Week Two might be the hardest week of all to make game picks in the NFL. Everyone’s overreacting to one-week samples and throwing out all their work from the offseason. While you can’t completely disregard Week One’s action, it’s important to keep perspective when analyzing the NFL betting lines and odds for the upcoming slate of games.
NFL Week Two Betting Lines, Odds, and Game Picks
Carolina Panthers (-5) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cam Newton didn’t look great in his season debut, but he should get better with time. The former first-overall pick battled injury throughout the second half of 2018 and suffered a foot injury in the 2019 preseason. He needed some time to knock off the rust and should be better against a subpar Tampa Bay defense.
The Jameis Winston era needs to come to an end. No matter how many garbage time yards he gets, he’s never going to be capable of carrying a team. He turns the ball over at an alarming rate, and the rest of the team isn’t good enough to carry his mistake-prone style of play. It’s a Thursday Night game, so anything can happen. That said, everything is pointing towards the Panthers in this one.
Pick: Panthers win, beat spread
Tennessee Titans (-3) vs Indianapolis Colts
The Tennessee Titans laid the hurt on an unprepared Cleveland Browns team in Week One, but they’re set to take a step back in Week Two. As mentioned in last week’s article, it wasn’t surprising to see Cleveland come out of the gate slow. That game wasn’t as much of a blowout as the final score would suggest, yet Tennessee seems to be getting the better odds due to that one outing.
Vegas appears to be overlooking the fact that the Indianapolis Colts went on the road and went blow-for-blow with one of the best teams in the NFL. Jacoby Brissett is no Andrew Luck, but he’s capable of running this offense. Indianapolis has one of the best rosters in football and should be able to go on the road and beat Tennessee.
Pick: Colts win, beat spread
Detroit Lions vs Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5)
This is easy money. Even without Melvin Gordon and Derwin James, the Los Angeles Chargers are going to be one of the best teams in football. The defense has enough playmakers to still be dangerous while Austin Ekeler is more than capable of serving in a featured role. Philip Rivers is still a great quarterback and this team should be one of the Super Bowl finalists.
The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, couldn’t even beat an objectively bad Arizona Cardinals team. Matt Patricia is still figuring out the whole head coaching thing, and the roster is littered with holes. Lock in this bet before the line changes.
Pick: Chargers win, beat spread
New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills (-2.5)
This one is going to be tough to watch. On paper, the Buffalo Bills have a solid roster with a borderline top-10 defense. The offensive line is average, Devin Singletary looks promising, and the wide receivers have a solid complementary skills set. The biggest problem is quarterback Josh Allen, who still misses throws and struggles to read defenses and misses too many easy throws.
The Giants are similar in that they also have a quarterback in Eli Manning who misses too many open reads. The biggest difference between these two teams is that the New York Giants have a bottom-five roster in the league. Winning on the road isn’t easy in the NFL, but the Bills should be up for the task.
Pick: Bills win, beat spread
Baltimore Ravens (-13.5) vs Arizona Cardinals
The Baltimore Ravens crushed the Miami Dolphins in Week One and have the chance to do the same to the Arizona Cardinals in Week Two. Arizona is better than Miami, but they might just be the second-worst team in the league. The Ravens proved they have what it takes to demolish inferior competition, but this spread is too large. Crushing an opponent by this much in consecutive weeks is ridiculously hard to do in the NFL. Additionally, the Cardinals actually looked like an NFL-caliber team in Week One, which is more than the Dolphins could say.
Pick: Ravens win, don’t cover spread
Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots (-14.5)
This game isn’t going to be close, but it’s hard to bet on a spread this large. The Patriots only have one win in Miami since 2012, and former Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is now running the show for the Dolphins. Patriots assistants typically succeed against New England in their first go-round, and the Patriots usually struggle when traveling south.
That said, the difference in talent between these two teams is just too much to overlook. The Dolphins traded away almost all of their good players, and the remaining players are reportedly trying to force their way out. On the other side of the coin, the 2019 New England Patriots could very well be the best ever incarnation of this team. History suggests that New England won’t cover the spread, but this situation is just too favorable for New England.
Pick: Patriots win, beat spread
Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys (-7)
The Washington Redskins put up an impressive fight in Week One against the Philadelphia Eagles, but you shouldn’t expect that to happen again. The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the best rosters in the league, but the Cowboys aren’t far behind. Even when giving Washington a 17-point head start, the Eagles still managed to take a 12-point lead late into the fourth quarter. If it weren’t for a meaningless touchdown with six seconds left on the clock, the Eagles would have beat the spread.
Look for the Cowboys to put away the Redskins early. Kellen Moore is the breath of fresh air this offense desperately needed, and Dak Prescott looks like a new man in this scheme. The defense should be one of the best in the league and this should be a one-sided affair.
