After winning on the strength of missed kicks and some surprisingly solid quarterback play, the Patriots and Broncos are favored again this week.
The Broncos and Patriots both played their season openers without the two quarterbacks who led them to meet in last season’s AFC Championship Game. But Denver and New England emerged victorious as underdogs thanks to a pair of missed field goals by their opponents and backup QBs who played better than expected.
Both the Broncos and Patriots are listed as solid home favorites for Week 2 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Broncos beat the Panthers 21–20 as three-point home underdogs in the NFL season opener last Thursday, using their defense once again to win the Super Bowl 50 rematch. Former third-string quarterback Trevor Siemian also managed the game well for Denver in replacing Peyton Manning, who retired in the off-season.
This week, the defending Super Bowl champions are six-point favorite against a defensively-challenged Colts squad coming off a 39–35 home loss to the Lions. However, recent betting trends favor the Colts, who are 8–1 straight up and 9–0 against the spread in the past nine meetings with the Broncos, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
The Patriots edged the Cardinals 23–21 in the Sunday night matchup, as Jimmy Garoppolo came through in the clutch in place of the suspended Tom Brady. Garoppolo completed 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions in his first career start while also carrying the ball four times for 12 yards.
New England also played without All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski due to a hamstring injury and entered that game as a 9.5-point road underdog before pulling off the upset.
The Patriots host the Dolphins as 6.5-point home favorites on Sunday in the first of three consecutive home contests leading up to the end of Brady’s suspension. The Dolphins suffered a tough 12–10 loss to the Seahawks but covered the spread as 10.5-point road dogs, improving to 2–6 against the spread in their last eight games overall.
Siemien and Garoppolo were not the only quarterbacks who played well in their debuts, as the best performance may have come from rookie Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles. The No. 2 pick in this spring’s NFL draft led the Eagles to a 29–10 rout of the Browns as four-point home favorites with 278 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Philadelphia visits the Bears as three-point road underdogs in Week 2’s Monday night game. The Bears are coming off a 23–14 loss to the Texans as 4.5-point road underdogs, and they have dropped five of the past seven home meetings with the Eagles and 10 of their last 11 games at Soldier Field.