NFL Week 2 lines that make you go hmmm...

Sep 11, 2017 |
NFL Week 2 lines that make you go hmmm...
If you like the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, you might just want to come back on the weekend and see where the line sits.
Photo By - USA Today Images
If you like the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, you might just want to come back on the weekend and see where the line sits.
Photo By - USA Today Images

Longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Peter Korner sizes up this week’s NFL schedule and picks out some of the lines making him go “hmmm...” in Week 2, including a curious opening number put up by one sportsbook for the Vikings-Steelers game that may end up being a better number than their repost.

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-5, 38.5)

NFL week two kicks off a Thursday night game which pits two teams that clearly under achieved in their respective openers.

Houston visits Cincinnati and questions outweigh answers for each team involved in this contest. The Texans will be entering practice week with the full understanding that QB Deshaun Watson will be starting. Though he didn’t embarrass himself in his debut, it will take more than the limited time he had under center to truly master the position at the professional level.

There’s always a tendency when a back-up player enters the action and performs well to have a letdown of sorts the next time out. That’s because the energy and spontaneity is short lived and the pack catches up to the leader - that will likely be the case with Watson.

In the case of the Bengals, they are counting on QB Andy Dalton‘s return to form after his disastrous opener. A little ying-yang for both quarterbacks.

This line opened a very questionable -3 on the home favorites and was quickly unmasked as a horrible starting point. As of Tuesday, the general consensus was already tipping it to -5. I say, this is still too low and think the line will be at -6 to -6.5 by kickoff.

What appears to be more of a must-win game for the Bengals is translating into heavy wood on Cincinnati early in the week, and most likely all the way through Sunday. If there’s going to be any Houston action, you can bet on it coming very late when underdog backers see the line has stalled.

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7, 43)

Chicago visits Tampa Bay and I agree with the knee-jerk reaction of the early money on Tampa Bay.

This opened at -6.5 and by Tuesday was a universal -7. The advantage for chalk players in this game is that it will take a monumental amount of money to get off the key -7, so there’s no need to rush in on this game early in the week.

A huge advantage for Tampa Bay in having their opener canceled is that the Buccaneers don’t have any tape to give to the Bears to dissect. Tampa Bay torched this team last year in Florida and the circumstances seem right for the results to mirror that game. You always like to be on the side of the team that has the incentive and energy, and with this game being possibly the first major event since the horrific weather in the south, the unity of the team and its fans may peak perfectly for the home town Bucs. Emotion is a big factor for almost anything in life.

At -7, you might think the wise guys take the dog. I say let them. This line won’t get any higher. It’s the typical game that will be teased down to PK for most parlay players. Call this a gut feeling, but this game gets out of hand for Chicago and the white towel is raised early.

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5, 45)

Minnesota is at Pittsburgh in a game that’s been slow to be exposed by bookmakers early in the week.

In a curious sequence of events, Pinnacle sported a -4 on the home favorites and within a minute, took down the game and reposted at -7. My feeling was that the original -4 was good. Those bookmakers who like to copy the line and hang whatever is out there, posted -7’s and have already been hit on the dog and are resting at –6.5.

At this point, I definitely see more money being drawn to the underdog after a solid performance by the Vikings in Week 1. I know the public has a short memory, me being in that group as well, but seeing the Steelers struggle with the Browns and Minnesota’s sharp play, I have to think this line will be closer to the original -4 than -7 by kickoff.

So, with that being said, the value on Minnesota is to grab the line early in the week. If you like the Steelers, you might just want to come back on the weekend and see where the line sits and benefit from the over-reactionaries. My feeling is that this game is way closer than the spread indicates.

Pinnacle will realize that their first opinion was their best in this game. They, like the rest of the sportsbooks, will probably need Pittsburgh by the time this game closes.

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Peter Korner is a long-time Las Vegas oddsmaker and analyst, working at the Las Vegas Sports Consultants and operating his own odds service, The Sports Club. Find out more about Pete and his storied career in the sports betting industry here.




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