is getting little love from the public.
Teams that scored fewer than 10 points in their previous game and are receiving 30% or less of spread tickets — both of which apply to Buffalo — have gone 145-90-4 ATS (62%) since 2003. — John Ewing
DFS edge: In our NFL Models, the Chargers defense is tied for the most projected sacks on the main slate. Allen didn’t play a ton in the preseason, but he completed just 28.6% of his passes while under pressure per Pro Football Focus. — Joe Holka
Bet to watch: Bills +7.5.
Yes, the Bills got waxed by the Ravens 47-3 in Week 1, but the blessing in disguise from that game is it allowed Buffalo to officially move on from Nathan Peterman and turn to Allen.
The Wyoming product will surely have his fair share of rookie mistakes early on, but he’s still an upgrade over Peterman.
Not having Bosa hurts the Chargers defense more than bookmakers are accounting for in this spread. I see a couple points of value here. Getting the hook on a key number makes the Bills +7.5 my favorite bet this week. — Sean Koerner
Betting odds: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: Eagles -3
- Over/Under: 44
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: More than 70% of bettors are backing the Super Bowl champs on the road at the time of writing (see live data here).
While the Buccaneers had a hell of a game in Week 1, upsetting New Orleans inside the Superdome, they’re going to have to do more to win over the approval of public bettors.
At least they have gained some confidence in the oddsmakers, though, as the books seem hesitant to move the line to Eagles -3.5 and give patient Tampa Bay backers the hook. —Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Can the Bucs pull another upset on Sunday?
Since 2003, teams that won their previous game as a double-digit underdog went 23-32-4 against the spread the next week, and if they are underdogs again, the team went 15-25-3 ATS (38%). — John Ewing
When it comes to clutch defense, the Eagles have been second to none over the past two seasons and proved that again against Atlanta in the season-opener:
- The Eagles have played 23 consecutive games without allowing a single point in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.
- They’ve allowed only one touchdown in the final two minutes of either half since the start of last season: Kirk Cousins in Week 1 of 2017. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: Nick Foles will start in place of Carson Wentz (knee) at quarterback for another week, and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) also reportedly isn’t expected to play until Week 3 at the earliest.
Targets in the offense could be more focused with neither running back Darren Sproles (hamstring) nor wide receiver Shelton Gibson (knee) looking good for Sunday after being downgraded to DNPs on Thursday.
It’ll be the Ryan Fitzmagic show under center again for the Bucs as Jameis Winston serves the second of his three-game suspension.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (concussion/shoulder) looked like a long-shot to suit up to start the week, but he was able to get in a limited practice on Thursday and should be considered questionable.
The Bucs offense should at least have left tackle Donovan Smith (knee) and guard Caleb Benenoch (knee) against the Eagles’ ferocious defensive line.
The defense is less lucky, as cornerback Brent Grimes (hamstring), first-rounder defensive tackle Vita Vea (calf) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) could join cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder) on the bench. — Ian Hartitz
Matchup to watch: With Hargreaves on IR and Grimes also dealing with injury, the Bucs don’t have much experience left in the secondary. They’ll start rookies Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart at corner with Ryan Smith, who has started just 11 career games, also in the mix.
That’s not ideal for a Bucs pass defense that finished dead-last in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric last year and got absolutely torched by the Saints last week.
Then again, it can’t get much worse, and I’m not sure I trust Foles and a depleted receiving corps in potentially windy conditions. — Stuckey
DFS edge: Nelson Agholor is expected to run the majority of his routes against Stewart. This ranks as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-most favorable WR/CB matchup on the slate.
Agholor is a much better value on FanDuel with a 95% Bargain Rating, trailing only Quincy Enunwa and Antonio Brown in projected Plus/Minus among receivers. — Joe Holka
Bet to watch: Eagles -3.5 (+105)
Week 2 overreactions have begun. Fitzpatrick went to New Orleans and played out of his mind. Maybe the Bucs aren’t that bad? Foles and the Eagles struggled in primetime in front of America. Maybe they aren’t that good?
We like to celebrate the Bucs’ accomplishment while completely ignoring how their defense got shredded through the air. We like to question Philadelphia, but Atlanta has incredible talent on the defensive side of the ball (although some of it won’t be there the rest of the season).
