BEST GAME – San Francisco at Philadelphia (+3.5)
The 49ers’ confusing quarterback situation got a little clarity – if only temporarily – when vet Jimmy Garoppolo was solid (314 yards and a TD) in SF’s opening day win at Detroit. Granted, it was just Detroit, but if Jimmy G had peed his pants or – worse – gotten injured again, it might have opened the door for fans to scream for Trey Lance. As it is, Garoppolo at minimum bought some time and a start at Philly in Week 2. We’ll see if spending nearly a full cumulative day in an airplane (to and from Detroit, to Philadelphia) affects the Niners. Early SF money bumped this one up a half-point, to Eagles +3.5.
WORST GAME – Detroit at Green Bay (-10.5)
Whatever is going on with Aaron Rodgers, it’s pretty clear that leading the Packers to a title this season is not his top priority right now. He looked disinterested and confused against the Saints on opening day, and it will be interesting to see how Wisconsin fans will react if he turns in another stinker in the first home game of what is certainly his final season in Green Bay. Fortunately for the Pack, the Lions are coming to town on Monday night and things are set up nicely for a rebound, so it’s unlikely that Rodgers will have to answer some very probing post-game questions about his motivation, or lack thereof.
LARGEST SPREAD – Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-13)
The second week of the season, and it’s already back to the drawing board time for the Falcons. Losing at home to a mediocre Eagles team is bad enough, but Atlanta did not have a single offensive play longer than 18 yards, and the only offense it was able to generate came in the form of two field goals. Now the Birds have to fix things on the fly before hitting the road to take on the defending champs, who will have had a few extra days for prep and rest after opening the season this past Thursday night. Brady is Brady, and if he shows his age this season it will most likely be later on. Right now he looks fresh and ready to roll. This game opened at 13.5 and was quickly bet down to 13.
SMALLEST SPREAD – New Orleans at Carolina (-3)
After the hurricane, the city of New Orleans was in desperate need of a pick-me-up, and Jameis Winston stepped forward in a big way. Five TD passes in a win over the Packers and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers? Anyone see THAT coming? Still, the Panthers are a somewhat puzzling favorite in this one after Carolina had to hold on for dear life in beating the Jets. Winston could be challenged in this one because the Panthers have improved their defense and had six sacks in the opener vs. New York. Long term, keep an eye on Christian McCaffrey, who had 21 carries and nine catches. Thirty touches a game is probably not physically sustainable over a 17-game season.
LARGEST TOTAL – Kansas City at Baltimore (55.5)
The opposite of limbo – how HIGH can you go? Four games (San Francisco-Philadelphia, Atlanta-Tampa Bay, Dallas-Los Angeles Chargers and this one) all have totals set at 50 or more. The Chiefs had just enough offensive juice and just enough defensive lapses against the Browns for Over betters in Week 1, and no one really expects the train to slow down. The stars aren’t lined up for the Ravens defense, which had to play in Las Vegas on Monday night, travel back across the country and then get ready for the Chiefs on a short week.
LOWEST TOTAL – New York Giants at Washington (41.5) (Thursday night)
Under bettors cashed in on opening day, with 10 of the 15 games played through Sunday failing to reach the number. Blame the bookies, who know that the public likes to see scoring, and set the numbers somewhat artificially high to milk that tendency. The Giants and Washington both ran into defensive buzz saws in Week 1, New York rushing for only 60 yards (27 by QB Daniel Jones) in a loss at home to Denver, and WFT losing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to injury and coming up empty (also at home) against the Chargers.