Week 2: Redzone Best Bets
Week 1 was supposed to serve as somewhat of an eye opener, offering a glimpse in to what we can expect from the 32 NFL teams over the coming season. It didn’t feel like that this year and only seemed to muddy the waters even further with stunning results left, right and centre. The hope for punters going into Week 2 lies in the potential for overreaction in the betting markets to some of the outlandish outcomes in the opening fixtures.
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£20 PAYS £74.40 (Bet365)
49ers (-3) @ Eagles:
One such overreaction comes in Philadelphia’s trouncing of a too bad to be true Atlanta Falcons. Philadelphia had their way with a Falcons defense we already knew to be talent deficient, but there was supposed to be some juice in the offense under the watch of new Head Coach Arthur Smith. Simply put, there wasn’t.
Philadelphia’s defense is useful and made the Falcons look positively clueless as the game went on last week; it’s probably not an elite unit though, and it’s worth remembering that the Falcons marched down in to the redzone at will on their first two drives before things turned ugly for Matt Ryan and his supporting cast.
The 49ers won’t be as wasteful if they’re allowed to stroll inside the 20 and they certainly won’t implode in the way the Falcons did. San Francisco put up 41 points over an admittedly poor Detroit Lions in Week 1 but there’s a feeling that there’s still more to come from this offense as the brilliant Kyle Shanahan prepares to have some fun with rookie quarterback Trey Lance – expect to see more of Lance this week with some gems from Shanahan’s playbook.
Second season receiver Brandon Aiyuk saw no targets in Week 1 and if he’s ready to go in Week 2 he adds yet another dimension to this offense. They lose Raheem Mostert for the season but rookie Elijah Mitchell looks more than ready to step in and lead the running game after going for 104 yards and a touchdown on debut.
The 33 points conceded by the 49ers in Week 1 makes for ugly reading against a Lions offense led by Jared Goff and a band of middle of the road receivers. The Lions had some early fun on the ground with Jamaal Williams and De’Andre Swift but aside from a wild final few minutes, the 49ers were well in control and the 41-33 scoreline flattered the Lions.
The loss of Jason Verrett at cornerback is a concern for a secondary which is lacking in depth but I’m not sure the Eagles are the team to expose this. Jalen Hurts can be nice and tidy through the air but he doesn’t strike me as an elite passer. First-round rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith looks a legitimate threat and should have a fun season but the passing game looks set to be fairly conservative while Hurts continues to find his feet at this level.
If they put it together this season, the 49ers ceiling is Super Bowl, the Eagles can probably hope for 10 wins at best. The gulf in class between these two is more than the 3-point spread. Take San Francisco -3.
Raiders @ Steelers (Under 47 Points):
Big Ben isn’t calling time on his career just yet but his limitations are plain to see; elbow surgery and Father Time have both played their part and he is now simply a serviceable NFL quarterback. That is, he isn’t going to carry a team on his back and lead them to victory, but he also has too much experience and knowledge to cost you a game with downright awful play.
Quarterback (cliché incoming) is the most important positions in sports, and with Roethlisberger under center Pittsburgh’s offense will never be explosive this season. Throw in a running game still looking to find a successful formula after a dreadful 2020 and the result is a mediocre offense. Najee Harris could be special, but Week 2 isn’t the time to bet on that coming to fruition – and a situation where Harris carves up the Raiders on the ground is probably good news for an unders bet anyway.
There’s another team in this game as well; the Raiders pulled off an upset against a Ravens team which should have put them to bed by half time. The Las Vegas residents can have an interesting season and maybe make a run for the playoffs, but they are still a limited football team; Derek Carr is Derek Carr, a midtable quarterback. They have some weapons in the receiving corps but they’re playing the Steelers, and the Steelers defense is top drawer. Couple that with the loss of workhorse running back Josh Jacobs, and putting points on the board might not be easy for The Raiders.
Under 47 points looks good to me here, I don’t see Pittsburgh scoring 30+ points, I don’t see them conceding many either. Play the under and relax as Mike Tomlin’s men grind this one out.
player props treble:
£20 PAYS £123.24 (Bet365)
David Njoku Over 23.5 Receiving Yards (Texans @ Browns)
Njoku has all the attributes required to be one of the NFL’s best tight ends. His career rather stalled after a promising 2018 but he looked close to that level again in Week 1 (76 yards on 3 receptions from 5 targets) and a day out against one of the worst defenses in the league presents an ideal opportunity to build upon that.
Devin Singletary Over 36.5 Rushing Yards (Billls @ Dolphins)
Singletary made some waves in his rookie season back in 2019 before the Bills decided they didn’t need to run the ball in 2020 on the back of Josh Allen taking a huge step forward. Allen looked human again last week and Singletary rushed for 72 yards from 11 carries. I expect him to see more action here and even if he doesn’t, 36.5 yards looks a generous line (he averaged 43 yards per game last season).
Trevor Lawrence Over 252.5 Passing Yards (Broncos @ Jaguars)
The number one pick attempted 51 passes in Week 1, completing 28 of them for 332 yards. He probably won’t throw 51 times this week but I expect the Jaguars to be chasing this game yet again and be forced to go through the air with Lawrence.
NFL BETTING ANALYST
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