Week 2 NFL ATS Betting Picks: Bengals roll, Saints over Bucs, Broncos bounce back

Week 2 NFL ATS Betting Picks: Bengals roll, Saints over Bucs, Broncos bounce back

This article is part of our Beating the Book series.

Week 1 is officially in the books, and despite some major carnage with several heavy favorites going down – including a few losing outright – we managed to escape with a respectable 9-7 record ATS.

On the contrary, the 49ers succumbing to the elements in Chicago dropped us to 0-1 on the year in our best bets. As soon as I woke up Sunday morning and saw what we were dealing with at Soldier Field, I knew we were going to be in serious trouble. Luckily, there don't appear to be any freshwater hurricanes in the forecast for Week 2.

Other than whiffing on a few of the major upsets – Indianapolis-Houston was taunting me all afternoon – I feel good about the direction we're heading. Coming off of a week with a ton of road favorites, the NFL brings a more traditional slate in Week 2.

As of Wednesday morning, we have five big-number favorites – the 49ers, Rams, Broncos, Packers and Bills – all of whom are playing at home. Elsewhere, the Raiders are giving 6.0 points to the Cardinals, while the Bengals (-7.5) are big favorites at Dak-less Dallas.

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Before we dive into Week 2, let's take a quick look back at the good and the bad from my Week 1 picks.

Last week: 9-7 ATS, 11-4-1 straight up

On the season: 9-7 ATS, 11-4-1 straight up

Best call of Week 1: 

  • In terms of the roster, it felt like the Jags loaded up on a bunch of B-minus-level players in free agency. Overall, they'll be a more competitive team week-to-week, but I know better than to have high expectations to begin the year.

Worst calls of Week 1 (tie):

  • [Matt] Ryan is a major floor-raiser at the position who will help keep Indianapolis from some of last season's disaster games. 
  • I trust the Titans' defense to consistently pressure Daniel Jones and limit Saquon Barkley to one of those 15-50-0 lines fantasy managers know all too well.

NFL Week 2 Odds: Rams, Packers among double-digit favorites

As will be the case every week throughout the regular season, we'll start with Thursday Night Football and go game-by-game, picking each contest against the spread. My best bet will always be highlighted in gold.

All odds this week come via the DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday at Noon ET.

NFL Week 2 Spread Picks

Thursday Night Football

Los Angeles Chargers (+4.0) at Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City and Buffalo were the two most impressive teams in Week 1, but it may take a few weeks to determine if the Cardinals are simply not a good team this season. Either way, it's difficult not to be enthralled by how productive and diverse the Kansas City offense looked in Week 1. Patrick Mahomes completed 30 passes to nine different receivers, while five players scored the Chiefs' six touchdowns on the afternoon. For his career, Mahomes is now 12-2 in the month of September with 46 touchdowns to three interceptions.

Meanwhile, the Chargers avenged their Week 18 loss to Las Vegas on Sunday, but it wasn't nearly as impressive of a wire-to-wire effort. Justin Herbert spread the ball around to rack up 24 points through three quarters, but the Chargers' final four drives of consequence resulted in three three-and-outs and a missed field goal. Despite three Derek Carr interceptions, the Raiders still had a drive to potentially win the game before back-to-back sacks by Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack slammed the door shut.

Ultimately, these are two of the five best teams in the league, so the 4.0-point spread feels about right, but with Keenan Allen (hamstring) almost certainly sidelined for Los Angeles, I'll take the Chiefs at home to win, but the Chargers to cover.

The pick: Chiefs 30 – Chargers 27

Sunday Early Games

Carolina Panthers (+2.0) at New York Giants

This is what it's all about, baby. Panthers. Giants. Mayfield. Jones. Can the Giants keep the dream of a perfect season alive? In all seriousness, this is an extremely difficult game to figure out. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy (Paul Pierce).

As it turns out, Baker Mayfield did not have the best or worst game of his football career last week, as some predicted. In fact, after a shaky start, Mayfield looked pretty decent against a good Browns defense that played well other than giving up a 75-yard touchdown to Robbie Anderson. Carolina's overall offensive numbers didn't look great, but keep in mind that they only ran 50 plays – the second-fewest of any team in Week 1 – while Cleveland controlled possession on the ground.