Now Jackson (100-plus yards and two touchdowns in Week 1) is in the concussion protocol for the Bucs, and the Eagles are coming to Florida with extra rest.
I’ll take Philadelphia at a pretty low number to look marginally less sloppy. — Ken Barkley
Bet to watch: Bucs +3/3.5
Disclaimer: I’m about to go against Ken Barkley, and I’m scared.
I’m all for a good overreaction. They call me Mr. Overreaction. But this is not an overreaction to Week 1.
Preseason lookahead lines pegged this game at Philly -3, and that’s exactly where it stands at the time of writing, even after the Bucs took down last year’s should’ve-been-NFC-champion Saints on the road. If anything, I’d call this an under-reaction considering that win didn’t buy Tampa even a half-point.
Now I am a little late to the party, and I do want that hook I missed. If it comes back I’ll be on the Bucs +3.5. — Danny Donahue
Betting odds: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
- Spread: Texans -2.5
- Over/Under: 44.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: With Marcus Mariota officially playing (elbow), the lines for this game finally opened on Wednesday evening with the Texans a -2/-2.5 road favorite.
Most early bettors are banking on a better performance out of Deshaun Watson and the Texans, but we’ll need to see some sharp action on them as well if the line is going to make it to the key number of 3 (see live odds here). —Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Houston opens the season with back-to-back road games. Since 2003, teams in this spot have gone 18-26-2 against the spread in Week 2. In the past five years, teams in this situation are 4-15 ATS, failing to cover by six points on average. — John Ewing
Since 2003, Nissan Stadium in Tennessee has treated over bettors better than any other field in the NFL.
The over is 66-50-4 (+13.2 units) in Nashville, going over the total by 2.2 PPG in that span. When Marcus Mariota starts, the over is 13-7-1 (+5.6 units) at Nissan Stadium, going over the total by 3.4 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: Several of the Texans’ key contributors on both sides of the ball were limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday — outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (back, elbow), defensive end Christian Covington (thigh, knee), and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (foot) — but each is expected to suit up.
Elite field-stretcher Will Fuller (hamstring) is hopeful to make his season debut for Houston, but rookie receiver Keke Coutee’s status (hamstring) is less certain. The team also placed starting cornerback Kevin Johnson (concussion) and starting right tackle Seantrel Henderson (ankle) on IR after they were injured in Week 1.
The Titans might have the league’s most-banged up offense. Tight end Delanie Walker’s (ankle) season is over, while Mariota and receiver Corey Davis (hamstring) were limited in practice Thursday.
The offensive line will have its hands full with J.J. Watt & Co., as neither left tackle Taylor Lewan (concussion) nor right tackle Jack Conklin (knee) practiced Thursday. Backup right tackle Dennis Kelly (illness) also missed Thursday’s practice.
The good news is linebacker Derrick Morgan (knee), defensive end Harold Landry (ankle) and linebacker Rashaan Evans (undisclosed) practiced in full Thursday and are on track to suit up Sunday. — Ian Hartitz
Bet to watch: Over 44.5.
Watson continues to receive all the hype, even after the Texans lost in Week 1 in New England. But what I am focusing on is his ball protection and line protection.
In Watson’s career, he has 283 total dropbacks with nine interceptions, 22 sacks, four total fumbles and 11 turnovers.
Since Watson made his first start last season, 36 different quarterbacks have had at least 200 pass attempts. Among them, Watson ranks fifth-best with 26.4 pass attempts per interception and seventh-best with 10.8 pass attempts per sack.
Watson’s only start vs. the Titans last year totaled 71 points, including 44 in the first half. Expect points in this one. — Evan Abrams
Betting odds: Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins
- Spread: Redskins -6
- Over/Under: 48
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Washington’s impressive win in Arizona has given bettors faith, as 70% are taking the Redskins to cover against the Colts (see live data here), who disappointed in Week 1 against the Bengals.
This Washington support has driven the line from -4.5/-5 to -5.5/-6 across the market. I doubt we will see it reach -7.
The over/under had some interesting movement, as well. It appeared in the early part of the week that bettors believed Hurricane Florence would impact the game.
Weather report: It doesn’t look like Florence will end up having much of an effect on the game.
