Last night's wild win by the New York Jets put Week 1 officially in the rearview mirror. Now the real fun begins. Every bettor is placed in the precarious position of trying to put their first look at all 32 teams in its proper perspective. What we saw in Week 1 is not always indicative of what we'll see in Week 2, or the rest of the season for that matter.
Surprisingly enough, everything didn’t play out as everyone expected in the league’s first week. Overreaction Monday was in full effect. In fact, the overreactions are the only thing you can confidently consider a lock this time of year. After all, we are all football-starved humans who have waited for seven months to watch a meaningful game. The passion drives the league’s popularity, but it also fuels the overreactions that bettors have to guard against if they plan to have a profitable season.
Let’s take a look at three of the biggest questions bettors need to answer before dipping back into their bankroll this upcoming Sunday.
Are the Dolphins serious Super Bowl contenders?
Bettors holding Tua Tagovailoa MVP tickets were doing the macarena across their living floor after Miami’s 36-34 win over the Chargers. The Dolphins QB threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns, starting the season white-hot for the second straight year. Tagovailoa also led all QBs in PFF's passing grade (92.8) and finished second in adjusted EPA/play (.525). The Tua-Tyreek Hill connection looked like nightmare fuel for opposing defenses, as “Cheetah” sprinted his way to 11 receptions for 215 yards. The Miami offense, entering its second season under Mike McDaniels, averaged 8.2 yards per play against the Chargers.
The Dolphins' ability to keep Tagovailoa healthy was the caveat whenever their value in the futures market was discussed this summer. Bettors who were comfortable inheriting the risk are holding some tickets at valuable numbers. Tagovailoa’s MVP odds dropped considerably from +2200 to +700, making him the co-favorite with Patrick Mahomes. Miami’s Super Bowl odds didn’t experience quite the shift, as they currently sit at +2000. With the Chiefs and Bengals starting the season slowly, there might be meat on the bone at the current odds. Explosive plays win in the NFL, and Miami’s offensive explosion is even more impressive when you consider Week 1 is typically lower scoring. It's overreaction season, but I was all-in on this offense over the summer. After one week, I’m not sure if there is better value on the board than Miami right now.
Can the Giants recover from such an embarrassing loss?
Every team gets knocked down in the NFL. It’s how quickly you can turn the page and focus on the following week that really matters. Brian Daboll now faces his greatest challenge as coach of the New York Giants. After getting dismantled by the Dallas Cowboys, 40-0, New York finds itself in a must-win game in only Week 2. I’m sure Giants fans saw the Arizona Cardinals on the schedule, penciled in a W, and never thought twice about the game.
Now, it feels like everything is on the line. The Cardinals were a tough out for the Commanders while covering as 7-point road underdogs. Jonathan Gannon’s group hung in until the final few minutes, giving survivor contestants the sweat of their life.
The Giants didn’t do enough right to take anybody lightly. They still find themselves 4.5-point road favorites after surrendering three turnovers and allowing seven sacks to a Cowboys defense that pressured Daniel Jones relentlessly. Arizona’s defense was very aggressive under defensive coordinator Nick Rallis, corralling Sam Howell for six sacks, and landing in the top 10 for both defensive EPA/play and drop-back success rate. The Cardinals could smell blood when facing a reeling Giants offensive line. New York is now 4-8-1 in their last 13 games, raising the question of if the market is overvaluing them off last season’s playoff run. It’s not a favorite that I would look to lay points with in Week 2.
Are we sure Kenny Pickett is the future in Pittsburgh?
We overreacted last season when Pickett was putting together consecutive scoring drives whenever he stepped on the field. After the 49ers defense dragged him back down to earth, we are overreacting again. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, but it’s fair to say the Steelers' second-year signal-caller has plenty to prove. He is still a bit of an enigma whose success has been directly tied to the level of competition he has faced. All seven of Pickett’s opponents during the Steelers’ 6-1 run to finish last season failed to qualify for the postseason. Sunday’s game against the 49ers was a litmus test, and the results weren’t pretty. Pickett averaged only five yards per pass attempt, threw two interceptions and finished 29th of 32 quarterbacks in EPA/play.
Monday night might not be any easier against a Browns defense that made Joe Burrow miserable. The Steelers have moved from short favorites to +2.5 home underdogs based off their demoralizing loss to San Francisco. It will be a prove-it game and give us a good indication on how to bet the Steelers against the league’s better teams this year.
Stats provided by pff and rbsdm