Through two weeks of the 2021 NFL season, there are seven undefeated teams. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams may have been expected to start out strong, but the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers? It’s been an interesting first two weeks.
We’re still a long ways from the postseason and Super Bowl LVI, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at championship odds for teams through two weeks of the season. We’ll track the biggest movers in either direction while also hunting for potential value bets with these lines. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Las Vegas Raiders: +5000 (+10000 entering Week 1, +6500 entering Week 2)
The Raiders have knocked off the Ravens and Steelers in back-to-back weeks, giving fans hope that Year 4 of the second Jon Gruden era could be something special. Derek Carr looks like he’s playing the best football of his career and Las Vegas’ supporting cast is stepping up. Josh Jacobs’ health is worth monitoring but the Raiders are here to make noise. The schedule looks relatively easy for the most part, but the real litmus test will come agains the Chiefs.
Carolina Panthers: +5000 (+9000 entering Week 1, +6500 entering Week 2)
Sam Darnold looks comfortable in this offense where he finally has competence at the skill positions. The Panthers have also showed improvement on the defensive side of the ball, creating a potent combination capable of making big things happen later in the year. Darnold will have to prove his early production is real but it doesn’t look like there will be many tests for Carolina until the last four games of the season. That’s when the Panthers have the Buccaneers twice, as well as the Bills and Saints on the road.
Denver Broncos: +2500 (+4500 entering Week 1, +3000 entering Week 2)
Even with Jerry Jeudy’s injury, the Broncos keep chugging along. Teddy Bridgewater is looking more and more comfortable every week in the offense, while Courtland Sutton is showing he’s one of the top receivers in the league. Denver’s run game and defense are good enough to keep the Broncos in a contest, but wins over the Giants and Jaguars don’t mean much when it comes to competing for a title. Denver’s true measure of ability will come in Weeks 4 through 6, where the Broncos meet the Ravens, Steelers and Raiders.
Value Plays: Baltimore Ravens (+1400), Los Angeles Rams (+1000), Green Bay Packers (+1400)
All three of these teams are capable of winning the title and have been backed by various analysts across the media landscape. The Ravens just pulled off a thrilling victory over the Chiefs, showing they can do anything with Lamar Jackson at the helm. The Rams looked shaky against the Colts, but Matthew Stafford gives that offense some punch to go along with a fierce defense. The Packers likely will not have lower odds than this at any point in the season and Aaron Rodgers has come within one game of reaching the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons. Maybe the third time’s a charm?
Risky propositions: Seattle Seahawks (+2000), Tennessee Titans (+3500), Pittsburgh Steelers (+5000)
All three teams listed above showed significant flaws in the first two weeks. The Seahawks are exciting with Russell Wilson, but the Titans showed they are vulnerable agains the run over time and have a suspect offensive line. Tennessee itself has problems overcoming big deficits with a leaky defense and an offense built around running the football 30 times per game. The Steelers have a vaunted defense, but that doesn’t mean anything if Ben Roethlisberger is going to complete 55 percent of his throws on insane volume. With injuries to T.J. Watt and Diontae Johnson, the Steelers might be a team to stay away despite a history of performing well.
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