Every Monday during the NFL season, I’ll be comparing game spreads to my own power ratings and giving my perspective on whether I think the betting lines are accurate or not. Paying attention to the NFL market is one of the single most important aspects of successful wagering. Learn to keep a close eye on line movement, and look forward to our podcast, Betting the NFL with Ryan Reynolds and Chris Farley, where we break down each game and investigate these lines twice a week.
All lines are consensus numbers across the U.S. Sportsbooks as of Monday morning.
Early lines that stick out as great early bets are highlighted in red.
Chargers vs. Chiefs (-3.5), Total: 54
I have this game at Chiefs -4, so I’m close to where this sits. There’s a lot to be excited about in Los Angeles, and it was the Chargers’ defense that made the difference at the end of their divisional showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders. I’m unsure if I can trust Brandon Staley and a perpetually underperforming team against the Chiefs at home.
Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are as in-sync as ever. Reid’s play calling is beyond innovative, and it’s too early in the season for the Chargers to game plan for this holistically. Lean to the over and lean to the Chiefs – this should be an offensive battle at Arrowhead.
Panthers vs. Giants (-2.5), Total: 43
The Giants did some good things in their Week 1 win, including stacking up nearly 400 yards of total offense and letting Saquon Barkley loose, who alone rushed for 164 yards on only 18 carries. Still, I have this game as a pick-em. The Giants’ defense can be exposed, especially in a play-action system. Christian McCaffrey should make enough plays to keep Carolina in this contest. Slight lean to the Panthers because of that. However, I can’t say I’ll ever trust Baker Mayfield and the lack of talent on that team. No lean on the total, but it checks out as a low-scoring affair. That’s typical Giants football, after all.
Jets vs. Browns (-6.5), Total: 40
I have the Cleveland Browns as 4.5-point favorites in this one, so there is a slight edge to the Jets. Jacoby Brissett looked more limited than I thought he would be. Nevertheless, the Browns survived thanks to a solid run game. For what it’s worth, Brissett made the plays that mattered down the stretch. The Jets’ defense played well until Lamar started to find seams and ways to expose their secondary, which, as it turns out, is still pretty pedestrian. The Browns’ defense should be able to limit Joe Flacco and another mediocre New York offense. I like this total to fall under 40.
Commanders vs. Lions (-1.5), Total: 48.5
I have this lined oppositely, with the Washington Commanders as 1.5-point favorites on the road. I just don’t trust the Lions’ defense. Detroit’s offensive line should win and win often in this contest, even though Washington’s defensive line impressed in Week 1. Carson Wentz’s resolve was on full display, throwing 4 touchdowns and making big plays throughout the 4th quarter to give the Commanders a win. This game should be close, but taking Washington now probably isn’t a bad move. This should move to “even” or in favor of the Commanders by kickoff.
Bucs (-2.5) vs. Saints, Total: 45.5
I have this as the Bucs -5, so you’d think I would have a bullish take on this line considering the disparity in my handicap, but this game deserves an asterisk because it’s in New Orleans. The Tom Brady-led Buccaneers haven’t fared well in New Orleans, nor have they fared well against the Saints in general. Brady is 0-4 straight up against New Orleans as a Buc, but something tells me this Week 2 matchup will conclude differently.
Tampa Bay’s defense looked sensational at Dallas on Sunday Night Football. They allowed only 3 points and under 250 total yards. I like it even more that Brady and the offense weren’t as efficient. I can only expect better things from their offensive production in Week 2 (positive regression), and I’m not sure the mistake-prone Jameis Winston can thrive against Tampa’s defense. I’ll lean to the under, and I have a strong lean on the Bucs at -2.5. This line should only rise on Tampa, so it’s wise to take it now if you like the Bucs, and if it’s available at your sportsbook.
Patriots vs. Steelers (+1), Total: 41
This is another line I disagree with – I have the Steelers as slight favorites here. Why? Because nothing about the Patriots makes me want to bet on them. Even without TJ Watt, the Steelers’ defense can wreak havoc against New England’s offensive line. The Patriots allowed three sacks in Week 1 and turned the ball over three times. Apparently, and it’s not all that surprising, the offensive coordinator position hasn’t been treated appropriately in Foxboro. Mitch Trubisky did just enough to keep Pittsburgh in the game against Cincinnati, although the Steelers offensive line is also an area of concern. I lean under in this one; no strong lean otherwise.
Colts (-4) vs. Jaguars, Total: 46
I have this line exactly where it is. The Colts should be buttoned up after their offense started off very shaky in Houston, even though Jonathan Taylor got his (161 yards rushing and a TD in Week 1). The Jaguars seem to have a ton of young, hyper-athletic talent (that interception by Travon Walker was awesome), but Trevor Lawrence still needs to mature and make better decisions. The Colts’ defense should be able to take advantage readily. One thing to note is the Colts have not won in Jacksonville since 2014. I wouldn’t be too trigger-happy here; express caution in what should be another close divisional game.
