'Dogs to Watch - Week 2
September 13, 2017
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NFL Week 2 Underdogs to Watch
Week 1 of this year's NFL season is officially in the books and it was a successful one for this weekly underdog piece once again. Of the five teams that were getting +4 or better on the point spread, only one of them won outright – although they did go 4-1 ATS – the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags were the team I had isolated as the best bet of the bunch, and even if some of you had put a small flyer on the Jets, you still came out ahead with the Jags odds at +220.
Week 2 sees many more NFL teams getting 4 points or more on the spread, meaning that there are more matchups to wade through, but at the same time, more possibilities to cash in on upsets. There are two games were teams are getting about two TD's on the spread (NYJ, San Francisco), and many more in that 6.5 to 7-point range. So let's get right to this week's list and try to cash another outright winner or two.
Underdogs that Qualify
Cleveland Browns (+9); ML (+315)
Buffalo Bills (+7); ML (+270)
New Orleans Saints (+6.5); ML (+245)
Indianapolis Colts (+7); ML (+275)
Philadelphia Eagles (+6); ML (+220)
Minnesota Vikings (+5.5); ML (+205)
Chicago Bears (+7); ML (+260)
Miami Dolphins (+4); ML (+175)
New York Jets (+14); ML (+700)
San Francisco 49ers (+14); ML (+650)
With a list this big it's important to eliminate some teams right off the bat. San Francisco and the New York Jets aren't close to being considered for an outright ML play with road games in Seattle and Oakland respectively. If it happens, it happens, and fans of those two teams who are basically blindly betting their team each week will have a solid weekend.
After that I'm eliminating our frequent flyer team the Cleveland Browns, as rookie NFL QB's in their first ever road game is a situational spot I look to avoid each and every year. Against a division rival (Baltimore) that is coming off a shutout win over another AFC North foe makes even taking the +9 points on the spread a wager I'm not looking to take.
Buffalo, Indianapolis, and Chicago are the final three teams I'm flat out ignoring this week. The Bills looked like nothing special against the hapless Jets in Week 1, and this week they are on the road in Carolina. That's not a spot I'd consider bypassing the points if you are considering a Buffalo play this week.
Indianapolis will get no investment from me SU or ATS likely until Andrew Luck returns, or at the very least I see some capable play from whomever is in their at QB. Tolzien had his shot a week ago, and playing a guy like Brissett who's only had a few weeks in the organization is tough. As touchdown home underdogs, grabbing the points is a little tempting, especially when you consider that Arizona could be extremely deflated in this spot after losing their #1 RB (and arguably best player) for the bulk of this season.
Now that I've narrowed this list down, it leaves us with the Saints (+245), Eagles (+220), Vikings (+205), and Dolphins (+175).
Beginning with Miami as they've got the lowest spread, they travel cross country to play the Chargers on a short week. Miami has been itching for this season to get started after their Week 1 game was postponed, and while rest is clearly on their side here, rust could also be a significant issue for them as well. L.A. tried their best to comeback and beat Denver on MNF, and while they came up short, Philip Rivers and company showed signs that they'll be a much improved team from their 5-11 SU record a year ago. It's a hard pass on Miami ML here.
Minnesota is another team on a short week in Week 2 and for as impressive as they looked in blowing out the Saints, going out on the road to face Pittsburgh this week is tough. The Vikings have already seen significant support on the spread as their number opened up as high as +6.5 at most shops, but in my eyes all that support smells like a gross over-reaction to Week 1's results. Remember, Pittsburgh was the favorite to win the AFC this year if you take the Patriots out of the equation, and I believe the Steelers put their best foot forward in Week 2 and blow out this Minnesota team.
Which leaves us with the Saints (+245) and Eagles (+220) at the best candidates on this list to pull off outright upsets, and they are somewhat connected.
New Orleans did not look good for the bulk of their MNF game and this week they are at home and hosting a angry New England Patriots team that got blown out themselves. Many bettors (casual and sharp) will have no problem buying into the narrative of New England coming out and blowing the doors of the Saints this week in an attempt for redemption, but I wouldn't be so quick to buy in.
For one, the Patriots defense looked atrocious (as they did all preseason), and it might not matter how well Brady and the Pats offense plays, you give Drew Brees and Sean Payton a game where they can attack an atrocious defense and they'll make you pay. The total for this game is already in the 56 range, and when plenty of points are expected, that means that the underdog – no matter how big the spread – is likely “live” to a degree. The Saints at home have always been a tough out, and while there aren't many out there who can fathom the Patriots starting 0-2 SU, it really is quite possible this week.
Philadelphia is in Kansas City to take on the same Chiefs team that lit up that New England team a week ago, and has likely spent their extra time off reading plenty of press clippings about themselves and how great they looked up in Foxborough. That KC win will give them solid backing from bettors this week, but the Eagles didn't look too bad themselves in Week 1, and they'd love to do their part in popping this bubble of greatness the Chiefs have surrounding them over the past 10 days.
The loss of Eric Berry on the back end is a huge blow to KC as well, and while it didn't seem to hurt them for the rest of that Pats game, it's often that first game after an key injury where a team really feels the loss. The Eagles are more than capable of pulling off this outright upset, and with KC having a division road game on deck (at L.A. Chargers), Philly could steal one this week.
7-1 Y'day, 15-4 L2 Sun., 20-4 Streak
10-1 G-Plays, 3-0 L2 Sun., 9-1 Run
10-3 L3 Sundays, 7-3 G-Plays TY
15-4 G-Plays, 5-1 L3 Thursdays
4-0 L4, 9-2 Last 3 Sundays
5-0 L5 G-Plays, 8-4 L12 Picks
6-0 Record Sunday, 4-1 L5 G-Plays
8-2 L10 NFL Guaranteed Plays
5-1 Guarantees TY, 9-4 L3 Sun.
4-1 G-Plays, 15-8 Overall TY
6-2 Sunday, 4-1 L5 G-Plays
6-1 Last 7 NFL Selections
7-2 L2 Sundays, 4-1 G-Plays TY
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