Week one is in the books and it brought us plenty of big upsets to discuss. The most shocking came in Jacksonville where the heavily favoured Colts (closed anywhere from -7.5 to -8) were defeated by the team with the lowest pre-Week 1 win total in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Colts weren’t the only team that lost as big favorites though as the Philadelphia Eagles angered many survivor pool entrants when they gave up a 17-0 lead to the Washington Football Team, ultimately suffering a humiliating 27-17 loss.
From a totals perspective, the Over went 9-7 in Week 1 with the biggest point total coming from Minnesota where the Vikings secondary got lit up by Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers in a 43-34 home loss. The Packers also posted the largest team total of the week at 43. The Vikings defense will be one to watch this year as they lost plenty of starters from their secondary in the off-season and look like they’ll be ceding a ton of yards through the air on a week-to-week basis.
The injuries weren’t too bad for Week 1, especially considering that we were coming in with no preseason under our belt. Blake Jarwin (ACL) and Marlon Mack (achilles) are both done for the year. The Colts have solid RB depth so Mack’s injury hurts the Colts a little less than Jarwin’s does the Cowboys. Dallas was relying on Jarwin to be their main pass catching TE this year and don’t have anyone near his talent level behind him on the depth chart currently.
George Kittle (knee) and Michael Thomas (ankle) both got banged up in Week 1 and have questionable tags for Week 2. Thomas’ injury is reportedly a high ankle sprain that he is going to try and play through. This is bad news for his short-term effectiveness though, as these types of things can linger. Jets RB Le’Veon Bell (hamstring) was placed on the three-game IR list today. It’s a pretty big blow to a Jets offense considering he looked like their most effective player on offense last Sunday. The Jets face the 49ers in Week 2 and will likely have all kidneys of issues finding the endzone in that game.
Week 2 preview (lines and totals)
Dallas Cowboys -5.5 vs. Atlanta Falcons O/U 52.5
Atlanta got absolutely smoked through the air by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks last week, allowing Wilson to throw for an 88% completion rate with four passing TDs. The Cowboys could put up a ton of points here through the air and look for Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott to get off the mat with a big game.
Baltimore Ravens -7.5 @Houston Texans O/U 51.5
Houston’s defense showed almost no resistance last week to the Chiefs, particularly on the ground where they allowed rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire to rush for 138 yards on 25 carries. Baltimore was its usual efficient self last week on offense and didn’t allow the Browns to get off the mat on offense, holding Baker Mayfield to under 200 yards passing despite being down most of the game. Houston getting blown out (again) is a distinct possibility here.
New Orleans Saints -6.5 @ Las Vegas Raiders O/U 51.5
The Raiders defense got gashed in multiple ways, Week 1. Look for Drew Brees to potentially take advantage of a weaker secondary here. Las Vegas likely isn’t going to have anywhere near the same kind of success running the ball that they did in Week 1 against the fourth-best rush defense from last year. If you take the over you may be relying on Derek Carr to score you some points here.
Buffalo Bills -5.5 @ Miami Dolphins O/U 40.5
Buffalo jumped on NY early in Week 1 and never let go. Miami suffered against another tough defense in the Patriots Week 1 and have a similarly tough matchup here. Miami didn’t really look improved on offense and will be starting Ryan Fiztpatrick at QB again here. His top target, DeVante Parker (hamstring), is also looking highly questionable. This number could get smaller as the week progresses.
Pittsburgh Steelers -7.5 vs Denver Broncos O/U 41.5
Both of these teams will be trying to grind out wins with their defense and rushing attacks this year but Pittsburgh has a pretty solid edge on both sides of the ball. Getting WR Courtland Sutton back might help Denver score some points as the Steelers did allow Darius Slayton to run wild against them in Week 1.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -9.5 vs. Carolina Panthers O/U 48.5
The Panthers have brutal a defense. Look for Ronald Jones to potentially have a big game on the ground and the Bucs to put up some serious points here. Tampa held Christian McCaffery to under 40 yards rushing in both meetings last season so they could have issue scoring this week.
Los Angeles Rams -1.5 @ Philadelphia Eagles O/U 46.5
The Eagles are coming in off a terrible loss while the Rams are coming in off a semi-surprising win. This line could shift either way as the week goes on. Recent sentiment is definitely pushing people away from Philly early but sharp money could see this as an opportunity to buy low on the Eagles.
Week 2 early leans:
Arizona Cardinals -6.5 over Washington Football Team
- Arizona has the proper personnel to overcome the Washington pass rush here.
- Expect to see lots of Kyler Murray RPOs, mixed with a big day for Kenyon Drake.
- There’s always the possibility of a Dwayne Haskins road pick-6 here to get the cover as well which makes ARZ more enticing.
Tampa Bay vs. Carolina Over 48.5
- Carolina is going to give up a ton of points every week and Ronald Jones looked good rush the ball against the Saints but was shut down by a very good rush defense. He’s going up against one of the worst here in Week 2.
- The Bucs put up 26 or more points in five of their six matchups against teams with losing records last season.
