Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season was all about the underdog. Bettors that relied on favorites to carry them to victory were disappointed, as a record number of underdogs covered the spread.
Underdogs broke a Week 1 record when the Raiders covered (and won) against the Ravens on “Monday Night Football.” That marked the 12th time in the NFL’s 16 games that an underdog had covered the spread.
The previous Week 1 high was 11 wins, which happened on three occasions.
Underdogs weren’t just covering though. They were winning as well. Nine underdogs emerged victoriously in Week 1, including five teams that won on the road. ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted on Sunday that underdogs hadn’t had that kind of success in more than 35 years.
It’s important not to overreact to the success of underdogs going into Week 2. Savvy bettors will continue to analyze trends and avoid jumping on massive line shifts right away. It’s best to take a full-scope look at the league and evaluate which teams simply had a bad week and which ones may not be quite as good as people thought coming into the season.
Also, it’s important to note that many injuries took place in Week 1 and will impact teams moving forward. Notably, the 49ers lost top running back Raheem Mostert (knee) for at least eight weeks and their top corner Jason Verrett (torn ACL) for the season. The Saints have also lost a few players going into Week 2. That includes corner Marshon Lattimore, defensive end Marcus Davenport and center Erik McCoy.
Those injuries, along with the ones suffered by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jerry Jeudy, will have a big-time impact on betting odds and line movement ahead of Week 2.
For more expert NFL predictions, check out Sporting News’ picks straight up and against the spread for Week 2.
NFL WEEK 2 PICKS: Against the spread | Straight-up predictions
NFL odds for Week 2
Below are the latest Week 2 NFL odds, including point spreads, money lines and over-under totals for every game, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Last updated: Wednesday, Sept. 15
NFL point spreads Week 2
NFL money lines Week 2
NFL over-unders Week 2
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NFL best bets for Week 2
Chiefs (-3.5) at Ravens
The Chiefs and Ravens both hit speed bumps in their season openers, but only the Chiefs emerged with a win. Patrick Mahomes helped the Chiefs overcome a 12-point deficit during a second-half rally against the Browns. Meanwhile, the Ravens blew a 14-point lead against the Raiders. It marked the first time they had lost a game in which they had a 14-point lead since 2014.
Those performances aside, the Chiefs hold a significant advantage over the Ravens in recent meetings. John Harbaugh has struggled to beat Andy Reid during his career. He has just a 1-5 record against him in six meetings. That includes four consecutive losses to Reid’s Chiefs, and in the three games featuring Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, the Chiefs have won by an average of 7.3 points per game.
Jackson has largely struggled in those contests. He has averaged just 170.3 passing yards in three games against Kansas City, all losses. He has done better with his legs — running for 196 yards — but he has only accounted for four total TDs while committing two turnovers and being sacked nine times. Only the Browns (12) have sacked Jackson more during his career.
The Ravens are also banged up in the secondary, and couldn’t hold up late against the Raiders. If Jimmy Smith can’t play, that could make Patrick Mahomes’ job a bit easier. Even if he does play, Marcus Peters’ absence will continue to loom large and Mahomes should be able to pick apart the Ravens’ defense.
The trends say that betting on the Chiefs is a good value at -3.5, so we’ll be trusting them even in a tough Baltimore road environment.
Seahawks (-5.5) vs. Titans
This pick is all about trusting the Seattle crowd to rattle Ryan Tannehill’s Titans.
The Seahawks have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. The 12th man tends to show up in full force, and that’s part of why Russell Wilson has posted a 55-17 record at home during his career.
Seattle has gone 44-32-2 against the spread at home since Wilson took over at quarterback in 2012. That’s good for a cover percentage of 57.9, which is tied for the third-best in the NFL over the last nine seasons.
Needless to say, the “twelves” will want to welcome back their hometown team with a win. The Seahawks can be trusted to win by a touchdown after the Titans struggled to contain Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. Tennessee allowed Arizona to score 38 points. Wilson is the NFL quarterback that is most similar to Murray, so the Tennessee defense could continue to struggle in coverage.
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Broncos (-6) at Jaguars
A week after underdogs went 12-4, our best bets for the week are three favorites. Go figure, but hopefully, the principle of “regression to the mean” comes into play here.
Here’s something you probably don’t know about Teddy Bridgewater: during his career, the Broncos quarterback has posted a 36-13-1 record against the spread as a starter. He has been as steady as they come in terms of delivering covers, and he should have a chance to do that easily against the Jaguars.
Jacksonville is a dumpster fire right now, to put it kindly. Urban Meyer’s time in Jacksonville is already off to a rocky start, and his team just lost to the Texans by 16 despite being favored by three points.
The Broncos just manhandled the Giants and allowed only seven points before a last-second TD scramble by Daniel Jones cut the lead to 14. The Broncos have a strong roster and should be able to keep Trevor Lawrence and Co. in check. They have a good chance to win this game by double digits, though playing in hot, humid Jacksonville could be a challenge for Denver.
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