Week 1 of the NFL regular season saw underdogs go 12-4 ATS with a staggering nine teams winning outright. Will the Week 2 slate see the underdogs biting once again, or will favorites bounce back and even things out.
Let’s jump into our three favorite NFL Week 2 picks against the spread and break down each selection with some betting analysis.
NFL Week 2 picks against the spread
Our Week 2 NFL picks dial in on the Texans-Browns, Bills-Dolphins, and Chiefs-Ravens. Cleveland, Buffalo, and Baltimore are each considered three of the AFC’s top contenders, but are coming off disappointing opening-week performances. While many expect all three squads to rebound Sunday, we suspect only one team will do so. Read on to find out which team that is and why.
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Browns vs. Texans pick
Houston owned one of the nine outright underdog wins last week, defeating Jacksonville in Trevor Lawrence’s NFL debut. However, pulling off a home win against a team expected to struggle this season is a far cry from going into Cleveland and contending with a loaded Browns. Not to mention this will be a Browns team coming in angry following a late loss to the Chiefs.
Despite blowing a 22-10 halftime, Cleveland should feel good about its 457 total yards of offense, the second-most by any team last week. The Browns will face a Texans defense that allowed 319 yards through the air in its win over the Jaguars, the seventh-worst mark in the league.
Notably, Houston has dropped seven straight against the spread as underdogs of more than seven points against an opponent off a straight-up loss. The Texans have also failed to cover any of their last six games off a straight-up home underdog victory over a division opponent. Furthermore, if you believe the Texans are likely to concede 22 or more points, as they did in six straight games to close out last season, you should know that quarterback Tyrod Taylor is just 1-16 SU without a single ATS cover when his team concedes 22+ points.
Expect to see the Browns extend their run of six straight covers as non-divisional favorites against opponents off a double-digit straight-up win. The Browns, who rushed for 153 yards last week, have also run off six straight ATS wins after gaining more than 150 yards on the ground previously.
Our Pick: Cleveland -12.5
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Dolphins vs. Bills pick
For as dynamic as the Bills looked throughout much of last season, we have to wonder if the regression on display last week is more than an aberration. After all, they no longer have the cushion of that easy 2020 schedule and are now marked men.
Pittsburgh made Josh Allen look wholly human last week, and now the Bills will have to go on the road and play a hungry Miami team in a road division game. Worth noting, for as good of a cover quarterback as Allen has been, he is just 8-7 ATS against the AFC East. Meanwhile, Bills head coach Sean McDermott is just 11-13 ATS against division opponents.
On the other hand, Miami is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against AFC East opponents and has covered six straight at home. In fact, the Dolphins have now gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as home underdogs and 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games overall in that role.
Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has never lost against the spread at home or as an underdog in his career with five cracks in each spot. Moreover, the Dolphins are 20-8 ATS since their bye week back in 2019 under head coach Brian Flores, who has also led the team to a 17-9 ATS mark as underdogs, an 11-5 ATS home tally, and a 9-3 ATS run against division foes during that stretch.
Since 2003, Week 2 divisional home dogs of 3.5 points or less are 12-6 ATS, including 8-1 ATS in the last nine tries. Look for that run to continue here as Miami puts a big scare into the Bills.
Our Pick: Miami +3.5
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Chiefs vs. Ravens pick
Patrick Mahomes is now 11-0 straight up in September games, tallying an absurd 35 touchdowns without a single interception, an NFL record. That goes a long way to explaining Kansas City’s 12-3 ATS September run, a streak Baltimore will struggle to stop.
Despite well-documented preseason success, it has not translated to September covers lately as the Ravens own a 2-5 ATS mark over their last seven September games.
The Ravens have more cause for concern than just poor early-season play, however. They have not covered any of their last eight attempts at home off a non-division SU loss as a favorite. In fact, failing to bounce back after tough games has been a hallmark of this team, as the Ravens are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games after a SU loss and just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after allowing more than 30 points.
Surprisingly, Lamar Jackson is surprisingly just 2-4 ATS off a loss, to go with a poor 8-12 ATS record as a home favorite.
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The Chiefs could feast on numbers like that. Mahomes owns a 21-13 ATS mark outside of his division and a 14-9 ATS mark on the road. In the head-to-head with the Ravens, the Chiefs have covered four of the last five overall, as well as four of the last five in Baltimore. Along those same lines, the road team has covered seven of the last 10 games in this series.
With the Ravens’ backfield still full of new faces and Marquise Brown a bit banged up, it’s hard to imagine the Ravens keeping pace with a Chiefs team that has shown time and time again why it is so good.
Our Pick: Kansas City -3.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook -110)
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