Top 5 betting plays for Week 2 of the NFL season


Last Sunday brought sheer joy. There he was, dapper and chipper, just how I imagined he'd be: Scott Hanson guided me through seven hours of commercial-free football on RedZone and everything, for the first time in months, felt right.

What also made the day enjoyable was winning more money than I lost - a pretty simple formula. (Feel free to read what a typical Sunday/Monday in the casa de Kolodziej looks like to help you prepare for what will hopefully be more loot in your pocket by the time the weekend comes to a close.)

As always, be sure to shop around for the best numbers available.

Top Plays

Carolina at Atlanta

Pick: Over 44.5

A wise man once said to bet numbers, not teams - and that man has clearly never bet a Carolina Panthers over in his life.

Though I've tossed around the phrase "bane of my existence" a few times already while previewing certain teams, Carolina's offense is the ultimate bane. The top bane. Nobody can out-bane the Panthers.

Even worse, I thought I learned my lesson last season, but that clearly isn't true. I can't begin to tell you how hyped I am to watch Cam Newton run 53 read options that go for 3 yards a play. He will convert on every fourth-and-1 from his side of the field when I need a change of possession, but he'll get stuffed 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage in the same down and distance from the goal line. Carolina must lead the league in 10-minute drives that end with no points over the last five years.

But, to the original point: Yes, you should bet numbers over teams, no matter how many ulcers form in your stomach. This Falcons-Panthers total is right on par with last season's, and neither team's identity has changed all that much.

Carolina still leaves something to be desired for a quick-strike offense, but Newton poses enough of a challenge as a runner to potentially open things up. Meanwhile, the stout Falcons defense is a bit fractured - starters Keanu Neal and Deion Jones will be sidelined for extended periods due to their respective injuries. That should offset the Panthers' injuries on the offensive line.

If the field was 80 yards long instead of 100, the Falcons might be the highest-scoring team in history. Does any offensive coordinator hate scoring points as much as Steve Sarkisian? Play-calling in the red zone aside, Matt Ryan isn't safe from criticism either after completing just 21 of 43 passes and throwing a pick in the season-opening loss to the Eagles.

Still, Atlanta trots out an experienced quarterback with the weapons to expose a secondary that wasn't tested by Dak Prescott and the Cowboys last weekend. After the Falcons' offensive showing Thursday, how can they not try to hang 100?

Kansas City at Pittsburgh

Pick: Steelers -5 and Over 53

Overreactions are being served piping hot after Week 1, but I'm not sure calling the Chiefs' defense bad is an overreaction so much as a statement of fact.

Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and three touchdowns and would have had 500-plus and five if his receivers knew how to catch footballs. Kansas City's defense will likely make a more conscious effort to keep the ball in front of it this week, though Sunday's matchup is as difficult as Week 1's with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster running amok in the secondary.

The Chiefs' offense seems as if it'll have a racing pulse this season under second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Trading scores might become a weekly ritual with that excuse for a defense, but who's to say Kansas City isn't equipped for that possibility with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt?

We've gone over how travel this early in the season might affect a team's performance. The Chiefs fall into this situation and I'll be damned if Ben Roethlisberger and Co. don't have their way on offense after muddling through the rain last week.

Extra Points

Cleveland at New Orleans

Recommended Pick: Under 49.5

Well, I'd hope New Orleans shows a bit more effort than it did in Week 1.

After being carved up by Ryan Fitzpatrick (have you heard he played his college ball at Harvard?), do we really expect the Saints to bend the knee to a team that nearly won its first game since Christmas Eve 2016 but ultimately crushed its fans' hearts with a tie?

The rain in Cleveland last weekend made it tough to gauge the identity of the Browns' offense and how it plans to operate under new coordinator Todd Haley. There's still a lack of familiarity within the unit regardless: The offensive line from last weekend didn't get a single snap together during the preseason, and Josh Gordon, despite posing a threat to any secondary, is back after being away for an extended period of time during camp.

Cleveland's offense should be fun this season. I'll call for that to start in, let's say, Week 3.

Detroit at San Francisco

Recommended Pick: Over 48

Detroit's defense remains non-existent, though if the Lions can just keep their play calls to themselves, they should be able to move the ball against the 49ers.

Jimmy Garoppolo going from playing on the road at Minnesota to getting the Lions at home? I expect George Kittle to be streaking down the sideline for 67-yard gains all afternoon.

Top plays: 2-0-1
Overall record: 3-1-1

Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.

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