I don’t claim to be an expert at betting football games.
After all, gambling is, by definition, a bit of a toss-up. If you manage to come out of a season with anywhere around 55% of your bets earning a profit, you can afford to pat yourself on the back. Getting to that point is the hard part, but my aim is to help you do that across a season with some under the radar wagers.
What gambling on football does allow us to do is have a little bit of fun with games we might not normally be interested in. While wagering on the spread and total points is the norm, your best bet might be to eschew these and go with more unconventional options.
After a wild and wacky Week 1 with upsets galore, let’s recap last week’s bets before digging in to Week 2.
WEEK 1 RECAP
MISS: Jordan Todman to score touchdown anytime @ 4/1 – Pittsburgh @ New England
Jordan Todman simply didn’t earn the snaps on offense to get into a scoring position, and in hindsight this was a bad recommendation on my part considering Todman’s recent arrival in Pittsburgh. A swing and a miss, I’m afraid.
HIT: Indianapolis Colts under 24 points @ Buffalo
The Colts were lucky to end up with 14 points in a game the Bills dominated. People were sleeping on the Buffalo defense last week, but oddsmakers may wise up to this formidable unit by adjusting totals for opposing offenses going forward.
HIT: Carolina Panthers under 22.5 points @ Jacksonville
Another hit here, as the conservative Panthers defense got the job done in a controlled game by Carolina. Ron Rivera absolutely loves these game scripts, and he may see more of the same this season as his team adjust to life without Kelvin Benjamin.
MISS: Oakland Raiders to beat Cincinnati Bengals @ 6/4
A second dud of the week, but I blame the preseason hype machine surrounding the changed Raiders. Jack Del Rio still has a lot of hard work to do with this team to return them to respectability. The injury to Derek Carr throws a spanner in the works, while the Bengals made the Raiders defense look like a high school unit.
WEEK 2 PUNTS
Washington Redskins under 19.5 points vs. St Louis Rams @ 10/11
The Rams showed the football world what a dominating force they can be on the defensive side against Seattle. My gut tells me they should have similar success against a Redskins offensive line that lacks the star quality to pose the Rams much problems. Aaron Donald and company should stifle the Kirk Cousins-led offense, possibly even triggering that quarterback change to Colt McCoy.
Kansas City Chiefs under 23 points vs. Denver Broncos @ 10/11
The Chiefs wiped the floor with the hapless Houston Texans in Week 1, but Week 2 poses a different challenge altogether. Denver’s defense smothered Baltimore on a constant basis, giving Joe Flacco no breathing room to look downfield and stuffing runners for minimal gains. The Chiefs should come back to earth in what will be a low- scoring AFC West affair.
New York Jets (+7) at Indianapolis Colts
Call me crazy to take the Jets and the points here, but I simply don’t trust the Colts offensive line. The Jets looked like their old selves on defense against Cleveland – not their toughest test – and should carry that momentum forward into a big clash on Monday Night Football. Ryan Fitzpatrick has the experience to keep the Jets in a manageable game script, and the Colts will be without T.Y. Hilton.
Longest successful field goal – Denver (Brandon McManus) at Kansas City @ evens
Although this game is at Arrowhead, the performance of Brandon McManus in the home opener made an impression on me. The wind could be a factor in this game, with early forecasts indicating 15mph gusts, but McManus should have plenty of opportunities in a low-scoring game to make his mark.
WATCH LIST – SEASON-LONG BETS
Chicago Bears (0-1) win total – UNDER 6.5
The opening day loss to the Green Bay Packers wasn’t exactly unexpected, but the Bears showed off their flaws in the defensive secondary. Matt Forte looks tremendous, but there are tough tests ahead. This week’s clash against Arizona looks like another tricky home test for the 0-1 Bears.
Tennessee Titans (1-0) win total – OVER 5.5
I predicted a re-energised offensive effort from the Titans, but I wasn’t expecting 42 points. Marcus Mariota played with poise and a comfort level that many didn’t envisage, getting the football out quickly and accurately. The Titans are already one sixth of the way there on this bet, with winnable games coming up against Cleveland… and possibly Indianapolis.
After a slow start, Sam Bradford and the Eagles offense came alive on Monday night in Atlanta. Bradford may take some time to get into a proper rhythm, but I have faith he is still firmly in the frame for this award. Adrian Peterson is in a similar situation, but hasn’t played in quite a while. He looked mortal apart from one run against Minnesota, but I’ve learned never to doubt that cat.
Make sure to check back next week for more betting tips ahead of Week 2’s slate of games. Follow me on Twitter