On the other side, New York is riding high after a come-from-behind win on the road at Tennessee. The Titans may take a step back this season, but it's still a quality win. And more importantly, Saquon Barkley looked a lot like 2018 Saquon Barkley, which is a bad sign for the rest of the league.

This is a game I know I'll go back-and-forth on all week. Part of me wants to roll with the Giants for the sake of a potential 4-0 start – they face the Cowboys and Bears at home in Weeks 3 and 4 – but I'm taking the Panthers. For as great as Barkley looked, Daniel Jones was still a significant liability, and the Giants' pass-catchers are a bottom-five group. None of that is going to change over the course of a week. 

The pick: Panthers 23 – Giants 20

New England Patriots (-1.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

This is another brutal game to handicap. The Steelers came away with one of the surprising victories of Week 1, but it may have cost them their best defensive and offensive players. We know for sure that T.J. Watt won't be available, but Najee Harris' status appears to be up in the air.

While the Steelers' defense deserves a ton of credit for forcing five Joe Burrow turnovers, it completely overshadowed the fact that the offense was an unmitigated disaster for virtually the entire day. Despite the plus-five turnover advantage, the Steelers ran 33 fewer plays than Cincinnati, had 19 fewer first downs, finished with 165 fewer yards and only entered the red zone on two of 13 drives.

With all of that in mind, plus the absence of Watt, it's understandable that the Patriots are slight favorites on the road. Their offense wasn't exactly lighting it up in Miami on Sunday, but I like Mac Jones to play slightly more competent football than Mitch Trubisky. If the Pats lose, it would be Bill Belichick's first 0-2 start since 2001.

The pick: Patriots 16 – Steelers 13

New York Jets (+6.0) at Cleveland Browns

First and foremost, congratulations to the Browns for snapping their 17-year Week 1 losing streak. Lowkey one of the most unbreakable records in sports. Before Sunday, the last time Cleveland won a Week 1 game, I was in seventh grade and still 100 percent sure I was going to play 15 years in the NBA.

Anyway. The Browns suddenly have a very workable path to a 4-0 start with the Steelers and Falcons on the schedule over the next two weeks. But first and foremost, they'll have to stick to the same plan – run the absolute hell out of the ball and only give up one 75-yard touchdown – that worked in Carolina. The Jets' defense actually did a good job stifling Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' running game, but much like last week I don't see New York scoring enough points to win.

The pick: Browns 20 – Jets 13

Miami Dolphins (+3.5) at Baltimore Ravens

This is my favorite matchup in the early window and could end up being the best game of the week. The Ravens beat the Jets by two scores but got off to a slow start and only gained 63 yards (on 21 carries) on the ground. On a more positive note, Lamar Jackson tossed three touchdowns, and Baltimore's defense held up well against the Jets' controversial Joe Flacco Raid offense.

A win here would give the Dolphins a nice cushion ahead of tough games against Buffalo (Week 3) and Cincinnati (Week 4, TNF). It would also likely make Mike McDaniel the early Coach of the Year favorite. Miami took down New England in Week 1 for the second year in a row, but Jackson and this offense are a much different animal than the Mac Jones experience. I don't love it, but give me the Ravens to play just well enough on defense and win a close one at home. Ravens win, Dolphins cover.

The pick: Ravens 23 – Dolphins 21

Indianapolis Colts (-4.0) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Lost in the fray of the Week 1 chaos is the fact that all four big cat teams are 0-1. Does it mean anything? Too early to tell, but it's something we'll continue to monitor closely over the next few weeks. 

The Colts looked downright bad for at least half of their Week 1 tie against Houston, and while the Jags showed signs of competency in Washington, I'm surprised this number isn't a little higher. Jacksonville has played the Colts well in recent years – 8-5 straight up in last 13 meetings – but even after last week I'm convinced that Indianapolis has a much higher floor week-to-week.

Improved as the Jaguars' roster may be, they still made way, way too many mistakes against the Commanders. The Colts could also have Shaquille Leonard back after he was held out of the opener.

In what will almost certainly become a recurring theme once again this year: We're fading the Jags.

The pick: Colts 27 – Jaguars 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at New Orleans Saints

The Bucs only found the endzone once against a Cowboys team that could not move the ball whatsoever on Sunday night. They lost Chris Godwin to injury. The offensive line looked shaky at best. They've lost seven straight regular season games to New Orleans and are 4-16 against the Saints in their last 20 matchups.

