Week 2 NFL: Best bets on every game

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

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The second weekend of the 2020 NFL season is here. 

With 14 games on Sunday's slate, there are plenty of betting opportunities. Our experts Drew Dinsick, Dave Tuley and Matt Youmans combine to give their opinions on every game.

Here are our Week 2 best bets:

Los Angeles Rams (PK, 46) at Philadelphia Eagles

Youmans: It’s not all bad news for the Eagles, a team that blew a 17-0 lead at Washington while quarterback Carson Wentz unraveled and Doug Pederson put on a clumsy coaching clinic. Wentz tossed two interceptions, including a weak throw in the second quarter that was the turning point, and took eight sacks. The rushing attack produced a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. Some help is on the way with RT Lane Johnson and RB Miles Sanders returning from injuries. The truth is Philadelphia has an impressive array of offensive weapons, and Wentz is the better quarterback in this matchup despite what was on display in Week 1. 

Sean McVay took advantage of extra prep time to write a beautiful script for the Rams in their opener against the Cowboys. McVay was able to mask most of the flaws in the Jared Goff-led offense, yet Dallas still was in position to win the game late. The Cowboys were foiled by a coaching blunder -- Mike McCarthy turned down a game-tying field goal try -- and a questionable penalty when Rams corner Jalen Ramsey flopped to draw a crucial offensive pass-interference call. For the second straight week, McVay has an edge against a Super Bowl-winning coach. This should be a bounce-back game for Wentz and the Eagles, who committed three turnovers and forced none at Washington.

Pick: Eagles PK

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9. 48.5)

Dave Tuley: There aren’t many people jumping off Tampa Bay’s bandwagon after Tom Brady’s debut, as this spread is actually higher than it was last week on the advance line. On the VSiN NFL Consensus page in Point Spread Weekly, I took the Panthers and the Over and I’m going to stick with those here. Teddy Bridgewater played well in his Carolina debut and has enough weapons (especially RB Christian McCaffrey) to match Brady score for score. 

The total has been slowly getting bet lower, but I think the money is coming in on the wrong side as both teams played shootouts in their openers with neither defense looking like a juggernaut.

Pick: Panthers + 9, plus Over 47.5 or lower.

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7, 40.5)

Tuley: I was high on the Steelers in the VSiN Pro Football Betting Guide and was happy to use them as favorites in my SU pools in Week 1, but I’m fading them here. Even without Von Miller, the Broncos have enough left on defense to turn this into another low-scoring affair like we saw on Monday night in their 16-14 loss to the Titans. The oddsmakers set the total relatively low at 43 points and early bettors pounded the number down to 40.5 by Thursday. With a low-scoring game expected, that does make the 7-point head-start even more valuable as points are at a premium. Hopefully everyone grabbed the + 7.5 earlier, but I’d still play it at + 7 (and pass if it gets to + 6.5).

Pick: Broncos + 7

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5, 53)

Dinsick: Dallas and Atlanta look to recover from very disappointing season openers this week and both teams bring beleaguered defenses to a contest with incredible offensive weapons. Two of the most explosive sets of wide receivers will take the field against poor secondaries in a matchup that promises fireworks. Market action moving the number in from Dallas -7 (lookahead) to -4.5, along with the total increasing are a completely reasonable reaction and offer a fair side and total for what will be an extremely fun viewing experience. I'm passing here.

Pick: Pass

San Francisco 49ers (-7, 42) at New York Jets

Dinsick: San Francisco heads across the country for a two-week doubleheader in New York, beginning with the Jets. The 49ers are ailing with numerous high-value players injured (Richard Sherman now on IR, Deebo Samuel on IR, George Kittle questionable) which will likely force them to look to the strength of their pass rush to set the tone against an overmatched Jets team. The cluster injury for San Francisco at wide receiver will not make Jimmy Garoppolo’s life any easier after a Week 1 performance that saw him finish below league-average in both Expected Points Added per Play (EPA/p) and Completion Percentage Over Expectation (CPOE), where he was 19th and 30th, respectively. The Jets similarly struggled offensively in Week 1, producing only 10 points before scoring a garbage-time touchdown.  

