Even though it’s early in the week, wise bettors have already begun serious preparations for Week 2 of the NFL season.
Regardless of whether you got shelled or cashed in during the opening week of football, it’s now time to focus on the next slate of games and either turning your luck around or pushing your streak to epic levels.
Let’s take a look at the top games on the board that you should bet big this weekend.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-7) over Cleveland Browns
After getting dismantled by Peyton Manning’s seven touchdown passes and the Mile High air in the season opener, it’s time to pick up the Ravens and back them in Week 2 against the Browns.
This squad is capable of great things—as it showed us during the Super Bowl run last season—and will not stay down long, especially not against the lowly Browns with Brandon Weeden under center.
Baltimore has the home-field advantage, plenty of rest and a chip on its shoulder heading into this AFC North battle, while Cleveland proved incapable of playing to its strengths and continued to dial up passes for its largely ineffective signal-caller.
Expect the Ravens to play smashmouth football, run it down the throat of the Browns and walk away with a .500 record in a double-digit blowout.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (-6) over Jacksonville Jaguars
Many people were fading the Raiders prior to the season kickoff but are now regretting the decision after watching Terrelle Pryor repeatedly gash the Indianapolis Colts defense and nearly pull off the upset.
After such a gutsy performance, Vegas wisely installed Oakland as six-point favorites as the Raiders play in front of the home crowd this weekend. They might as well have made it 10, as the Jags are going to struggle to get anything done offensively in the “Black Hole.”
It’s not often that a team has a better chance of winning with its starting quarterback sidelined, but Blaine Gabbert has been absolutely atrocious under center and Chad Henne represents a significant upgrade.
In Week 1, Gabbert connected on just 16 of 35 passes for 121 yards and two interceptions. The running game was no better, with Maurice Jones-Drew pacing Jacksonville with 45 yards on 15 carries.
Henne may be able to find a few connections in the passing game and could even lead this team to an offensive score, but the Jags aren’t leaving the Bay Area without an 0-2 record after getting trounced by at least 10 points.
Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) over CHICAGO BEARS
After a tough loss to the Detroit to start the year, the Vikings have to face yet another NFC North foe on the road.
Once again, Minnesota is installed as a near-touchdown underdog, but this time the squad should be able to cover the spread.
Detroit was able to pull off a 10-point victory by bottling up Adrian Peterson and allowing just 15 yards the rest of the game after All Day busted a 78-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.
Don’t expect lightning to strike twice, as the Bears defense—as good as they looked against the run against the Cincinnati Bengals—is not going to be able to stop the league’s best back.
Like most rivalry games played within a division, this one projects to be a gritty, back-and-forth affair. It should remain relatively low scoring and be decided by a field goal or less, so take the points to cash your ticket.