Though winds are expected to be right around 10 mph, which has historically benefited the under, it will hardly feel like hurricane conditions. Chances of rain have also dropped significantly. — Gallant
Trends to know: Washington beat Arizona 24-6 as a 2-point underdog last week. Now might be the time to buy the Redskins before the market catches up.
Since 2003, teams playing at home in Week 2 after an easy cover (7 or more points) have gone 39-29-4 against the spread (57%). — John Ewing
The Colts lost 34-23 at home to the Bengals in Week 1, but over Andrew Luck’s career (since 2012), no quarterback has been more profitable ATS after a loss than him.
Luck is an amazing 22-6 ATS (+14.8 units) after a straight-up loss, covering the spread by almost a full touchdown per game (6.9 points per game).
Luck’s 22-6 ATS record in this spot includes a 10-1 ATS mark as an underdog. He is covering by 13.4 points per game as a dog. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: Colts starting safety Clayton Geathers (knee) is tentatively expected to suit up, but defensive tackle Denico Autry (ankle) was downgraded to a DNP on Thursday and should be considered very questionable.
The offense could be without left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), right tackle Denzelle Good (knee/wrist) and running back Marlon Mack (hamstring).
The Redskins are fairly healthy other than at backup receiver, as Trey Quinn (ankle) and Cam Sims (ankle) were both placed on IR, while Maurice Harris (concussion) should be considered questionable. — Ian Hartitz
Matchup to watch: Redskins pass rush vs. a depleted Colts tackles.
With the Colts recently sending J’Marcus Webb to IR and Castonzo’s status in question, Braden Smith and Joe Haeg could start at tackle … with a rookie at running back (Jordan Wilkins).
That’s not ideal on the road against a very good Washington pass rush — especially considering Luck had only a 25.7 passer rating under pressure last week (per Pro Football Focus). — Stuckey
DFS edge: Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton’s game is built on speed and precise route-running ability, so it’s not surprising that he’s struggled to offer the same upside away from the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium or other domes in recent seasons.
Overall, Hilton has totaled 13 games with 20-plus DraftKings points indoors since 2014, compared to just five such games outdoors — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Over (but look for 47 or 47.5).
Since the Colts drafted Luck in 2012, their defense is allowing the ninth-highest passer rating in the NFL (90.4) and 7.5 yards per attempt through the air (fourth highest). The Redskins are also on both of those lists, having the third-highest yards per attempt and fifth-highest passer rating.
Washington’s defense looked good against an inept Arizona offense last week, but facing Luck will be a different task. The Redskins’ rushing game should cut through Indianapolis, after it led the league in 10+ yard rushes in Week 1 with seven.
The Colts defense gave up 34 points to the Bengals last week, allowing Cincinnati to average more than five yards a carry. In Luck’s career, the over is 22-13 (+8 units) when Indianapolis plays on the road, going over the total by five points per game, including in nine of Luck’s last 10 road starts.
I’d advise looking for the over at 47 or 47.5.
Betting odds: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
- Spread: 49ers -6
- Over/Under: 48
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The 49ers — and particularly Jimmy Garoppolo — did not look great in their debut against Minnesota. But they looked a whole lot better than the Lions.
Injury watch: The only questions for the Lions are in the trenches, as guard T.J. Lang (back) is out, and pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) is questionable for Sunday.
The 49ers’ defensive backs K’Waun Williams (rib), Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle), Adrian Colbert (hamstring) and Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), along with linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring), have been less than 100% at practice this week, while the team placed starting linebacker Brock Coyle (concussion) on IR.
On offense, receiver Marquise Goodwin (quad) and guards Mike Person (ankle) and Joshua Garnett (foot) are unlikely to suit up Sunday. Reuben Foster will serve the final game of his two-game suspension, as well. — Ian Hartitz
DFS edge: George Kittle turned himself into Jimmy G’s favorite target with Goodwin playing just 26% of the snaps in Week 1, and at the time of writing it sounds like Goodwin may be inactive for Week 2.
Kittle finished last week leading the 49ers in targets (nine), receptions (five), and receiving yards (90). Now he gets an easier matchup against a Lions team that allowed 6.6 targets and 55.9 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends in 2017.
