A smart bettor knows to monitor line movements as the week goes along. Often, when the bet is made is nearly as important as whom the bet is on. Week 2 and beyond won’t see as much movement as Week 1, but the first real football games of the year clearly had an effect on public perception. Here are the NFL’s Week 2 biggest spread moves and the likely reasons for said moves.
Arizona Cardinals (+13) at Los Angeles Rams
Opening: Arizona Cardinals (+10) at Los Angeles Rams
Though it was close for a while, the final score showed a dominant Rams win over the Raiders. Meanwhile, the Cardinals suffered an 18-point home loss to a Redskins team that Vegas picked to finish last in the NFC East. If that weren’t enough, last season the Rams went 2-0 against Arizona with an average margin of victory of 24.5. The Rams could be favored by 14 or more at some point this week.
Detroit (+6) at San Francisco
Opening: Detroit (+3.5) at San Francisco
After a horrendous performance from Matthew Stafford and the Lions on Monday night, it’s easy to see why people are in a hurry to bet against them. If they were that bad in their home opener on national television against what many considered to be one of the worst teams in the league, how are they going to look traveling to face the upstart 49ers on short rest?
Cleveland (+9.5) at New Orleans
Opening: Cleveland (+7.5) at New Orleans
If this game had taken place in Week 1, what would the spread have been? At least 10 and probably more. But the Saints lost in the biggest upset of the week and Cleveland tied the Steelers. That led to a bit of recency bias and New Orleans only giving 7.5 points at home to a team that still hasn’t won a game since 2016. After getting over the initial sting of the Bucs loss, people began to realize what a bargain Saints -7.5 was. This is another spread that could move even more before Sunday.
Carolina (+6) at Atlanta
Opening: Carolina (+4) at Atlanta
The reasoning behind this movement isn’t as clear as some of the others. The Panthers lost Greg Olsen and Daryl Williams, and might be without Trai Turner and C.J. Anderson, but the Falcons have their own injury problems. Keanu Neal and Deion Jones both went on Injured Reserve and Devonta Freeman is hobbled. Plus, Matt Ryan and Steve Sarkisian are both getting crushed in the media, suggesting the public would turn against Atlanta. Luke Kuechly’s absence would certainly have had an effect after his injury scare against Dallas, but he was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. Perhaps it’s head-to-head history that has bets coming in on the Falcons. They’ve won four of the last five games in the series and each win was by seven points or more.
Indianapolis Colts (+6) at Washington Redskins
Opening: Indianapolis Colts (+4) at Washington Redskins
This looks like an overreaction to Week 1. The Redskins won by 18 on the road while the Colts lost by 11 at home. The Redskins also had a better record last year. But we’d be foolish not to take strength of opponent and Andrew Luck’s return into account. Expect some money to pour in on the Colts now that bettors are getting six.
Miami Dolphins (+3) at New York Jets
Opening: Miami Dolphins (+1) at New York Jets
The Jets smashed Detroit in front of a national audience and their large fan base no doubt wants to put some money on them against a Dolphins team that has more than a few question marks. All of the ingredients for public money are here, but don’t be surprised if a ton of sharp money comes in on the Dolphins.
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