NFL Preseason Week 2 Best Bets: Steelers, Panthers Offer Value is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

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The first week of the NFL preseason had no shortage of stories, with dozens of rookies getting their first taste of pro action and many more veterans seeking to prove they deserve roster spots. The second week offers a little more clarity on what to expect from each team as select first-stringers log more playing time.

Franchises and coaching staffs take different approaches to playing time, though, so take this week’s action with a grain of salt. Our NFL Preseason Week 2 best bets won’t necessarily align with how we expect certain teams to perform once the regular season kicks off in September.

Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars Odds NFL PRESEASON Odds

NFL PRESEASON · Sat (8/20) @ 7:00 pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars
TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL

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Rookie Kenny Pickett was impressive in his pro debut, tossing two touchdowns including a game-winner, while commanding the Steelers offense during the second half against the Seahawks. In a three-man race to be the Steelers quarterback of the future, Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph impressed with their reps as well. All told, the Steelers had 409 yards of total offense against Seattle, one of just three teams to eclipse the 400-yard mark this preseason so far.

nfl preseason best bets, steelers, kenny pickett
We’re taking Kenny Pickett and the Steelers plus the points in our NFL Preseason Week 2 best bets (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

The Jaguars started their preseason with a pair of losses, first to Las Vegas in the Hall of Fame game and then to Cleveland at home. Their inexperience and lack of depth were apparent in their previous matchups this preseason, and this team shouldn’t be more than a field goal favorite against Pittsburgh.

Trevor Lawrence did look good behind center last week against the Browns, leading the team to two field goals and a touchdown in his lone three drives. Although Lawrence is expected to play into the second quarter this week, the lack of quality depth will continue to tank the team once the starters are pulled. The offense looked anemic with Jake Luton and C.J. Beathard behind center, whereas the Steelers managed to produce a competent offense throughout all four quarters whether it was Trubisky, Rudolph, or Pickett at quarterback.

Even as the Steelers are expected to falter to a degree in the post-Big Ben era, the team boasts relatively strong depth even if the starters at some positions leave a bit to be desired. It has been a staple of the Mike Tomlin-led Steelers team, embracing the “next-man-up” mentality that’s led to Pittsburgh pulling skill players out of the woodwork in the past. Tomlin’s impressive preseason resume is a testament to his strategies, posting one of the best preseason records of all the league’s veteran coaches.

The Steelers have boasted a 3-1 record every preseason since 2017 and have a strong chance to add another to the win column this week. Getting a field goal and the hook is more than generous for this Steelers team that has considerably stronger depth than their opponent. They also have three competing quarterbacks that will sling the ball until the final whistle.

Also read: Preseason Betting Tips, Week 2

Carolina Panthers (+3) v. New England Patriots

Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots Odds NFL Odds

NFL · Fri (8/19) @ 7:00 pm ET

Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium , Foxboro, MA

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Carolina and New England enter this matchup with opposite approaches to the game. The Panthers are among our NFL preseason Week 2 best bets, with Matt Rhule on the hot seat for Carolina. This preseason matchup will be the biggest test yet in the starting quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold (Mayfield is expected to get the starting nod in Week 1). They may get a relatively easy test with Bill Belichick and his Patriots squad, as the veteran head coach has been reluctant to play too many of his starters this preseason, including second-year quarterback Mac Jones.

Preferring to use the preseason as tryouts for the team’s depth further down the roster bodes well for Carolina likely playing a starting-caliber quarterback throughout the duration of the game. The Panthers can be had for +3 at Caesars as of this Thursday publication.

Don’t expect to see Mac Jones take as many reps this week as some other year-two quarterbacks like Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields. Brian Hoyer and Bailey Zappe will likely see most of the snaps behind center. While Hoyer — on one of his several stints as a backup in New England — is an experienced veteran, this is one of the weakest top-to-bottom rosters Belichick has assembled during his Patriots tenure. There are some holes in depth at wideout, the offensive line, and secondary positions that the Panthers will look to exploit in Week 2 of the preseason.

Carolina doesn’t have a top-end roster by any stretch, but they’re a team full of middling players that will play later into the game compared to their opponent. These coaching staffs are approaching this game with different strategies, and it’s Carolina’s that is more conducive to getting a win by the time the fourth quarter concludes.

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Chicago Bears v. Seattle Seahawks (Under 42.5)

Chicago Bears vs Seattle Seahawks Odds NFL Odds

NFL · Thu (8/18) @ 8:00 pm ET

Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks
Lumen Field, Seattle, WA

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Both the Bears and Seahawks find themselves in interesting positions heading into 2022, and the quarterback position is at the center of discussion. Justin Fields has a new head coach to impress in Chicago, and Pete Carroll is letting Geno Smith and Drew Lock duke it out for the starting role in Seattle.

Throughout the first slate of preseason games, the Over has hit at a staggering 14-3 rate. The totals for Week 2 of the preseason have jumped up as a reaction. The oddsmakers overcorrected in some games, like this Chicago and Seattle matchup, making the Under a great bet here, and the betting market agrees with that sentiment, as the total in this game has been pushed down from our recommended play at 42.5.  The value on the Under has eroded.

Neither Chicago nor Seattle boast a strong roster, and both sides are expected to struggle during the regular season. As starters for each team play later into the game, expect their offensive inefficiencies to be on further display. Smith took all the first-half reps at quarterback in their loss to Pittsburgh last week, but he did little to impress, with just one touchdown drive against the Steelers and three drives that ended with quick punts. Lock looked more comfortable running the offense in the second half, leading the team to a pair of touchdowns against Pittsburgh’s backups, but still made a few costly mistakes that kept them from the endzone.

The Bears failed to get on the scoreboard in the first half of action against Kansas City last week. Their only points came in the third quarter with Trevor Siemian behind center, but two of their three scoring drives started inside the Chiefs 30-yard line thanks to a pair of turnovers by Kansas City’s backups.

The starting rosters for Chicago and Seattle showed little to suggest either will be a high-scoring offense this week (or at any point during the regular season) and an overreaction to the flurry of early Overs in the preseason inflated the opening total. These teams shouldn’t eclipse the 40-point mark this week, but this was a stronger play earlier in the week.

More NFL betting info: Super Bowl 57 odds | Can anyone dethrone the Bucs in NFC South?

About the Author
Ken Bates

Ken Bates

Ken Bates is a contributor to Gaming Today. With years of experience in the sports betting industry, he’s covered several sports and is always on the lookout for an angle to bet. He resides in upstate New York and, as difficult as it may sometimes be, roots for the Jets, Mets, and Islanders.

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