Week 2 of the NFL season commenced with the Kansas City Chiefs defending house turf towards the AFC West division rival Los Angeles Chargers in a 27-24 win. What’s going to Sunday’s slate maintain for bettors? Our crew explores the largest storylines, key matchups, which groups will or will not bounce again and supply their favourite performs and props. And do not forget, we’ll have extra to return on the Monday Night time Soccer doubleheader this week with Titans-Payments on ESPN/ESPN2 at 7:15 p.m. ET and Vikings-Eagles at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN+.
For now, let’s maintain Sunday.
Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Tyler Fulghum, Joe Fortenbaugh, Anita Marks and Erin Dolan, fantasy and sports activities betting analysts Eric Moody and Andre Snellings, ESPN Stats & Info’s Seth Walder and Soccer Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz present insights into the video games and supply their ideas and picks.
Word: Traces from Caesars Sportsbook until in any other case indicated.
Table of Contents
What’s your greatest betting storyline getting into Week 2?
Schatz: The decline and fall of the Dallas Cowboys exhibits us simply how a lot the quarterback means to wagering within the NFL. With Cooper Rush because the beginning quarterback, the Cowboys at the moment are lifeless final in ESPN FPI. They might likewise be thirty first in Soccer Outsiders’ DAVE rankings if we assumed Rush would begin the complete season. The Bengals-Cowboys contest that was to be a marquee sport, televised to many of the nation at 4:25 p.m. ET, now appears to be like like a blowout with a 7-point line and a low whole of 42.
Fulghum: 5 groups that misplaced in Week 1 are TD+ favorites in Week 2. The Rams, Packers, Bengals, Broncos and 49ers are all laying a minimum of a landing regardless of an 0-1 document. Which groups assail a number of the concern by not solely getting within the win column, however doing so convincingly? Which of those groups squeak by however fail to cowl, intensifying the scrutiny? And which, if any, of those groups fall to 0-2 on the season and drive followers and media to enter a full on DEFCON 5 meltdown? I am most assured that the Bengals (-7 at Dallas) and the Packers (-10 vs. Chicago) cowl their giant numbers.
Moody: How Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos reply after struggling a heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Seahawks on the highway. Wilson’s homecoming ended up being a nightmare, particularly when coach Nathaniel Hackett took the ball away from him with the sport on the road. I digress, however critically, the Broncos should convincingly defeat the Houston Texans. Denver is a staff with playoff aspirations, a staff with a possible MVP candidate in Wilson, and one which some bettors view as a darkish horse to win the Tremendous Bowl. I am taking the Broncos (-10) to cowl the unfold towards the Texans.
Kezirian: I echo the feelings of Tyler and Aaron. The 0-1 groups laying a giant quantity, which incorporates Cincinnati, is unquestionably noticeable. It has solely occurred 22 instances since 2000, and now we have a whopping 5 such situations. One oddsmaker advised me Cincy could be a 2.5-point favourite, if not for Prescott’s harm, as a result of Dallas regarded dangerous within the opener even earlier than his harm. I believe Cincy’s loss is deceptive. The Bengals would have gained comfortably if not for shedding the turnover battle, 5-0. ESPN FPI made this line 11. I believe the Bengals roll.
Snellings: I will take the opposite facet of the coin from many of the crew, and shine a lightweight on groups that unexpectedly gained in Week 1 that might doubtlessly be higher than the strains are giving them credit score for. The Seahawks beat Wilson’s Broncos on Monday Night time Soccer, however are 8.5 level canines to a 49ers staff that regarded very peculiar of their loss to the Bears final Sunday. Chicago is a 10-point canine to the winless Packers. The Steelers beat the Bengals, however are +2.0 at house towards a Patriots staff that struggled within the opener. The Commanders and Giants gained, however they each have shut spreads towards the winless Lions and Panthers. Are any of the surprising Week 1 winners for actual? Of the listing, I just like the Steelers +2.0 towards the Patriots the perfect, adopted by the Giants to cowl at house towards the Panthers.
Marks: If the Saints beat the Bucs this Sunday — they’ll change into the one staff within the NFL with a successful document towards Tom Brady. Speak about additional motivation. We all know New Orleans has the key sauce towards Brady, contemplating he is unable to them within the common season since he joined Tampa Bay. The Bucs’ offensive line is in shambles and his large receiving core is an infirmary. It took the Saints three quarters to seek out their rhythm towards the Falcons, but when they’ll choose up the place they left off within the 4th quarter every week in the past… preserve the Saints marching on the cash line at +125.
