The few days after NFL Week 1 are filled with some wild takes, like 60 minutes of football is enough of a sample to draw sweeping conclusions about anything.
And we’ve had a few extra days to overreact to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs lost in Week 1. It’s not ideal but it happens, especially when you’re missing two of your first three players. The Chiefs got fairly unlucky against the Detroit Lions, with a pick-six that went off Kadarius Toney’s hands turning the game around. They probably still win if Toney didn’t drop another pass in field-goal range. It’s not like the Chiefs played all that poorly. They just lost.
Teams that start 0-2 are historically a terrible bet to make the playoffs. Before last season, only 9.5% of 0-2 teams made the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals were the only one of five 0-2 teams to make it last season. It’s not a death sentence, especially for a team like the Chiefs, but it’s not a hole they want to be in.
It’s also not a hole anyone expects them to be in after Sunday, especially with three extra days of rest.
The Chiefs don’t have an easy test in Week 2 though. They travel to play at the Jacksonville Jaguars, the clear favorite in the AFC South. The Chiefs are a 3.5-point favorite at BetMGM.
The Chiefs were favored by just 2.5 as the week started, but that was before some good news. Defensive lineman Chris Jones ended his holdout. The Chiefs defense played pretty well without him and will be better with Jones on the field. Then tight end Travis Kelce returned to practice. There’s no guarantee he’ll play Sunday but it seems like he’s trending in that direction.
Most likely, you’ll have an angry, urgent Chiefs team welcoming back its second- and third-best player for a big early-season game. With extra rest.
It’s not great to lay more than a field goal, since three is a key number in NFL betting. But for most NFL games, if you’re betting the underdog you should believe they can win. I like the Jaguars but don’t buy them beating a motivated Chiefs team. The theme of betting the NFL in Week 2 is to fade the overreaction, sometimes taking the teams that looked the absolute worst in Week 1. Some of those first impressions are signs of things to come, but many more will look silly by November. Don’t give up on teams you liked (or didn’t) this offseason just because of one game.
Kansas City is undeniably great. I don’t see the Chiefs being 0-2, so I’ll take them as a 3.5-point favorite. Imagine the reactions if they lose again.
Here are the against the spread picks for Week 2, with odds from BetMGM:
Vikings (+6.5) over Eagles
The full betting breakdown of the Thursday night game can be found in The Daily Sweat.
Chargers (-3) over Titans
The Titans played better, at least on defense, than I expected in Week 1 (they still shouldn’t have gotten that backdoor cover against the Saints but someday I’ll let that go). I just don’t trust Tennessee, and their miserable offensive performance in the opener doesn’t change that. If the Chargers don’t win here, it’ll just be another season of them being the same old Chargers.
Packers (-1.5) over Falcons
I’m a little nervous about being on the Packers because it’s their second straight road game, and they have spent all week getting patted on the back. It’s the type of Week 1 winner I generally fade. But I don’t like what I saw from the Falcons offense, which refuses to use its best players for some reason only Arthur Smith knows, and I think the Packers will be pretty good this season.
Colts (-1.5) over Texans
Indianapolis looked OK in Week 1. They faded late against the Jaguars but were in a position to win. Anthony Richardson played pretty well for his first game. The Texans have offensive line issues and that’s enough for me to take a mediocre Colts team as a road favorite.
Seahawks (+5.5) over Lions
This might be this week’s Overreaction Bowl. Seattle looked absolutely awful last week. The Lions are coming off a huge win over the Chiefs that everyone watched. I liked Seattle coming into the season and am worried after how poorly they played last week, but that’s part of Week 2 betting: Taking the teams that looked the worst in Week 1, especially against teams that are coming off big upset wins.
Bears (+2.5) over Buccaneers
Last week, people figured the Bucs would be a part of the Caleb Williams sweepstakes. One close win later and they’re favored over a Bears team everyone was high on this offseason. The Bears certainly didn’t look good in Week 1 and this isn’t a pick I have much conviction on, but this is a part of fading what we saw in the opener.
Bills (-9.5) over Raiders
Josh Allen isn’t going to turn it over four times every week. The Raiders got a nice win last week, but this is a tough spot on the road for a second straight week, playing an early game in the Eastern time zone.
Bengals (-3.5) over Ravens
I won’t want to fade the Ravens often, but they have some serious injury issues. Running back J.K. Dobbins, offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum and safety Marcus Williams all left Week 1 with injuries. We don’t know for sure that Mark Andrews will return after missing the opener. And they face a Bengals team that isn’t going to look as bad as it did in Week 1.
Giants (-5.5) over Cardinals
It’s a little high for a road favorite, and maybe the Giants aren’t very good. They certainly looked bad in Week 1. I’m willing to give them one more chance, and bank on them coming back strong after being embarrassed.
Rams (+8.5) over 49ers
The 49ers will be the first part of America’s teaser, if it’s not the Bills. It’s a huge line. Even though I’m not sure how the Rams will manage to keep this close, I’ll blindly take all those points.
Jets (+9) over Cowboys
The Jets aren’t going to score much without Aaron Rodgers. But nobody is going to score much against the Jets this season either. The thought of Zach Wilson against the Cowboys defense, after what we saw Dallas do to the Giants in Week 1, is scary. But it’s a lot of points against a Jets team that is really good … aside from probably the quarterback position.
Commanders (+3.5) over Broncos
Neither team looked good in the opener. The Commanders struggled against a bad Cardinals team at home and the Broncos lost to a Raiders team that probably isn’t good either. I don’t trust either team so I’ll take the points.
Dolphins (-3) over Patriots
This is a hard game to pick and landing on the Dolphins laying a field goal seems square. I assume everyone will be on Miami for the Sunday night game. But my approach with the Dolphins remains the same: Since the start of last season, the Dolphins have been one of the NFL’s elite teams in games that Tua Tagovailoa started and finished. They don’t get that kind of respect at the betting window though.
Saints (-3) over Panthers
A Monday night doubleheader! I’m not ready to back the Panthers. I don’t know if they have the offensive firepower to help Bryce Young or test the Saints’ defense. But it’s not a strong pick because I don’t often want to lay a full field goal in a divisional prime-time game like this.
Steelers (+2.5) over Browns
Actually, this might be the Overreaction Bowl. The Steelers couldn’t have looked worse and the Browns couldn’t have looked better in Week 1. I still haven’t given up on Pittsburgh being pretty good. I just figure Week 1’s blowout loss was more about the 49ers. The Steelers’ injuries to Diontae Johnson and Cameron Heyward are concerning for Pittsburgh and give me pause. But I also wonder if this spread reaches Steelers +3 by kickoff.
Last week: 9-7