Week 2 NFL game props (best bets)
Week 1 results:
Patriots (to lead) Halftime/Fulltime (-120) vs, Miami O
Buffalo under 23.5 points (-116) X
Packers over 20.5 points (-118) O
Bengals/Chargers over 3.5 FGs (+157) O
Broncos/Steelers over 3.5 FGs (+155)
The Broncos and Steelers are both solid defenses who excel in the red zone. Denver’s defense led the league in red zone stoppages last year and would have yielded four FGs last week to the Titans if Stephen Gostkowski hadn’t developed the yips, in-game. Pittsburgh ranked fifth in red zone efficiency as a defense last year as well. Both teams also ranked top-10 in FGS made, per game, in 2019.
The Bronco’s getting Courtland Sutton back here should let them move the ball downfield a bit better this week. The only downside here is if the Broncos get down by a ton and have to start going for TDs late, but with Sutton back they should also have a better chance of keeping this game close. Pittsburgh has a solid kicker in Chris Bowell who only missed one FG at home last year and could always hit the prop on his own. We should see lots of kicks here.
Tampa Bay Team Total over 28.5 points
The Panthers are going to give up a ton of points this year. They already rank last in overall DVOA on defense, according to Football Outsiders, and also had the fourth-worst graded rush defense of Week 1 as well. The Buccaneers were dealing with cohesion issues and an injury to their best receiver in Week 1, but still managed 23 points against one of the best rush defenses in the league.
Carolina gave up a bunch of points on the ground in Week 1 but also allowed Derek Carr to post a 73% completion rating and 107 QB rating. Expect Bruce Arians to let Tom Brady get in some feel good scores late in this game if it gets out of hand in favour of Tampa, which it likely will.
Ravens (to lead) Halftime/Fulltime (-122) @ Texans
The Ravens enter this game as -7.5 favorites and their moneyline sits at -323 as of writing. These two teams couldn’t have looked further apart in Week 1 as Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense clearly lacked the explosiveness they had in the past when DeAndre Hopkins was around. Watson managed just a 62% completion rate against a Chiefs secondary that was down one of their best cover corners and needed a late rushing TD, that was meaningless to the outcome, to keep his stat line and the score respectable.
Baltimore went 6-0 on the road last year, straight-up, as away favorites and absolutely smashed this Texans team 41-7 last year at home, handing Watson his worst loss as starter. Texans coach Bill O’Brien might be coaching for his job here but the Texans players might be OK with him not returning for Week 3. I like playing for the Ravens domination here as Houston looked nothing close to a team capable of challenging the mighty Ravens in Week 1.
Week 2 NFL players props (best bets)
Check back later in the week for additions…
Week 1 results:
- Gardner Minshew to score a TD (rush or pass) +1200 or better X
- Marlon Mack +850 first TD scorer X
- Cam Newton +300 to score a TD (rush or receiving) O
- Dan Arnold to score a TD +1200 (anytime) X
- Mark Andrews over 3.5 receptions -120 O
- DK Metcalf over 59.5 receiving yards -112 O
Gardner Minshew over 34.5 pass attempts (-116)
Minshew only attempted 20 passes in Week 1 for the Jags so his passing props this week are quite low as a result. The Jags QB doesn’t figure to have that low volume though most weeks, especially given the Jags deficiencies on defense which are bound to show up more and more as the season progresses. The Titans are favoured by over a TD in this spot so there figures to be more garbage time here for Minshew to rack up pass attempts. Nick Foles passed 44-times against TEN as a member of the Jags last year in a big Titans win and if the same scenario plays out, Minshew should approach similar volume. The prop here feels far too low based on the game line.
Kenyan Drake over 81.5 Rush/Receiving yards (combined) (-110)
Drake had a solid Week 1 considering the opponent, taking 16 carries and seeing two targets in the passing game. While he only produced 65 yards, his opponent this week is a huge upgrade. Washington allowed the second-most rush yards per game last season and you should expect the Cardinals to get Drake more involved as a receiver here too to counteract Washington’s great pass rush. Drake should have a great shot at hitting the over for yards this week.
Allen Robinson over 5.5 rec. (-104)
Robinson was in the news this week, speaking out about his contract situation and frustrations with not being able to get an extension done. While part of this is a narrative play–I expect Robinson to back up his words with great play–the other part is matchup based. The Giants allowed the Steelers WRs to run wild against them in Week 1, ceding 3 TDs to the position and an 80% catch-rate. For all the grief we give to Mitch Trubisky, he does a good job of feeding Robinson the ball as the Bears WR has hit the over 5.5 rec in five of his last seven regular season games.
Logan Thomas +400
- “Revenge Game” narrative–Thomas was drafted as a QB by the Cardinals organization in 2014
- Cardinals allowed 14 TDs to the position last season (four more than second worst Cleveland)
- Thomas saw eight targets in Week 1 (the most of any WAS receiver) and one red zone target that he converted into a TD
Jordan Akins +800
- Akins played over 80% of the snaps in Week 1, which was about double that of presumed start Darren Fells
- Despite that, his TD prop is twice that of Fells in this spot
- Akins also saw one red zone target in Week 1 and will be going up against a Ravens defense who ceded 6 rec. And a TD to the position in Week 1
Ross Dwelley +1600
- George Kittle is out which should give Dwelley a lot more playing time, even if Jordan Reed takes on main pass catching responsibilities
- Dwelly caught 7 rec. And 2 TDs in two games where Kittle sat last year and, while Reed may catch more passes, the 49ers could feel more comfortable using Dwelley near the goal line
- The number here is massive so taking a small shot makes sense on a big payout