Opening Line Report - Week 2
September 11, 2018
By Joe Williams
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After an exciting opening week of the NFL regular season, we have a little bit of information to try and determine which teams to back, which teams to fade, etc. However, it isn't until a full month or so where we get a much better sample size. One team now could be world beaters at home, but then hit the road and look like a completely different team. There were a couple of teams to open with emphatic road victories, and their number in the home opener in Week 2 might be a bit inflated, providing value for the underdogs.
Looking back at Week 1, the Baltimore Ravens routed the Buffalo Bills by a 47-3 score, so bettors will likely overrate the Ravens based on their one result, while writing off the Bills. The Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored huge road wins, so the public is likely to get behind them after impressive wins. It's just one win, though. Don't get crazy and look at some past trends in the series as well as a little common sense.
Thursday, Sept. 13
Baltimore Ravens (-1, 44) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Ravens opened as high as -3 at BetOnline.ag offshore, and mostly -1 to -1.5 at the Vegas books. At the Wynn, it opened with Baltimore -1.5 and quickly moved to a pick 'em in less than 24 hours. Apparently the sharps aren't terribly impressed by Baltimore's 47-3 whitewashing of Buffalo. Cincinnati also opened with a solid 34-23 road win at Indianapolis.
These teams split last season, with the Ravens winning 20-0 at Paul Brown Stadium on Sept. 10, 2017 as a 2 1/2-point underdog, while the Bengals returned to the favor on New Year's Eve by a 31-27 count as an eight-point underdog. The Bengals lost two of their three divisional games at home last season, going 2-1 ATS. The 'over' also cashed in each of Cincinnati's past four against AFC North opponents.
Sunday, Sept. 16
Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins (-5.5, 46)
The good news is that the Colts got their franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, back from his lengthy injury. He looked good, but the results were the same, as Indy lost to Cincinnati. Meanwhile, the Redskins opened with a 24-6 road win against the Cardinals, so they're moderate favorites to win their home opener.
The line has held steady at -5.5 at most books, while Washington opened -4.5 at the the Westgate Superbook before rising to -5.5 like the others.
Washington was 2-0 SU/ATS in their two games at home against the AFC last season, and they're 4-1 SU/ATS in the past five at FedEx Field vs. AFC.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-5.5, 44.5)
The Panthers struggled offensive and lost TE Greg Olsen (foot) to injury, while the Falcons have had a few extra days to recover after opening with a Thursday loss in Week 1. The line opened at -4.5 to -5 at most shops, and was up to -6 at the Mirage-MGM by Monday afternoon.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (PK, 46)
This game opened with the Packers slight favorites on Sunday night, but the script has flipped at most shops with the Vikings either a pick 'em or even slightly favored. At the Golden Nugget it was OFF, as there is some uncertain about the health of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (knee) going into Week 2.
Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5, 43) at Buffalo Bills
The Bills were paddled in Week 1 on the road, already have a quarterback dilemma, and the best QB they had in camp is now wearing silver and black. The Chargers hammered Buffalo by a 54-24 on Nov. 19 last season, cashing as seven-point favorites. The movement has been on the total side, opening at 44 at most shops only to tumble to 43 or 43.5, and it might not be done yet with a lot of doubt about Buffalo's offensive ability.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (OFF)
This game is currently off the board due to the uncertain status of QB Marcus Mariota (elbow), who suffered injury in Week 1 in Miami. Even if Mariota can play, he'll be without a big weapon in TE Delanie Walker. The Titans were a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS at home inside the division last season.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5, 53)
The marquee game of the Sunday schedule looked to be the Chiefs-Steelers, and Kansas City held up their end of the bargain with an offensive showcast on the road against the Chargers last week. The Steelers squandered a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter in Cleveland, settling for a tie in a sloppy, rain and miscue-filled second half.
There hasn't been much movement on the line, but the total opened as low as 50 at the the Stratosphere before rising to 53 in about eight hours.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-3, 44)
Jets rookie Sam Darnold opened with a pick-six in the first 20 seconds of his NFL career. They recovered, running to a 48-17 win. It was their first time cracking 40 points since they outscored Buffalo 48-28 in the season opener on Sept. 9, 2012. In other words, expect a bit of a backslide at home.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5, 44) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The defending champs gutted out an 18-12 defensive battle win against the Falcons in a game which resembled a preseason game. They've had 10 days to make the necessary adjustments. The Bucs had no such issues on offense, displaying a little 'Fitz-magic' in New Orleans, 48-40. Despite the offensive explosive from the Bucs in Week 1, the line is just 44 on the grass surface in Tampa. The Bucs scored 21 or more points in five of their eight games at the RayJay last season.
Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints (-8.5, 50)
The Browns battled back to a tie against the Steelers in Week 1, gaining a little confidence. The Saints opened Week 2 as the heaviest favorites on the board. They held the same honor in the opening week and lost outright as double-digit favorites.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-13, 46.5)
The offense of the Cards sputtered, as coach Steve Wilks joined the club of new coaches to lose their Week 1 game. Meanwhile, the Rams lambasted Chucky and the Raiders 33-13 and will now go to L.A. for a little home cooking. L.A. outscored Arizona 65-16 in two meetings in 2017, including a 33-0 shellacking in the Coliseum on Oct. 22, 2017.
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5, 47.5)
Lions QB Matthew Stafford looked colorblind, as he almost threw as many passes to Jets defenders as he threw to his own receivers. It wasn't the 'Patriot Way' that Matt Patricia hoped to bring to Motown. It looked like the same old Lions instead. Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo enters this game in unchartered territory, looking to rebound after his first loss as an NFL starter.
New England Patriots (-2.5, 45) at Jacksonville Jaguars
If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. Down in Duuuuuval, there are high expectations on the Jaguars. A couple of things are affecting this line, however. First off, it's the Patriots, who almost seem to be good for an automatic three points for mystique. Two, and likely most importantly, Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette left the opener with a hamstring injury and he is uncertain for Week 2.
The Patriots won and covered their only game last season favorite by less than three points, topping Pittsburgh 27-24 at Heinz Field on Dec. 17. New England is 4-0 SU/ATS as a favorite of four or less in their past four games.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-6, 45)
There is hope in the Mile High City again, winning their opener with Case Keenum under center. That wasn't the 'case' in Oakland on Monday, as the Raiders looked horrific on offense in Chucky's debut, and he failed to make the correct adjustments in the second half in a chess match with Sean McVay.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3, 42.5)
The Giants didn't muster much in the way of offense, losing to the Jaguars at home. They faced one of the most gifted defensive units in the league, and rookie RB Saquon Barkley looked like the real deal. Outside of RB Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are pretty devoid of playmakers at the skill positions. It showed in a 16-8 loss in Carolina.
Dallas blasted New York 19-3 in Jerry World on Sept. 10, 2017, and 30-10 at MetLife on Dec. 10, covering both games which resulted in unders. The total at the Stations opened at 43.5 and has been bet down to 42, as bettors aren't feeling the offenses.
Monday, Sept. 17
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-3.5, 42.5)
The Bears defense looked amazing in the first half, but then they melted down in the second half as Aaron Rodgers did his thing. Can Chicago recover at home on Monday night against a wounded, yet still dangerous Seattle team?
The biggest question will be whether or not QB Russell Wilson has WR Doug Baldwin (knee) at his disposal. He was injured (again), and is a question mark. Also a question, can the Bears play a full 60 minutes with the kind of defensive fervor they showed in the first half at Lambeau? Seattle pushed on a three-point number last week in the loss in the Mile High City against a Broncos team which might be worse than these Bears.
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