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Week 2 of the NFL is here.
After a wild first week, which featured Dallas and San Francisco making statements, as well as an unfortunate season-ending injury to four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, we’ll have to see what’s in store.
There will be three betting tips provided in this piece, including two player props and one alternate spread pick.
NFL Week 2 predictions: Player props
Note: The odds (American and decimal) for all three tips in this article were correct at the time of writing.
Derrick Henry anytime TD scorer @ -120 (1.83)
Yes. This is real life. Derrick Henry is actually listed at -120 on Caesars and William Hill, close to even money to score just one touchdown on Sunday against the Chargers. What makes these odds so eye-popping is the fact his odds sit at -175 on DraftKings and other books, along with his history of having steeper prices for this category.
The -175 line on DraftKings gives implied odds that Henry has a 63.64% chance to reach the end zone against Los Angeles. Last week, the Chargers allowed the most passing yards in the entire league, which should open things up for the former Heisman Trophy winner on the ground.
While fantasy owners are worried about Henry’s usage, anytime touchdown bettors shouldn’t be. Week 1 showed that Henry is still the red zone back in Tennessee’s offense. He took 100% of the team’s red zone carries (three) inside the 20-yard line. His three attempts were less than just nine other running backs around the league.
Against New Orleans’ stout defense, Tennessee had to settle for five field goals and didn’t score a single touchdown in the low-scoring 16-15 loss. Mike Vrabel’s squad should be able to do better against a weaker Los Angeles defensive unit.
Miami opted to do most of their damage throughout the air against Los Angeles, but running back Raheem Mostert was still able to score a rushing touchdown, which bodes well for Henry.
In 2022, Henry took 93% of the offense’s red zone carries, which ranked No. 1 in the NFL. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder scored 13 rushing touchdowns in 16 games, which is an average of 0.8125 per contest. He also managed to break the plane in 62.5% of outings (10/16).
Fantasypros’ total projections, which combine six sources such as ESPN, CBS, NFL.com, Numberfire, Fantasy Football Today and their own model, predict Henry to record 0.7 rushing touchdowns (70% chance) and 0.1 receiving touchdowns (10% chance).
Based on the Chargers’ defense, Henry’s been given a 4.4/5 matchup rating, which is highly favorable.
James Cook over 12.5 rec yards @ -109 (1.92)
Last week, Cook caught four receptions on six targets for 17 yards against the Jets. After an offseason with a lot of hype and rumors that he’d be the three-down back in Buffalo, Monday’s usage confirmed it.
The former Georgia Bulldog enjoyed a nice 15.3% target share through the air against New York. Buffalo offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey enjoys using his running backs in the passing game. In 2022, the top two Bills backs, Devin Singletary and Cook, saw 84 targets and had a combined 59 receptions (3.28 per game).
As a backup in 2022, Cook averaged 8.6 yards per reception, and Monday night, he only averaged 4.3, but that was against a Jets defense that ranked third against the pass and fourth overall the year before. The Raiders should present a much easier test defensively on Sunday.
If Josh Allen dumps the ball off to him as he did against the Jets, Cook should be able to have an easier time gaining yardage against a less potent defense.
According to Fantasypros, Las Vegas only allowed 3.6 yards per carry when facing gap runs. This could make things difficult for Cook on the ground, leading to more opportunities via the passing game.
ESPN’s fantasy model is expecting Cook to record 22 yards through the air, which is 9.5 more than his expected total on most sportsbooks. Fantasypros’ combined model projects Cook to record about 19.4 receiving yards, which is about seven more than what he’s listed at.
Caesars Sportsbook and William Hill currently provide his odds at -109 to hit the over.
NFL Week 2 tip: Alternate spread bet
Note: Both spreads and alternate spreads include overtime on most books.
Denver Broncos to cover (-3) alt spread vs. Washington Commanders @ -128 (1.78)
The Broncos were awful last season with a first-year head coach, and Russell Wilson certainly had a down year. However, nine of Denver’s losses came by one score or less, and five of them were by three points or fewer. Three of them also came via overtime.
The team made many changes in the offseason, with the most significant change coming at head coach. Super Bowl winner Sean Payton, who owns a 152-90 coaching record, was brought in.
According to Evan Abrams from the Action Network, Payton had the second-best record against the spread from 2006-2021, behind only Bill Belichick. Prior to Sunday’s loss, Payton’s gone 133-105-3 ATS over the last 20 years, putting him at No. 3 overall during that span.
Denver is coming off a narrow 17-16 loss away to Las Vegas and should bounce back at home, where they went 4-4 in 2022. They face a much weaker Commanders team with quarterback Sam Howell, who is making his third-ever start.
Last week, Washington failed to cover the spread and barely beat a weak Arizona team, 20-16, with Josh Dobbs under center and a first-year head coach (Jonathan Gannon).
Buying half a point from -3.5 to -3 is a safer play, and the -128 odds on DraftKings are better than other books, such as Caesars, pricing it around -135.
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