Football Five: Will NFL Week 2 Kick Off With Surprises And Upsets, Too?

What insights can New Jersey online bettors target for NFL Week 2?

Locally, the New York Giants show heart but still defeat themselves. This back-breaking, third-quarter drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football summarized their futility: 87 yards, 19 plays, 8:50 of the clock, and no points.

Quarterback Daniel Jones tossed an end-zone pick on a pass he should have thrown away. It changed the game.

The Giants, down only 16-10 and looking to take the lead, never threatened again in the 26-16 loss. The Jones interception, along with an inability to score from the Pittsburgh 1-yard line in the first quarter, denied both the Giants and their bettors taking them at +6.

The Giants still can’t make the big play and suffer without a power running back.

While NJ sports betting fans love the G-Men, the New York Jets, and Philadelphia Eagles, their teams opened 0-3. What about league-wide betting trends?

Here’s your first Football Five of the 2020 NFL season, with trends, tips, stats, and updates for your betting plans. All spreads referenced are from major sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Points Bet, and Fox Bet.

1. Running for ‘cover’

Running quarterbacks had a great opening game, propelling their teams to wins and covers. Look for this to continue in Week 2. All of the QBs listed below have no reason to stop running.

The Baltimore Ravens, behind reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, crushed the Cleveland Browns, 38-6.

Kyler Murray, the second-best running quarterback in football behind Jackson, rallied the Arizona Cardinals to a 24-20 win as a seven-point visiting underdog against the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

Murray also scored on a nifty 23-yard scoring run, scampering through traffic after protection collapsed. Watch out: Murray has company. New acquisition DeAndre Hopkins had 14 receptions for 151 yards. This team is ascending.

Cam Newton launched the post-Tom Brady era for the New England Patriots doing what he does best. Newton ran for two of the team’s three touchdowns in a 21-11 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

He is not the passer Brady is, but Newton is a far bigger rushing threat.  Newton, along with a last-minute end-zone interception, helped New England cover seven points.

Josh Allen notched a rushing touchdown for the Buffalo Bills en route to their 27-17 triumph over the Jets as a 7-point pick.

Dwayne Haskins was mobile and efficient for the Washington Football Team, as it overcame a 17-0 second-quarter deficit to stun the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington was a 5.5-point underdog.

Were you one of the few hearty gamblers who doubled down on them in-game? Washington had a 7%-win probability after the big deficit according to Next Gen stats.

2. Fourth-down gamblers

We have talked about coaches increasing bypassing the punt, even from their own territory. There were some bold calls in NFL Week 1. So will the trend continue into Week 2?

If you’re live betting or have the over (or under), these daring fourth-down conversions could make or break your bet.

  • The Bills opted against the punt and converted.
  • The Indianapolis Colts went 28 yards on 4th and 1 from their own territory in the third period after refusing to punt. They only led 17-14 at the time.
  • On successive possessions, the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons snubbed the punt.

On that last point, one call was a thing of beauty. On 4th and 5 from the Atlanta 38, Seattle QB Russell Wilson didn’t just go for the first down. He wanted it all and got it, connecting with D.K. Metcalf for a touchdown.

On the next possession, Atlanta unfurled a fake punt. It worked. But the ball-carrier fumbled.

The league’s Dice-Roller-in-Chief is Ron Rivera. The aggressive new coach of the Washington Football Team passed up a field goal on 4th-and-1 from the Philadelphia six-yard line in a 17-17 game with 7:26 left.

Anyone with Washington +5.5 cringed at the call. A chip-shot field goal would have brought that bet home. But Riverboat Ron went for it, got it by inches, and Washington soon scored the game-winning TD.

3. Rodgers and Rivers: One good, one average

One pocket passer, Aaron Rodgers, had a great day Sunday.

He refuted the rumors of being disgruntled over the Packers not finding a supporting cast in the off-season. Rodgers scorched the Minnesota Vikings in a 43-34 win for Green Bay, which surged from +2.5 to +1 at game-time with late action.

Phillip Rivers, meanwhile, was pedestrian in his Indianapolis Colts debut. His team was the biggest favorite to fall, losing 27-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars as an eight-point choice.

Rivers puts up numbers if you like him in DFS, but he can’t get in the end zone enough.

4. Bad things hit bad teams, part 1

The Detroit Lions-Chicago Bears game was lost, not won.

The Lions, who dropped their last nine games last year, had a 23-6 fourth-quarter cushion and a 98%-win probability according to Next Gen stats.

But 98% was not enough. They lost 27-23, allowing three late scores.

A big part of the story was the collapse of the Lions offense. Veteran QB Matthew Stafford took a sack that made an ensuing field goal fall short. And then he threw an interception enabling the go-ahead touchdown.

That set up one final dagger. Rookie D’Andre Swift dropped the touchdown pass that would have pulled a victory out of the fire for Detroit.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the Lions, who have not won a game since last October.

The Lions face Rodgers and the Packers in Week 2, and since Rodgers is on a roll, the odds are in the Pack’s favor.

5. Bad things hit bad teams, part 2

The Cincinnati Bengals had a similar fate. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow played well in spots and even collected a rushing touchdown. But he made a critical mistake with a shovel-pass intercepted by the Los Angeles Chargers when the Bengals trailed 16-13 late in the fourth quarter.

They were already in the game-tying, field-goal range.

And then came the final seconds, which was just horrible luck. Kicker Randy Bullock came on to tie the game. He had nailed 24 consecutive field goals from inside the 40. This was a 31-yard kick. But he took a strange step, missed the kick, and appeared to pull his hamstring, all on the play.

The Bengals won only two games last year and played inspired enough to win on Sunday. But a bad decision and a bad break held them back. Nonetheless, anyone with Cincinnati +3.5 pocketed the bet and Cincinnati +3 was a push.

Extra Points: The Atlanta Falcons had 506 yards in a losing effort. That could be an angle in their favor as they visit the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have a -5 edge in that Sunday game.

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.