Mike Carlson explains why you'd be wrong to read too much into the week one action and selects three bets for week two, including a home win for Denver and victory on the road for Aaron Rodgers and co.
"Denver has got just enough up front to put some pressure on Dak Prescott, and just enough offense from Trevor Siemian, the Passing Primate, to build up a lead the Cowboys may have trouble chasing in the fourth."
The aftermath of week one in the NFL was famously dubbed 'National Jump To Conclusions Week' by Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, and week two is often a dangerous week for betting for just that reason. Your cognitive psychologists call it 'recency effect', your statisticians call it 'small sample size' and your skilled football guys call it 'look at that offensive line they were up against and figure how they got ten sacks'.
So it's probably safe to say the Patriots will not spiral to a 7-9 season (and more than they were ever going to go 19-0, as so many people were saying). A 12-4 season and division win seems a likely record. The Chiefs will not go 16-0, not with Eric Berry out for the year and Alex Smith still showing some of the cracks in his Under Armor. The Jags will not register 160 sacks this season; the Seahawks will still win at home this week; Jared Goff is not quite Kirk Cousins yet. On the other hand, the Bengals will probably score a TD sometime this season. The Jets and Colts may find the fight for the first pick in 2018's promising college quarterback lottery harder than they anticipated.
This week's best bet actually happened last night. I was saying, only half-facetiously, that if the over/under on Houston at Cincinnati was in double-figures, take the under. Well, it was higher than 10, but that didn't matter, because the 22 points the teams registered still cruised under the points bar. Gifts like that don't come along every week, sadly.
Broncos have enough to see off Dallas
The Broncos getting points at home is hard to resist. I think this one may well be another three pointer (I did tell you I really liked the Chargers +3.5 last week, and sure enough their rookie kicker got done in on the second try of his tying field goal) but I think Denver has got just enough up front to put some pressure on Dak Prescott, and just enough offense from Trevor Siemian, the Passing Primate, to build up a lead the Cowboys may have trouble chasing in the fourth. Much as I dislike road favourites, I think the Pats (-6 at 10/11) at New Orleans might be a good one to take. It's short of a TD, and I think they're going to win by a TD at least. If you think so too, the under (55 at 20/21) might be a decent side bet.
Arians to get Cardinals going against Colts
Bruce Arians used to coach the Colts, while Chuck Pagano was ill, and he probably understands what they are trying to do. Maybe, if anyone does. They will be starting Jacoby Brissett, acquired from New England just before the start of the season, and he gives them the equivalent of DeShone Kizer in Cleveland: he may keep plays alive when his line breaks down, gain some yardage running, and not turn the ball over too much. Which would be the winning formula if the Colts could run the ball. If Brissett can hit TY Hilton twice downfield, this is a different story, but bad as Arizona looked last week in Detroit, and much as the loss of David Johnson cripples their offense, look for Arians to get something going against a weak Colt D, and look for their defense to gel a bit against that weak Colt line.
Packers to ruin Falcons first game at new home
I would not be surprised to see Aaron Rodgers and the Packers deny the Falcons a victory in their first game in their new stadium, and for ecological reasons they ought to be favourites in a city that seems to feel a need to build a new stadium every ten years. But Aaron Rodgers did just enough against Seattle, albeit at home, and Seattle's D is a bigger version of the Falcons. The question is whether Green Bay's D will stop the Falcons if they get their offense back in synch the way it was last season. The over (54 at 20/21) might be tempting here too. Philadelphia (to win at 27/20) at Kansas City is a long shot I kind of fancy, partly because Eric Berry is out, and partly because Doug Pederson might understand his mentor, Andy Reid, better than Reid thinks in this battle of coaching mentor against disciple.