Patriots (PK) and first half under 24 One thing about Super Bowls is they don't tend to start with a bang.
Overreactions/Week 2 picks
A good rule of thumb for all bettors from week to week is not to put too much stock into a team’s most recent performance. One of the ways oddsmakers take advantage of the public is to inflate a number based on the sentiment stemming from a team’s previous result. Which is to say public bettors can frequently be paying built-in premiums on numbers without even knowing it.
While the concept of overreaction is prevalent throughout the season, it’s perhaps no more so than between Weeks 1 and 2. Not only does the public-sentiment pendulum swing as a result of what it saw last, in the case of Week 2, last week is all it has seen. Bettors therefore need to be mindful of potential Week 1 outliers and do their best to approach Week 2 with a clean slate. In that scenario, those premiums on one side of a line can suddenly become discounts on the other side.
Cowboys (+3.5) at Titans
In a Week 1 defined by upsets and comebacks, no team laid a bigger egg than Dallas. Tony Romo was abominable vs. San Francisco, throwing interceptions on three straight possessions in the first half to bury his team. The issues for the Cowboys were well-documented coming into the season, but they pertained strictly to the defensive side of the ball. What was interesting about last week’s game was the performance of the Dallas defense. Despite being routinely put in horrible spots, the unit performed admirably, holding the 49ers to just seven points over the final three quarters.
As for Romo, he simply played one of the worst games of his career. The knock on Romo is he’ll play well for the majority of a game before making one critical mistake that swings the outcome. In this case, he was awful throughout. Expect a much better showing from Romo against a Titans team that may be slightly overvalued after its undressing of the Chiefs on the road. That stomping came against an undermanned Kansas City squad that saw key players drop likes flies during the contest. Because of the respective showings of Dallas and Tennessee in Week 1, this line appears to be inflated by a half-point – which is especially significant because the hook is being tacked onto the key number of 3.
Patriots (-5.5) at Vikings
Laying points with road favorites generally qualifies as a risky proposition, but there are special circumstances in this matchup, which features one team that greatly disappointed in Week 1 (New England) vs. a team that opened some eyes (Minnesota). In the case of the Vikings, similar to the Titans, they looked positively explosive on offense and dominant on defense in steamrolling the Rams in St. Louis. But that team was already reeling from the loss of starting quarterback Sam Bradford and found itself down to its third-stringer when Shaun Hill went out midway through the game with a quad injury. Then came Friday’s bombshell that Adrian Peterson had been indicted on charges of child abuse and deactivated for Sunday. Minnesota’s offensive attack in Week 1 was a 1-2 punch of Peterson and dynamic second-year wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. Combined, the pair accounted for 221 of the Vikings’ 355 total yards. Removing Peterson from the equation means Patterson and quarterback Matt Cassel are going to have to shoulder the bulk of the offensive burden going forward.
That’s not a rosy proposition against a team like the Patriots notorious for removing an opponent’s best weapon from the equation. That Pats self-destructed last week in Miami after holding a 10-point halftime lead, their overmatched offensive line falling victim to Cameron Wake (a longtime Pats killer) and the Miami pass rush. As bad as they looked, no team in the league is better at making adjustments than New England, and Tom Brady has never started a season 0-2. If the Patriots had managed to squeak by the Dolphins and Minnesota hadn’t blown open a close game in St. Louis, New England would have been originally laying right around 5 points in this one (instead of the pre-Peterson -3), with the adjustment pushing the line onto or through the key number of 7. Bettors are therefore essentially getting the true line of this matchup – without the headache of having to contend with Peterson’s 25-plus touches.
Bears at 49ers – over 48
The Bears falling at home to the Bills might have been the shocker of the week, but the formula for their demise was an all-too-familiar one. Jay Cutler threw a pair of interceptions to kill promising drives and Brandon Marshall fumbled deep in Buffalo territory for a third giveaway. Take away the turnovers and Chicago was every bit the offensive juggernaut it was billed to be, with 427 total yards and over six yards per play. The 49ers defense, meanwhile, didn’t exactly distinguish itself against the Cowboys, who moved the ball consistently before bailing San Francisco out in the form of multiple turnovers presented on a silver platter. If the Bears can clean up their own ball-security issues, they should be able to find the end zone fairly regularly against a Niners D whose weakness lies in the secondary and will be susceptible to big plays from Chicago’s formidable receiving corps (assuming both Alshon Jeffery and Marshall aren’t sidelined by injury). The San Francisco offense also shouldn’t encounter much resistance from a Bears defense that simply isn’t what it used to be.
Last week: 0-3
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