NFL Tipsheet: Mini previews and recommended bets for Week 2 fixtures

Luca expects JJ Watt to be the main man in a Houston Texans victory this weekend
Luca expects JJ Watt to be the main man in a Houston Texans victory this weekend

Luca Bercelli's finished last week strongly with five winning tips in a row. Can he continue where he left off?

"the real crux of this battle will be JJ Watt hunting down Cam Newton. With Cam bottled up and under pressure, the Panthers could struggle"

Recommended Bet
Back the Houston Texans +3.0pts @ 2.01/1

Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago Bears Sunday, 18:00

Versatile rushing/receiving threat Andre Ellington is on the sidelines for this one and that hurts the Cards considerably. Last season they relied almost exclusively on him for offense when Carson Palmer got injured. Palmer's back now and has other options, but I've switched sides after news of this injury. Da Bears did okay in restricting Superbowl favourites Green Bay to a narrow win in week one so should keep it close. It's a swerve for me but if you have to, take the 2.5pts with Chicago.

Recommended Bet
Back the Chicago Bears +2.5pts @ 1.981/1

Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants Sunday, 18:00

As cock-ups go the Giants took the jockstrap with their ridiculous two minute drill last week against the Cowboys. Play-calling, clock management and execution were all awry as they threw away a 1.01 winning position in a muddle that both coach and QB were falling over themselves to accept the blame for. That sloppiness should be a wake-up call; they'll get better this week, and will need to as the Falcons looked impressive in taking out many pundits' outside tip for the Superbowl, the Eagles, in a close one. Atlanta rely heavily on receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, but they could be stifled by a backfield that pretty much nullified Dez Bryant et al in week one. Despite his idiocy last week, Eli still covered the spread for us. I think he'll do so again.

Recommended Bet
Back the New York Giants +2.5pts @ 2.01/1

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings Sunday, 18:00

Both teams come off disappointing losses, but whereas the Vikes seem to have excuses: a rusty Adrian Peterson, an uncharacteristic bad day at the office from Teddy Bridgewater, and an inspired Colin Kaepernick in opposition; the Lions were disappointing and might just be in for a long season. They definitely missed Ndamukong Suh in allowing 483 yards, the most they've given up in 38 regular season games. A bright spot for Detroit was rookie running back Ameer Abdullah, who does look a star in the making, but without Megatron firing and a weakened defence, he's not going to do it on his own. This looks made for a Vikings' victory.

Recommended Bet
Back the Minnesota Vikings to win @ 1.784/5

Houston Texans @ Carolina Panthers Sunday, 18:00

JJ Watt was up to his normal freakish tricks for Houston v the Chiefs but even he couldn't compensate for a shocking debut by QB Brian Hoyer. He was rubbish last season for the Browns so it was puzzling that the Texans started him at all. Now that he has been cold-shouldered after just three quarters, Ryan Mallet (who performed well in the season opener) should bring improvement. The Panthers are likely to be without defensive talisman Luke Kuechly and that will hurt them considerably, but the real crux of this battle will be JJ Watt hunting down Cam Newton. With Cam bottled up and under pressure, the Panthers could struggle, so I'll take Houston with the points.

Recommended Bet
Back the Houston Texans +3.0pts @ 2.01/1

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills Sunday, 18:00

There's no way Tom Brady and co will be able to deflate the hot air balloon that is Rex Ryan when the Pats roll into Buffalo this week. Ryno is full of confidence after a great week one win v Indianapolis and if there's anyone who can get a team pumped it's him. The Buffalo defence will test the Patriots severely and with no running game to speak of, Gronk will attract mucho attention and may suffer as a result. That's a problem because he did most of their scoring against Pittsburgh. Also on the plus side for the Bills is their exciting new QB Tyrod Taylor. He shone in his debut and I expect him to register another win, so +1 point is a gift. Don't stare it in the chops.

Recommended Bet
Back the Buffalo Bills +1pt @ 1.9620/21

San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, 18:00

I've got a sneaking feeling that the Chargers might stroll out of Cincinnati with a win; and go on to have a more than decent season despite their derisory 30.029/1 quote for the Superbowl. If this was a quarterback duel pure and simple, Philip Rivers would pulverise Carrot Top. But, alas it's not, and there's no denying the fact that the Bengals have more individual talent on their roster. Add a couple of key injuries into the mix for the Chargers and you might think I've gone a bit Janice Dickinson (ie nuts), but sometimes you just have to trust that dirty feeling in your water. A visit to the doctor might be more appropriate, but Rivers and co are a nice price on the spread, and I'll go for a bet on them instead.

