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 (+3.5) over Saints: As of Thursday morning, this is the only NFL game I have already bet on. This line opened as a pick ’em before Week 1 was played, and the Saints were justifiably upgraded off an impressive win against the Packers. Meanwhile, the Panthers just did enough to win and cover against the Jets. I believe there has been a considerable overreaction in the adjustment of the point spread, which is why I like Carolina.

The Saints beat the Packers 38-3 as a 3.5-point underdog in a home game that was played in Jacksonville as the city of New Orleans still recovers from Hurricane Ida. I thought it was a good matchup for the Saints thanks to RB Alvin Kamara and a questionable Green Bay offensive line. While Jameis Winston threw five touchdowns in the game, he only attempted 20 passes, suggesting a level of production that can’t be sustained. Now, the Saints have a true road game against a division opponent who I expect to get better as the season goes on. I still have my doubts about Winston and the Saints in general this season, and they’re overvalued here.

Vikings (+3.5) over Cardinals: The Cardinals were one of the most impressive teams in Week 1, but going from a three-point underdog at the Titans to over a field goal favorite against the Vikings is a giant leap after 60 minutes of play for Kliff Kingsbury’s team. The Vikings were plagued by 10 first-half penalties against the Bengals and still took the game to overtime. Minnesota was then in a great position to win the game before Dalvin Cook’s costly fumble in Bengals’ territory.

I like the idea of betting against the Cardinals following their near perfect performance, especially since I expected them to play so well. The line for this game before Week 1 was Cardinals -2.5, so I’ll take the Vikings catching over a field goal or better.

Titans (+5.5) over Seahawks: Before Week 1, the line in this game was Seahawks -3.5. I get there has been an adjustment, but I’m willing to bet on the Titans to bounce back in this spot. Tennessee’s offense should be better this week and they get a favorable matchup against the Seahawks’ defense. They should be able to protect Ryan Tannehill better than they did in their first game, and the combo of A.J. Brown and Julio Jones is a big edge over Seattle’s corners.

If they are able to consistently move the ball through the air, then Derrick Henry will be unleashed on the ground and the Titans can keep Russell Wilson on the sidelines. Unfortunately, I missed the best number here as this line touched Seahawks -6 earlier in the week. I’m hoping that number appears before kickoff, but regardless I’ll be on the Titans in some way.

Sides I’m Considering

Steelers (-5.5) over Raiders: When I looked at this game on Monday afternoon, I didn’t think I would have any bets on it. The Steelers had one of the huge upsets in Week 1 by winning at the Bills, but their offense struggled and was aided by a blocked punt for a touchdown. Then Monday night happened and the Raiders somehow beat the Ravens in their first game in Las Vegas with fans in the crowd.

The Raiders are now in a massive letdown spot coming off the dramatic win. They have a short week to rest and prepare, plus the Raiders are 3-7 against the spread in the eastern time zone for an early afternoon start during the last three seasons under Jon Gruden. This is a great spot to fade Las Vegas, I’m just not sure I trust Pittsburgh’s offense enough to cover the spread.

Bills (-3.5) over Dolphins: The Bills were definitely on the wrong end of the loss against the Steelers. They got out to a 10-0 lead and then everything went wrong in the second half. While Buffalo didn’t play well, I expect them to bounce back against a Dolphins team that was fortunate to win in Week 1.

But is this point spread too high in Miami? I would’ve definitely liked this game more when it was Bills -3, but early on Tuesday the line ticked up to -3.5 at every reputable sportsbook. I expect a lot of Buffalo fans to be at the game to diminish Miami’s home-field advantage. However, the Bills ended the Dolphins’ season last year in Week 17, so I’m sure Miami’s coaching staff has been thinking about this game all offseason.

Colts (+3.5) over Rams: Last week, the Colts played another NFC West team in the Seahawks, with Seattle closing as a 2.5-point favorite. So this line seems right at Rams -3.5 because they are probably a point better than the Seahawks. The situational edge is in favor of Indianapolis, which is why I’m considering them this week.

It’s the second consecutive home game for the Colts, meaning they haven’t had to travel since the last week of preseason. On the other sideline, the Rams are coming off a 20-point win against the Bears on Sunday night and have to take that long flight to Indy. With a big matchup against the Bucs around the corner, I can see the Rams having a letdown performance against an out-of-conference opponent in a different time zone.

49ers (-3.5) over Eagles: I’m high on the 49ers this season, so I think this line should be closer to 49ers -5.5. After a win in Detroit, I really like that the 49ers are staying in the eastern time zone and practicing at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. Whether San Francisco has set up shop at The Greenbrier, Youngstown State in Ohio or Florida’s IMG Academy, it’s a winning strategy that’s been employed in recent years, including last season.

