Our 2018 NFL betting season got off to a 2-1 start in Week 1, winning with the Browns +4 and a Ravens/Packers teaser while losing on the Titans -1 in Miami.
We’ve got three more NFL betting picks for Week 2.
1. Bengals/Chargers 6.5-point Teaser
Based on the scoreboard, there wasn’t a more impressive team in Week 1 than the Ravens. Baltimore absolutely crushed the Bills in their season opener, holding Buffalo to 10 first downs in a 47-3 rout.
So we get why the oddsmakers are giving the Ravens so much respect here, even against a Bengals team that won its season opener last week on the road in Indianapolis. Part of it may also be that this is a revenge spot for Baltimore, facing the Bengals for the first time since Cincy’s upset in Week 17 last year kept the Ravens from making the playoffs. But we think the bookies are overcompensating by making Baltimore a slight road favourite in this spot. That pounding of the Bills last week probably has more to do with how bad Buffalo is than how good the Ravens are.
By listing the Ravens at -1, the oddsmakers are suggesting that Baltimore is two points better than the Bengals on a neutral field, something that we’re not quite ready to buy yet. And with Cincinnati catching 1 point in this game, that enables us to tease the Bengals up over a touchdown, something we’re happy to do with a home underdog in prime time. Cincy’s more than held its own at home in this AFC North rivalry over the years, and we think the Bengals keep things within a touchdown here as well (if not pull off the mild upset).
For the other leg of our teaser, let’s fade the team that we already mentioned for being absolutely hapless, the Bills. Buffalo may be switching quarterbacks from Nathan Peterman to rookie Josh Allen, and they’ll certainly be motivated to rebound from that humiliating loss to Baltimore. It’s also the Bills’ home opener. But none of those factors make the Bills’ offensive line any better, and that spells bigtime trouble against a Chargers defense that dominated Buffalo when the teams met last season. Los Angeles certainly can’t afford to overlook the Bills, coming off an opening-week loss at home to Kansas City. Teasing the Chargers down to -1 means they simply have to win the game in order to cover, and we like them do to just that.
Remember, Pinnacle and 5Dimes offer the best lines on 6.5-point teasers, giving them at -110 odds. Make sure you’re shopping around to get the best odds on your NFL bets at all times, including teasers.
2. New Orleans -9 over Cleveland
We expect the Browns to be better this year, and we successfully backed them to cover the spread last week against Pittsburgh. But you can’t ignore the fact that Cleveland couldn’t pull off the victory in Week 1 even despite forcing six Steelers turnovers and finishing +5 in turnover ratio. That’s a pretty ominous sign, and it makes us very skeptical that the Browns will be able to keep things close in a difficult road environment against an elite team coming off a horrible effort.
That team is the Saints, a Super Bowl contender in most people’s eyes but a laughingstock in Week 1 at home to the Buccaneers. Defensively, at least, where New Orleans was torched for 529 total yards, 417 coming through the air from the arm of journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. The drastic improvement of the Saints’ defence last year is what vaulted them to within seconds of advancing to the NFC Championship Game, and we expect to see them come back with a vengeance this week against an opponent they can absolutely shut down. Meanwhile, the 48 points New Orleans allowed last week overshadowed a 40-point outing by the Saints’ offence, clearly potent as ever.
The biggest danger in a mismatch like this is always that the home favourite takes the visiting underdog lightly. There’s no chance the Saints do that here, knowing that an 0-2 start against Tampa Bay and Cleveland would essentially spell doom for their chances in the NFC South. New Orleans brings it early, often and throughout this one, covering this number in the process.
3. Arizona +12.5 over LA Rams
One of the biggest edges you can find in betting Week 2 NFL lines is the overreaction from opening week. Teams who look bad in Week 1 will often be catching more points than they normally might, and teams who win their opener easily are often favoured by more than they should as well.
That’s what we have here in this clash between the Cardinals and Rams. Before the season began, early lines had LA as a 10-point favourite. But after Arizona was outclassed 24-6 at home by Washington and the Rams whipped the Raiders 33-13 last week on Monday Night Football, LA is a 12.5-point favourite at the time of writing, a line that will probably climb to -13 or -14 by the weekend.
This looks like a great spot to back the Cardinals, however. Arizona isn’t as bad as it looked last week versus the Redskins, and Cards’ coach Steve Wilks will be whipping the defence into shape this week in practice after they allowed 182 rushing yards to Washington. Meanwhile, LA’s on a short week after playing on Monday Night, and this is a total lookahead spot for the Rams, even against an NFC West rival. Next week, the Rams will take on the Chargers in an all-LA showdown, and they’ll then take on the Vikings and Seahawks in consecutive weeks.
It’s hard to imagine LA being jacked up to cover a big number here. Arizona will be in tough to pull off the outright upset, but we think they keep it closer than a lot of people expect.