After a strong start last week which saw me go 4-1 with my NFL odds picks, Week 2 has some more interesting angles in store. Week 1 always throws up some compelling results, and the key is about picking which ones are the red-herrings and which are signs of more to come.
For example, we saw sloppy offensive play from many teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Atlanta Falcons. However, not all of the teams that struggled in Week 1 are going to struggle offensively this season. Some were solely sloppy, some were stifled by good defense, and others have deep-rooted problems which need fixing. The key is identifying early on which teams fall into which category.
Week 1 also demonstrated a lot to us about defenses. With many defensive units facing full first-team offenses for the first time this season we got a real look into their talent levels. Some defenses are better than we thought, while others are much worse. Identifying which offenses fall into those categories can help us massively with our totals. Bad defenses are more likely to get their team sucked into shootouts and lead to overs hitting while sportsbooks are still adjusting lines.
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons
Here we have a matchup between two potential NFC playoff teams. This was almost a game between two 0-1 teams had the Eagles not snapped themselves out of their early funk. However, now it already feels like a must-win for the Falcons. Their division is going to be so competitive that starting 0-2 could be an ugly situation for them. The pressure on this one will ramp up even more if the Saints overcome the Rams in the Sunday afternoon window.
PFN Film Room study
One of the tools that separates PFN from other gambling sites is the ability for us to lean on our excellent Film Room department. When we have a hunch that could affect a bet, we back it up with a great group of people that can look into the film and bring us quality information. They worked hard to validate my most significant concern in this game.
This week I asked the film room to look at how the Washington Redskins offensive line stopped the Philadephia Eagles defense. The Redskins have arguably one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and the fact they managed to prevent the Eagles defensive line getting to the quarterback is worth noting. Throwing in the diabolical showing from the Eagles secondary there is a lot to be concerned about with this defense.
The Atlanta Falcons got absolutely embarrassed by the Vikings defense last week, but even then their sloppy play left roughly 14 points on the table. Now back at home in their dome, where the over was 5-3 last season I expect a better showing from a very talented offense.
The Eagles started slowly last week, but they came roaring back to score over 30 points against the Redskins. The Redskins defense is arguably better than the Falcons, while the Eagles should be able to have their way with the Atlanta defense. My only concern is that the Vikings ran the ball so effortlessly last week that the Eagles will just run the ball down the Falcons throat all game. However, the Eagles have so many weapons in the passing game they will struggle to resist opening up at times, especially if the Falcons are challenging them step-for-step.
Last season there were four games in the first six weeks in the Mercedes-Benz dome and those games averaged over 65 points per game. To expect that many again is more than optimistic, but there is every chance we see the total in this one fly through the 50.
1u – Over 51 Total Points | -106
Buffalo Bills at New York Giants
This one could win the title for the ugliest game of the weekend. The Bills and Giants combined for just 34 points last week and there is no reason to think scoring suddenly goes through the roof. Neither teams have smooth offenses, and both are trying to find an identity. The Bills defense is good enough they should be able to limit the explosiveness of Saquon Barkley. Meanwhile, the Giants defensive woes could be masked by the sometimes erratic nature of Josh Allen. The last matchup between these two teams saw just 34 points scored. Look for this to be an attritional game dominated by the running games of both sides.
1u – Under 43.5 Total Points | -110
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
These two teams put on defensive clinics in Week 1, allowing a combined 15 points in their two games. This division could e dominated by defense and there could easily be a lot of low scoring games between teams within it. The Vikings demonstrated in Week 1 that their offense is going to operate through the run game, and I believe that is how the Packers would like to lean as well. With Aaron Rodgers in the game, there is always a chance any game breaks into a shootout. However, the Vikings tend to play tight low scoring games, with the over going 6-10 last season in their games. Over the past four years, six of their eight contests have seen less than 45 points scored which would be enough for the under to hit in this one.
1u – Under 44.5 Total Points | -110
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
Ask anyone to name two teams that looked hopelessly out of sync in Week 1, and it will not take long before the Seahawks and Steelers names come up. The Steelers dropped so many passes it was embarrassing in their loss to the Patriots and the Seahawks just never got it working against the Bengals talented defense. Both offenses came up against underrated defenses in Week 1, so I do expect some level of bounce back. Equally, neither of these defenses impressed in Week 1 and may not be very good when all is said and done.
The numbers from last year suggest the over is the way to go with the Seahawks hitting the over on 10-of-17 occasions last season and the Steelers in 5-of-8 home games. I see this being a game of two halves to some extent. I am not sure these two offenses suddenly click at the start of Week 2, and therefore, could lean on the run plenty in the first half. However, both offenses looked to be more aggressive in the second half of games last week, and this game could easily break out into a shootout as the second half wears on. The play here for me initially is to bet the first half under. I will then be watching closely in-game to decide whether to take the second half over once half time hits.
1u – Under 23 First Half Points | -105
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams
Both of these teams come into this game following shootouts which saw over 55 points scored in each game. The Rams averaged 37.13 points per game at home last season with opponents averaging 26.75. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was one of the highest-scoring venues in the entire league last year, and I see no reason it will not be again this season.
Oh, and of course this is the NFC Championship revenge game from last season. Expect both offenses to come out hot in this one and looking to put down a marker in one of the most hotly contested games of the year. There will also likely be at worst a neutral site feel for the Saints, as their fans will likely flood to Los Angeles for this one. This should be an exhilarating game and could have echos of the Monday Night Shootout between the Chiefs and Rams in this very stadium last year.
1u – Over 52.5 Total Points | -110
Ben Rolfe is a gambling writer and editor for the NFC South and North at PFN. You can follow him @benrolfe15 on twitter. For more gambling information and bets, make sure to get our All-Access Pass! Follow us on Twitter for more great content @PFN365.