Kittle is an elite value play on DraftKings and FanDuel with his top-five median projection. — Justin Bailey
Trends to know: Since 2003, teams that lose at home by 20 or more points and are listed as underdogs in their next game are 114-93-3 ATS (+13.3 units), including 106-82-3 ATS (+16.5 units) as an underdog of a field goal or more. — Evan Abrams
Did you know: In the NFL, a six-point margin tends to be a key number when it comes to final scores. Matthew Stafford in his career has been at least a 6-point underdog 22 times and he is 3-19 straight-up and 7-14-1 ATS (-7.4 units).
Since Stafford was drafted in 2009, only one quarterback has been less profitable in this spot than the former Georgia quarterback (Chad Henne, 6-13 ATS). — Evan Abrams
Bet to watch: Lions
The Lions looked absolutely dreadful in Week 1, and I don’t really like anything about their team. I’m also very low on their head coach Matt Patricia, who I grade at the bottom of the league along with Hue Jackson.
That said, this is the NFL. Most teams aren’t as bad or as good as they look when everything goes wrong or right in one specific game.
This is a perfect buy-low opportunity and the line is starting to get out of hand, which I always love in the NFL — especially if you can grab it at 7.
It comes with a caveat, however: Keep an eye on the status of both Ansah and Lang. If you learn they’re good after Friday’s practice reports, I could make an argument for +6 and would 100% hit +7. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
- Spread: Rams -13
- Over/Under: 45
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting Market: After this line opened at -10, the market has seriously shifted in the Rams’ favor following their Monday Night Football win against Oakland.
They are a firm 13-point favorite across the market now, and bettors aren’t shying away. Seventy-two percent of spread bettors are on LA, while 60% of moneyline bettors are laying the crazy price for them to win straight up, which sits between -700 and -1000 at the time of writing (you can find updated data here). — Mark Gallant
Injury watch: The Cardinals aren’t guaranteed to have right tackle Andre Smith (elbow) or tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles), but David Johnson (back) is still tentatively expected to suit up despite limited practice on Wednesday.
The status of defensive linemen Markus Golden (knee), Robert Nkemdiche (foot), and safety Budda Baker (ankle) should be clear by the final report.
The Rams lost ace returner Pharoh Cooper (ankle) to injured reserve, but are otherwise healthy on the offensive side of the ball. Still, the defense could have to go another week without starter Mark Barron (ankle). — Ian Hartitz
Note: All injury info as of Thursday 9/13 at 5:30 pm ET. Please visit our Week 2 Injury Dashboard for updated daily practice participation and game statuses up until game time.
DFS edge: Cooper Kupp has a fantastic matchup, as he’s expected to run the majority of his routes against Arizona’s Baker in the slot, PFF’s 10th-best WR/CB matchup for Week 2.
Kupp should remain the primary security blanket for Jared Goff, and despite a low 9.2 average depth of target in Week 1, Kupp’s consistent usage on high-efficiency plays are especially valuable on a full-PPR scoring format such as DraftKings. — Joe Holka
Did you know? In the past 20 years, only one team has closed as a two-touchdown underdog against a divisional opponent in their first two games of the season: The 1999 Cleveland Browns.
The Cardinals aren’t far off as 13-point underdogs at the time of writing. — Evan Abrams
Bet to watch: Cardinals +13
Call me crazy, but me thinks there has been a bit of an overreaction from the public and bookmakers when it comes to both the Rams and the Cards.
Los Angeles won in prime time, which the public loves, and the Cards lost ugly to a team the public is against, the Redskins.
The true power-rated spread on this game should be 9.5 or 10, so I’ll take the value. — Chad Millman
Betting odds: New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Spread: Pick ’em
- Over/Under: 45.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: There is definitely a bit of a Pros vs. Joes situation going on in this game, as the Patriots are getting more than 70% of bets at the time of writing (live data can be found here), but the line has moved toward the Jaguars.
Earlier in the week, the Jags +2 was available at most books and +2.5 at a handful of others, but that is no longer the case, as sharp action has moved the line to a pick ’em or New England -1 across the market. — Mark Gallant
Injury watch: The Patriots’ backfield is as thin as ever with Jeremy Hill (knee) on IR and Rex Burkhead (concussion) questionable after practicing in a limited fashion Thursday. The offense at least hopes to have lineman Marcus Cannon (calf) and tight end Jacob Hollister (hamstring) against the Jaguars’ formidable front seven.
