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Sports handicappers and sports gamblers, in their most fundamental role, are trying to find the best ‘chances to win’ for the ‘best odds’. This hopefully translates to profit.

Let’s review some of these ideas for week 2.

After analysis from week 1, it’s clear that in early season NFL, the rule is simple:

“If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck.”

Detroit Lions (+2.5) vs Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

The Lions had an outstanding preseason. They went 3-1 and were 8th in the league in terms of net points, marking +24 net points.

When comparing Detroit’s pre-season markers to the Panthers, the Panthers should be a no contest. The Panthers went 2-2 and were 17th in the league with a mediocre -3 net points.

So that’s settled. The Lions rocked the preseason while the Panthers showed up mid fare at best. It should be noted that Carolina was 9th worst in scoring in preseason NFL.

That said, everyone knows that preseason ball is not to be confused with regular season. In the preseason, teams are trying to sort out their best lines and play all kinds of player combinations. Preseasons are used to rearrange and adjust 1st, 2nd, 3rd string lineups. Points and W/L are inconsequential. Coaching decisions aren’t made to effect wins, rather, they are made to best arrange and prepare their regular season lineups.

So after week 1, we now have 1 sample of regular season football to look at per team, and it speaks volumes.

In week 1, the Detroit Lions are 2nd in the league in terms of net points (+21). They rolled over the Giants 35-14.

In week 1, the Carolina Panthers are 11th in the league in terms of net points (+6). They slipped by the Bucs in a low-scoring 20-14 affair.

The question now becomes clear:

How good were the Giants vs Detroit?
How good were the Bucs vs Carolina?

The Giants slew preseason with a 5-0 record and a net point record of +23 (8th in league).

The Buccaneers were stale in the preseason marking a 1-3 record and a net point record of -13 (22nd in league).

So at the end of the day, for the Lions to completely dominate the likes of the formidable Giants, well, that speaks volumes more for Detroit than Carolina’s win over the mediocre Buccaneers.

The books are taking -2.5 from Carolina and giving +2.5 to the Lions.

What’s this mean? Is this some kind of trap line?

Well, after week 1, we learned to take the odds at face value and that if it looks like a deal, it probably actually is.

So on that note, the Detroit Lions are a very strong favorite to cover the spread.
80% of the public are betting the Lions and they’re definitely on to something.

If this was MLB or NHL, we’d call this line “too good to be true”, but after week 1, this consideration doesn’t seem to carry any weight at all when it comes to early season NFL.

After examining the ATS database, we see that Carolina does actually carry a slight historical edge that could be translated into about a -2.5 advantage. This could describe why Vegas has priced them as a favorite, but just like in week 1, statistically speaking, we should be able to find exactly where the deals are. After analysis, the Lions definitely have got to be the most powerful example of a good deal headed into week 2.

The Lions should win outright, much less with a +2.5 cushion, and this play should be worth at least 5 units for those that follow the WSOH.

One thing is certain, with the narrative leading up to this game, even though it’s only week 2, the outcome here will be a critical indicator regarding how the Lions and Panthers will fare here on in.

This game promises to be a banger and Sunday can’t come soon enough!

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