Week 1 wasn’t even over before our analysts locked in their first NFL bets for Week 2.
They detail which spreads and over/unders they jumped on immediately, but you’ll want to act quickly, too — these lines are moving fast (check real-time NFL odds here).
NFL Odds & Picks
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Giants at Washington
Chris Raybon: After the Giants offense looked listless in a 27-13 loss to the Broncos at home, it takes its league-worst offensive line on the road to face another tough defense in Washington.
In Week 1, the Football Team lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was placed on IR with a hip injury. Like the Giants, Washington is coming off a low-scoring loss (20-16 to the Chargers).
Week 2 Divisional unders are 55-38-1 (59.1%) since 2005, according to our Action Labs data.
Saints at Panthers
Michael Arinze: With Week 1 in the books, we finally have some tangible data on hand to prepare for the upcoming week. One team that I circled to go back and review its box score was the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina threw for 279 passing yards, but 89 of those receiving yards went to all-purpose back Christian McCaffrey. Those throws from quarterback Sam Darnold to McCaffrey were more than likely safe throws or check-downs right around the line of scrimmage. In fact, McCaffrey’s nine targets were the most of any player in the game.
The Panthers will now face a Saints team that, over the last four seasons, has finished in the top-10 of Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA. In fact, last season, they finished second overall behind the Steelers. With Carolina less likely to offer much vertically, New Orleans should be able to take advantage of bringing eight defenders into the box.
It doesn’t surprise me that there is still some hesitancy regarding anointing Jameis Winston as the heir apparent to Drew Brees. However, Winston has been on his best behavior since arriving in New Orleans, and his ability to throw the deep ball is something that the Saints couldn’t take advantage of with Brees under center.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton will continue to structure an offense centered on limiting Winston’s mistakes. The former Heisman Trophy winner was efficient in completing 14-of-20 passes and threw five touchdowns with no interceptions.
If quarterbacks make their money in the red zone, then Winston got paid with all four trips resulting in touchdowns. In comparison, Darnold and the Panthers went 1-for4 in the red zone with one touchdown.
Carolina’s ineptitude made the Jets look a bit better than they probably should. I don’t think they’ll have that same luxury against the Saints.
Patriots at Jets
Chris Raybon: The Jets ran only 60 plays and averaged a putrid 4.2 yards per play against Carolina in Week 1, so even though they’re coming home to New Jersey, I expect them to struggle even more against a Patriots defense that’s a step up in class.
I also think Bill Belichick will play it smart knowing he doesn’t have to light up the scoreboard to beat the Jets. The Patriots are coming off a low-scoring, 17-16 loss to Miami.
Both the Jets and Patriots suffered injuries at tackle in Week 1, with the Jets losing left tackle Mekhi Becton (knee) and the Patriots losing right tackle Trent Brown (calf). Becton will miss 4-6 weeks, while the status of Brown is still unknown as of this writing.
Dating back to 2016, Patriots unders at 27-13 on the road, according to our Action Labs data:
Cowboys at Chargers
Raheem Palmer: My model makes this game 55, yet oddsmakers opened the lookahead line at 51.5, which was was too low as evidenced by then re-opening it at 52.5 after Week 1 — a full point higher than what was a week before.
If you listened to the Action Network podcast with myself and my colleague Brandon Anderson, you’ll know that I gave the over 51.5 points based on those lookahead lines. Nevertheless, these markets move fast and we’ve already seen movement on this line up to 54.5 points.
I believe there’s still some value as both of these teams have high-powered offenses capable of coming close to hitting this total themselves. Both teams will be taking a step down in competition after playing what’s believed to be two of the best pass rushes in the league in the Buccaneers with Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh and the Football Team with Chase Young and Montez Sweat.
Still, we saw the Cowboys light up the scoreboard with 29 points and a +0.13 EPA and 51.2% success rate against the Bucs. Dak Prescott appears to be an 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.
Justin Herbert is a rising star in this league and it’s never been more evident than his performance against Washington in a game in which the Chargers constantly found themselves in third-and-long and yet they converted 14-of-18 third downs. Although they put up just 20 points, they were a victim 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 a shootout — jump on the over before this line gets to 55.
Chiefs at Ravens
Brandon Anderson: Look, this pick could be one sentence and the point would stand: If you’re giving me Patrick Mahomes under a field goal on any field against any team, I’m going to take it.
But let’s give our case even more nuance.
Mahomes loves playing the Baltimore Ravens. Wink Martindale’s aggressive blitzing scheme is super effective against bad quarterbacks, poor blocking or disorganized offenses. The problem for Baltimore is that Mahomes and the Chiefs are none of those things. Mahomes invites the blitz — all the blitz means is that someone is open, and he knows he will find them more times than not. This defense simply doesn’t work against Mahomes, and all the worse that Marcus Peters leaves Baltimore one cornerback short.
Several years in a row, I get trapped into taking the Ravens in this spot against the Chiefs. It just seems like if you wanted to build the perfect team to beat Kansas City, it would be Baltimore. You’d want tough defense and great coaching, and you’d want an elite run game to control the clock and keep Mahomes on the sidelines. Well that formula hasn’t worked, and Baltimore’s run game is short all of its RBs while the defense is missing Peters. The Ravens don’t have the ammo to keep up with the Chiefs.
I’m grabbing this as a gift while the line is under a field goal — which it won’t be for long, as this has already moved to -3 at some books, but thankfully can still be found at -2.5 at BetRivers (check real-time NFL odds here).
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