Last week, we had eight teams favored with a moneyline of -200 or larger. Of those eight teams, three lost outright and four won one-possession games. The only comfortable ride happened on Sunday night, when the Rams handled the Bears with ease. Good looking out. Thanks again, Andy Dalton.
The Bills, Packers and Ravens all lost outright in Week 1 despite being large favorites. I'm sure some of you already blacklisted these teams. That's the way it goes when betting NFL moneyline parlays.
A week after nine underdogs won their games outright, we have seven games on the Week 2 slate where teams are moneyline favorites of -200 or bigger. Let's dive in and see how this week's favorites can falter.
Cleveland Browns (-700) vs. Houston Texans
The Cleveland Browns might have lost in Week 1, but it's hard not to leave that game impressed by the Browns. Oddsmakers aren't thrown off by the loss either, as Cleveland sits as -700 favorites in their home opener against the Houston Texans.
Famous last words coming up: I feel like the Browns are pretty safe here. Yes, I'm really going out on a limb by saying that about a -700 favorite.
However, what if Houston is a lot more competitive of a team than we expected? Remember, many had the Texans as a good team prior to last season before they fell off the face of the earth. Yes, Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins are gone, but there are still some solid players on this team. They also aren't a young team, so veterans are more likely to put forth a professional effort every weekend.
Also, will there be any lasting effects from Cleveland's loss in Week 1? The Browns came so close and probably deserved to beat the Chiefs in a measuring-stick game. Are they down on themselves? Will they be able to get up for a game against a much lesser opponent? Can Baker Mayfield quickly forget the game-sealing interception he threw? We will see.
New England Patriots (-250) vs. New York Jets
Yes, Bill Belichick is 21-6 against rookie quarterbacks in his career. That's the main reason why New England finds itself a -250 favorite on the road.
But how many of Belichick's wins came when he himself had a rookie quarterback? Not too many. Mac Jones is just as prone to having rookie moments as the quarterbacks opposing the Patriots.
The Jets did a terrible job of protecting Zach Wilson in their opener against the Panthers, but the rookie quarterback still showed flashes of why he was the second player taken in this past season's draft. I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying Wilson's ceiling is likely higher than that of Jones.
It's a divisional matchup between two rookie quarterbacks. Sure, one is coached by a first-time head coach and the other is coached by a living legend. I still wouldn't be rushing to lay -250 on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-225) vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week, the Steelers were one of the teams that upset a large favorite. This week, they find themselves on the other side as -225 favorites at home against the Raiders.
Despite the big win by Pittsburgh last week, I'm not sure any of the big question marks entering the season were answered in the affirmative. We knew they'd have a great defense. However, Ben Roethlisberger wasn't particularly impressive and the team still struggled to run the ball.
On the other side, the Raiders pulled off the upset win over Baltimore last week. They're in a bad spot coming off an emotional win on a short week with cross-country travel. Nevertheless, they showed that they can be a pesky and competitive team last week.
Denver Broncos (-275) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I have a feeling we'll be seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars in this space a lot. This week, the Denver Broncos are -275 favorites against the Jaguars.
Denver was impressive in their Week 1 performance, a 27-13 win over the New York Giants. Their defense was dominant and Teddy Bridgewater was efficient in moving the ball. With that being said, I wouldn't project Denver as anything more than maybe a slightly above average team.
Jacksonville is the real topic at hand here. Trevor Lawrence threw three interceptions in his first career start and Urban Meyer looked to be completely over his head in his NFL coaching debut. I don't have high expectations for Jacksonville, but there's enough talent on the offense where they can shock a few teams. If this game somehow becomes a shootout, maybe Jacksonville can hang in there.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-650) vs. Atlanta Falcons
The defending champions once again find themselves as prohibitive favorites, currently sitting at -650 on the moneyline against the Atlanta Falcons.
Tampa Bay struggled with the Cowboys in its opener. The Bucs needed a last-second field goal to win the game. Dallas had no issues moving the ball on this vaunted Buccaneers defense, with Dak Prescott throwing for over 400 yards. Tampa Bay also had issues protecting the football, coughing up three turnovers.
For the Falcons, they can't possibly look much worse than they did in Week 1. I'm not willing to admit that Matt Ryan is done, so I think there's a lot more this offense can offer. The defense will be an issue, but maybe the offense can keep up with Tampa Bay.
Seattle Seahawks (-225) vs. Tennessee Titans
The Seahawks handled the Colts on the road in Week 1, while the Titans were embarrassed at home by the Cardinals. The reaction to Week 1 has made the Seahawks a -225 favorite.
For Seattle, it's been an inconsistent team over the past few years. Some days, the Seahawks offense struggles to move the ball and other days, their defense is a sieve. They've been known to lay their fair share of eggs. When on top of their game, the Seahawks are one of the more dangerous teams in the league. Consistency is an issue.
On the other side, people were high on the Titans entering the season. They were the odds-on favorites to win the AFC South. Are all those positive thoughts gone due to their stinker in Week 1? Offensively, few teams have weapons as dangerous as Derrick Henry, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. I'm not giving up on the Titans just yet.
Green Bay Packers (-650) vs. Detroit Lions
Green Bay looked absolutely terrible in Week 1, losing 38-3 to the New Orleans Saints. Despite that, they're still -650 favorites over the Detroit Lions on Monday night.
How does Green Bay lose this game? Well, have you been listening to any talking heads this week? Pick any of the Packers' talking points. Aaron Rodgers doesn't care anymore. Rodgers is trying to force a trade. Rodgers isn't prepared or in shape after his tumultuous off-season. His heart is with "Jeopardy."
I personally am choosing to ignore all of that noise, but it's definitely out there.
For the Lions, they proved they weren't going to roll over and die. Despite being blown out for most of the game, they ended up making it a one-score game against the 49ers in Week 1. If they're going to play hard, that gives them a chance, especially if any of the above narratives about the Packers has any truth.
Which of these favorites am I most confident in? Which ones should be avoided? This list highlights my confidence in descending order.
2. Tampa Bay
3. Green Bay
5. New England