NFL Betting - Last-Minute Week 2 Picks

Cleveland Browns team in action

Jason Lake

Saturday, September 17, 2016 9:04 PM GMT

Saturday, Sep. 17, 2016 9:04 PM GMT

Just before kick-off is one of the very best times of the week to make your NFL picks. Which of Sunday's matchups will bring the most betting value to your table?

You know that old chestnut about people overreacting to the events of Week 1? Maybe they're overreacting to the overreaction. According to our painstaking research, teams who covered in Week 1 last year went 4-4 ATS versus teams that didn't. You can learn a lot from the first game of the season; Benjamin Morris at FiveThirtyEight brought out his beautiful charts again on Thursday to prove it.

With that in mind, let's put the people to the test. Our NFL odds board shows a handful of games dancing around some magic numbers, with a popular team going up against a not-so-popular team. We'll go, contrarian, of course, but we also encourage you to wait until closer to game time before making your NFL betting predictions and placing your wagers at top sportsbooks. Chances are you'll get a better price than whatever you see listed here.


San Francisco 49ers (+13.5) vs. Carolina Panthers
This is a near-perfect example of what we're talking about. The Panthers are obviously the popular pick here, having gone to the Super Bowl last year, but the Niners are on the rebound in Year One under Chip Kelly. Buy low, sell high. Our expanded consensus reports at press time show 51 percent of bettors on Carolina, but 71 percent of the money on San Fran.

More free data? Yes, please. Market project the Panthers to win Sunday's game 78 percent of the time, which only works out to an Elo-based spread of –9. And Football Outsiders were so impressed with San Francisco's 28-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Rams (–2.5 away), they put the Niners in first place on their Week 1 efficiency charts. Carolina came in at No. 11 after losing 21-20 to the Denver Broncos (+3 at home).

Free NFL Pick: 49ers +14 (–125)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns (+6.5)
Betting on the Browns?! Sure, now that Josh McCown is back at quarterback. No offense to Robert Griffin III, but his body just wasn't ready for the sheer ultra-violence of NFL '16. McCown was better than replacement level for the Browns last year, and while his efficiency numbers were below average at Football Outsiders, they were better than Joe Flacco's.

Not that you can blame Flacco for all those injuries Baltimore suffered. Still, the Ravens are already a depleted squad this year, and they hardly looked impressive in their 13-7 win over the Buffalo Bills (+3 away) in Week 1. Not that the Browns were all that, losing 29-10 to the Philadelphia Eagles (–4 at home), but that was with Griffin under center.

The sharps know what I'm talking about. The Browns are bringing in 66 percent of the action for this game from just 52 percent of the betting population, with four $1000-plus wagers to just one for Baltimore. And FiveThirtyEight project this game at Cleveland +2. Let's see if the public comes in and gives us a 7-point spread at the standard –110 vigorish once the chalk dust clears.

Free NFL Pick: Browns +7 (–140)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Record: 2-0 ATS, 0-2 Totals

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