And yet, the Bucs are favored by 2.5 points at the Superdome. By the time Sunday morning rolls around, it feels like this will be a mega-popular upset pick, which does give me some degree of pause. The Saints struggling for most of Week 1 against Atlanta is also a red flag. But for as good as the Bucs' defense and running game looked against Dallas, I'm not convinced that that version of the Cowboys was the best barometer.

Give me the Saints to cover and win outright.

The pick:  Saints 23 – Buccaneers 20

Washington Commanders (+1.5) at Detroit Lions

On the one hand, Carson Wentz and the Commanders deserve credit for rallying back to beat Jacksonville despite Wentz tossing picks on consecutive passes in the second half. On the other hand, it's the Jaguars. Wentz truly did thread the needle with some impressive throws in that win, and he'll have to do more of the same to hold off a Lions team that just put up 35 points on the Eagles.

I'm still not completely sold on the Dan Campbell experience, but this is the type of game Detroit absolutely has to win at home to feel like it's truly moving in the right direction. For better or for worse, give me the Lions.

The pick: Lions 26 – Commanders 24

Sunday Late Games

Seattle Seahawks (+9.5) at San Francisco 49ers

It felt like the oddsmakers went a little conservative in Week 1, but the gloves are coming off for Week 2. I actually witnessed this line move from 49ers -9.0 to 49ers -10.0 as I'm writing this sentence (editor's note: it moved back to -9.5 on Wednesday morning). So with Seattle beating Denver and San Francisco coming off of a loss to the Bears, what explains this number?

For one, it looks like George Kittle has a good chance to be back in action for the Niners, which is huge. And secondly, the oddsmakers appear to be giving San Francisco a pass for the preposterous conditions in Chicago, which, frankly, I agree with.

Still, this line is way too high for me to roll with San Francisco at home. I'm fine with giving Trey Lance a pass for last week, but he's still yet to prove he can play quarterback at an above-average level. On top of that, San Francisco lost its starting running back for two months 

Meanwhile, even if a cocktail of emotions, home field advantage and horrendous decisions by Denver delivered the Seahawks a Week 1 win, to me they at least proved that they'll be a formidable opponent week in and week out.

I'll follow the numbers and take the 49ers to win, but I like Seattle to cover.

The pick: 49ers 24 – Seahawks 20

Atlanta Falcons (+10.5) at Los Angeles Rams

With a handful of other games sitting at a 10.0-point spread, this is officially the largest number of the week – at least for now (it opened at Rams -13.0 back in May). The Rams were trampled by the Bills in the Thursday Night Opener, but to me that was more about Buffalo flexing its muscle than an indictment on the Rams, who barely played any regulars during the preseason.

Atlanta is a capable offense with a unique style, but after facing Josh Allen on Thursday, going up against Marcus Mariota should feel like flipping the CPU gameplay from All-Madden to Pro. Don't be surprised if the Rams suffer another slow start and Atlanta hangs around, but I'm not betting against Sean McVay with an extra three days to prepare.

The pick: Rams 30 – Falcons 20

Arizona Cardinals (+6.0) at Las Vegas Raiders

I know Arizona was missing some key pieces in Week 1, but they were not a Rondale Moore and 33-year-old J.J. Watt away from hanging with the Chiefs. Now, there's a good chance the Chiefs are simply an extremely good team and the Cardinals aren't as bad as they looked, but they won't have much time to regroup before facing another strong opponent in Las Vegas.

It was tough to get a read on the Raiders in Week 1. They force-fed Davante Adams all afternoon and basically abandoned the run after trailing 17-3 at halftime. But even with Derek Carr throwing three interceptions, the Raiders were still in position to potentially steal a win late in the fourth.

Falling to the Chargers in Josh McDaniels' first game is by no means a bad loss. I like the Raiders to bounce back and officially put Kliff Kingsbury on the hot seat.

The pick: Raiders 31 – Cardinals 21

Houston Texans (+10.0) at Denver Broncos

As I wrote in my NFL Notebook Dump earlier this week, we would view both the Broncos and Seahawks much differently right now had Denver not gone 0-for-4 in the red zone with a pair of fumbles at the one-yard line. While Seattle got out to a hot start, the Broncos finished the game with more first downs, more plays, more rushing yards, more passing yards and seven more minutes of possession. Take away the red zone ineptitude, and Denver wins the game fairy comfortably.

