Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM
Hot & Not Report - Week 2
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Who's Hot and Who's Not
Week of August 12th
The first full week of NFL preseason action has come and gone, and it was a solid one for those of you willing to follow last week's breakdown – at least against the closing line – as the NFC North teams discussed (Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota) went 2-1 ATS vs the closing number, while fading those teams from LA swept the board (2-0 ATS).
Week 2 of the preseason is where we get to see starters on the field for a much longer period of time (typically at least one quarter or more), although some teams have been moving towards using this game as more of a “dress rehearsal” type in recent years too. Make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for any announcements that head coaches make regarding prospective playing time this week as typically when that news comes out it ends up being a rush to the window for bettors to grab what they believe to be the best numbers currently out there. As of now, the bulk of the games this week have point spreads below the -4 threshold, but don't expect that to hold as the week goes on.
So in a similar style to last week's piece, this week deals with preseason Week 2 trends for a few teams across the league, and if you are a football fan, young or old, of those teams with connections to the great state of Texas, it's with those organizations that you may want to start with this week.
“Youngest” team in Texas brings home the Week 2 cash
Houston Texans 6-1 ATS last seven years in Week 2 of the Preseason
When I say “youngest”, I'm not referring to the average age of the players in a Houston uniform, but the time they've existed in pro football. The Houston Texans turn 20 years old this year since being awarded their expansion franchise back in 1999, but they didn't hit the football field until 2002 when they forced the league into realignment. And while there have been some extreme highs and lows for this organization during those 17 years on the football field, they've found much more consistency this decade.
Starting with the 2011 campaign, Houston has won the AFC South division crown five different times, finished 2nd once, and bottomed out with a last-place finish twice. It's not like you can paint a picture of Week 2 success in the preseason as a calling card to many of those successful years, but they are one of the best in the NFL right now at covering the spread during this week of action. They've won this game outright in three straight years, and given the fight we saw from them late last week in Green Bay – covering earlier, non-closing numbers of +2.5 vs the Packers – we could possibly see a complete effort from every group on the depth chart this week.
Oddsmakers are aware of this trend as well apparently, as they are one of the select few teams currently lined at -4.5 this week, as they host a Detroit Lions team that looked as disinterested as a team could be in Week 1. Lions HC Matt Patricia does come from that New England Patriots way of life and preseason has never been a priority for that franchise, and when you pair that result with Houston being a great Week 2 team, if you are going to back the Texans this week, it's best to do it sooner rather then later.
“Older” teams with ties to the state of Texas
Dallas Cowboys 1-8 ATS last nine years in Week 2, Kansas City Chiefs 2-14 ATS last 16 years in Week 2
Speaking of “Texans”, the Kansas City Chiefs started out as the Dallas Texans way back in the start of the AFL, and played their three years before owner Lamar Hunt moved them on to Kansas City. Since then they've long since established a connection to the city of Kansas City, and with how much this team has won, but ultimately come up short in the modern era, there is never a shortage of high hopes for the Chiefs each year. That's especially true this year with them arguably being a literal coin flip away from a Super Bowl appearance last season, and there are plenty of lofty expectations thrust upon them in 2019 because of that result.
But the team that originated in Dallas is not one I'd be looking to back this week, as a 2-14 ATS run in these Week 2 games is nothing but fade material.
Kansas City looked great from top to bottom in their Week 1 dismantling of Cincinnati, as the Chiefs scored a TD in every quarter en route to the 38-17 win. Four different QB's saw action with starter Patrick Mahomes going a perfect 4-for-4 throwing (66 yards) before getting pulled, and while he will see more action against Pittsburgh this week, the team is likely to still be very cautious with him in numerous ways (how long he stays out and their play-calling).
At the same time, I don't believe we see Chase Litton go 11-for-15 for 122 yards and 2 TD's again, while Kyle Shurmur's 6-for-15 is probably right in line with what to expect from a better Pittsburgh defense. Considering this 2-14 ATS run does include two straight wins in Week 2 the past two seasons, there is a case to be made that it's a new era in Chiefs-land during this week, but I'd much prefer to back the larger sample size here and go against them, especially at the current 'pick'em' price.
In the Dallas Cowboys case, they have got nothing but support early this week, as an opening line of +3 as visitors against the Rams, quickly turned to a 'pick'em' before continuing to see even more action and now currently sitting at the Cowboys laying -2.5 points. That's such a huge swing regardless of history and has to be taken with some respect, however, at the same time, history suggests that the Cowboys never do all that well during Week 2, and now you are getting a great price to fade them in this spot.
Granted, that would mean backing a LA Rams team that showed last week they've got little interest in being competitive in the preseason, as they understand it's all about staying healthy and depth evaluation right now. They aren't going to be a team many will run to the window to back, but it's highly plausible that we see Dallas end up winning this game by two or less points, allowing all that early Dallas money to cash, while the steam chasers on Dallas at -2.5 (or more) end up getting left in the dark.
That Cowboys are also 1-7 SU the past eight years during Week 2 of the preseason, and have lost those seven games by an average of 8.7 points. With where the current price is now, a loss of any nature would be detrimental to the bankrolls of Cowboys backers yet to confirm their wager, and for as disinterested as the Rams looked last week, if this line gets to +3 on LA, you've probably got to side with history and look to fade the Cowboys once again.