NFL Week 2 reactions and futures

By Mike Somich  ( 

September 18, 2023 06:35 PM

With Week 2 in the books, we are starting to get a clearer picture of the landscape of the 2023 NFL season. After a huge Week 1 for Under bettors, the Over club cashed in big time with just two games staying under the total on Sunday (KC vs. Jax, Miami vs. NE went under). Week 3 has totals that are collectively higher than Week 2 with just one game's line in the 30s (Patriots vs. Jets).

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Let’s look at the biggest two power rankings adjustments that I made from the games on Sunday:

Move them up: Los Angeles Rams

Wait, the Rams lost. How are they possibly the biggest upgrade? Well, this is an upgrade for two separate reasons. First, they have now played two very good games vs. Seattle and San Francisco. The Rams' defense and the emergence of Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell during the absence of Cooper Kupp have been two of the more unexpected storylines of the first two weeks of the NFL season. The 30-23 loss to the 49ers was an odd final score. San Francisco deserved to win the game, but Los Angeles gave them all they could handle early. The Rams lost the turnover battle 2-0, both coming in the second half, and the 49ers turned both into important field goals. 

Secondly, I am clearly off-market on the Rams after two weeks. They have been a late week darling with bettors. In Week 1, the Seahawks were laying 6 midweek and that closed at 4 with money flowing in for the Rams. Same story in Week 2 where the 49ers were laying 8 midweek and closed at 7 in most places. My ratings were right on the midweek number and short of the closing number so off two solid performances and two covers (or a cover and a push depending on your number) they need to be upgraded.

Move them down: Denver Broncos

On paper, Russell Wilson had a great game, 18-32, 308 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and 6 for 56 rushing, but watching that performance sure did not feel like a wonderful game. His numbers were drastically aided by three big plays, a 75-yard TD to Mims, a 53-yard pass to Mims, and a Hail Mary touchdown for 50 yards. His rushing numbers are nice, but he was also sacked seven times. Those results are going to be difficult to replicate from week to week.

All that being said, this downgrade is largely because of the Broncos defense. The stop unit was supposed to be the strength of this team, and over two weeks, they forced a total of two punts vs. the Raiders and Commanders. Not good. The secondary specifically has looked atrocious allowing 108.8 and 107.9 passer ratings vs. Sam Howell and Jimmy Garoppolo. They are in Miami in Week 3. Tua and company will be a huge test in a kitchen sink game for these Broncos.

Early Week 3 Plays

Make sure you are tuning into The Handle from 6-7 PST (9-10 EST) on Sundays. Matt Brown and I rip through the following week's games and opening lines. If you listened and played along on Sunday, you would have a Rams +6.5 to +7.5 ticket in pocket. That game is all the way down to Rams +1.5 today, a large part of that move focusing on Burrow’s availability.

Of the numbers left on the board, let’s lay it with Seattle.  Right now, they are a 4.5-point home favorite vs. the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers play tonight vs. New Orleans in a game that I’ve played the Saints. If we get another poor offensive effort from Carolina that will tick the line up. The Panthers will also have a short week here heading into a hostile environment with a rookie quarterback, and they are at a coaching disadvantage.

The bet: Seahawks -4.5

MVP Market

After Week 2, we have a new solo favorite in the market! Tua Tagovailoa is now +600 after starting off the season 2-0 and a pair of solid performances. Mahomes sits at +700 as your second choice. I still do not think either is likely to win the award, but I do not have anyone that I want to back at this point. Lamar Jackson had a do-it-all effort in the win over the Bengals this week and sits at 12-1. Lawrence at 15-1 is still interesting since the Jags should win a bunch of games this year, but I’m not confident enough in either to tie up my money right now.

Division Bets

Well, I wish we pulled the trigger on Kansas City last week -130 to win the AFC West. They are now -260 favorites and with the Broncos and Chargers in free fall, it seems unlikely either will win the division. I am tempted to play a Jaguars/Chiefs division winner parlay, currently +133 at DraftKings. Both have some value at -260 and -145 respectively according to my numbers. Both are large favorites this week and all the teams chasing them are on the road in tougher spots.

The team that I am going to keep a close eye on is the Bengals. They are now +500 to win the AFC North sitting 0-2 and 2 games back of the Ravens. With Burrow, they should win the next 3 games, but with his health in question, I will stay on the sideline. An entry point may present itself on the Bengals' in-season win totals and to make the playoffs bets after the Week 8 road game vs. the 49ers since the back half of the schedule is beatable.

Season Long Bets Recap:

Win Totals:

Titans u6.5 (bet after Week 1)

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