The state of these offenses combined with the lengthy injury report paves the way for a shortened/ugly game that comes in under the total of 42; fair price for this game is 40 by my numbers.

Pick: Under 42

Buffalo Bills (-5.5, 41) at Miami Dolphins

Dinsick: The Bills took care of business in style Week 1 against the Jets and now draw a similar level of competition in Week 2. Buffalo’s defense held the Jets to a paltry 38.9% success rate in their opener which was good enough for a top-six performance across all NFL defenses.  The ground game for Buffalo was lacking, however. After seeing how the Patriots took advantage of the poor run defense that the Dolphins executed, it’s reasonable to expect that they would try to establish the ground game to prevent Miami from taking advantage of the hot and humid conditions.  The Dolphins offense lacked vision and execution as Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t show the rhythm and timing with his wide receivers that we saw to end 2019. 

It’s fair to expect the Miami offense to continue to struggle on Sunday, and combined with the fact that Josh Allen has not addressed his accuracy concerns in the passing game, this sets up for another nice under play, even at the relatively low total of 41.

Pick: Under 41

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts (-3, 48.5)

Tuley: This is an interconference game but takes on added importance for these two playoff hopefuls trying to avoid an 0-2 start. The Colts had the most embarrassing loss of Week 1 to the lowly Jaguars (and took tons of survivor-pool players down with them) and I’m more confident in the Vikings bouncing back from their loss to the Packers, especially as the Minnesota defense can’t be worse. This game also fits into the basic strategy play of backing Philip Rivers when he’s an underdog but fading him as a favorite, just like last week.

Pick: Vikings + 3

Dinsick: This is an interesting matchup between two favorites from Week 1 that lost outright, in-division and now face an important bounce-back game to rescue their hopes of making the playoffs. Short of a few miscues at inopportune times (two key interceptions and 0-of-3 on fourth-down conversions), the Colts showed us a competent/balanced offense that will put scoring pressure on a defense that conceded 364 yards through the air (in a game that was decided well before the fourth quarter).  

Minnesota, similarly, put together a good offensive showing in Week 1, albeit much of its production was in garbage time, and the Vikings also draw a favorable matchup against a defense that is both ailing in terms of healthy key players and competent cornerback play. This game lines up as a score-and-answer game state with both teams capable of keeping this game in the balance into the later stages setting up an over in the dome environment at the total of 48.5.

Pick: Over 48.5

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-6, 49)

Dinsick: Aaron Rodgers’ resurgence in Week 1 was aided by a weak defense, but his play reflected the hallmarks of his MVP seasons. He compiled a clear top-five performance among quarterbacks, finishing fourth in both EPA/p and CPOE.  Look for him to continue this level of play against a defense that allowed 21 unanswered points to Mitchell Trubisky in Week 1, after the Lions defense suffered several injuries in its defensive backfield.  Detroit also lacked firepower and aggressiveness on offense in the absence of Kenny Golladay, who looks likely to miss Week 2 and has been the key to unlocking Matthew Stafford’s potential in recent years.  The combination of injuries on both sides of the ball for Detroit results in a downgrade that presents value on the Green Bay spread as the adjusted number projecting availability is now Packers -10 by my numbers. 

Pick: Packers -6

New York Giants at Chicago Bears (-5.5, 42)

Youmans: The Chicago police force is on the lookout for a bad quarterback who stole a victory at Detroit in Week 1. The Bears’ comeback (that got Dave Tuley off the hook) from 17 points down in the fourth quarter never should have happened. Trubisky was terrible for three quarters, still exhibiting little ability to throw with accuracy from the pocket. He finished 20-for-36 for 242 yards with three touchdowns, but nobody should be fooled by the numbers. Lost in the thrill of a fluke victory was the fact the Chicago defense was weak, allowing 426 total yards. 