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There are two matchups of unbeaten groups Sunday in Week 2: Dolphins at Ravens (-3.5, 44.5) and Buccaneers (-2.5, 44) at Saints. What are your ideas on the entire and unfold, and who’re you taking in these video games?
Schatz: The largest lesson of Week 1 is to not overrate Week 1. Traditionally, some huge cash has been misplaced assuming that Week 1 outcomes are extra essential than all that preseason info we had about groups only one week in the past. In rankings we use for the remainder of the season at Soccer Outsiders, Week 1 outcomes are value simply 7%, in comparison with 93% for preseason forecasts. With that in thoughts, I am glad to take the Baltimore Ravens and provides 3.5 factors to the Dolphins. Miami regarded spectacular at instances in beating the Patriots, however Baltimore was our No. 2 DVOA projection within the preseason at Soccer Outsiders. Likewise, we had been very excessive on the New Orleans Saints. We had them projected with one of many league’s prime defenses, and whereas issues do not look pretty much as good after giving up 26 factors to the Falcons — once more, this is only one sport. The Saints protection ought to nonetheless be excellent and has a powerful current historical past towards the Buccaneers. So whereas Tampa Bay is among the prime groups within the league, I might take the Saints +2.5 right here.
Fortenbaugh: I am enjoying New Orleans to win the sport outright. Since becoming a member of the Buccaneers, Tom Brady is 0-4 each SU and ATS towards the Saints through the common season, getting outscored by a grand whole of 117-53. The New Orleans protection, mixed with the gang noise, will wreak havoc on the suspect Tampa offensive line. I do know some persons are down on the Saints after they nearly misplaced at Atlanta final week, however take into account that Jameis Winston missed many of the preseason as a result of harm. Now that he knocked the cobwebs off, I would count on a greater efficiency.
Fulghum: Though I believe it is harmful to do, I will lean into the historical past of the Saints towards Brady and the Bucs. It seems New Orleans could have been looking forward to Week 2 after they began so poorly towards the Falcons. They rallied and escaped that sport with a win, and now they’ll absolutely concentrate on the one different staff that issues on this division in the mean time. New Orleans +2.5.
Snellings: I will make it a clear sweep, and choose the Bengals because the most definitely to cowl from this group. However, the crew has given many good causes for that one, so I will go in a unique course as nicely and say that I additionally just like the Rams -10.0 towards the Falcons. This week marked the primary time within the McVay period that the staff was beneath .500, a testomony to how ready and prepared the Rams all the time are to start out the season and after losses. The Payments took them to process within the opener, however the Rams have had an additional three days to lick their wounds and regroup. I count on a unique staff on Sunday, one that ought to simply deal with the Falcons at house. Per FPI, the Rams have an 81.6% probability to win and ought to be favored by 10.6 factors.
Marks: I just like the Packers at -10. Aaron Rodgers is 4-0 in Week 2, after a loss in Week 1, sporting 12 touchdowns and 1 interception — so R.E.L.A.X! . He’s the self proclaimed “proprietor of the Bears”. Allen Lazard has been in a position to follow this week, so I do count on him again. The Bears beat the 49ers in Week 1, however that was extra in regards to the climate situations, and Trey Lance not being prepared. Lambeau will likely be rocking on Sunday evening.
The Rams, 49ers, Broncos, Bengals and Packers are all a landing or extra favorites for this week regardless of being 0-1. Who do you wish to bounce again this week and canopy?
Schatz: I do know that anecdotally backup quarterbacks appear to play nicely of their first begins, however as famous above, the drop from Dak Prescott to Cooper Rush is large. It is not possible that Rush retains up the extent of play that gave him a optimistic passing DVOA and cheap 47.8 QBR a 12 months in the past. Joe Burrow confirmed final Sunday that each one these Bengals sacks in 2021 had been closely his fault, as a result of he took seven extra sacks even behind a rebuilt offensive line. However he isn’t going to throw 4 picks once more, even towards a powerful Dallas protection. I am glad to take the Bengals as favorites and provides over a landing to Dallas on this one.