The Jaguars announced that running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) doesn’t need to practice in order to suit up Sunday.
The offense should at least have tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core muscle) and center Brandon Linder (knee) after each got in limited practice Thursday. — Ian Hartitz
Trends to know: Sometimes with Brady, the stats get so ridiculous they get overlooked. This may fall into that category: Since 2003, when facing AFC opponents that are above .500, Brady is 44-19-5 ATS.
When oddsmakers set the line in this spot at under a field-goal favorite (or an underdog) — basically giving the indication Brady’s opponent is near-equal strength — the Patriots are 22-6-1 ATS (+15 units), covering the spread by an average of 9.8 points.
On the road, in those situations, New England is 17-5-1 ATS and cover by more than 10 points per game. — Evan Abrams
DFS edge: Brady proved last January that he’s plenty capable of picking apart the Jaguars’ vaunted secondary, and his early season output in recent seasons could signal an even bigger performance is on the horizon.
Since 2014, Brady has averaged 24.2 DraftKings PPG with a +3.2 Plus/Minus in September and October, compared to 19.5 DraftKings PPG with a -2.0 Plus/Minus in November, December and January. — Ian Hartitz
Bet to Watch: Patriots
I’m not overthinking this one. Over the past 15 seasons, the Patriots are 75-42-3 against the spread away from Gillette Stadium. That translates to a 26.2% ROI and +31.4 units won.
Since 2003, the Patriots have won their division every year except 2008, when Brady missed almost the entire season.
Meanwhile, the Jags have won their division just once since 2003. Recency bias much?
One of these teams has the only quarterback in history with five Super Bowl victories, and the other has the man with the NFL’s most interceptions since he entered the league in 2014.
The Jags have the best defense in the AFC, but the Patriots have had a top-10 scoring offense each season since 2004. Defense might win championships, but the Patriots offense covers the spread. — Matthew Freedman
Bet to Watch: Under 45.5
The Jaguars’ offense has serious question marks and should struggle early in the season. The offseason investment in the offensive line will help long term, but last week was the first game that all five starters played together (including the preseason). It will take time for that unit to jell.
Fournette is banged up in the backfield (although T.J. Yeldon is a solid replacement) and, more importantly, the receivers are very suspect. After letting Allen Robinson go to Chicago, Jacksonville lost Marqise Lee for the season to injury.
The Patriots’ offensive line was thin entering the season, and is especially vulnerable at right tackle with Cannon banged up. He only played 60% of the snaps in Week 1, and the Jags can really exploit his backup LaAdrian Waddle.
Yes, Brady gets the ball out quickly, but the Jags have the corners to play press-man and the elite D-line to hit Brady a few times. The Jags also get ferocious pass rusher Dante Fowler back following a one-game suspension.
Ultimately, I think both offenses will struggle to find footing this week, especially with windy conditions potentially looming. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
- Spread: Broncos -6
- Over/Under: 45.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: It took a little while, but the Broncos, who could be found at anywhere from -4.5 to -6.5 in the early portions of the week, have settled in at -6 at the time of writing (see live data here). They are getting 57% of bets and 65% of dollars.
Injury watch: The Raiders’ defensive line is in trouble, and not just because the team traded Khalil Mack. The Raiders will be without Eddie Vanderdoes (knee, PUP) and Justin Ellis (foot, IR), while rookie defensive tackle P.J. Hall (ankle) hasn’t practiced all week.
The offense is tentatively expected to have receiver Brandon LaFell (back), running back Marshawn Lynch (shoulder), center Rodney Hudson (ankle) and guard Gabe Jackson (pectoral) as each has at least practiced in a limited capacity. — Ian Hartitz
Trends to know: The Lions and Raiders were the only two teams in Week 1 to lose at home by at least 20 points and they both happened to play on Monday Night Football.
Since 2003, teams that lose at home by 20 or more points and are listed as underdogs in their next game are 114-93-3 against the spread (+13.3 units), including 106-82-3 ATS (+16.5 units) as an underdog of a field goal or more. — Evan Abrams
Short week on the road to the altitude of Denver can’t be fun. We mentioned this last week, but the Broncos did it again. Since 2000, Denver is 22-1 SU when playing at home in the first two weeks of the season. — Stuckey
DFS edge: Emmanuel Sanders led the Broncos with a 28.2% target share in Week 1, which isn’t surprising since he ran 62.2% of his routes from the slot (per Pro Football Focus), and Case Keenum peppered Adam Thielen in a similar way with the Vikings last season.
