Week 2 picks from a "dog or pass" point of view"
We trust all our “Tuley’s Takes” readers enjoyed NFL Week 1.
If you’re an underdog bettor like yours truly, Dave Tuley, you probably also had a profitable weekend as dogs went 9-6 ATS (60%) against the Vegas closing lines (Bengals-Browns closed a consensus pick ’em, so those who took the Browns as short home dawgs anytime this summer or earlier in the week would certainly say dogs went 10-6 ATS).
I was right in that ballpark with our Best Bets here in this weekly Wednesday column as we went 3-2 ATS (60%) with wins on the Buccaneers, Cardinals and Raiders while losing on the Panthers and Texans. I lost my top 2-point, 6-point teaser recommendation with Browns +8.5/Steelers +8, but I won all other combinations I used with Browns +8.5/Dolphins +9 and Dolphins +9/Jets +8.5 (and we also have a live teaser going to Thursday’s game with Jets +8.5/Eagles -1).
For those new to this column, I’m a “dog-or-pass bettor,” and my breakdown of each game will usually be from that point of view as we try to determine if the dog is getting enough points to make them a play – or if I recommend passing on the game, which is a very valid and valuable betting decision when trying to come out ahead against the books! Even if I don’t have an official Best Bet, I’ll still at least give my recommended “pool play strategy” for those who are in contests where you have to pick every game.
I’m sure you’ll all be hearing VSiN hosts and other handicappers warn “Don’t overreact to what you see in Week 1.” Several of our plays this week will be fading those public overreactions, but I also believe it’s important to not underreact either. Note: This was the case in college football when some of us so-called experts tried fading Colorado with Nebraska – sometimes adjustments to what we see are not only warranted but not enough. The trick is being able to tell the difference.
One last NFL betting note before going over the Week 2 matchups: While we mostly focus on the point spreads here, several Over/Unders have been lowered by multiple points this weekend from where they were on the advance lines just a week ago. That’s to be expected as Unders went 12-4 (75%) in Week 1 as oddsmakers make adjustments and bettors jump on the Under bandwagon. From our point of view, we would expect the trend to reverse, so there should be some value in going Over some of these deflated totals.
NFL Odds | NFL Betting Splits | NFL Matchups
MInnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
The advance line for the Thursday night kickoff to Week was Eagles -,7 and that’s where most books re-opened it after the Eagles beat the Patriots 25-20, and the Vikings were upset 20-17 by the Buccaneers. Some +7.5s were available on Monday, but those were gone as of deadline Wednesday morning and is now down to 6.5 at Circa and 6 at DraftKings. Still, we’re willing to take the Vikings as road dogs.
A lot has been made of the fact the Vikings were 11-0 in one-score games last season and were due to regress this season, and people who predicted that are patting themselves on the back after that loss to the Bucs. But we’re focusing on the fact it was a one-score game, and that’s all we need them to do to cover this number. Besides, after jumping out to a 16-0 lead on the Patriots, the Eagles weren’t all that dominant the rest of the game and were lucky to cover (and even win). As for making this a Best Bet, I’ll pass on +6.5 and trust this was a sharp mid-week move and that the public will back the line back to a touchdown by kickoff.
Pass on Vikings +6.5, but take at +7 (pool play: Vikings in all of my rare ATS contests that use Thursday Night Football, but Eagles 80/20 in my rare SU pools that use TNF).
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Tennessee Titans
Me and my VSiN colleague Matt Youmans have long said (and written) that the Chargers aren’t to be trusted as favorites. They again failed as chalk in their 36-34 home loss vs. the Dolphins, and here they are laying points on the road. Granted, the Titans don’t have as much offensive firepower as the Dolphins, but their defense is better than Miami’s and should keep this close. The best way to place this could be Titans in teasers.
Pass for now, play at Titans +3.5 (pool play: Titans 55/45 in ATS pools – higher at +3.5 – but Chargers still 60/40 in SU pools).
Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Atlanta Falcons
Both teams are 1-0 with the Falcons pulling away to cover as 3.5-point home favorites in a 24-10 win vs. the Panthers and the Packers routing the Bears 38-20 as 1-point road underdogs. The advance line on this game was Falcons -1.5 and has flipped to Packers -1.5. I’ll take the disrespected home dog here. While Jordan Love looked better than I expected, I still think the Packers’ defense won’t have an answer for the two-headed rushing attack of Tyler Allgeier (75 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and rookie Bijan Robinson (56 rushing yards, 1 receiving TD)..