On the Houston side of things, the Texans have to feel like they let an opportunity slip after blowing a 20-3 lead and settling for a tie, but for the second year in a row it feels like they've already shown that they won't be an automatic win each week. 

It won't be a total blowout, but Denver isn't losing this game at home.

The pick: Broncos 31 – Texans 17

Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) at Dallas Cowboys

This line has taken a massive turn in favor of the Bengals on the road, and understandably so. Not only will Dallas be without Dak Prescott, but the Cowboys' offense looked completely ineffective against Tampa Bay before Prescott broke his thumb midway through the fourth quarter.

This is lining up as an obvious bounceback spot for the Bengals. The only wait-and-see for Cincinnati is the status of Tee Higgins, who left last week's game with a concussion. Even if Higgins is a no-go, Tyler Boyd is a more-than-capable option next to Ja'Marr Chase, while Hayden Hurst had a nice Week 1 in his Bengals debut. As detailed above, without the five turnovers from Burrow, they likely would have taken care of Pittsburgh with relative ease.

Dallas' defense – particularly the pass rush – did look good on Sunday night, and Burrow was sacked seven times by Pittsburgh. But as long as that line can keep Burrow upright for most of the day, the Bengals should move the ball enough to easily out-pace Dallas' output with Cooper Rush under center.

The pick: Bengals 26 – Cowboys 13

Sunday Night Football

Chicago Bears (+9.5) at Green Bay Packers

Much like last season against New Orleans – a game I completely forgot was played at a neutral site in Jacksonville – the Packers were punched in the mouth early by Minnesota and never punched back. With that said, if Christian Watson doesn't have one of the worst drops in recent memory, and if the Packers aren't stuffed at the goal line a couple drives later, it's a much different outcome.

Green Bay's defense played much better in the second half, and unlike Minnesota, Chicago's defense isn't good enough to make the Packers pay for their lack of options at receiver. Key injuries on the offensive line, and the lack of a true No. 1 pass-catcher, are big concerns, but the Packers should have no trouble bouncing back at home.

The pick: Packers 27 – Bears 15

Monday Night Football Doubleheader

Tennessee Titans (+10.0) at Buffalo Bills

Buffalo moved the ball at will against the Rams in Week 1 and that game could've gotten even more out of hand had it not been for two interceptions and a fumble in the first half. I'm not as down on Tennessee as some, but this is an absolutely brutal matchup for a team looking to bounce back from a surprising home loss. 

I don't see Tennessee rolling over, but if Buffalo is able to stifle Derrick Henry in the same way the Giants did, it's hard to imagine the Titans keeping pace with the Bills through the air. 

The pick: Bills 31 – Titans 20

Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

The last time the Eagles won a Week 2 game, Dorial Green-Beckham had two catches for 18 yards. Ryan Mathews scored twice. That was all the way back in 2016, so we're looking at a five-year streak of Philadelphia starting either 1-1 or 0-2. That's not ideal, but the Browns did just snap a much longer, much sadder streak a few days ago, so I wouldn't read too far into this.

At any rate, this is yet another really difficult game, and it's one that I already have penciled into the "1-point" slot in my confidence points pick 'em league (highly recommend). Both of these teams looked great on offense in Week 1, and both make sense as dark-horse Super Bowl teams in the NFC.

My initial lean is in favor of the Eagles, but mostly because they're at home. I'm also trying not to lean too much into Minnesota's beatdown of Green Bay. Keep in mind that after the Saints beat the Packers 38-3 in Week 1 last season, they turned around and lost to the Panthers by 19. I don't know if that's relevant, but it's true.

The pick: Eagles 27 – Vikings 24


Last week: 9-7 ATS, 11-4-1 straight up

On the season: 9-7 ATS, 11-4-1 straight up

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Whalen
Now in his 10th year with the company, Nick is RotoWire's Senior Media Analyst, a position he took on after several years as the Head of Basketball Content. A multi-time FSGA and FSWA award winner, Nick co-hosts RotoWire's flagship show on Sirius XM Fantasy alongside Jeff Erickson, as well as The RotoWire NBA Show on Sirius XM NBA with Alex Barutha. He also co-hosts RotoWire's Football and Basketball podcasts. You can catch Nick's NBA and NFL analysis on VSiN and DraftKings, as well as RotoWire's various social and video channels. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @wha1en.
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