Dolphins vs. Ravens (-3.5), Total: 43.5
I have this as Baltimore -3, so it’s pretty close to the line. I’d lean with the Dolphins here, though. There’s something subtly special about Mike McDaniel and how he handles his role as Miami’s head coach and play caller. Tua Tagovailoa and McDaniel seem to have a close bond already, and Miami’s defense was very impressive on Sunday, allowing only 7 points and 271 total yards to New England. Lamar Jackson settled in against the Jets, and the Ravens predictably tore up New York’s defense at MetLife, which is a good sign for a Ravens’ offense that went without J.K. Dobbins. Very slight lean to the Dolphins here since they’re getting over 3 points (a key number). Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens covered at home.
Falcons vs. Rams (-10), Total: 47
This one is tough. It’s a massive line for Week 2, and the Atlanta Falcons played very hard against their divisional rival Saints in Week 1. The Rams lost, on the other hand, and I have to believe Sean McVay and company will present a much crisper product on Sunday at home. This is always a tough travel spot for an East Coast team, too. I would look at the Rams’ team totals in this matchup, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams covered. I have the Rams as 9-point favorites.
Seahawks vs. 49ers (-8.5), Total: 43
This scenario is very similar to the above. Kyle Shanahan leads his 0-1 team back home against the Seahawks, who upset the Broncos on Monday Night Football. The Niners lost in disgusting fashion behind unimpressive quarterback play against Chicago on Sunday. That’s a dig at Trey Lance, by the way, and it was intended. It wasn’t a good look for either side of the ball, as Justin Fields made big play after big play and hit wide-open wide receivers down the field in the fourth quarter.
This is one of those situations where even though the 49ers are heavy favorites, nothing would surprise me about them covering this line. Shanahan should demonstrate more creative play calling, and I expect their defense to be buttoned-up at home. The Seahawks will likely play very competitively at home against the Broncos, so a short week and a road game at San Francisco is a tough spot. Lean Niners.
Bengals (-7) vs. Cowboys, Total: 44.5
Before Dak Prescott incurred a hand injury on Sunday Night Football, I had this as Bengals -2.5. Prescott going down obviously changed this line, and it’s another example of how much a starting quarterback moves a line. The Bengals’ offense seemed to get more fluid and productive as the game went on Sunday, and Ja’Marr Chase eventually looked like his old, dominant self. Expect that momentum and fire to pour into this contest. The Cowboys are officially decimated on offense, from WRs to offensive line and now to their quarterback, and they’ll have to rely on a defense that often breaks when it’s on the field too long. I lean Bengals and the over.
Texans vs. Broncos (-10), Total: 43.5
This line is a major red flag. This line was initially at -10.5 in favor of the Broncos, which is even more ridiculous, and it remains at 10 at most sportsbooks. We don’t have to overcomplicate our handicap here. The Texans weren’t overly impressive on offense in Week 1, but their defense was tenacious and fast, as expected. I think Lovie Smith’s team will continually fight hard throughout the season. I realize this is a tough road spot, and the Broncos could be an elite team this year. But this line is WAY too big for a Week 2 game. Take the Texans now before it moves down even more.
Cardinals vs. Raiders (-3.5), Total: 51.5
The Cardinals didn’t look good in Week 1, as we expected. But we have the Raiders only as -2 in this contest because they’re pretty flawed, too. I need to analyze this game more – these two teams were rough to watch in Week 1, but an angle I’m looking at is the Raiders’ team totals. The Arizona Cardinals defense looks worse than ever, and Derek Carr is due to explode at home after a lousy performance where he threw three game-changing interceptions against the Chargers. I’d look at totals going over in this one.
Bears vs. Packers (-10), Total: 43
It was another underwhelming performance by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Week 1. Last year, they were blown out by the Saints; this year, they were blown out by the Vikings in Minnesota. The Vikings’ defense was particularly impressive, but Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson were humming for most of that contest. We liked the Vikings in Week 1 (humble brag), but the Packers are in a good position to improve at home in Week 2. The Bears were fortunate to be in a rainy, sloppy game, showing a ton of gusto. It’s more plausible that the Packers will destroy Chicago in this one – all position units should positively regress. I have the Packers as 8-point favorites.
Titans vs. Bills (-10), Total: 49.5
Normally I would red-flag this line, but I think it’s more reasonable than people think. The Bills look like a legit juggernaut in Week 1 against the Super Bowl champions, while the Titans are flawed and mediocre in most positions. Derrick Henry was fine, but ultimately Tennessee’s play-makers didn’t do enough to get a win against a Giants team that loves to give their opponents opportunities to win. This one is just tough. At Orchard Park, with the Bills coming off extra rest, I can’t like the Titans even as a big underdog. Slight lean to the over.
Vikings vs. Eagles (-2), Total: 52
The red flag here is because of the total. I have the Eagles as 2-point favorites here, exactly where the line opened. Last night, this opened up at a total of 49.5, which we took, and I wish we had this out sooner so you can take it, too. There’s still plenty of value at 52. The Eagles and Vikings both showed tremendous offensive potential in Week 1. Philadelphia ran all over the Lions (239 team rushing yards), and Jalen Hurts made play after play to keep the Eagles’ drives alive. Minnesota’s offense would have scored more, but they didn’t need to. Even after a conservative second half, they still produced 395 total yards against a vaunted Green Bay defense. I think both offenses win and win consistently in this matchup– bet the over before it goes up more.