Falcons +1.5 and also in teasers (pool play: Falcons 67/33 in SU and ATS contests).
Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Houston Texans
This is another game right around pick ‘em. The advance line was Texans -2.5 and has also flipped to Colts -1. I’m not as tempted to take this new dog. The Texans were hanging in with the Ravens, trailing just 7-6 at halftime, but were run over in the second half of a 25-6 loss. Indianapolis rookie Anthony Richardson looked more impressive than Carolina’s No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. He was hurt late in the 31-21 loss to the Jaguars, but it looks like he’s OK to start this Sunday. I’ll also pass on the Texans in teasers as there are better options this week.
Pass (pool play: Colts 75/25 in SU and ATS contests).
Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (-6)
The advance line on this game was only Lions -3, but understandably re-opened at Lions -4.5 to -5.5 after they upset the Chiefs 21-20 in the Thursday night opener and the Seahawks were upset 30-13 by the Rams. The Lions have been awesome to me as dogs the last few years (and it wasn’t an official Best Bet last week vs. the Chiefs was down to +6.5, but regular readers know we recommended the Lions +7 over the summer). I’m willing to fade them here in the still unfamiliar role as chalk and welcome the added points with a Seattle offense that should rebound. In addition, the Seahawks fit a bounce-back system that says that teams losing by 10+ points in Week 1 the past two years have gone 9-3-1 ATS (75%) in Week 2 (51-33-3 ATS, 60.7%, since 2010).
Seahawks +6 (pool play: Seahawks 60/40 in ATS contests, though Lions still 60/40 in SU pools).
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Here’s yet another line that has flipped as the Bears were -1.5 last week, but after the Bucs upset the Vikings 20-17 and the Bears were blown out 38-20 by the Packers, the Bucs re-opened as 1.5, and it’s been bet to a field goal. I can’t make a case for the dog, however, as the Tampa Bay defense looks impressive against the Vikings’ offense and the Bears' offense is still a playground style with Justin Fields mostly running for his life.
Pass (pool play: Buccaneers 55/45 in ATS contests – higher at -2.5 – and 67/33 in SU pools).
Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-9.5)
Surprise, surprise, our adopted hometown Raiders are in sole possession of first place in the AFC West at 1-0. The Bills obviously lost to the Aaron Rodgers-less/Zach Wilson-led Jets on Monday Night Football. There are still some +10s out there, but we don’t need double digits to back the Raiders or fade the Bills. Obviously, the Raiders’ defense isn’t as good as the Jets, but Maxx Crosby and Co. can pressure Josh Allen here. Besides, as much as the Bills are always being hyped, they tend to play close games, so even though we’ll take a back-door cover if it’s open, we’re not sure we’ll need it.
Raiders +9.5 (pool play: Raiders 67/33 in ATS contests, but Bill still 70/30 in SU pools).
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
As great as Patrick Mahomes is, the defending champion Chiefs also let opponents stick around too often. Having said that, I still feel this number is too short to take the Jaguars plus the points, even though the offensive is coming around. Instead, let’s tease them up over a touchdown for our first official 2-team, 6-point teaser of Week 2. We’ll pair Jaguars +9.5 (we liked it when the line was +2.5, so like it even more now) with Falcons +7.5 for our top teaser in the early games, and also use both with the Titans +9 and the Steelers +8.5 on Monday night (we also wouldn’t blame anyone for using Jaguars +8.5 with 49ers -1 in the afternoon window)
Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teaser on Jaguars +9.5/Falcons +7.5, plus other teasers (pool play: Jaguars 55/45 in ATS contests, but Chiefs still 67/33 in SU pools).
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)
The Bengals were our top value play in the VSiN NFL Season Betting Guide, so they let us down in their dismal 24-3 season-opening loss at the Browns. But we certainly expect them to bounce back here (see above trend on Week 1 blowout losers) as this is a crucial early-season divisional game. Even though we did cash with our teasers using the Browns +8.5, we’re not willing to fade the Bengals here.
Pass (pool play: Ravens 55/45 in ATS contests on principle at +3.5, but Bengals in nearly all my SU pools).
New York Giants (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Many predicted the Cardinals would be the worst team in the NFL this season (and a free Bingo square to play against every week in Survivor pools), but they nearly upset the Commanders in a 20-16 loss). Meanwhile, the Giants looked like the worst team in a 40-0 shellacking by the Cowboys – or are the Cowboys that good? It’s tempting to fade the Giants here (though they are in that bounce-back role), but don’t feel confident enough backing the Cardinals for a second week in a row.
