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NFL: Final thoughts on Week 1 and Week 2 opening lines

TAGs: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kirby Garlitos, Luke Kuechly, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Tom Brady

NFL: Final thoughts on Week 1 and Week 2 opening linesSunday’s game saw books came away on top but that excitement couldn’t carry over to Monday’s games when the public made decent chunks from the Detroit Lions’ demolition of the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals’ come-from-behind win against the San Diego Chargers. The public was squarely on the side of Detroit on San Diego and even though Arizona won at the end, it wasn’t enough to cover the three-point spread.

We now move on to Week 2 of the NFL.

Biggest and smallest lines of the week

Much like Week 1, lines for this weekend’s games has one double-digit favorite with the Denver Broncos holding court as 12.5-point favorites at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. The line initially opened at -10.5 but Vegas books tacked on two more points after seeing the Chiefs get trounced at home by the Tennessee Titans.

Meanwhile, the winner for the closest line of the week goes to the Miami Dolphins – Buffalo Bills with the home team, that being Buffalo, penciled in as 1-point favorites. This line actually has Miami as slight favorites because of the traditional three points tacked on to every home team’s line. Both impressed in Week 1, but you can definitely make a case for Miami impressing more with its second half shutout of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

All eyes on Steelers-Ravens

This game will actually be played on Thursday night, but with the recent fallout from the Ray Rice domestic violence saga, you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody talking about anything other than his banishment from the NFL. Still, the Ravens are 3-point favorites against its division rival. That’s not a surprise considering how close these games have been in the past. In fact, over the last 10 regular season games between these two teams, eight of those times ended with a three-point victory with another game ending with a two-point win. The only time the game wasn’t close was when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore, 35-7, in Week 1 of the 2011–2012 season.

Favorites looking to bounce back

The New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, and New England Patriots all lost their Week 1 games. Now, expectations are that all three teams will bounce back in a big way in Week 2. It’s no surprise then that all three are favored, maybe even a little overvalued, against their respective opponents. The Patriots are road favorites against the Minnesota Vikings, giving up 3.5 points. Meanwhile, the Saints are an even bigger favorite against the Cleveland Browns with the home team penciled in as 6-point underdogs. The Packers are the only ones among the three playing at home and the -8.5 line suggests a huge return to form for QB Aaron Rodgers. Keep an eye out on these three games because all have the potential to post heavy line movements throughout the week.

Can they keep it up?

The Detroit Lions and the Carolina Panthers both came out on the positive side of the scoreboard in Week 1. Both also covered their respective spreads, easily I might add. Now the Lions head to Carolina in what could end up being one of the most interesting games of the week. Panthers QB Cam Newton is expected to start in that game, which is probably why the odds have the Panthers as 3-point favorites. My guess is that line would have been -2 on Detroit if Derek Anderson is the Carolina QB in that game. Still, the game has the makings of a barnburner with Stafford leading that high-flying Lions attack against an elite defense led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly.

Two other teams that fall under the same headline are the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals. Both also won their Week 1 games, but Vegas books are still hesitant on giving Atlanta a lot of respect. Lines opened with the Bengals as 4.5-point favorites and has since been moved to -5.5, presumably due to its impressive 8-0 SU and ATS records at home last season. The public will likely be all over the Falcons on this one on account of their impressive showing at home against New Orleans so I expect it to go down back to -4.5 Cincy, maybe even -4, in the latter part of the week.

Other notable games

The Dallas Cowboys visit Tennessee to play a Titans team that surprised many people with their impressive Week 1 blowout of the Kansas City Chiefs. The home team has been penciled in as -3.5 favorites although at this point, it’s hard to trust Tony Romo and the Cowboys to play a complete game. At some point, they’re going to screw it up. That being said, the Cowboys are the Cowboys and they still have their delusional fans. This line could settle at -3.

I’ve gone this far without mentioning the defending champions. Wow. Sorry, Seattle. Anyway, the Seahawks travel to San Diego to take on a Chargers team that has been listed as 4.5-point home underdogs. Action immediately went Seattle’s way, prompting some books to bring the spread up to 5. Judging by how both teams performed in Week 1, a 5-point spread might not even be high enough.

Seattle’s big rival in the NFC West, the San Francisco 49ers, play their first home game in their brand new stadium. Expect it to be a raucous crowd that could give the Chicago Bears a lot of problems. The opening line saw the Niners posted as -6 favorites, but some books have bumped that up to -7 after seeing the Giants inexplicably lose against the Buffalo Bills at home.

The Houston Texans are half-way to matching their win total from last season. Unbelievable, right? This week, they get a chance to do just that when they travel to Oakland to play a Raiders team that looked out-of-sorts in their game against the New York Jets. The Texans are -2.5 road favorites on the account of JJ Watt turning himself into one of the best players in the league. It’s just too bad that Houston won’t get a chance to face its former QB, Matt Schaub, for this one. That won’t be pretty, folks.

Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles needed every bit of second half magic it could muster to come from behind and beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. It did seem like the Jags were on their way to a shocking win they opened the game 17-0. But alas, Philly stormed back and somehow even covered the 10.5-point spread, much to the chagrin of Jacksonville backers. This week, Philly goes to Indianapolis to face Andrew Luck and the Colts. Currently, Indy has been listed as -3 favorites. But don’t be surprised if that line drops to -2.5 because of Robert Mathis’ season-ending injury.

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