Daniel Jones actually turned in a solid performance Monday against a much stronger Pittsburgh defense, throwing for 279 yards and two TDs and directing a 19-play drive that resulted in a bad-luck turnover. Saquon Barkley had six receptions for 60 yards, yet went nowhere on the ground while carrying 15 times for 6 yards. Barkley should find a lot more running room this week. 

The Giants covered four of their last five as road dogs in 2019. The Bears, who entered this season on a 4-13 ATS skid, now flip to the favorite role and probably come in overconfident. Admittedly, one of my handicapping weaknesses the past two years has been playing the Giants too often. If they fall short again, it will be another punch to my fat gut, but I’ll take that chance and the points.

Pick: Giants 5.5

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-7.5, 44)

Tuley: The Jaguars came through for me big-time against the Colts, but I don’t think I’ll take Gardner Minshew to work his magic for a second straight game. While I still lean that way, I also know we’ve lost some betting value as the advance line was Titans -10.5 and even -11 at some books but has been adjusted to single digits. Despite coming off a short week after the Monday night win at Denver, the Titans will be prepared for their division rivals.

Best bet: Pass

Washington at Arizona Cardinals (-7, 46.5)

Tuley: This line has been wavering between 6.5 and 7 all week. I bet Washington 7 and would certainly recommend that bet, but I’ll still make it a play at 6.5. Washington rallied from a 17-0 deficit to shock the Eagles, but this is really more a play against the Cardinals. VSiN regulars know I gave out the Cardinals as a dark-horse NFC and Super Bowl contender earlier this year and was thrilled by the upset of the 49ers. However, they were obviously a great play as a live underdog in that spot, but now they’re being asked to lay a touchdown and I’m willing to fade them as a big favorite.

Pick: Washington + 7 7

Baltimore Ravens (-7, 50) at Houston Texans

Tuley: MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens looked like they were in midseason form from last season in the opener against the Browns and they’re getting the majority of the early money this week (and will also be a very popular teaser play). However, the Texans and Deshaun Watson showed in the opener against the Chiefs that they have plenty of offense even without DeAndre Hopkins. Yes, they lost 34-20, but they still stuck around and had a shot at the back-door cover and I expect them to do the same here, if not pull the outright upset.

Pick: Texans + 7

Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5, 47.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

Dinsick: Coming off a convincing Week 1 win along with extra time to rest/prepare, it is completely understandable that the Chiefs have been bet up to 8.5-point road favorites. Kansas City enters this game fully healthy and will feature the more dynamic attack but the Chargers have played Kansas City closely in the Patrick Mahomes era using their outside pass rush to contain the MVP quarterback paired with their tight coverage to take away the home run threat of the speedy KC wideouts. In the end there is a weak case for the underdog given the toothless attack led by Tyrod Taylor and slight lean to the under, but this is ultimately a pass.

Pick: Pass

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks (-4, 45)

Tuley: The Sunday nighter is one of the toughest games of the week to call, at least from my point of view. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense looked great, though that was against a below-average defense in Atlanta and they face a much tougher test against the Patriots. New England’s offense has a completely new look with Cam Newton replacing Brady, but I’m not sure if it can keep up with Seattle. This total seems set a few points too low, though and I like both offenses enough to get over 45 total points.

Pick: Over 45

Dinsick:  We have an outstanding matchup on our hands for the Sunday nightcap, as the best QB in Week 1 ( Wilson) takes on the top pass defense (New England).  Seattle showed us a completely updated offensive scheme in Week 1 that executed the second-highest pass rate on early downs (65%), leading to the No. 1 offensive efficiency across the league and an eye-popping 0.35 points added per play.  It’s unlikely Seattle can repeat that success against the much tougher Patriots defense, but the Seahawks have numerous paths to victory in this contest; New England showed a very one-dimensional approach that will only be able to play with the lead given its inability to execute a downfield passing attack. 

Pete Carroll has consistently game-planned well against Newton throughout his career (Newton is 1-5 SU against Seattle and 2-4 ATS) opening the door for the Seattle defense to add even more pressure.  Fair price for the Seahawks is -7 by my numbers and expect Seattle to continue its excellent start to the 2020 season. 

Pick: Seahawks -4

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