NFL odds Week 2: Sharp bettors on Chiefs, Saints and Ravens

By Patrick Everson
FOX Sports Gambling Writer

The overwhelming majority of sports bettors like to have some skin in the game, to extract some additional entertainment value from the matchups. Last weekend certainly provided plenty of those options. 

Unfortunately, the oddsmakers made a killing off the results from that overwhelming majority. Which leads to this responsible gaming reminder: Never bet more than you can afford to lose. 

So, if you follow that mantra, hopefully, NFL Week 2 odds and college football Week 3 odds will prove better for all of us. And it starts with a big Thursday Night Football showdown. 

Following are a handful of NFL and college football betting nuggets for your consideration. 

Hail to the Chiefs 

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs easily covered the 6-point spread while running over the host Arizona Cardinals 44-21 in Week 1. So when bookmakers opened K.C. -3 in the Week 2 odds market, professional bettors wasted no time getting involved in this Thursday night clash. 

“I’ve been seeing some outstanding cash coming in on the Chiefs at -3 and -3.5 against the Chargers, and on Chiefs moneyline as well,” WynnBet senior trader Motoi Pearson said. 

And again, that was sharp point-spread money coming in on the Chiefs on Sunday night and Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, WynnBet was up to K.C. -4, where it remained late Wednesday night. If you wanted a piece of the Chiefs in their 2022-23 home opener, and you didn’t get in early, well, you’re not getting the best number now. 

That’s not to say the Chiefs won’t cover -4 or -4.5, where the number is at several sportsbooks midweek. Perhaps Kansas City covers, and perhaps easily, as in Week 1. But -3 is a lot better than -4. So think on that. 

Other early sharp NFL action at WynnBet, according to Pearson: 

Jets +6.5 at Browns, prompting a move to Browns -6.

Packers -9 vs. Bears, with Green Bay now -10 at home for Sunday Night Football.

Nebraska Bettors De-Frost 

Want to find a way to draw Nebraska money? How about firing coach Scott Frost? That seemed to do the trick for this week’s big Oklahoma-Nebraska showdown on FOX, in a game rekindling what used to be a longtime Big Eight/Big 12 rivalry. 

On Sunday night, WynnBet opened No. 6 Oklahoma as a hefty 15-point chalk against a Nebraska program in disarray. But the early money, including some sharp play for sure, was on Nebraska. 

By Monday morning, the Sooners were down to -12. And that still didn’t stop the flow of Huskers dollars. 

“Even with Scott Frost fired, we have seen a bit of action on Nebraska +12/+11.5 against Oklahoma,” Pearson said. 

By Wednesday afternoon, Nebraska shortened to +11 at WynnBet and elsewhere. But much like the Chiefs-Chargers line, the value is gone if you didn’t jump in early on the Huskers. And the public will surely be piling on the Sooners for this noon ET Saturday clash on FOX. 

So expect the oddsmakers to be siding with the sharps, per usual, in rooting for Nebraska. 

Marching with the Saints 

Jumping back to the NFL, one of the key Sunday games – also on FOX, at 1 p.m. ET – pits the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the New Orleans Saints. 

Surprisingly, the Saints swept Tom Brady & Co. last season. In fact, facing Brady-led Bucs teams, the Saints are 4-0 in regular-season play. 

That, among several reasons, led one sharp bettor to back New Orleans as 3-point home underdogs. The Saints are now +2.5. 

“Tampa Bay has offensive line issues, and the Chris Godwin injury is a serious problem,” he said, alluding to the Bucs wideout’s hamstring injury. “TB12 will feel constant pressure, and getting through this game healthy will be the No. 1 priority. The home environment will be too much here for Tampa. New Orleans will ride the emotional high and physically dominate.” 

FWIW: In my NFL betting nuggets column last week, this same professional bettor had the Dolphins -2.5 as his No. 1 play. Miami easily won and covered, 20-7 over New England.

Razing Arizona, Riding the Raiders 

The aforementioned Cardinals’ blowout loss is leading early bettors to get on the Raiders in their home opener Sunday. 

“We’ve seen the market fading the Cardinals heavily, with the line moving from -3.5 to -5.5 in favor of the Raiders at home,” WynnBet’s Pearson said. 