Sanders will primarily match up against Leon Hall, who allowed a passer rating of 106.7 when targeted last week. On FanDuel, Sanders costs $6,800 with a +2.27 Projected Plus/Minus and 85% Bargain Rating. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Raiders +6.
I hate the Raiders this year.
I hate them so much that I bet Oakland under 8.5 regular season wins before the season started. However, the current line of Oakland +6 at Denver is simply too much of a market overreaction to ignore.
Last week, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened Denver as a 3-point favorite in Week 2 lookahead lines, meaning the current line (-6) has moved off the key number of three, through four and onto six, another key number.
Since 2003, NFL teams coming off losses of 20 or more points are 401-337 (54.3%) ATS. When the team is an underdog of three or more points in the following game, the ATS record improves to 241-182-10 (57%). Dogs of six points or more? Yup, the cover percentage improves to 58.2%.
I’ll let the market (57% of spread tickets) continue to overreact to Oakland’s blowout loss on Monday Night Football and buyback the three free points of line value. — PJ Walsh
Betting odds: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: Cowboys -3
- Over/Under: 42.5
- Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBC
Trend to know: Are public bettors (finally) sick of betting the Cowboys? Dallas is receiving fewer than 50% of spread tickets at home against Giants at the time of writing (you can see the live betting info here).
Since we began tracking spread ticket percentages in 2003, the Cowboys have never started a season receiving fewer than the 50% of spread tickets in their first two games of the year.
In that span, the Cowboys are 44-53-4 against the spread (-11.4 units) when receiving less than the majority spreads bets`, including 23-30-4 ATS (-8.5 units) at home and 16-23-2 ATS (-7.9 units) against NFC East opponents. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The Giants defensive line will likely be without Olivier Vernon again (ankle), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins’ status is uncertain after he left practice to attend to an unspecified personal matter (reportedly unrelated to his previous issues this summer).
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (back) appears to be good to go after getting in a full practice Thursday.
The Cowboys will likely be without defensive end Randy Gregory (concussion, knee) and center Travis Frederick (illness).
Safety Xavier Woods (hamstring) appears to be doubtful, but pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence (groin) is at least good to go after practicing in full Thursday. — Ian Hartitz
Betting market: There have been a couple times this week when the Giants were available at +3.5, enticing nearly 70% of bettors to take the G-Men on the road at the time of writing.
Now, comfortably at +3, oddsmakers have yet to give the market a chance to take Dallas at -2.5.
It appears both public and sharp bettors are on the under, which is getting more than 60% of bets and dollars. The total has fallen from 43.5 to 42 since opening. — John Ewing
Trends to know: It may not feel this way, but the Cowboys have been an ATM machine at home under Jason Garrett.
Since he joined the ‘Boys in 2010, they’ve covered the spread 61% of the time in Dallas for a 19% return on investment. — Danny Donahue
Over bettors were not pleased with the Giants or the Cowboys in Week 1, as both teams went under their total.
After each team participated in low-scoring games to start the season a majority of bets are on the under for Sunday night.
That could be a mistake as it has been profitable to bet the over when both teams go under in their previous game early in the season.
Since 2003, in the first four games of the season, the over is 93-56-1 (62%) when both teams went under in the game prior. — Ewing
DFS edge: Only Todd Gurley (94%), Ezekiel Elliott (92%) and James Conner (92%) played at least 90% of their offense’s snaps in Week 1. That said, Zeke had only 15 rush attempts last Sunday.
That was the first time since Week 2 of last season that Elliott received fewer than 20 rushes.
The Cowboys will likely get back to feeding him the ball against a Giants team that finished 26th in rush DVOA last year, so expect Elliot to be chalky in Sunday Night Football showdown slates. — Joe Holka
Bet to watch: My trench report focuses heavily on this game. The under has hit the last four games, two fairly easily, and I’m betting on it continuing this weekend.
Both offensive lines are struggling and they play against two outstanding, even underrated, defensive lines. Eli Manning is getting comfortable in the new offense under Pat Shurmur and it will take some time before that offense clicks. — Geoff Schwartz
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.