NFL: Week 2 Betting Review

Donovan McNabb beat Tony Romo in the QB battle on Monday Night, but Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys had the last laugh on the scoreboard as the NFL's second week came to a close. Favorites have so far cashed at a 17-12-2 clip with the Under sporting two straight winning weeks. And Week 2 also belonged to the road warriors as visiting teams pasted their hosts 9-6 SU and 9-4-2 against the numbers.

Week 2 of the NFL season had enough storylines for a Quentin Tarantino movie. You had Matt Cassel vs. Brett Favre, Terrell Owens vs. Donovan McNabb, and Ed Hochuli vs. San Diego bettors.

But first, the raw data. Road teams were the juiciest picks of the week at 9-6 straight up and 9-4-2 against the spread. That’s after starting the season at 7-9 ATS. Favorites have turned two consecutive profits, going 10-6 in Week 1 and 7-6-2 in Week 2. And the Under is also a two-time winner at 9-7 and 8-7.

We got a little bit of all those things in the marquee matchup of the week, at Giants Stadium between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. The Patriots went into this contest as very slim 1-point favorites against the betting odds, getting some benefit of the doubt with Cassel replacing the injured Tom Brady for what looks like the rest of the season. The Patriots rewarded that faith with a 19-10 victory, sliding comfortably under the posted total of 37.

So what was that talk about the Jets winning the AFC East? It could still happen, of course, but the consensus right now is that the Patriots have one hell of a football system in place. Remember when Tom Brady was an overrated system quarterback? Now he’s a system quarterback with guys like Randy Moss to throw to. And Matt Cassel, like Brady, is just another 6-foot-4 late-round draft pick who fought his way up the depth charts in college.

Substitutes were the running theme behind center this week. Kerry Collins led the Tennessee Titans (another 1-point road chalk) to a 24-7 win (another under) against the Cincinnati Bengals, and Brian Griese got the job done as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7 at home) downed the Atlanta Falcons 24-9. The exception was at Arrowhead, where the Kansas City Chiefs (-3½) pulled Damon Huard for third-stringer Tyler Thigpen in a 23-8 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

The quarterbacks were not an issue in the Monday nighter between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb was a surgeon, going 25-for-37 and engineering six scoring drives with zero interceptions. Tony Romo’s game wasn’t as good; he threw a pick and fumbled the ball in the end zone to give Philadelphia’s defense a touchdown. But Romo also found Owens in the end zone twice as Dallas (-6½) salvaged a 41-37 win. Sharps cashed in very nicely on this one.

As for our friend Mr. Hochuli – hey, everyone has a bad day now and then. The NFL considers Hochuli an “outstanding” referee, which won’t do much to console the San Diego Chargers after they lost 39-38 to the Denver Broncos. Hochuli made a bad call on a last-minute play that allowed Denver to retain possession; the Broncos promptly scored a touchdown and won the game on a 2-point conversion. San Diego was a 1-point road dog.

While all this was happening, Hurricane Ike was cutting a path across Texas. The matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans, which was pushed from Sunday to Monday in anticipation of the storm, will instead be played on Nov. 9. This isn’t likely to have the same impact on the Texans as Hurricane Katrina did on the New Orleans Saints. However, Reliant Stadium did sustain some damage, including to the retractable roof. It might not be ready in time for Houston’s Oct. 5 contest against Indianapolis. The Texans will find it a lot harder to top their total of 7½ wins if they have to play an extra game or two on the road.