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  • Week 1 winners like Carolina, Kansas City and Jacksonville are all getting points on Sunday afternoon. Which matchups offer the best bets for gamblers?
By Scott Gramling
September 14, 2018

After a heart-pounding first week of the NFL season, here are all of our picks against the spread for Week 2's Sunday afternoon action.


Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins (-5.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

While Colts QB Andrew Luck threw for 319 passing yards in his much-anticipated return from a shoulder injury, it took him 53 dink-and-dunk pass attempts to get there. He’ll need more big plays if Indianapolis is going to overcome its defensive shortcomings. QB Alex Smith was solid in his Redskins debut (255 yards, two touchdowns, zero turnovers) and the tailback duo of Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson combined for an impressive 294 yards from scrimmage against the Cardinals.

Betting Trend: Washington is 16-6 against the spread when playing with six or fewer days rest since the start of 2016.

Pick: Redskins -5.5

Confidence Level: Very High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)


Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-5.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

While the Panthers defense was certainly impressive holding the Cowboys to one score in a 16-8 victory on Sunday, the result was due in large part to the one-dimensional nature of a Dallas offense that lacks playmakers in its passing game. Carolina won’t have the same luxury this week, as Atlanta’s Julio Jones has averaged 137.3 receiving yards per game in six meetings with Carolina since the start of 2015. The Falcons are coming off three more days of rest than the Panthers after having played in Philadelphia last Thursday.

Betting Trend: Atlanta is 8-2 both straight up and against the spread at home against Carolina since the start of 2008.

Pick: Falcons -5.5

Confidence Level: Extremely High


Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (No Line)

1:00 p.m. ET

Minnesota forced four turnovers in their eight-point, Week 1 win over San Francisco. Last year’s top defense dominated backup Packers quarterback Brett Hundley in both 2017 meetings between the Vikings and Packers, but Minnesota allowed 347 yards and 4 touchdowns to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers the last time the team faced him in Green Bay (Christmas Eve 2016). It has not yet been made clear as to whether Rodgers will be healthy enough to play after having injured his knee on Sunday.

Betting Trend: Under current head coach Mike Zimmer, Minnesota is 29-13 against the spread coming off an ATS win.

Pick: Vikings (straight up)

Confidence Level: High


Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) at Buffalo Bills

1:00 p.m. ET

The Chargers’ and Bills’ defenses were embarrassed in Week 1, giving up 38 and 47 points, respectively. The big difference between their Week 1 performances was on offense: The Chargers scored 28 points while the Bills tallied a paltry 3. When these teams met last November, the Chargers won by 30 points, thanks in large part to Buffalo quarterback Nathan Peterman throwing five interceptions in the first half of his first NFL start. Rookie Josh Allen will make his first NFL start in this one.

Betting Trend: Buffalo is 4-1-1 against the spread following a straight-up loss by 16 or more points since the start of 2016.

Pick: Bills +7.5

Confidence Level: Low


Houston Texans (-1.5) at Tennessee Titans

1:00 pm ET

Mike Vrabel’s debut as Titans head coach was spoiled by the Dolphins, and the 27-20 loss came with injuries to quarterback Marcus Mariota and tight end Delanie Walker. While Walker is out for the season, Mariota is expected to start despite having left in the third quarter of Miami game with an elbow injury. The Texans lost by the same score in New England on Sunday, with quarterback Deshaun Watson struggling in his return from an ACL injury. When Watson faced the Titans last season, the result was a 57-14 Houston win.

Betting Trend: Houston is 11-7 against the spread under current head coach Bill O’Brien when coming off a road loss.

Pick: Texans -1.5

Confidence Level: Moderate


Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)

1:00 pm ET

Speedy Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill had as electrifying a Week 1 performance as any NFL player, racking up 169 receiving yards and two scores on offense while adding a touchdown on a 91-yard punt. Although the Steelers’ revamped secondary performed well against Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor on Sunday, the wind and rain in Cleveland played a role in that as well. The Pittsburgh secondary will face a much tougher test against Kansas City’s aggressive offensive approach.

Betting Trend: Since 2016, Kansas City is 9-1 against the spread after allowing 400 or more total yards in their previous game.