Recommended Bet
Back the San Diego Chargers +3.5pts @ 2.35/4

San Francisco 49ers @ Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, 18:00

Pittsburgh feel like they were cheated out of a win against the Pats in week 1 and many pundits are taking that as a sign that they're in decent shape. I'm pretty negative regarding New England this season, so that result doesn't inspire me with much was still a loss after all. The Niners on the other hand, surprised just about everyone against a quietly fancied Minnesota, limiting Adrian Peterson to 31 yards and pretty much stamping out any potential offence by the Vikes. Returning linebacker Navorro Bowman had a monster game and if he's on that form the Steelers will have problems, especially with Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant on the sidelines. The spread just feels wrong to me and I'm all over the Niners with the points.

Recommended Bet
Back the San Francisco 49ers +6.0pts @ 2.01/1

St Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins Sunday, 18:00

If ever there was a team in transition it's the Skins, who are adjusting to life post RGIII; but despite that, they actually played pretty tough in their opening week loss. They dominated the time of possession v the Dolphins but couldn't turn their good play into a win. Losing receiving star DeSean Jackson to injury and coming up against the conquerors of Seattle in week two won't help forward progress. The buoyant Rams should include several new offensive weapons including the top rookie running back in the draft Todd Gurley. He might not be unleashed at full pelt but could tip the scales in favour of a St Louis win.

Recommended Bet
Back St Louis Rams to win @ 1.674/6

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints Sunday, 18:00

Are Tampa Bay as bad as their 42-14 defeat to Tennessee suggests? I don't think so; and tend to agree with coach Lovie Smith, who said after the game: 'One disappointing game doesn't define our season. We won't let it.' The Buccaneers QB and number one overall draft pick Jameis Winston needs to banish that first outing to room 101 and show us what he's really made of. With top receiver Mike Evans likely to return he has every chance of doing so. The Saints are pretty pedestrian and lack a redzone threat now that Jimmy Graham has jumped ship, and with that in mind, I'll happily take Tampa with the points.

Recommended Bet
Back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers +10.0pts @ 2.01/1

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns Sunday, 18:00

Marcus Mariota is the real deal at quarterback. We found that out last week when he produced a perfect passer rating whilst crushing the Buccaneers. The rookie QB will be inevitably contrasted with Johnny Manziel, who has unfairly (IMO) been chucked under several buses in his short NFL career. I'm convinced Mr J Football will become a force in the league if he's ever given a real chance. Sunday is a golden opportunity to get the ball rolling and I reckon he'll rise to the challenge and shut a few people up. He needs help from his usually reliable defence, but given a return to their stingy play of last year, the Browns could nick this one.

Recommended Bet
Back the Cleveland Browns +1.5pts @ 2.01/1

Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders Sunday, 21:05

I'm so glad I'm not an Oakland fan. The stink in California gets worse year after year and no amount of high draft picks seems to make a difference. Defensively the Raiders were awful last week, and although they've only got a stuttering Ravens' offence to face, the loss of three players from their starting line up will be an invitation I don't expect Joe Flacco to refuse. He's a quality QB at his best and I expect him to have a field day against the silver and black. As well as the main bet you might want to try a points spread/over bet as well.

Recommended Bet
Back the Baltimore Ravens -6.0pts @ 1.9310/11

Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, 21:05

Some pundits view this match-up as an overrated team (the Fish) taking on an underrated one (the Sleek Cats). I'm not so sure, despite the obvious progress made by the Jags. Jacksonville could be especially vulnerable on Sunday due to a slew of injuries and the fact that the weak protection afforded QB Blake Bortles could be brutally exposed by (King) Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake. We should have a better handle on whether or not the Fish are the real deal this week; I think they'll jump through the hoop and find their groove. It will be close but they should just about cover the spread.

Recommended Bet
Back the Miami Dolphins -6.0pts @ 2.111/10

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, 21:25

Time seems to be running out on the Chip Kelly experiment in Philadelphia. Lots of success has been predicted - very little has been delivered. The soon-to-be-under-fire coach needs his team to deliver big in this divisional match up because questions will be asked if they can't notch a win against a Dez Bryant-less Cowboys. DeMarco Murray seems peeved that he didn't get more than eight touches in week one, and Sam Bradford didn't sparkle at quarterback. For all their smoke and mirrors, the Eagles are flapping but not flying. They could explode into life and make me look silly (or sillier), but I want to see them perform at a high level before I join the bandwagon. Take Dallas with the points.

Recommended Bet
Back the Dallas Cowboys +5.5pts @ 1.9520/21

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