Week 1 of the NFL season is out of the way, and now we have a clearer idea of what we’re looking at with each team. Last week I went 7-9 on my recommended bets, which I can live with. We didn’t see too many major injuries, so the biggest challenge for Week 2 is working out what we can believe from the first games of the season, and what was just a fluke.
NFL Week 2 Betting Tips
New York Giants at Washington Football Team
FedEx Field, Friday 10:20am AEST
There were high hopes for the Washington outfit coming into the season, based both on their elite young defence and the arrival of some key players on offence, headlined by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Well, they lost a grinding match with the Chargers, and Fitzpatrick went down midway through the game with a serious hip injury. They’ll now be led by backup Taylor Heinecke, who we’ve only seen in a couple of games so far. He looks competent enough to allow the team to continue leaning on their defence and grinding out some low scoring wins, but it certainly lowers the ceiling on their offence as a whole.
The Giants looked okay in the first half, but as the game wore on the cracks started to appear and they ended up losing comfortably to the Broncos. Third year quarterback Daniel Jones looked a little more composed, but he still managed to turnover a fumble, something that he does more than once per game on average. Saquon Barkley shared the running back role with Davontae Booker on his return from a serious knee injury, and looked understandably rusty. He’ll be better for the run, but it will be a while until he’s back to his best. With Washington featuring perhaps the best defensive line in the NFL, and the Giants offensive line very suspect, life will be difficult once again for Jones and Barkley. I expect Washington to be able to limit the scoring opportunities enough that their missing pieces on offence won’t matter.
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium, Monday 10:20am AEST
Our Monday prime-time game looks like an absolute cracker on paper, featuring perhaps the two most consistently elite teams over the last three seasons. A lot of that is of course due to quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, who each have won an MVP title in that period. The Ravens are coming off a surprise loss to the Raiders in week 1, with the key takeaway being that several serious injuries on both sides of the ball have definitely limited their upside. They are down to their 4th and 5th running back options, their secondary is looking very shaky, and rookie receiver Rashod Bateman was meant to provide plenty of spark to the passing game before going on injured reserve.
All this gives great cause for concern against the Chiefs, as Mahomes will be licking his lips at the thought of throwing the ball to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce going against backup defenders. The Chiefs showed once again in their comeback win in week 1 that no points total is safe, as they can score quicker than any other team in the league. The main weakness for the Chiefs is an inability to stop the running game. The Ravens issues at that position will make it harder to exploit that, although Lamar Jackson is perhaps the best running quarterback we’ve ever seen, so they could still find some success. Overall I think the line in this game is mostly close thanks to reputation the Ravens have built up over the last few years, and I’ll be surprised if they can keep up with the Chiefs.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field, Tuesday 10:15am AEST
These were two of the more surprising teams in Week 1. Detroit because they managed to score enough points to keep up with a rampaging 49ers, and the Packers because they struggled to move the football at all against a depleted Saints unit. The Lions managed to overcome their lack of quality wide receivers by dumping they ball off constantly to their running backs and tight ends. They slowly marched up the field with a procession of short passes, which can be hard to stop. Of course they also lack quality on the defensive side of the ball, and were unable to stop the 49ers from making big play after big play and putting a handy 41 points on the board.
In contrast the Packers were expected to be able to limit a weak looking Saints offence, and to win comfortably thanks to their usually elite efficiency. Legendary veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers could not connect with any of his receivers, and star running back Aaron Jones was completely nullified. A truly baffling performance. They’ll be grateful to have a gentle matchup like the Lions this week to try to get some confidence and momentum into their season. Despite the contrasting week 1 efforts, the Packers are among the biggest favourites of the week. I do think they’ll be much better this time, but I’m going to trust what I saw from the Lions and back them to keep the game close enough to beat the massive spread against them.
New York Giants at Washington Football Team - See Above
Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears - Bengals +3 ($1.90 at Sportsbet)
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns - Browns -12.5 ($1.90 at Sportsbet)
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers - Raiders +5.5 ($1.84 at Sportsbet)
Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts - Rams -4 ($1.86 at Sportsbet)
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins - Dolphins to win ($2.38 at Sportsbet)
New England Patriots at New York Jets - Patriots -5.5 ($1.89 at Sportsbet)
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles - 49ers -3.5 ($1.90 at Sportsbet)
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers - Panthers +3.5 ($1.91 at Sportsbet)
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars - Broncos -6 ($1.90 at Sportsbet)
Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals -3.5 ($1.84 at Sportsbet)
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Buccaneers -12.5 ($1.94 at Sportsbet)
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers - Cowboys +2.5 ($1.96 at Sportsbet)
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks -2.5 ($1.90 at Sportsbet)
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens - See Above
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers - See Above