After the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers won games on the road to open the 2016 NFL season, the public is expecting big things from the two teams on Sunday. They are the two most popular bets in Week 2 as they prepare to take on division rivals.
Kevin Bradley, manager of the online sportsbook Bovada.lv, tells International Business Times that 92 percent of the money wagered on “Sunday Night Football” has been placed on Green Bay. Coming off a 27-23 win in Jacksonville, the Packers are three-point favorites at Bovada.lv for a road game against the Minnesota Vikings. Other sportsbooks list Green Bay as 2.5-point favorites.
The Steelers had a dominant 22-point win over the Washington Redskins last week, and they play their first home game of the season in Week 2 when they host the Cincinnati Bengals. Ninety percent of the wagers on the contest are on Pittsburgh, who is giving the Bengals three points as of Friday afternoon. The betting line has shuffled between three and 3.5 points at various sportsbooks throughout the week.
Both Green Bay and Pittsburgh are favored, even though they are playing defending divisional champs that are fresh off Week 1 road victories. The Vikings won in Tennessee by nine points, while the Bengals escaped MetLife Stadium with a one-point win over the New York Jets.
The betting public is behind Green Bay so much so that their Week 1 opponent appears to have gained more of the public’s confidence by suffering a close loss. The Jacksonville Jaguars had a chance to defeat the Packers in the final seconds, before coming up just short in the opener. Now, 80 percent of the money wagered on the Jaguars’ visit to San Diego has been placed on Jacksonville.
When asked who William Hill (a British-based sportsbook that also operates in Nevada) would be rooting for most in Week 2, a representative told International Business Times that the bookmaker was hoping for the Chargers to cover Sunday’s three point betting line. Jacksonville is an underdog for a second straight week, and they covered the spread against Green Bay in their home opener.
Jacksonville is expected to improve upon their 5-11 finish from last year, but Green Bay and Pittsburgh are among the top Super Bowl contenders. The betting public has heavily supported them for two straight weeks, and only the New England Patriots have better championship odds.
Gamblers are often advised to go against popular opinion, but that’s not always a sound strategy. Seventy percent of the money wagered on “Thursday Night Football” was placed on the New York Jets, who defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-31 as one-point favorites. The Jets began the week as 2.5-point underdogs.
No upcoming betting lines have seen significant changes, but that could change on Sunday. In Week 1, the Patriots went from six-point to 9.5-point underdogs within the span of a few hours before kickoff. New England went on to upset the Arizona Cardinals 23-21.