Pass (pool play: Cardinals 55/45 in ATS contests on principle, but Giants 75/25 in SU pools).
San Francisco 49ers (-8) at Los Angeles Rams
The 49ers put in one of the most complete performances of Week 1 with their 30-7 manhandling of the Steelers on the road … and now they’ve gone from -6 on the advance line last week to over a TD. I have to feel that’s an overadjustment, especially after the Rams routed the Seahawks 30-13 but no one seems to be giving them any credit for that. It’s only been a year and a half since the Rams’ Super Bowl win, and even though they’ve lost a lot of those players, there’s still enough left in the cupboard to cover as divisional dogs (167-127, 56.8%, since 2020, according to VSiN colleague Josh Appelbaum).
Rams +8 (pool play: Rams 67/33 in ATS contests, though 49ers still 70/30 in SU pools).
New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys (-9.5)
We now get our third dog of more than a TD in Week 2. It wasn’t expected to be this way as the Cowboys were only -3 on the advance line and only adjusted to -3.5 after their Sunday night rout, but then Aaron Rodgers went out after four plays on Monday night, and this line has moved a full six points with Zach Wilson taking over. I’ll take the added points as we’ll count on the Jets’ defense to keep them in the game just like they did against the Bills when Rodgers was sidelined.
Jets +9.5 (pool play: Jets 60/40 in ATS contests, but Cowboys still 67/33 in SU pools).
Washington Commanders at Denver Broncos (-3.5)
Both these teams underachieved in Week 1, though the Commanders pulled out the 20-16 win vs. the lowly Cardinals. The Broncos weren’t quite as fortunate as they were upset 17-16 by the Raiders. I was happy to fade the Commanders as overpriced chalk in the opener and just don’t trust them enough to take them as dogs here. This line has been 3.5 since opening when the NFL schedule was released on May 11 and hasn’t budged at any time I’ve checked, so it’s as solid as they come.
Pass (pool play: Broncos 55/45 in ATS contest and 70/33 in SU pools).
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at New England Patriots
When Tua Tagovailoa is non-concussed, the Dolphins’ offense is explosive. We certainly saw that in their 36-34 shootout win at the Chargers. Meanwhile, the Patriots fell behind early against the Eagles and the defense kept them in the game before losing 25-20 (in a game they could have won and should have at least covered). However, this line is too short for me to take New England as a short dog, and I prefer other teasers though the +8.5 is tempting on a 6-point teaser.
Pass (pool play: Dolphins 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 67/33 in SU pools).
New Orleans Saints (-3) at Carolina Panthers
We didn’t get a MNF doubleheader in Week 1, but we get one this Monday. (We never heard anything official, but suspect the NFL wanted Bills-Jets in a standalone game.) The advance line for this NFC South divisional matchup was Saints -1 before the Saints pulled out a 16-15 home win vs. the Titans and the Panthers lost 24-10 at the Falcons.
The line is now up to Saints -3, which seems about right. I feel I made a mistake in taking the Panthers last week in Bryce Young’s debut. I don’t want to back him again with these few points, even though the Saints failed to cover -3 in their opening win. Despite what I wrote in the intro about value possibly being on Overs, I lean to Under 40 in this matchup with both defenses starting well and both offensives offensively challenged. Hey, you only live once – let’s make it a Best Bet.
Under 40 (pool play: Saints 55/45 in ATS contests – higher at -2.5, 50/50 at 3.5 – and 70/30 in SU pools).
Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
We have yet another flipped line in the Week 2 finale as the Steelers were -1 on the advanced line before the Browns ran over the Bengals 24-3 and the Steelers were routed 30-7 by the 49ers. This game reopened at pick ’em, and now the Browns are up to -2.5. We feel this is an overadjustment, but still too short to take the points with the Steelers, except to tease them as we’ve mentioned above.
We might pass on gameday if we have several live teasers to Steelers +8.5, but for those who don’t have those bets or are just reading this on Monday, we recommend a same-game teaser with Steelers +8.5/Over 33. With both teams staying Under their game totals in their openers, that might sound counter-intuitive, but this total was 42 the other day and has been adjusted down to 39, so we’ll give us more wiggle room with the teaser to go over a very low number.
2-team, 6-point teaser on Steelers +8.5/Over 33 (pool play: Steelers 55/45 in ATS contests, but Browns 55/45 in SU pools).