Week 2 NFL Picks: Latest Betting Odds, Vegas Spreads and Projections

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

Sep 7, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Remaining steady is key with betting on the NFL heading into Week 2.  

Experienced bettors knew the opening slate would produce a handful of shockers many didn't see coming. Whether it was the New England Patriots going down, teams like the Chicago Bears looking competent, the Jacksonville Jaguars winning, the Cincinnati Bengals getting shut out or a game even getting postponed, Week 1 wasn't an easy first dive into the odds pool.  

But it gets easier. Teams will even out, whether via adaptations or simply waking up. Bettors themselves will adapt to the idea formerly good teams fell off and bad teams have turned a corner. 

Below, let's take a glance at the opening odds and nail down predictions for each game ahead of Thursday's contest. 

               

NFL Week 2 Schedule, Odds

Houston at Cincinnati (-3)

Arizona (-7.5) at Indianapolis

Buffalo at Carolina (-7)

Chicago at Tampa Bay (-6.5)

Cleveland at Baltimore (-7.5)

Minnesota at Pittsburgh (-4.5)

New England (-4) at New Orleans 

Philadelphia at Kansas City (-5.5)

Tennessee (-1.5) at Jacksonville 

Miami at L.A. Chargers (-2.5)

N.Y. Jets at Oakland (-14)

Dallas (-1.5) at Denver

San Francisco at Seattle (-13)

Washington at L.A. Rams (-3)

Green Bay at Atlanta (-3)

Detroit at N.Y. Giants (-5)

Bold denotes predicted winner against the spread. 

           

Houston at Cincinnati (-3)

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 10:  Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the fourth quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Imag
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Bettors have to make a decision on the Bengals. 

Is it a fluke the Bengals hosted the Baltimore Ravens at home and took a 20-0 beating while Andy Dalton turned the ball over five times? Or are the losses of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler up front that serious? 

We should find out on a short week. Cincinnati's disastrous performance in the trenches will get put to the test on Thursday by J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. Granted, those Texans lost 29-7 to the Jaguars. 

Something has to give, right? The Texans at least have the element of the unknown going for them heading into the short week based on the idea head coach Bill O'Brien will trot out rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: 

Why not? O'Brien benched starter Tom Savage against the Jaguars and Watson went on to look steady, throwing for 102 yards with a touchdown and interception. 

One of these teams will respond. Houston heads into hostile territory rallying around a new starter. Cincinnati tries again at a home field where it was booed off after one of the worst openers in franchise history. These factors aside, the Bengals don't have an ability to mix things up in the trenches based on the depth chart, meaning Watt and his other rushers should feast while forcing Dalton into more mistakes. 

Prediction: Texans 27, Bengals 20

          

New England (-4) at New Orleans 

Don't count on the Patriots being down for too long.

Yes, the Patriots went down in the NFL opener, looking sloppy late in a 42-27 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, the defense looked like it desperately missed Jamie Collins while letting Alex Smith of all people throw four touchdowns and a guy named Kareem Hunt rush for 148 yards and a score (granted, he won't just be "a guy" much longer). 

"We learned a lot against Kansas City, certainly in the fourth quarter," Belichick said, according to ESPN.com's Mike Reiss. "Hopefully we can improve on it and do a better job here the next time around."

When it comes from Belichick, it isn't just coachspeak. And the opponent is a New Orleans Saints team that just got carved up by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford, who threw for three touchdowns while rookie back Dalvin Cook ran for 127 yards. 

This is where bettors have to make the tough decisions mentioned in the intro—what's more likely to occur? New England finally falling off or the Saints defense once again looking akin to a leaky vessel with the way quarterbacks can pick it apart?

Seasoned bettors know the drill. As Reiss noted, the Patriots haven't started a season 0-2 since 2001. And for a fun angle, don't forget about Brandin Cooks' revenge game. The Saints have Drew Brees, but bettors can expect Brady to pull away late. 

Prediction: Patriots 33, Saints 30

       

Washington at L.A. Rams (-3)

Here's a fun idea to clutch going into the second week—the Los Angeles Rams are good. Maybe really good.

It all starts and ends at quarterback in the NFL, and when Jared Goff looks like a new player while throwing for 306 yards and a score in a 46-9 whipping of the Indianapolis Colts, the above statement doesn't sound so crazy. 

Talk about a tale of diverging quarterbacks after Week 1. Goff looked great, while Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins imploded in a 30-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN.com's John Keim recently did some legwork while analyzing how Cousins plays under pressure and the results aren't pretty: "Cousins has thrown eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions when under duress. Rodgers? He's thrown 18 touchdowns to four interceptions. How about Brady, Mariota and Newton? A combined 33 touchdowns and 11 picks."

As ESPN's Adam Schefter illustrated, the chatter around Goff is quite different: 

This is a much easier line than it seems. Washinton's offense looks so-so at best while trying to break in Terrelle Pryor Sr. and others after offseason losses like Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. The Rams have surrounded Goff with droves of talent, from running back Todd Gurley to rookie wideout Cooper Kupp to new arrival Sammy Watkins. 

And bettors know the Aaron Donald-led defense can apply pressure consistently. Look for Goff to keep ticking while Cousins makes a few critical mistakes under pressure, helping slip this one over the spread. 

Prediction: Rams 35, Redskins 30

             

Stats courtesy of NFL.com. Odds via OddsShark.