Art Aronson’s NFL Line Watch Week 2
Each week during the pro football season, Art Aronson looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Game to bet on now
Cleveland at Baltimore (-7.5)
After one lousy season (5-11 two years ago) and one mediocre season (8-8 last year), the directional arrow may be finally pointing north for the Ravens, who on opening day rolled into Cincinnati as slight dogs and strutted out with a shutout victory – serving notice to the Steelers that the AFC North might be a two-team race after all.
There were rumblings during the summer about Baltimore building a powerhouse defense, and the Bengals found out on Sunday that the talk had some truth to it. Cincinnati was held to just 221 yards in total offense and turned over the ball five times in a game that could have been even more of a blowout.
Cleveland has shown signs of improvement, but the Brownies have lost 18 of their last 19 road games. With early money coming down hard on the Ravens, it’s unlikely that books will drop the number down to 7.
Game to wait on
San Francisco at Seattle (-13)
The Seahawks are tough at home, but 13 points tough? Seattle’s offense has some work to do after being unable to find the end zone in its 17-9 loss to the Packers on Sunday. Russell Wilson was puzzlingly poor, with just 158 yards passing.
The running game (18 carries, 90 yards) was a bit better, but the Seahawks came up empty on two trips into the red zone and had the ball for under 21 of the 60 minutes. Not hard to figure out what side of the ball the Seahawks will be working on this week.
The 49ers have plenty of issues of their own after shooting blanks in a 29-3 loss at home to the Panthers – no doubt a major factor in the bloated line. FWIW, last season Seattle covered against SF at home in a wild shootout. So go figure.
Total to watch
Houston at Cincinnati (38) (Thursday)
There aren’t too many below-40 lines in the NFL these days, but given the inept performances by the offenses of the Bengals and Texans on opening day, this one has some justification.
Cincinnati was booed off the field on Sunday at halftime after perhaps its worst offensive half in memory (Andy Dalton threw four picks in the first two quarters), and the second half wasn’t much better.
The Texans were also punched in the mouth at home, and heading into Week 2 Bill O’Brien still doesn’t know who is quarterback will be this season. Yikes.