Fortenbaugh: Cincinnati BIG. Outdoors of going -5 in turnover differential at Pittsburgh in Week 1, the Bengals owned the field rating by working 33 extra performs than the Steelers, amassing 165 extra whole yards and holding the ball for an extra 17 minutes and 26 seconds. This staff will likely be out for blood after blowing that sport. The factor about Dallas is that they weren’t good previous to the Prescott harm due to points at OL, WR and on protection. Now that Dak is down, can we count on Mike McCarthy to start out out-coaching the opposition? I believe not.
Moody: Mr. Fortenbaugh is correct. It is the Bengals for me. Regardless of a troublesome loss to the division rival Steelers, the Bengals will likely be high quality, particularly offensively. The offense of Cincinnati is just too proficient, with gamers like Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon, to fail. The Bengals protection regarded good in Week 1. Cincinnati allowed simply 269 whole yards of offense, and the run protection was spectacular. That is essential since they’re going to face a Cowboys staff with out Prescott, who’s out as a result of a thumb harm. Dallas has performed 12 video games with out Prescott since 2016. They’ve seen a lower in factors per sport and the entire QBR is 43. The Bengals had been 5-2 towards the unfold following a loss final season. Cincinnati is nicely positioned to cowl the seven factors in Week 2.
What are the three most essential issues that our analytics say?
The mannequin occurs to have a slew of massive variations of opinion with the market on sides this week. Let’s dive in!
Cincinnati Bengals (-7) at Dallas Cowboys
FPI prediction: Bengals by 11.2
FPI rankings are primarily based on a staff’s present energy. And following Prescott’s harm, the Cowboys presently rank thirty second. Actually final. Sound loopy for a staff that was a severe playoff contender every week in the past? I do not assume it’s. From FPI’s perspective here is what it sees within the Cowboys:
• The worst present beginning QB within the league in Rush.
• A barely under common non-QB roster.
• A poor efficiency in Week 1.
Put all of it collectively and, yeah, staff just like the Bengals ought to be greater than a landing favourite.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at New Orleans Saints
I perceive being cautious of this contest due to the Bucs’ current historical past towards the Saints, which has been about as dangerous because it will get. However from FPI’s perspective the Bucs are a whole staff with an elite QB, glorious receivers and an excellent protection. Even when there’s some matchup issue not thought-about by FPI, certainly a staff of Tampa Bay’s high quality needs to be value greater than a subject purpose towards a middling Saints staff even in New Orleans?
It is a don’t-overreact-to-Week-1 each day double, because the mannequin is (principally) sticking to its priors on Inexperienced Bay, regardless of a multitude of a sport towards the Vikings, and Chicago, regardless of an upset victory over the 49ers. Making me personally much more assured right here? The mannequin is not conscious than the win over the Niners occurred in moist situations, which certainly leveled the enjoying subject. That is even much less purpose to love Chicago.
What’s your greatest guess for Week 2?
Schatz: I am taking Jacksonville +4 at house towards Indianapolis. I do know that Soccer Outsiders was pretty alone in how low we had the Colts in our preseason projections, however we had the complete AFC South clustered collectively, with no staff higher than league common. In Week 1, Matt Ryan actually didn’t appear to be Frank Reich would carry again the fountain of youth for him, though once more, that is only one sport. I additionally nonetheless consider in what I have been calling the “subjective case for Jacksonville,” which is that Doug Pederson is such a greater NFL head coach than City Meyer that he can not help however enhance the Jaguars considerably and unlock a few of Trevor Lawrence‘s prodigious expertise.
Fortenbaugh: Cincinnati -7 for all the explanations listed above.
Fulghum: It smells fishy … however I will chunk. Why are the Patriots favored by 2.5 factors in Pittsburgh towards the Steelers? I do know T.J. Watt is injured and Mitchell Trubisky regarded removed from spectacular towards the Bengals, however what did the Patriots do towards Miami to encourage this type of confidence on the books? The considerations about New England’s offense had been absolutely realized in Week 1, and even with out Watt, I consider the Steelers at house are a more durable defensive check than the Dolphins in Miami. It is in all probability a low-scoring sport given the offensive limitations on each side, however I belief the Steelers’ playmakers far more than New England’s. Oh, by the way in which, Mike Tomlin is 44-24-2 ATS in his profession as an underdog, together with 14-4-1 ATS as a house underdog. Steelers +2.5.
