.Week 1 of the NFL season always delivers surprises. With preseason games and last year’s results offering the best standpoint on which to base projections, the first week of the year is difficult to predict.
When franchises that were expected to play well falter on the opening weekend, it gives oddsmakers the difficult task of balancing prior forecasts with current realities.
Here are three games up for NFL betting in Week 2 where we’ll learn more about the makeup of each team.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
Point Spread: Ravens +3.5, Bengals -3.5
Moneyline: Ravens +155, Bengals -180
The Bengals dropped their opening game to the Cleveland Browns and only managed to score a field goal. We’re not willing to throw in the towel on Cincinnati just yet, but there is a struggle to determine how they’ll match up against Baltimore at home.
Last weekend, the Ravens took care of the Houston Texans 25-9. We’re not sure if the Ravens will win, but we’re betting on them to cover the 3.5 against the Bengals this Sunday.
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Point Spread: Bears +2.5, Bucs -2.5
Moneyline: Bears +125, Bucs -145
The Buccaneers were surprise 20-17 winners last weekend against the favored Minnesota Vikings. The Bears dropped their opening contest to the Packers, a game Chicago was favored to win.
When the Bears and Bucs face each other this weekend, the results will inform the trajectory of both franchises. Bears QB Justin Fields looked lost against the Packers, and he’ll now be facing a Tampa Bay defense that is still in championship form.
The only question is whether TB’s Baker Mayfield can put enough points on the board to outscore Chicago. We think they will, and we are betting on the Buccaneers to cover the -2.5 spread.
Mayfield is now listed with a right shoulder injury and is probably for Sunday. We advise holding off on placing any bets on the TB vs. CHI game until Sunday morning once Mayfield has been declared active.
Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons
Point Spread: Packers -1.0, Falcons +1.0
Moneyline: Packers -115, Falcons -105
The Falcons took care of the Carolina Panthers in Week 1, and we’ve already mentioned Green Bay’s upset win over the Bears. One of these teams will climb to 2-0 on Sunday, and we are betting on the Packers to cover.
Covering the 1-point spread is the same as a simple win, and may garner better payouts than wagering on either team’s moneyline odds.