NFL Betting: Week 2 Best Picks and Advice

During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 2 slate.

Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.

Sides I Like

Panthers (+2) over Giants: When the lines for this week re-opened on Sunday evening, I immediately expressed interest in backing the Panthers. It was right after the Giants pulled off a dramatic comeback win against the Titans and my thought was to bet against New York in an unfamiliar favorite role.

My favorite bet going into last week was the Browns against this Panthers team. I liked the idea of betting against Baker Mayfield, who was battling a coaching staff that knew his tendencies (the Browns also had an overall talent advantage). Now I’m betting on the Panthers against a Giants team that I think is getting too much credit off their Week 1 win, while Carolina needs this game to avoid an 0-2 start.

Sides I’m Considering

Commanders (+1.5) over Lions: The Commanders were fortunate to beat the Jaguars, but the Lions lost in a game that featured a misleading final score against the Eagles. Detroit trailed by 17 points going into the fourth quarter, and like they have done so much under Dan Campbell, they rallied late to cover the spread.

I was hoping this game would get to Lions -3 so I could bet on the Commanders, but Washington took some money early Wednesday to get this line back to 1.5. I’d bet it if it ever gets to Commanders +3, but for now I’ll look to use Washington in six-point teasers.

Saints (+2.5) over Buccaneers: One of the preseason future bets I made was Saints to win over three division games. I liked the bet for multiple reasons, including the Saints catching the beat-up Buccaneers early in the season and Tom Brady taking time away from the team in August. The Saints have also won all four games against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers in the last two regular seasons and a big reason why is the defensive dominance under recently promoted New Orleans head coach Dennis Allen.

Despite Tampa’s quality performance against Dallas, the line for this game moved from Buccaneers -3 to -2.5. I really need +3 to make the bet I want on the Saints, so I’ll wait and see if it gets there before kickoff on Sunday.

49ers (-9.5) over Seahawks: These two NFC West rivals had their Week 1 results go in very different ways. The 49ers squandered a 10-point second-half lead in heavy rain to the Bears as 6.5-point road favorites, while the Seahawks upset their former QB Russell Wilson and the Broncos as six-point home underdogs on Monday.

I didn’t put too much stock into the struggles of 49ers QB Trey Lance and the team’s offense because of how much of an impact the rain played on that game. I still have high hopes for the team, and this is a good spot for them to bounce back against a Seahawks team coming off a huge win on a short week. The decision becomes whether or not I want to lay a big number with an unknown quantity that is Lance, but if the line stays under 10, I will consider San Francisco.

Cardinals (+5.5) over Raiders: Week 2 is always my favorite time to handicap the NFL because of games like this. The Cardinals are coming off a 44-21 home loss to the Chiefs after Arizona was bet against all week. The Raiders didn’t win against the Chargers, but were a two-point conversion away from covering the closing number. Based off those results, the line for this game moved from the Raiders as nearly a field goal favorite to the key number of -6 before going back to -5.5.

Is there enough value to bet on an unattractive underdog in Arizona? I mentioned last week that I was going to consider the Cardinals against the Chiefs at +6, but never got around to betting on them because of their injury situation. The Cardinals have had success early in the season under Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray, so Week 1 was extremely disappointing. But Arizona is now playing on the road (they had an 8-1 record last year away from Arizona) and facing a Raiders team I don’t believe in.

If the injury situation looks more encouraging for the Cards — and I can get +6 or better — the Cardinals will likely be a bet for me on Sunday.

Packers (-10) over Bears: As I expected, the Packers offense looked less threatening without Davante Adams, and they struggled to keep track of Vikings star WR Justin Jefferson in Week 1. But this Week 2 matchup for the Packers feels similar to last season’s Week 2 game against the Lions where Green Bay won and covered.

I’m not going to overreact to the Packers’ poor performance because I like their chances to bounce back against a Bears team that won a game aided by weather. The number is high, but I’d only look toward laying the points with the home team.

Vikings (+2) over Eagles: I had high expectations for the Vikings going into this season with new head coach Kevin O’Connell replacing Mike Zimmer. Minnesota came through last week with their offense being more aggressive and a scheme that highlighted the skill positions. All offseason, I wasn’t sold on Jalen Hurts and the Eagles, but I didn’t bet under their win total due to the rest of the NFC East feeling underwhelming. While Hurts answered a lot of questions in Philly’s Week 1 in Detroit, the Eagles’ defense was concerning in a 38-35 win.

I thought I’d have some time to look more into this game since this is the second of two Monday night games this week. Unfortunately, the bettors didn’t waste any time with Minnesota getting a field goal before it reached Eagles -1.5. Money came back in on the Eagles, but it has stayed below the key number of 3. I like the Vikings in this game and will see if I can get +3 by kickoff.

