The second week of preseason games in the NFL has come and gone. Some of the odds were broken substantially during the week but some games were a little closer than others. These odds are very interesting with regards to how the different moves that teams make can really get it to where it can be next to impossible to figure out just where a preseason game will go.
Blowouts Were Common
It was no surprise that there were plenty of blowouts during week 2 of the NFL preseason. After all, teams often treat their rosters differently during the preseason.
The most prominent blowout came when the Denver Broncos beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-0. The Niners were -3 favorites at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara but the Broncos shut them out and got single-handedly close to the over/under of 41.5 points. This came thanks to Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert all having a touchdown pass each while the Niners had four turnovers.
The Seattle Seahawks had a big blowout with a 41-14 win over the San Diego Chargers. The Seahawks were -6.5 favorites and had no trouble getting past that mark. This came from Russell Wilson's two touchdown runs and the Chargers' Kellen Clemens being sacked three times.
The Houston Texans also took out the Atlanta Falcons 32-7. The Texans passed the -3.5 spread but the game just barely missed going past the over/under of 40.5. Neither Matt Ryan or T.J. Yates did much to impress Falcon fans as neither of them did much on the field during this match.
Some Close Calls
Many games in this week of preseason football had spreads in the -3 range. The Chicago Bears particularly had a -3 advantage over the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the Jags' Blake Bortles had a strong game, late touchdown runs by the Bears' Ka'Deem Carey and Senorise Perry gave the Bears a 20-19 victory. The spread was not matched as the Bears failed to complete a two-point conversion with 50 seconds left.
Some other games came very close to their odds as well. The Oakland Raiders beat the Detroit Lions 27-26 in a game where the Raiders were -3 favorites. The New York Giants also beat the Indianapolis Colts 27-26. The Colts were -1 favorites but it was squashed as the Giants scored all 27 of their points in the fourth quarter.
The Minnesota Vikings were -4.5 favorites in one of the bigger spreads of the preseason week. The Vikings had good odds against the Arizona Cardinals but they did not cover the spread in a 30-28 win. While Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater both had strong games, the Vikings settled for two very short field goals and missed a PAT in the later part of the game. This missed PAT is actually something that has been slightly common in the preseason as the NFL is experimenting with PATs where the ball is set on the 15-yard line.
Points Are Important
The experimental PAT rule and the testing of different offensive and defensive strategies throughout the NFL has made it to where it can be tough to figure out whether or not the over/under totals are going to be met in the preseason. Most teams had games were the over/under was at the 40 to 43 range for the entire game.
Some games had higher totals but that was primarily due to those games involving teams with historically proficient offenses. The game with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles is a great example of this. The over/under was at 46.5. This was not all that hard to pass though as the game was tied 21-21 at the half and then led to a 42-35 win for the Pats.
The Seahawks-Chargers game and the one between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins had the lowest point totals at 38.5 due to a mix between the defense prowess of these teams and in some cases the offensive ineptitude that they have exhibited in the past. The Dolphins won their game 20-14 as the Bucs' passing game only completed half its attempts. The Seahawks' 41 points were enough to cover the over on their own.
Looking At Week 3
The third week of betting odds the NFL preseason will include more challenging matches. These include games like New England-Carolina, the Jets-Giants, Seattle-Chicago, Baltimore-Washington and Indianapolis-New Orleans. The versatility of rosters in the preseason will make for a good challenge with regards to predicting who will win but it is still something worth exploring.