If you kept tabs on Week 1 or even just glossed over the box scores, you likely came away with the following takes:
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have something with Ryan Fitzpatrick
- The Pittsburgh Steelers are a mess
- The Dallas Cowboys’ offense? Didn’t even know they had one
Those three bullet points could be true going forward. However, the common fan or sports bettor can easily put too much stock in a one-game sample size and apply it to a team’s performance the upcoming week, which happens a lot after Week 1.
Here are some Week 2 matchups with lines and totals that could move based on what happened the week prior:
Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints
Open: Saints -9 (point spread) / 47 (game total)
Current: Saints -8/50
The Saints lost as double-digit favorites to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and quarterback … Ryan Fitzpatrick?
The 35-year-old journeyman, filling in for a suspended Jameis Winston, hung 48 points and handed the Saints, and likely a large chunk of your NFL survivor pool, a fat L. It’s not every day a backup quarterback can walk into the Superdome and outduel Drew Brees, but Fitzpatrick sliced up what was supposed to be a pretty good Saints defense.
After losing outright as a 10-point favorite, New Orleans is in a familiar spot in Week 2 when it hosts the Browns in a potential hangover matchup.
Cleveland looked primed for a Week 1 comeback win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, which would have been the franchise’s first victory since *flips back two calendar years* Christmas Eve 2016. Instead, a field-goal attempt was blocked in the final seconds of overtime, and the Browns had to settle for a tie. We’ll find out sooner than later in the Saints-Browns game how Cleveland responds to that heartbreaking finish.
Consider the Browns fortunate to even nab a tie with the Steelers after being outgained by 145 yards, while also losing the time of possession battle and other countless categories altogether. They benefited from turnover luck – forcing six in sloppy conditions – and yet still couldn’t win the game, which is mind-boggling.
The Saints were originally 10-point favorites over the Browns via CG Technology in Las Vegas’ look-ahead lines back in May. The spread on Sunday night opened a point lower and has trickled down to -8 in some Vegas books and most offshore books.
Though it’s an extremely small sample size, the Browns are 2-8 against the spread on the road when they’re seven-plus point underdogs under Hue Jackson the last two seasons.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Open: Steelers -5/49.5
Current: Steelers -5/52.5
Chiefs fans should thank the powers above after their front office landed Patrick Mahomes. He’s going to mask a lot of the team’s defensive flaws this season.
Kansas City’s transition from Alex Smith to the 2017 first-round pick got off to a fantastic start on Sunday with the Chiefs’ 38-28 win as 3.5-point underdogs on the road. We’ll never know how that result would have changed if Chargers wide receivers remembered how to catch a deep ball.
The Chiefs’ defense leaves plenty to be desired, from poor tackling against the run to a secondary that couldn’t stay in front of receivers all afternoon long in Week 1. That unit was Kansas City’s potential Achilles heel heading into the season, and it probably didn’t inspire much hope in the opener.
Now Kansas City is back on the road in an unfavorable spot against one of the NFL’s most potent offenses, even without Le’Veon Bell.
I’m not sure how you can trust the Chiefs against the Steelers’ offense in dry conditions. If you do, start preparing for some heartburn.
The Chiefs’ defense will arguably be even more outmatched in Week 2 in a stadium that won’t greet them with the red in the stands they saw in L.A. The Steelers are laying a touchdown on the look-ahead line, and anything less than that feels generous.
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills
Open: Chargers -9/44.5
Current: Chargers -7.5/43
Points will come at a premium for the Bills in 2018. That’s one takeaway from Week 1 that we can take out of the overreaction category and deem a fact.
Rainy conditions or not, the Bills’ offense is atrocious and can’t win games by itself. Oh, and the Ravens, of all teams, gashed Buffalo’s strength – its defense – for 47 points.
Positives were hard to find in the Bills’ opener. Nathan Peterman averaged a staggeringly low 1.3 yards per pass attempt, no receiver recorded more than 26 yards, and the defense let Joe Flacco throw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in a little more than two quarters of play.
If there’s one advantage the Bills hold over the Chargers in Week 2, it’s external: They’re facing a West Coast team traveling across the country for an early kickoff. However, that angle hasn’t provided much value over the years, aside from your typical slow start for the road team.
If you’re a bettor who plays numbers over teams, perhaps jumping on a touchdown-plus at home is right up your alley, especially after the Chargers were pegged as short one-point favorites on the look-ahead lines four months ago.
Or maybe you’re just relying on the Chargers to do Chargers-like things.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore’s betting writer. He’s a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from “Rounders” and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)