This allows the 49ers to just focus on football all week and avoid any possible distractions. Because of how good the Eagles looked in Week 1, I’m currently holding out hope this line drops to 49ers -3 so I can secure the best value possible.

Falcons (+12.5) over Buccaneers: The Falcons were the team that lost to the Eagles last week, failing to find the end zone under new head coach Arthur Smith. But this week’s point spread is too high, which is why I think the Falcons, who still have weapons on offense, have enough firepower to cover this game late if they are trailing. Keep in mind that the Buccaneers’ secondary was exposed by the Cowboys in their season opener last Thursday.

Cowboys (+3.5) over Chargers: I was surprised with how much money was coming against the Chargers in Week 1. At one point on Sunday morning, they moved to a 2.5-point underdog at Washington before settling at +2. The Chargers exceeded expectations and won the game, and now they are a solid favorite against the Cowboys.

Considering that Cowboys QB Dak Prescott looked healthy and ready in Week 1, I see the ‘Boys and Chargers being close to even on the field. The Chargers also have one of the worst home-field advantages in the league, meaning there’ll certainly be more Cowboys fans in LA. I just haven’t bet yet because I’m worried that Justin Herbert will light up the Cowboys’ secondary.

Ravens (+3.5) over Chiefs: On paper, it’s a great spot for KC. Patrick Mahomes is 11-0 in his career in the month of September with 35 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Chiefs have won all three meetings against Lamar Jackson, while the banged-up Ravens have a short week to prepare after a demoralizing loss to the Raiders on Monday. Thanks to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Kansas City also has a huge matchup edge on offense.

Despite all of the factors in Kansas City’s favor, I can only look toward the home underdog in this game because the point spread is too high. If you flip home field, the Chiefs would be favored by over a touchdown — which isn’t right, because the Chiefs closed at -5.5 against the Browns in Week 1 at home and the difference between the Browns and Ravens is minimal. Yes, the Chiefs are more likely to win the game, but the point spread is inflated.

Sides I Plan to Use in a Six-Point Teaser

There currently isn’t a side that interests me for a six-point teaser. Typically, I’m looking for teams favored between 6.5 and 8.5 points so I can tease them down to under a field goal. I also look for underdogs between 1.5 and 2.5 points to tease up to over a touchdown, especially in games with low totals.

Games I’m Undecided On

Giants at Washington (-3.5): I rarely bet on the Thursday Night Football game, and this week is no exception. We’ve seen an adjustment in this line that was as high as -4.5 early in the week. Washington going from injured QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to Taylor Heinicke is the main reason for the move. The total has been bet down to 41, so I have no interest laying points with the favorite here.

Texans at Browns (-12.5): I expect the Browns to bounce back after a tough loss to the Chiefs in which Cleveland dominated most of the game. I also expect the Texans to start losing games against better opposition after their surprisingly dominant performance against the Jaguars. The Browns are the only way I could look in this one, but I’ll stay away because of the big number.

Bengals at Bears (-2.5): You can make a case to play the Bengals in a teaser this week. If the Bears win with Andy Dalton starting, it seems unlikely they’ll win by more than one possession in a game with a total of 46. But at -2.5, I would take the Bears against the spread if I had to pick, so I will be avoiding this one. The Bengals are coming off an overtime win in Week 1 and this is a matchup the Bears need to win before their schedule becomes one of the league’s toughest in October.

Broncos (-6) at Jaguars: This is one of the week’s biggest adjustments, as the Broncos were either -2.5 or -3 on the look-ahead line. Jacksonville losing to Houston in embarrassing fashion coupled with Denver shining last week drove this line up to -6. I believe the Broncos will win the game, but I couldn’t bet them against the spread when they were at a shorter number before Week 1. I also can’t bet on the Jaguars because I didn’t trust them before the season kicked off, and Week 1 made it clear that I still shouldn’t.

Patriots (-6) at Jets: Despite losing to the Dolphins, money has come in on the Patriots all week after this line opened Patriots -3.5 on Sunday evening. Rookie QB Mac Jones looked solid in his NFL debut, so I understand why this line has increased. As for the Jets, they struggled against the Panthers and suffered more injuries, including losing left tackle Mekhi Becton. The number for this game feels accurate, and I imagine No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson will have a long afternoon against Bill Belichick’s defense.

Lions at Packers (-11.5): The Packers fall into the same category as the Browns this week. Both teams had expectations to win double-digit games this year but lost in Week 1 (although the Packers never had a shot against the Saints in their opener). The Packers should bounce back against one of the worst teams in football, but I just don’t have interest in betting Green Bay at this number.