Pick: Chiefs +5

Confidence Level: Low


Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-3)

1:00 pm ET

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold led the Jets to a 48-17 victory in Detroit, with New York’s young defense intercepting five Detroit passes. Miami beat Tennessee at home, but had the benefit of playing against Titans backup QB Blaine Gabbert for much of the game. When these teams met in East Rutherford last season, the Jets held the Dolphins to 149 yards and zero points until Miami mounted a meaningless scoring drive in the last two minutes and scored a touchdown as time expired, resulting in a 20-6 final score.

Betting Trend: The New York Jets are 7-2 against the spread under coach Todd Bowles when facing an AFC East foe at home.

Pick: Jets -3

Confidence Level: Moderate


Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1:00 pm ET

The Eagles’ injury-plagued offense may have struggled in Week 1, but their dominant defense helped seal an 18-12 victory over Atlanta. Philadelphia should benefit from the extra rest coming off its Thursday night game. Tampa Bay pulled off a shocking 48-40 upset in New Orleans, with backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (in for the suspended Jameis Winston) accounting for five touchdowns. He’ll be far less comfortable in the pocket against Philly’s juggernaut defensive line, and the Bucs defense is full of holes.

Betting Trend: Since 2016, Tampa Bay is 1-9 against the spread after playing a game where 50 or more total points were scored.

Pick: Eagles -3

Confidence Level: Moderate


Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints (-8.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

While the Browns offense looked sluggish in their Week 1 tie against Pittsburgh, Cleveland’s D forced six turnovers and tallied four sacks. DE Myles Garrett (2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) looked the part of a former No. 1 draft pick. The Saints defense was embarrassed by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers last week. Browns QB Tyrod Taylor rarely takes risks with the ball, but if Cleveland’s receivers are as wide open as Tampa’s were last week, even Taylor may post some gaudy numbers.

Betting Trend: New Orleans is 42-27 against the spread following a loss under current head coach Sean Payton.

Pick: Saints -8.5

Confidence Level: Low


Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-12.5)

4:05 p.m. ET

Arizona fell behind 24-0 to Washington in Week 1 before scoring a meaningless fourth-quarter TD. QB Sam Bradford threw for just 153 yards on 34 attempts, and RB David Johnson could not find any space. The new defensive scheme head coach Steve Wilks brought to the desert was ineffective in Week 1, and the Cardinals have a much bigger challenge in Week 2. The Rams cruised to a 20-point win in Oakland on Monday Night, though the short week could be reason for concern for such a heavy favorite.

Betting Trend: The Los Angeles Rams are 1-5 against the spread at home against NFC teams since the start of last season.

Pick: Cardinals +12.5

Confidence Level: Moderate


Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5)

4:05 p.m. ET

Detroit was blown out at home by the Jets on Monday night, 48-17, with QB Matthew Stafford throwing four interceptions. It’s difficult to imagine the Lions playing any worse on both sides of the ball; they have too much talent and experience to play at that level all season. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo finally lost a game as a starter, throwing three bad interceptions of his own. San Francisco lost No. 1 RB Jerick McKinnon to a torn ACL late in training camp and doesn’t have anyone to fill his invaluable role.

Betting Trend: Since the start of 2014, Detroit is 5-1 straight up and 4-2 against the spread after losing by 17 or more points.

Pick: Lions +5.5

Confidence Level: High


New England Patriots (-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars

4:25 p.m. ET

The Jaguars played two home games last regular season against teams that would go on to reach the playoffs, and they suffered double-digit defeats both times, to the Titans and Rams. Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette missed the second half of Sunday’s game after suffering a hamstring injury midway through the second quarter. T.J. Yeldon, who averaged only 2.6 yards per carry after halftime against the Giants, would be a considerable downgrade for Sunday’s game if Fournette isn’t healthy enough to play.

Betting Trend: New England is 21-0 straight up and 14-7 against the spread vs. AFC South opponents since the start of 2010.

Pick: Patriots -2

Confidence Level: Very High


Oakland Raiders (+5.5) at Denver Broncos

4:25 p.m. ET

Jon Gruden’s return to coaching was marred by three interceptions from Raiders QB Derek Carr, though the passing game moved the ball well, especially through TE Jared Cook (180 receiving yards). Oakland’s defense, meanwhile, showed some promise in forcing a few short FG attempts in red-zone situations. Denver’s defense forced three turnovers in Week 1, while Case Keenum balanced his own three interceptions with three touchdown passes in the Broncos’ 27-24 win over the Seahawks.

Betting Trend: Oakland is 15-9 against the spread as a road underdog with Derek Carr as the team’s quarterback.

Pick: Oakland +5.5

Confidence Level: Moderate

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