Late Wednesday afternoon, the Raiders receded a tick to -5 at WynnBet. 

Neil Fitzroy, risk manager and oddsmaker at The SuperBook, said liability is mounting on the Raiders at his shop, too. 

“Sharp money has moved that game from Raiders -3.5 to -5.5,” Fitzroy said. “The Raiders are also going on every parlay. Everyone expects a Raiders bounce-back in their home opener. Also, there are many anti-Cardinals bettors out there.” 

Suffering from Inflation? 

The San Francisco 49ers were fairly dreadful in a deluge at Chicago, losing 19-10 as 6.5-point Week 1 favorites. Yet in NFL Week 2 odds, the 49ers opened -8 against the visiting Seattle Seahawks, and by Tuesday afternoon, the Niners were up to -10. 

That’s despite the Seahawks posting a 17-16 Monday Night Football upset of the Denver Broncos, with Seattle a 6-point home underdog. 

WynnBet receded to 49ers -9 Wednesday, and Pearson thinks more downward movement could be coming. 

“As far as lines that could be inflated, the 49ers laying 9 to 10 points seems steep after a loss on the road to the Bears. Some of our [oddsmakers] had it a bit lower, and we could see some sharp action on the Seahawks later in the week.” 

Fast-Rising Total 

The Washington Commanders vs. Detroit Lions matchup – another of the 1 p.m. FOX games Sunday – doesn’t exactly jump off the page. But the total in this game is jumping. 

“This was by far the most-bet-up total I have seen [since] the beginning of the week, moving from 44.5 to 48.5. That could be [due to] the shootouts they were in during Week 1,” Pearson said. 

Washington beat visiting Jacksonville 28-22 last week, while Detroit rallied but fell short in a 38-35 setback to visiting Philadelphia

Raving about the Ravens 

Baltimore had little trouble dispatching the New York Jets in Week 1, winning 24-9 as a 6.5-point road favorite. This week at home, Baltimore meets a Miami outfit that downed visiting New England 20-9. The aforementioned professional bettor really likes the Ravens. 

“Baltimore -3 (-120) is already bet this week,” he said. 

Not surprisingly, that bettor got the best of the number to this point, as Baltimore is now -3.5 everywhere. He’s got plenty of reasons to support Lamar Jackson and Co., not the least of which is that the team is healthy.

“No team in the NFL had more injuries than Baltimore last year, and they are one of the top teams in the league this year, bar none,” he said. “People are going to overreact to Miami Week 1, playing against a junk team. Tua Tagovailoa will play scared in this matchup and won’t be able to handle the environment. Baltimore has an excellent secondary that will prevail on 50/50 balls.” 

Back to School 

A few more college football Week 3 betting comments from WynnBet’s Pearson: 

— “I’ve seen a massive pile [of money] on Minnesota -26.5 against an ailing Colorado team.” Minnesota is now a 27.5-point home favorite.

— “Of course, we’ve seen our share of bets on Georgia -24 against a South Carolina team that struggled a bit against Arkansas last week, and I’m sure it will not slow down. Among other 20-plus-point favorites, we’ve seen plenty of action on Cincinnati -22.5 [at Miami-Ohio] and Clemson -34.5 [vs. Louisiana Tech].”

— “If overreactions are what you are into, we’ve seen plenty of action on California catching 12 and 11.5 against Notre Dame, with the market down to 11.” That overreaction, as Pearson termed it, stems from the Fighting Irish’s stunning 26-21 home loss to Marshall in Week 2. Notre Dame was a 20-point favorite.

I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie 

Sportsbooks in Vegas and across the U.S. haven’t reported much in the way of major wagers through Wednesday. But BetMGM noted the following: 

— A relatively modest pre-Week 1 play – and seemingly a flier at 500-1 odds – of $1,000 on Giants running back Saquon Barkley to win NFL MVP. But Barkley busted out in New York’s 21-20 road upset of Tennessee, notching 194 total yards – 164 rushing, with a TD, and 30 receiving. If Barkley somehow keeps it up and delivers, the wager would win $500,000. Oh, and his odds are now 150-1.

— $10,000 on Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel +1600 to win NFL Coach of the Year, to win $160,000.

So are you ready to place some bets? Head over to FOX Bet now for all your wagers!

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He previously worked for Covers and is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.


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