Best Value NFL Week 2 Betting Odds
Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 15 with the New York Jets visiting the Buffalo Bills and concludes on Monday, Sept. 19 when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Chicago Bears. Not the best prime-time schedule of the season as all four of those clubs missed the playoffs in 2015. Here are three games with early value on NFL betting odds.
Here’s a Closer Look at the Best Value NFL Week 2 Betting Odds
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4 in NFL betting)
Each team will be missing at least one key player due to suspension. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, a Pro Bowler in 2014 and on the short list of the best running backs in the NFL, is suspended four games for missing a drug test, although Bell is appealing. Bell was suspended for the first three games of 2015, which was later reduced to two games, for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy after he was arrested on charges of marijuana possession and DUI in the summer of 2014. Since Bell entered the league, his 119 yards per game from scrimmage leads all players. He caught 83 passes for 854 yards two years ago to go with his 1,361 rushing yards.
Bell apparently claims that he changed his cell phone number and thus the NFL drug tester couldn’t reach him. He played only six games in 2015 before landing on injured reserve with a knee injury caused on a controversial tackle by Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The Steelers are expecting an answer by their second preseason game August 18 as to whether Bell will be successful on appeal. It would be an upset if he is. The Steelers have a great No. 2 back in DeAngelo Williams.
Meanwhile, the Bengals will be without Burfict. He was suspended three games for a vicious hit on Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown in last year’s wild-card game, a Pittsburgh win over Cincinnati. The league deemed that Burfict should have avoided the hit that concussed Brown, ultimately giving the Steelers field position for the winning kick in their 18-16 victory. Burfict’s suspension already has been upheld on appeal. Although the season-altering blow to Brown was the impetus for discipline, Burfict’s history as a repeat offender factored into the length of the suspension.
I like Pittsburgh at home.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (-12.5 in NFL betting)
This looks like one of the biggest mismatches of the season. We still don’t know who San Francisco’s starting QB will be, either Colin Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert. Really doesn’t matter. Based on coach Chip Kelly’s initial statement in training camp, it’s going to be a legit competition. Kelly said he plans to split things “right down the middle” in terms of reps for the two players. Gabbert doesn’t have the athleticism of Kaepernick, but he could be a better fit for Kelly’s offense than his counterpart because of his ability to read defenses, anticipate throws and be accurate on short- and medium-yard throws.
Kelly already has said his team will not pursue Nick Foles. Kelly’s Eagles posted a 14-4 record with Foles as the starter during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Foles earned a Pro Bowl MVP nod and established an NFL record with a 27:2 touchdown-to- interception ratio in 2013. But Kelly says he’s not interested in a reunion.
“I’m a big fan of Nick, but right now our eggs are in Kap and Blaine’s basket, and we’e going to see what those guys can do,” Kelly said. “And (we’re) very confident in those guys and it has really nothing to do with Nick, but it has to do a lot with both Blaine and Kap, in terms of where they are and giving them an ample shot at being the quarterback.”
The last time the 49ers and Panthers played was in 2013 and Carolina won 10-9. Drayton Florence intercepted a pass by Kaepernick in the final minute to seal it. Carolina fumbled twice in the closing moments, but recovered each time. This one won’t be that close. Give the points.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (+6 in NFL betting)
This game is notable because it’s the Rams’ first one that matters back in Los Angeles. The Seahawks have to get their offensive-line situation figured out. Running back Thomas Rawls and tight end Jimmy Graham continue to recover from injuries and are still on the PUP list. Players can come off the PUP list at any time during training camp.
Rawls fractured his ankle and suffered ligament damage in December. He ran for 830 yards as a rookie and led the NFL with 5.65 yards per carry. Graham sustained a ruptured patellar tendon in late November. In his first season with the Seahawks, he had 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns.
Will the Rams be starting No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff this early in the season at quarterback? For now he is running with the second team, playing behind starter Case Keenum. Keenum’s hold on the starting spot is more tenuous than teenage confidence. No one is certain when Goff will become the starter, only that given everything the Rams gave up to get him, at some point it will happen.
The Rams surprisingly swept Seattle last year but I like the Hawks giving less than a TD on NFL odds here.