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NFL Betting Line Movement Analysis for Week 2

by September 16, 2021
Alvin Kamara

The NFL sure came back last week with a bang as far as the betting side of things is concerned! A total of 12 betting underdogs covered the point spread in Week 1. That figure set a new record for a single week of football in the Super Bowl Era. In addition, a whopping nine of those dogs also managed to win their games outright. Talk about a week in which the underdogs were howling! 

As one might imagine, so many surprising results in the first week of the season has led to several major shifts in the Week 2 NFL betting lines. A few spreads and totals on this week’s slate are hardly recognizable compared to where they first opened on the lookahead. Bettors must be careful not to overreact to what they saw in Week 1. When it comes to sports betting, no league has proven to be more week-to-week than the NFL.

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NFL Betting Line Movement Column Overview

The following column is written to highlight and analyze the largest line moves to take place across the NFL betting market. Each week, we will discuss a handful of games whose spread or total has experienced a significant and/or noteworthy shift from the opening number. In addition to looking at the move itself, we will explore possible causes and rationale that sharp bettors used when placing wagers that ultimately moved the number. 

Understanding how the NFL betting market views a matchup is a key part of any handicapping strategy. With this in mind, readers will find a table at the end of this column that lists both the opening and current betting odds for each game on the Week 2 slate. 

Significant NFL Week 2 Line Moves | Point Spread

Saints at Panthers (NO from PICK to -3.5)
This Week 2 NFC South Division battle between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers draws particular interest concerning NFL betting line movement given that it initially opened as a pick’em on the lookahead. After trouncing the Green Bay Packers in their season-opener, it isn’t a huge surprise to see the Saints garner respect from the oddsmakers. However, the Panthers also won their Week 1 matchup, albeit in a much less convincing fashion. Despite being the home team for this contest, Carolina has seen the market adjust against them. Both quarterbacks in this game, Jameis Winston and Sam Darnold, still have a lot to prove. If Week 1 was any indication, perhaps the greatest edge for the Saints will be their defense.

Broncos at Jaguars (DEN from -3 to -6)
After taking care of business in convincing fashion on the road last week, the Denver Broncos will again be in the Eastern Time Zone on Sunday. Despite being short NFL betting favorites, their opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, got thoroughly outplayed in their season-opener. Although the natural reaction is to assume a team like the Jaguars was overrated coming into the year, teams who lose by double-digits in Week 1 have performed well ATS the following week in recent seasons.

While prized Jaguars’ rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence may one day become a better NFL QB than current Broncos starter Teddy Bridgewater, he has little to no help at present. The Jaguars’ offensive line was atrocious in the preseason and got exposed badly once again in Week 1. While they will have home-field advantage in this matchup, the O-line figures to be no match for the loaded Denver defense. After marking his return from a lost season with two sacks last week, Von Miller could be a regular presence in the Jacksonville backfield this Sunday.

Patriots at Jets (NE from -3.5 to -5.5)
We round out this week’s top point spread line moves with another matchup between division rivals. The New England Patriots might have lost to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, but they were impressive even in defeat. If not for a Damien Harris red zone fumble, the Pats likely would be 1-0 coming into this road game against the New York Jets. Although the Jets only lost by five in their season-opener, it was a very shaky performance from the offensive line. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson made some nice plays, but he was running for his life the entire game. With starting left tackle Mekhi Becton suffering an injury last week, it could be another long afternoon for Gang Green upfront. 

One additional note: teams who open the season with back-to-back games against divisional opponents are both win and cover at an astounding rate of success going back several years. This angle would favor the Patriots in this spot.

Significant NFL Week 2 Line Moves | Total

49ers at Eagles (46.5 down to 50)
Although one could question the level of competition both teams faced in Week 1, each of the San Francisco 49ers’ and Philadelphia Eagles’ offenses were quite impressive. The 49ers took it to the Detroit Lions, led by a monstrous game from wideout Deebo Samuel. Despite question marks surrounding the quarterback position for both teams coming into the year, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jalen Hurts were both solid in their respective openers. Perhaps the 49ers’ defense surrendering many late points to the Lions helped kick off the upward shift on this total. In addition, star cornerback Jason Verrett was lost to a torn ACL. With the Eagles’ secondary also being nowhere near a sure thing, the market clearly feels that these teams can put up some points on one another.

Titans at Seahawks (49.5 up to 54)
The total has also been on the rise in this cross-conference matchup between the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks. The most likely cause for the shift in the NFL betting market on this game is the Titans’ defense’s poor showing in Week 1. While some analysts were optimistic that Tennessee had upgraded a suspect unit a season ago, failure to slow down the Arizona Cardinals in a blowout home loss was far from encouraging. Given the reputation that Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense carry, bettors and oddsmakers probably expect them to put up points in a similar fashion. 

One caveat to consider when it comes to rushing to back the over is the Seattle defense. This unit quietly improved a year ago and held its own in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. With the return of the 12th Man to the stands, it won’t be easy for the Titans to rebound from a dismal Week 1 offensive output.

Week 2 NFL Betting Line Moves Table

Refer to the table below for a side-by-side comparison of the opening and current Las Vegas consensus lines for all Week 2 NFL games, including those discussed above.

Note: All current odds reflect lines at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 15th

Matchup Opening Lines Current Vegas Consensus
Giants

Washington

43

-3.5

40.5

-3.5

Saints

Panthers

PICK

PICK

-3.5

44.5

Texans

Browns

45.5

-13

48

-12.5

Bengals

Bears

45.5

-3.5

45

-2.5

Raiders

Steelers

49

-5.5

47

-5.5

Bills

Dolphins

-3

48.5

-3.5

47.5

Rams

Colts

-3

46.5

-3.5

47.5

49ers

Eagles

-4

46.5

-3.5

50

Broncos

Jaguars

-3

43.5

-6

45.5

Patriots

Jets

-3.5

44

-5.5

42

Vikings

Cardinals

50

-3

50.5

-3.5

Falcons

Buccaneers

52

-10.5

52

-13

Titans

Seahawks

49.5

-3.5

54

-5.5

Cowboys

Chargers

50

-3

55

-3

Chiefs

Ravens

-2.5

53.5

-3.5

55

Lions

Packers

48.5

-10.5

48

-11

 

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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive.

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