At the beginning of the season, I shared my favorite strategies for betting NFL games. After the Week 1 Bonkers-fest, we’re right back at it for NFL Week 2. I tend to keep my card pretty light during the first week of the season, but Week 2 is full of games with value.
One of the trends we see as the NFL season progresses are major overreactions. Teams that played poorly one week are written off, and teams that played extremely well are crowned Super Bowl contenders. It’s important to understand not all Week 1 wins were created equally, and betting lines are not written in stone.
Let’s take a look at some angles for NFL Week 2.
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NFL Week 2 Bet Against The Public
Cincinnati BENGALS vs. Dallas COWBOYS (+7.5) DraftKings
The Cowboys suffered an embarrassing Week 1 loss during Sunday Night Football. They were completely helpless against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and failed to score a single touchdown. The 19-3 final score wasn’t as close as it indicates.
Their Week 2 matchup against the Bengals opened as Cowboys -2.5. Unfortunately, that was before Dak Prescott’s injury. Once news spread that Prescott would miss six to eight weeks to have thumb surgery, the betting spread exploded ten points towards the Bengals.
Prescott played a miserable game in Week 1. He threw for 134 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. Second string quarterback Cooper Rush is not as talented as Prescott, but does that stat line scream starting NFL quarterback to you? The betting market is telling us Dak Prescott, a guy with a Week 1 QBR of 47 is worth ten more points against the spread than Cooper Rush?
Also, the Bengals should not be a seven point road favorite against anyone right now. Hopes were high for this team coming into the season, but after an opening loss to the Steelers where they looked terrible at times, skepticism is rightfully high. Joe Burrow threw four interceptions and was sacked seven times in their embarrassing Week 1 loss to the Steelers.
And while the Cowboys offense was equally miserable against the Buccaneers, their defense managed some impressive red zone stops. The Cowboys defense held Brady and the Bucs to four field goals that could have been touchdowns. I think motivation will be high for the Cowboys to perform better in front of their home crowd. And a ten point shift is more than enough value for sharp bettors to fade the public here.
As of writing, 90% of the bets and 95% of the money is on the Bengals. And when the betting public goes one way, sharp bettors bet the opposite side.
Take the Cowboys +7.5.
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NFL Week 2 Double Digit Underdogs
Atlanta FALCONS (+10.5) vs. Los Angeles RAMS
Seattle SEAHAWKS (+10) vs. San Francisco 49ERS
Houston TEXANS (+10) vs. Denver BRONCOS
Chicago BEARS (+10) vs. Green Bay PACKERS
Tennessee TITANS (+10) vs. Buffalo BILLS
One of the rising NFL betting trends in recent years is the popularity of the six-point teaser.
I went into some depth about teasers as one of my NFL betting strategies, but the nuts and bolts is this: Teasing a favorite only makes sense if you can cross two key numbers on the betting spread. Bettors should find teams that are 7.5- to 8.5-point favorites and tease them down to -1.5 or -2.5. Crossing the two most important numbers of 3 and 7 is known as a Wong Teaser.
It’s interesting then, that each of the five biggest favorites this week are UNTEASABLE!
Looking at the five games above, assuming you tease each of the favorites six points, you’ll end up with a betting spread of -4. While that’s only one point higher than -3, it makes a huge difference. The number of games that end with a differential of exactly three is significantly higher than a four point winning margin.
I’ve got a suspicion that sportsbooks are taking a ton of bets on six point teasers. In order to protect their bottom line, they may have adjusted the betting spreads to account for the action. By my eye, each of these lines is between one and three points too high.
I’m taking each double digit underdog at +10 or better before we lose that key number.
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New England PATRIOTS vs. Pittsburgh STEELERS (+110)
The wrong team is favored here.
The Patriots looked terrible during their Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins. What’s more, starting quarterback Mac Jones went down with a back injury. He’s not guaranteed to start this game. Even if he does, we can’t expect him to be 100%.
On the other hand, we have Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers who have thrived as underdogs under his tenure. Tomlin boasts an impressive 41-23-2 record against the spread as an underdog in his career.
Look for the Steelers to show up motivated in their home opener. Against an injured Mac Jones or backup Brian Hoyer, I like the Steelers to improve their record to 2-0.
Week 3 Bet To Make Now
Baltimore RAVENS (Pick ‘em) vs. New England Patriots
Some sportsbooks offer look-ahead lines on future weeks, and this one caught my eye.
As I mentioned above, the Patriots are not in great shape. With an injured quarterback and an offense that’s otherwise a mess, I think the Patriots’ struggles will continue this season. The Ravens on the other hand, are a pretty good football team. Injuries remain a concern, but Lamar Jackson and company should be able to take care of the Patriots.
If Week 2 plays out like I think it does, the Ravens will beat the Dolphins at home and the Patriots will fall to the Steelers on the road. If that happens, this line will jump a few points.
We’re getting the better football team at basically even money. I love this bet.