After a 3-1 start to the season for best bets, The MMQB is back with its favorite sides at SI Gambling. There are lots of intriguing games on the Week 2 slate, and our experts have identified their top picks to cash for this week.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins: UNDER 46.5 Points
There's a lot of excitement over the Cowboys' new-look offense (and for good reason!), which seems to be inflating this total. But consider: 1) That Dallas' offense is now on tape, 2) the Washington defense is indeed stout, despite letting DeSean Jackson get behind them twice last week, 3) Washington wants to win this ugly if it can—control the clock and play a game in the teens, and 4) the Cowboys' secondary, which is better than the Eagles', won't let Terry McLaurin keep getting behind them like Philly did last week. And, well, 5) neither team is very prone to giving away turnovers (both had fewer than 20 last season—Washington would have ranked around Dallas' T-5 placement on the giveaways list had it not been for the musical chairs of turnover-prone QBs late in the year—and neither team turned it over last week).
Fewer turnovers mean fewer chances for those short, cheap, quick scoring drives. The home team wants to play a field position game, and I think that keeps this total in the low-40s or even high-30s. — Gary Gramling
Indianapolis Colts (+3) at Tennessee Titans
If you followed my advice last week, you’re playing with house money this time around, so why not back another road team getting three points for no good reason?
I believe in picking games based solely off sound, logical rules. And my No. 1 rule of football wagering is to follow your gut. So while I don’t have the stats, I believe backing 0-1 teams against 1-0 opponents is a worthy strategy. Given the small sample size, odds are the teams are more similar than the public believes—plus you get the benefit of extra motivation on your side.
Indianapolis would have won last week had it not been for three missed kicks. Jacoby Brissett was every bit as good as Marcus Mariota (posting a better QBR along the way), while head coach Frank Reich showed he can run an offense without Andrew Luck. I’m going to stop now before I talk myself into taking the Colts straight-up +150. — Jacob Feldman
Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5) at Atlanta Falcons
This line surprised me, as I would have thought the spread would be 2.5 or higher.
Last week, Atlanta was +4 at Minnesota and then was manhandled and never really in it. The Eagles started slowly but eventually found their way and looked very sharp in the second half against Washington. Of course, Atlanta is now home, and that’s baked into the lines. But after the Falcons’ showing last week, this feels like the Eagles aren’t being treated like one of the NFC’s best teams, and I think they should be.
I think the Eagles' D-line will control things, getting pressure on Matt Ryan and bottling up the run game. And if you expect them to win outright, you should feel pretty good about taking them at -1.5. I nearly selected the Bills -2 at the Giants this week for the same reason. But I feel more confident in the Eagles beating the Falcons for the third season in a row, and -1.5 is a low-enough number that I’ll make them my pick this week. — Mitch Goldich
Jacksonville Jaguars (+9) at Houston Texans
I just don't understand this line. The Jaguars were just 3.5-point home underdogs to the Chiefs a week ago, and having them as a nine-point road underdog here is saying that the Chiefs and Texans are similarly power rated on a neutral field. Sure, there's also Nick Foles's injury to consider, but backup Gardner Minshew looked really impressive in his debut against the Chiefs and I'm not sure he's that big of a downgrade. The Texans' defense did not look sharp against the Saints, there were lots of missed tackles and J.J. Watt was neutralized. The Jaguars' defense got embarrassed vs. the Chiefs, but with Houston's lackluster offensive line, Jacksonville should have an easier time making stops. And this will also be a pissed off defense after its showing in Week 1. The Jaguars have one of the NFL's best defensive lines and added relentless pass rusher Josh Allen in the draft, and I think that group will make things difficult for Deshaun Watson with constant pressure. I personally don't think this line should be higher than seven, so I'll roll with the road underdog here. Fading Bill O'Brien as a big favorite doesn't hurt, either. — Max Meyer
Season record: 3-1