Game-Time Decisions

Chargers at Chiefs (-4): This is an outstanding Thursday night game between two of the best teams in the league coming off impressive Week 1 wins. The line for this game opened Chiefs -3 and quickly got bet up to -3.5 before climbing more. It’s a tough spot for the Chargers traveling on a short week and already dealing with some key injuries.

WR Keenan Allen left the Week 1 game with a hamstring injury and prized free-agent CB signing J.C. Jackson was inactive for the first game. Jackson is a key player to have back for this matchup, so that’s an injury to pay attention to leading up to game time. I believe this game has been bet in the right direction, so I will stay away now.

Dolphins at Ravens (-3.5): Both teams won and covered as favorites in Week 1, and the Ravens re-opened as a 4.5-point favorite on Sunday evening before money hit the Dolphins.

The key factor in this game for me is the left tackle situation for Baltimore. Ronnie Stanley was inactive for Week 1 and his replacement Ja’Wuan James suffered a season-ending injury in that game. The Ravens struggled to run the ball against the Jets, so it makes sense there was early money to back Miami.

Jets at Browns (-6): I was on the Browns last week and they did their job beating the Panthers as a short underdog. Now, they’re almost a touchdown favorite against one of the worst teams in the NFL with Joe Flacco as New York’s starting QB. With Jacoby Brissett under center, the Browns aren’t a team I want to bet in a favorite role, so I’ll likely stay away.

Colts (-4) at Jaguars: The Colts just needed to beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville as over two-touchdown favorites to secure a playoff spot on the last day of the 2021 regular season. Indy laid an egg, losing 26-11 and forcing another offseason QB change from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan.

Now the Colts return to their house of horrors in Jacksonville after being involved in a wild 20-20 tie against the Texans on Sunday. The Colts outgained the Texans by 218 yards, but needed a 17-point fourth-quarter rally to force overtime. As for the Jaguars, they lost 28-22 to the Commanders after leading by eight points in the fourth quarter. I still believe in the Colts after they dominated the box score in Week 1, but I won’t be betting on them in this spot.

Patriots (-2) at Steelers: This is a great situation to fade the Steelers off a big overtime win in Week 1 against the Bengals. It was a turnover-aided road upset for Pittsburgh, who intercepted Joe Burrow four times and recovered a fumble while not turning the ball over themselves. The Steelers offense only recorded 4.4 yards per play in Mitch Trubisky’s first start, and their defense was on the field for 94 plays on Sunday. That possibly tired unit will now be without reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt (torn pec).

The issue with fading the Steelers is that the Patriots aren’t an appealing team to bet on right now. All the offseason fears about their offense came to fruition in their Week 1 loss to the Dolphins. New England QB Mac Jones also suffered a back injury, so I would need to know more about his status before considering a bet on the Patriots. I’m likely going to wait as long as possible to make a decision in this game, but I definitely won’t be betting the Steelers in this spot.

Falcons at Rams (-10.5): Before Week 1, the line for this game was Rams -13.5. The adjustment to the current number is justified after the Rams’ 21-point loss on opening night to the Bills where they were outgained 7.1-3.7 yards per play (Matthew Stafford also threw three interceptions).

The Falcons played well against the Saints, but the team’s issue of hanging on to leads continued when they squandered a 16-point advantage. I could make the argument that this line is still too high despite the adjustment, but the rest advantage for the Rams has me staying away.

Bengals (-7.5) at Cowboys: I usually like betting on teams in the first game with their backup quarterback starting because there’s an overreaction to the line and the team gives their best effort for the new QB. I’m not sure I can get there in this spot with Cooper Rush replacing Dak Prescott.

The look-ahead line for this game was Cowboys -2.5, so there’s been a 10-point adjustment and a change of favorites. However, keep in mind that the Cowboys played poorly against the Buccaneers even with Prescott on the field. It’ll be tempting to bet the Cowboys if this line continues to climb, but I’ll try my best to hold off.

Texans at Broncos (-10): I don’t have much on this game because I think the line is perfect at Broncos -10. The Broncos are coming off a short week after playing Monday, but that rest disadvantage is negated a little bit because the Texans played a full 70 minutes in a tie on Sunday.

Titans at Bills (-10): The big underdog role is usually the spot I like to bet on a Mike Vrabel team, especially after falling as home favorites last week to the Giants. But I’m not sure I can get there in this game against the Bills, who look like the class of the NFL. Buffalo completely dominated against the Rams on opening night, which was even more impressive considering their offense had four turnovers. The home-field advantage for this Monday night game will be strong in Buffalo.