The underdogs were howling loudly in Week 1 of the brand new NFL season. In total, 12 NFL betting underdogs covered the point spread. That figure set a new record for a single week of football in the Super Bowl Era. In addition, a whopping nine of those dogs managed to also win their games outright. While it is highly unlikely that we see that many underdogs come through again in Week 2, those numbers certainly bode well for bettors looking to include an outright upset among their NFL betting picks.
The following looks at three NFL betting favorites who find themselves on upset alert ahead of Week 2.
3 Teams on Upset Alert for Week 2 | NFL Betting Picks
Bears (-3) vs Bengals
After getting trounced in their season-opener in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football, the Chicago Bears return home in Week 2 to host the Cincinnati Bengals. The offensive misery that continues to plague the Bears is well-documented. Once again, the playcalling of Matt Nagy was uninspiring in the Week 1 loss. While veteran signal-caller Andy Dalton didn’t play badly, the cries for rookie Justin Fields will only grow louder. The real concern that should be considered when making NFL betting picks on this game is the state of the Bears’ defense.
The bottom line is that this is no longer the feared Chicago defense of a few years ago. Sure, some of the names remain the same, including Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. However, the Bears’ secondary is completely in shambles. They were exposed as a unit by Matthew Stafford and the bevy of Rams pass-catchers last week. While expectations aren’t nearly as high for the Bengals this season as they are for the Rams, one could make the case that this is just as bad a matchup for Chicago. Bengals QB Joe Burrow has all kinds of talented receivers at his disposal. Cincinnati also comes in with confidence and momentum after upsetting the Minnesota Vikings to begin their season last week.
Bengals vs Bears NFL Betting Picks
Although winning on the road in the NFL is never easy, the Bengals are very much a live dog in this Week 2 NFL betting matchup. The total of 45 might be a tad low as well.
Bills (-3.5) at Dolphins
One common mistake made when making Week 2 NFL betting picks is to overreact to what we saw in the first week of the season. While recommending the Miami Dolphins as home underdogs against the division-rival Buffalo Bills may seem like an overreaction to Week 1, there is actually a legitimate handicap here. Of course, the Bills were upset on their home field to begin the season by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Buffalo led 10-0 at halftime but was outscored 23-6 over the final 30 minutes. The Steelers’ defense lived up to the preseason hype. While the Dolphins might not have as solid of a unit, Miami thrives by playing an opportunistic brand of defense. After averaging a +0.6 turnover margin per game last season, the Dolphins came up with a late-game fumble recovery to pull off a Week 1 upset of their own over the New England Patriots.
Although betting on turnovers is never a sound strategy, there are plenty of other reasons to like the Dolphins as a home underdog this week. Given that this is a divisional game, that tends to favor the underdog and a close game. Home field could prove vital for Miami in this matchup as well. The Dolphins nearly knocked off the Bills at home a season ago despite being much larger underdogs. Finally, the major knock against the Bills’ offense is that it is extremely one-dimensional. Josh Allen may wind up having an MVP-caliber season when it’s all said and done, but nothing will come easy this week. The Dolphins’ cornerback duo of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones is arguably the best in the NFL.
Bills vs Dolphins NFL Betting Picks
This game could very well turn into a low-scoring, defensive affair. It will certainly be an intriguing coaching chess match between Sean McDermott and Brian Flores. Dolphins +3.5 is very intriguing, but don’t count out an outright Miami upset when deciding on your Week 2 NFL betting picks.
Saints (-3.5) at Panthers
We round out this week’s NFL betting Upset Alert column with another divisional matchup. After destroying the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, the hype is real surrounding the New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Jameis Winston had an impressive five-touchdown performance. Furthermore, the Saints’ defense, arguably the team’s biggest concern after losing various players in the offseason, stifled Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Add it all up and New Orleans is laying a field goal plus the hook to their NFC South rivals in the Carolina Panthers.
While Carolina’s 19-14 Week 1 win over the New York Jets was far less impressive than the Saints’ victory, it was still a positive start to the season. The jury is still out on new Panthers QB Sam Darnold, but he made a number of nice plays in the opener. After missing nearly all of last season with various injuries, running back Christian McCaffrey had a huge game. No matter how good the Saints’ defense is, McCaffrey should be able to provide the Panthers with a spark offensively. Carolina displayed an excellent pass rush in Week 1 as well, finishing with six sacks as a team. It won’t be easy breaking down the Saints’ offensive front, but the young Panthers’ defense is clearly a unit on the rise.
Saints vs Panthers NFL Betting Picks
Much like the Bills-Dolphins matchup discussed above, it’s hard not to sniff around a home underdog in a divisional matchup when making NFL betting picks. The Panthers have played the Saints close in recent years, even when they were considered to be light years behind in terms of talent. An outright Panthers upset would help to establish them as a legitimate contender in the NFC South Division.
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