Staff picks produced solid results in Week 1 as TheLines team’s top plays went 4-2. Now, onto Week 2 and corresponding NFL bets.
Each week during NFL season, several members of the staff will select their favorite play of the week. I’ll compile them here along with best available prices. Readers can then decide if any are worth following. Let’s dive in.
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TheLines Staff NFL Week 2 Bets Grid
Editor’s note: Brett Gibbons did actually bet each game in the chart, he simply selected the sides he’d take if forced to pick. To see and discuss his actual bets as well as those of the rest of the staff, join TheLines Discord channel.
Favorite Week 2 Bets
Stephen Andress: Jaguars (+3.5) Vs. Colts
Editor’s Note: Stephen wagered on the Jags earlier in the week at +4
Poor execution in Week 1 cost Jacksonville an outright win as an underdog, but dare I say, the offense looked well prepared under Doug Pederson. The Jaguars won the yards per play battle over the Commanders 6.2 to 5.6 but only converted two-of-five red zone trips. Trevor Lawrence missed a wide-open Travis Etienne on a wheel route in the endzone, and Etienne returned the favor later on, dropping a walk-in touchdown. However, the 6.2 YPP ranked top 10 Week 1, with Lawrence posting a positive completion percentage over expectation, despite the miscues. Plus, the Colts secondary may have a major talent shortfall, as described by Eli Hershkovich this week.
When the Colts have the ball, the offensive line did not hold up well in pass protection against what was projected to be a bottom-five Texans front seven. Indy posted the No. 24 pass block win rate in Week 1. It now faces a Jaguars front seven that posted the No. 8 pass rush win rate in the opening week, against an above-average Washington offensive line. Top (only?) receiver Michael Pittman is also nursing a quad injury.
Jacksonville was very unlucky to lose last week, let alone fail to cover. Therefore, I will take the four points in Week 2, as I remain bullish on the young talent on this offense paired with a competent offensive head coach.
Eli Hershkovich: Jaguars +3.5 (-107) Vs. Colts
On Tuesday’s episode of “Beat The Closing Line,” one of TheLines‘ NFL betting podcasts, I mentioned how this line will likely close around +3.5.
Since then, Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard (back), the anchor of their defense, has been ruled out for a second straight game. Furthermore, DeForest Buckner (hip), their premier pass rusher, is listed as questionable, and so is the aforementioned Pittman.
As long as Lawrence isn’t forcing erratic throws, he shouldn’t have an issue replicating — if not enhancing — his above-average dropback EPA. Keep in mind, he faced a similarly flawed Commanders secondary in the season opener. Besides veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Indianapolis lacks a true playmaker in its defensive backfield.
On the flip side, it’s entirely possible that Indy’s Matt Ryan doesn’t bring to bear the arm talent the market suggests with this spread, especially if Pittman doesn’t suit up.
Just like Stephen, I’d back the home underdog — even after the line movement. Keep an eye on for out for the Colts next Sunday, though.
Brett Gibbons: Bears +10 (-107) at Packers
After what we saw last week from a Packers offense that couldn’t throw the ball, I have a hard time envisioning how Green Bay runs away with this. Against a secondary in Minnesota that Warren Sharp ranked 26th heading into this year, Aaron Rodgers managed just 195 yards and an interception, although a sure-fire long TD was dropped by Christian Watson. AJ Dillon – their RB1A, arguably RB2 – was the leading pass catcher. The team ranked 20th in passing success rate on the week (42.9%) and 29th in passing explosiveness (EPA).
Out of the 16 games on the slate, just six finished with greater than a 10-point difference in score. Teams favored by five or more points went 2-6 against the spread and four of them lost outright (plus that awful Colts-Texans tie).
Without a steep talent gap between these two rosters (except at QB), there’s no way I’m laying 10 with the Packers.
John Haslbauer: Texans +10 vs. Broncos
I think the Texans could be this season’s version of the 2021 Detroit Lions. They’re not flashy, and they’re not going to win many games. But, they’re young and competent enough on both sides of the ball to battle for backdoor covers.
I’m high on the Colts this season, and while some have already been quick to write them off with Matt Ryan at the helm, I think the Texans deserve some credit for forcing a tie with the preseason favorites to win the South. Davis Mills looked promising against a good Indianapolis defense with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Laremy Tunsil continues to play like an All-Pro, grading out as the No. 1 Tackle after Week 1 according to PFF, and Jerry Hughes was stellar on the other side of the ball with two sacks and an interception. They’ve got pieces!
The Broncos are in an obvious bounce back spot coming home as double-digit favorites after getting embarrassed in the opener in Seattle. I bet the Seahawks to have the worst record in he NFL this season, and despite the result, their performance in an emotional home opener versus their former quarterback hasn’t changed my opinion that they are a very, very bad football team. So a losing effort from the Broncos was very, very concerning. Denver underwent significant changes in the offseason with a new quarterback and head coach at the helm in 2022, and it appears they’ve still got a long way to go before they hit their stride.
There’s no doubting the talent advantage Denver brings to this matchup, but I’m not convinced they can correct all the issues we saw on Monday night in a short week. So I’m backing the Texans with the points.
Mo Nuwwarah: Saints +2.5 vs. Buccaneers
I got +3 earlier in the week, but I’m still going to tout this widely available line because I still think it’s good enough for a bet. I don’t think the Saints should be getting any points at all here.
Even with a much stronger roster the past couple of years, Tom Brady and the Bucs have really struggled to move the ball against the Saints. New Orleans’ combination of aggressive secondary play and a strong pass rush have left Brady eating more than his share of sacks. And Marshon Lattimore has dominated top target Mike Evans to a comical degree.
That’s less of a concern when Chris Godwin is available and a Hall of Famer lines up at TE. But neither of those things are happening right now unless Godwin’s health takes a surprise turn.
Furthermore, the Bucs didn’t showcase the pass-first, pass-second aggression under new coach Todd Bowles. Running into teeth of last year’s top run defense seems ill-advised, even if they had a tough time against the Falcons in Week 1.
On a light week of bets for me, the Saints getting points at home in a matchup they’ve dominated stood out.
Evan Scrimshaw: Colts (-4) At Jaguars
The Colts looked absolutely dreadful in Week 1, only managing a tie against the Texans, whereas the Jaguars looked frisky against the Commanders. And that’s exactly the point.
Matt Ryan had growing pains in the Indianapolis offense, but at the end of the day the Colts are just substantially better than the Jaguars. This is an overreaction to the fact that the Colts suffered inopportune turnovers, and they should be favored by more.
The Jags only looked this competitive because they got to play Washington, and more specifically got to play against turnover-prone Carson Wentz. Against a more careful QB, gimme Indy.
Good luck with your Week 2 NFL bets!