Moody: The Browns (-6.5) to cowl towards the Jets. The Jets are anxiously awaiting the return of Zach Wilson after Joe Flacco‘s efficiency towards the Ravens in Week 1. New York solely scored 0.8 factors per drive and punted on six of their 12 drives towards Baltimore. Jacoby Brissett is certainly not elite, however he was in a position to lean on the Browns working sport with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and a stellar protection with Myles Garrett. It is sensible given Cleveland’s personnel that this will likely be their identification. Ball management will play a key position within the Browns’ success this season, particularly whereas Deshaun Watson serves his suspension. Cleveland’s protection ought to be capable of overpower Flacco. Baker Mayfield was sacked 4 instances by the Browns in Week 1, and the Jets’ offensive line nonetheless wants work. Cleveland is 6-2 towards the unfold over their final eight house video games towards groups under .500. The Browns excel towards lesser opponents.
Snellings: I agree with Moody. I just like the Browns to cowl -6.5 towards the Jets for related causes. So, I will go along with my second greatest guess right here, and thats the Steelers and Patriots beneath 40.5 factors. Each offenses had main questions getting into the season, and the damaging scouting experiences had been solely supported by what we noticed from each groups in Week 1. Add in that each defenses are elite items, and that key offensive gamers like Mac Jones and Najee Harris are already enjoying banged up and this simply appears like a low-scoring sport ready to occur.
Marks: Panthers +2 towards the Giants. Huge Blue misplaced DB Aaron Robinson this week to an appendectomy, he performs reverse Adoree’ Jackson. PFF gave Robinson a excessive grade in Week 1 and he will likely be totally missed. DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson ought to have a subject day towards the Giants, and Baker Mayfield could have loads of time to get them the ball. Christian McCaffrey has a strong matchup towards the subpar LB core as nicely. Matchup central for a Panthers staff seeking to not begin the season 0-2..
What’s your favourite participant prop?
Schatz: Give me over 44.5 receiving yards (+100) for Rashod Bateman of the Ravens. Xavien Howard is a superb cornerback, however the Dolphins nonetheless allowed an opponent-adjusted 62 yards per sport to opposing WR1s final season. I am not discouraged that Bateman bought 55 of his 59 yards in Week 1 on a single catch; he is extra of a possession receiver than a deep menace and was regular with a minimum of 4 catches in seven of his 12 video games final season. That included a six-catch, 80-yard day towards Miami, though that sport got here with Byron Jones masking Bateman as an alternative of Howard. Miami will blitz Lamar Jackson a ton, and he’ll be in search of both Bateman or Mark Andrews when that occurs.
Fulghum: Saquon Barkley over 27.5 receiving yards (-133). The Giants’ pass-catching corps is an absolute mess. Kenny Golladay seems dusted. Wan’Dale Robinson is damage. Kadarius Toney is simply trusted to play seven snaps a sport. Daniel Jones would not have a lot to work with on offense in addition to his working again. Barkley was a beast in Week 1 towards the Titans, enjoying 83% of the offensive snaps and incomes a team-high seven targets within the passing sport, which he parlayed into six catches for 30 yards. I count on Barkley to have related pass-game alternatives and manufacturing on this matchup with the Panthers.
Walder: Allen Robinson beneath 4.5 receptions (-129). Oof. Robinson didn’t look good in that opener. He ran a ton of hitches in Chicago, and I used to be curious if Sean McVay would make use of him in another way. Nope. Robinson ran 25% hitches within the season opener. Plus, now he has to face Casey Hayward, who’s nice at deterring targets, and A.J. Terrell, who’s simply nice. My receiving mannequin — which does not know in regards to the hitches or the particular corners he is dealing with — initiatives simply 3.7 receptions for Robinson.
Moody: Aaron Rodgers over 246.5 passing yards (-117). Rodgers and the Packers had a horrible begin to the season towards the Vikings in Week 1. It was encapsulated by Christian Watson burning cornerback Patrick Peterson on a deep route however then dropping what would have been an extended landing catch. The back-to-back MVP will look to bounce again at house towards the division rival Bears. Rodgers has averaged 260.3 passing yards per sport towards Chicago at house since 2018.
Marks: Cordarrelle Patterson over 53.5 dashing yards (+110). Damien Williams has not practiced this week as a result of a rib harm and chances are high he will likely be inactive on Sunday towards the Rams. I count on one other big day for Patterson. The Falcons ran 28 pistol snaps in Week 1 towards the Saints and Patterson rushed for over 120 yards. I see a lot of the identical towards the Rams protection to offset their go rush.