NFL Week 2 Picks: Schedule, Odds, Betting Trends And Predictions Against The Spread

By Alex Kay, Contributor
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be favored over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season (AP Photo/Scott Audette) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season is rapidly approaching. It begins with the first Thursday Night Football branded game of the season, one that will feature the New York Giants and Washington Football Team going head-to-head.

This NFC East rivalry matchup should be exciting, especially after both teams started the new campaign with a loss this past weekend. The stakes are high and each side will be desperate for a win to keep its playoff dream alive.

Only 30 teams since 1990 have gone to make a postseason appearance after dropping back-to-back games out of the gate. Even last year—when the playoff bracket expanded to 14 teams—none of the 11 clubs to start the year 0-2 managed to reach the postseason.

The addition of a 17th regular season game in 2021 slightly lessens the blow, but none of the 16 franchises that lost last week will be satisfied after Week 2 without getting back to .500. Teams like the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers, all projected to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders this year, will be looking to bounce back in Week 2 following disappointing performances in their respective season-openers.

With teams now settling into a routine and the nerves from Week 1 in the rear-view, bettors will want to keep a close eye on the upcoming schedule of games. Handicappers can start to get a real feel for how each squad will fare this year after Week 2. With plenty of tape and statistics to glean information from, the betting lines will begin to tighten up towards the end of September.

Don’t let a chance to capitalize on another set of relatively soft lines slip by without taking advantage. Bookmakers are still setting odds for these Week 2 games based on the public perception of teams from last year, something sharper bettors can easily take advantage of.

If you seeking some assistance finding the best teams to back with your wagers or pool picks, you’ve come to the right place. You can find a set of betting trends and winning NFL predictions for some of this week’s top games below. Before getting to the picks, take a look at the table below for the complete schedule, start times, TV channels, live stream information and updated odds for every game on tap during Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season courtesy of FanDuel.  


NFL Week 2 Viewing And Betting Guide

Thursday Night Football will be live streamed via NFL.com, Sunday Night Football via NBC Sports and Monday Night Football via WatchESPN.


NFL Week 2 Betting Trends

  • The Cincinnati Bengals have gone 47-32-3 ATS (against the spread) as a road team since 2011. With a cover rate of 59.5%, the Bengals have been the second-best club in football to bet as visitors over the last decade. After winning and covering in Week 1 at home, Cincinnati will look to improve on its road record in Week 2. The team will travel to take on the Chicago Bears—who have gone just 36-43-2 at Soldier Field in the same span—as three-point underdogs.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 3-0 SU (straight-up) and ATS in games they had a rest advantage last year. With extra time to prepare and recuperate, quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians have been impossible to beat thus far. The Bucs now go into their Week 2 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons with three extra days of prep time following their season-opening victory against the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday. Tampa is up on the board as 11.5-point chalk in this NFC South rivalry game.
  • The Houston Texans are 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS over their last six matchups with the Cleveland Browns. Despite their status as underdogs with the lowest projected win total in the NFL this year, the Texans opened their campaign with an upset over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. The victory moved quarterback Tyrod Taylor to 5-0 ATS since he left the Buffalo Bills in 2018. Houston will be the biggest ‘dog on the board in Week 2 and is currently getting 12.5 points in this upcoming showdown against Cleveland.
  • The San Francisco 49ers are just 17-12 SU and 9-19-1 ATS as a favorite dating back to 2017. The team has struggled as chalk since head coach Kyle Shanahan took the reins, a stretch that includes an ugly 2-6 SU and ATS showing when favored last year.  The Niners started out the 2021 campaign with a victory, but they failed to beat the 9.5-point number in a 41-33 victory over the lowly Detroit Lions. Oddsmakers have installed San Francisco as a 3.5-point road favorite against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
  • The OVER is 21-5-1 since Ryan Tannehill began starting for the Tennessee Titans midway through the 2019 campaign. The veteran quarterback injected some much-needed firepower into this offense, pushing the total consistently above the over-under line in Tennessee’s contests. The team looked sluggish in Week 1, however, scoring just 13 points and failing to eclipse the 54-point total in a 38-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Titans will try to get their offense rolling again in Week 2 in a showdown with the Seattle Seahawks, a game that has an over-under of 53.5 points.



NFL Week 2 Best Bet

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills

A pair of AFC East rivals will be vying for control of the division in Week 2 when the Buffalo Bills visit the Miami Dolphins.

Buffalo has been in control of this series lately, winning seven of the last eight games against Miami outright, including five in a row.  Things have been a bit more even against the spread over the last four years, with Buffalo holding just a slight 5-3 ATS edge.

The Bills secured a resounding victory in the last meeting, exploding offensively in a 56-26 blowout despite going into the contest as 3.5-point ‘dogs. That wound up being the most points the Bills would score in a single game all season.

The Dolphins had one of the best defenses in football last year too, especially at home. They gave up just 21.1 points per game to the opposition, with that number dropping to 19.0 at home – good for the third-best mark in football.

The total has gone over in each of the last five contests, with these teams tending to engage in relatively high-scoring affairs when they meet lately. Since the start of the 2015 campaign, Buffalo-Miami games have gone 9-2-1 towards the over.

The Dolphins will be a 3.5-point underdog in this game, but don’t count them out by any means. Bettors have learned not to underestimate this squad as a ‘dog with Tua Tagovailoa under center, as the ‘Phins are now 4-0 ATS in that spot since the second-year QB took the reins. That includes an outright win as 3.5-point road underdogs in the season-opener versus the rival New England Patriots.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - AUGUST 21: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins reacts to a touchdown run by Myles Gaskin #37 against the Atlanta Falcons during a preseason game at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

One X-factor for Miami is the return of star wideout Will Fuller V, who started the year serving out the remainder of his PED suspension doled out by the league last season. With the veteran receiver set to make his Dolphins debut, the Miami offense gets another much-needed weapon for Tagovailoa to lean on.

The ‘Phins had a pedestrian offense last year—averaging 339.0 yards and 25.3 points per game—and struggled in their 2021 opener. The team tied with Washington for the fifth-fewest yards of offense in Week 1, narrowly generating enough points to scrape by New England in a 17-16 victory. With Fuller now in the fold and joining No. 6 overall pick Jaylen Waddle—who scored in his pro debut—Miami’s offense is poised for better days.

Given how much the Bills struggled in Week 1—getting beat 23-16 by a Pittsburgh Steelers foe they were expected to beat by a touchdown—they’ll need to turn things around quickly to keep their winning streak against Miami alive.

Buffalo still deserves an edge due to their potent offense led by rising star Josh Allen and a veteran defensive unit, but laying 3.5 points is too much here. It will be tough to back a road team that hasn’t started off the season well and is now playing a divisional rival in a hostile environment. This one should finish within a field goal, making the Dolphins the team to bet on against the spread.

Pick: Dolphins +3.5

Prediction: Bills 24 – Dolphins 23

 

Week 2 Bonus NFL Predictions

Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans

Pick: Texans +12.5

 

Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: Bengals +3.5

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Pick: Buccaneers -11.5


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