Drama was again the theme of NFL Sunday in Week 2, as several games went down to the wire with shocking endings. There were fourth-quarter collapses all over the place and only a couple of games that were uncompetitive. It’s great from a viewing standpoint, but it is extremely stressful when you have money on the line.
Bettors will swear off teams that burned them the previous week or look for reasons to bet on teams they trust, even if the lines are a tad inflated. We’re still in the prime period for overreactions, so be cognizant of that as you look ahead to Week 3.
Here are some early Week 3 lines to consider:
Baltimore Ravens (-3, 44) at New England Patriots
Where does this line open if the Ravens give up 14 points in the fourth quarter — or maybe even 21 points — instead of 28? It certainly opens north of a field goal, but the epic collapse against Tua Tagovailoa coupled with a workmanlike win for the Patriots have set this number at 3.
The Patriots outgained the Steelers by 1.5 yards per play, but their lone second-half score came as a result of a muffed punt return that led to a change of possession inside the red zone. New England’s third-longest drive was a 13-play, 46-yard effort that ran out the final 6:33 of game time.
The final score for the Ravens obscured the fact that they racked up 8.8 yards per play on the Dolphins. They were stopped on fourth-and-1 twice, including early on with a chance to take a 14-0 lead. The end result was ugly, with some major coverage breakdowns, but the Patriots don’t have the Dolphins’ level of skill-position talent.
This line should be closer to 4 or even 4.5.
Early pick: Ravens -3
New Orleans Saints (-3, 41) at Carolina Panthers
In Week 1, the Panthers had one explosive play (Robbie Anderson went 75 yards against a Browns defense that has had two game-changing blown coverages through two weeks). In Week 2, the Panthers only had a couple of them (a 49-yard run from Christian McCaffrey and one big catch from D.J. Moore). This is not an offense capable of creating many explosive plays and the Saints defense doesn’t allow many of them.
Carolina’s defense struggled to stand up to Cleveland’s rushing attack in Week 1 but fared well in pass coverage. The Giants mustered only 3.8 yards per play in Week 2. The Panthers are a defense-first football team and they’ll go up against a hurt and hobbled Jameis Winston here. This total was adjusted down a bit based on the Week 2 results, but I’d expect it to go even lower.
Winston has been sacked 10 times in two games and the Panthers have the speed to get to the quarterback. The Saints haven’t shown much on the ground through two games either.
This looks like a boring game where the defenses rule the day.
Early pick: Under 41