Pick: Cowboys win, beat spread
Houston Texans (-9.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Deshaun Watson looked as good as ever in Week One, but the team around him still has a lot of holes. Even with Laremy Tunsil, the offensive line still looks like one of the worst units in the league. The secondary has holes everywhere and J.J. Watt is the only difference-maker on defense. Watson is good enough to overcome a lot of these flaws, but he’s going up against what should be one of the best defenses in football.
The reason for this large point spread is sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew. With Nick Foles sidelined, the untested Minshew is set to start for the foreseeable future. Minshew obviously has a small track record, but he looked good in Week One. Additionally, the analytics department over at Pro Football Focus believes Minshew has the tools to be a solid fill-in for Foles. The Texans will probably win this one, but Jacksonville can keep it close by playing good defense and mistake-free football on offense.
Pick: Texans win, don’t cover spread
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) vs Seattle Seahawks
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a brutal Week One, but Vegas doesn’t think that will affect them moving forward. Life without Antonio Brown isn’t going to be easy, but facing off against the New England Patriots on the road was probably the worst matchup imaginable. Hosting the Seattle Seahawks should be the perfect cure for their Week One woes.
Russell Wilson is great, but the rest of the team is in trouble. The defense allowed John Ross to go wild in Week One, so Juju Smith-Schuster should have a huge day in Week Two. Additionally, Pittsburgh’s defense is considerably better than Seattle’s and Seattle’s offense lacks proven playmakers outside of Tyler Lockett.
Pick: Steelers win, beat spread
Cincinnati Bengals vs San Francisco 49ers (-1.5)
The Cincinnati Bengals almost pulled the Week One upset against the Seattle Seahawks, but this time they’ll do the job against San Francisco. The 49ers crushed Tampa Bay in Week One, but that was mostly due to atrocious quarterback play by Jameis Winston. Jimmy Garoppolo still doesn’t look comfortable and there simply aren’t enough playmakers on either side of the ball. Nobody’s confusing the Bengals with the 1972 Dolphins, but they have enough pieces to beat the 49ers at home.
Pick: Bengals win, beat spread
Green Bay Packers (-3) vs Minnesota Vikings
The Packers might have a winning record, but they sure didn’t look good in Week One. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t comfortable in Matt LaFleur’s offense, and LeFleur inexplicably tried to continuously run Aaron Jones up the middle despite the lack of success. This uncomfortable play combined with the inefficient playcalling implies that the Packers are going to need a few weeks before they start clicking on offense. While the defense looked great in Week One, they got bailed out by Mitchell Trubisky missing a few open throws. It’s an improved unit, but they’re not quite as good as the Week One box score would suggest.
The Minnesota Vikings are also looking to establish the run, but they’re actually able to do it. When healthy, Dalvin Cook is a top-five running back, and he looked great in Week One. Even if this turns into a shootout, Kirk Cousins proved last year he can go blow-for-blow with Rodgers so long as he has a healthy Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Minnesota’s defense has the talent to be a top-five unit and played up to their abilities in Week One.
Pick: Vikings win, beat spread
Oakland Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5)
The Oakland Raiders had an encouraging victory against the Denver Broncos, but they’re not ready for the Chiefs. Even without Tyreek Hill, this offense is still one of the best and most explosive units in football. They dropped 40 on a good Jacksonville defense despite missing Hill for the majority of the contest, and Oakland’s defense isn’t nearly as good as Jacksonville. Derek Carr and company won’t be able to keep up with this barrage, even if the comforts of the Black Hole.
Pick: Chiefs win, beat spread
Los Angeles Rams (-3) vs New Orleans Saints
This one is going to go down to the wire. The Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints both have a case to be top-five teams in the NFL. This one carries a little extra passion than most games thanks to how last season ended for the Saints. Drew Brees doesn’t play as well on the road, which gives Los Angeles a decent advantage. Additionally, the Saints might not play disciplined football if they’re still not over what happened in the 2018 NFC Championship Game.
Pick: Rams win, beat spread
Denver Broncos (-1) vs Chicago Bears
How in the world are the Broncos favored in this one? Mitchell Trubisky isn’t a good quarterback, but the rest of the roster is loaded. Matt Nagy has the ability to make Trubisky somewhat effective through his scheme, and Vegas looks like they’re overreacting to an ugly season debut. Joe Flacco is still bad, and Denver’s defense allowed Derek Carr to hang 24 points on them in the opener. The Bears should win this one by a comfortable margin.
Pick: Bears win, beat spread
Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles (EVEN)
This is going to be another fun game to watch. The Falcons offense struggled in Week One, but there’s no reason to overreact to one bad game. Atlanta had a similarly underwhelming opening performance last season yet had one of the NFL’s best offenses in 2018. The talent is there, and they’re going to remain an elite offense. The defense, on the other hand, could be an issue. The unit was bad last year even when Deion Jones was healthy and it didn’t look any better in Week One.
The Eagles, meanwhile, might have the most complete team in the league outside of New England. Carson Wentz is healthy and the Eagles simply looked unstoppable in the second half of Week One. The defense is talented and the offense has top-five potential. Take the Eagles to win in what should be an entertaining game.
Pick: Eagles win
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