There are overreactions every week in the NFL. But with the possible exception of the 49ers, no team is as good or bad as it looked in Week 1.
San Francisco traveled to Pittsburgh and dominated the Steelers 30-7.
“The most impressive team to me was the 49ers. They made the Steelers look like a high school team,” Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmons said. “That’s as bad a game as I’ve ever seen a Mike Tomlin team play.”
In two other blowouts, the Cowboys crushed the Giants 40-0 and the Browns beat the Bengals 24-3.
“I don’t think the Bengals, Giants or Steelers are as bad as they looked in Week 1. They all just had bad games,” Circa Sports oddsmaker Dylan Sullivan said. “San Francisco deserves a lot of credit for how bad the Steelers looked, and the Cowboys are good but looked much better than they should have due to the Giants looking awful and unprepared.
“The Bengals looked rusty, plus the weather was awful. It was a good win for the Browns, but the Bengals just need reps.”
Twelve of 16 games went under the total, and pro sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw attributes that to rust.
“The problem for a lot of these teams is that most of these players didn’t play in the preseason. Maybe they played a series,” he said. “This was sort of like the dress rehearsal. This week will be a pretty good indication. You need another week under your belt to sort of see what’s what.”
Salmons said a sharp betting group wagered on Cincinnati to bounce back as a 3-point home favorite over Baltimore, which lost running back J.K. Dobbins to a season-ending injury.
“Teams that play arguably their worst game of the year will turn it around the next week,” Salmons said. “That’s what good teams do, and I would expect that from Cincinnati. It’s a game they need to win. I expect a Grade A effort.”
Salmons said the same syndicate bet on the 49ers -7 over the Rams (line now -7½), the Cardinals +5 over the Giants (now +4½), and the Browns pick and -1 over the Steelers (now -2½).
Pittsburgh lost defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and wide receiver Diontae Johnson to injuries.
“You expect Pittsburgh to come and play this week. But the Browns certainly look like a team that can contend this year,” Salmons said. “Cleveland’s got a really good defensive front, and they run the ball well. If they can get anything from (quarterback Deshaun) Watson, they should be a playoff team.”
Arizona is projected to be the worst team in the NFL, but it made countless Survivor pool players sweat before settling for a cover as a 7-point underdog in a 20-16 loss at Washington.
After one group took the Cardinals +5, respected betting service Right Angle Sports took the Giants -4.
“I don’t know what the record is for away favorites after getting shut out at home. But I would imagine it’s not very good,” Salmons said. “The old thing in the NFL is lay three or more points on the road, especially with a crummy team like the Giants, and you’re asking for it.”
San Francisco was -6 on the look-ahead line over the Rams, who whipped the Seahawks 30-13.
“You can argue right now that the Niners are the highest power-rated team,” Salmons said. “Seattle lost both starting tackles and just got run over in the second half.”
The Lions, coming off a 21-20 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, are favored by 4½ over the Seahawks.
“If Seattle gets those guys back, they certainly look live,” Salmons said. “It’s a typical NFL thing. For 11 days now, everyone tells the Lions how great they are and how they’re going to win the division. Seattle just got blasted at home by the Rams. But in the NFL, it works the opposite. That would mean Seattle would come to play this week.
“Sometimes you look at the psychological part of it. There’s a lot of that in the NFL.”
New York state of mind
One valid reaction from Week 1 is that the Jets are no longer a title contender after losing Aaron Rodgers to a season-ending injury Monday.
The Cowboys were -3½ on the look-ahead line at the Westgate before soaring to 9-point favorites over the Jets and quarterback Zach Wilson.
“There was a reason they went out and got Aaron Rodgers,” Salmons said. “The Jets have a top-five defense. But unless the quarterback matures all of a sudden, I wouldn’t have high hopes of Nathaniel Hackett taking Wilson under his arms and leading him to the glory land.”