Odds, expert Week 2 NFL picks

Staff report


Our NFL betting expert brings you his best Panthers vs. Giants predictions and picks for their NFL Week 2 contest, which is live Sunday at 1 p.m. EST on Fox.

The Carolina Panthers are brushing themselves off after a season-opening loss on a last-second field goal. They will hit the road this week to meet the New York Giants, flying high off their Week 1 victory secured on a two-point conversion.

Panthers vs. Giants prediction

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Panthers vs Giants Picks: The Analysis

The Giants (1-0) were an intriguing pick to cover last week as 5.5-point underdogs, and not only did they make that happen, they won outright. Baker Mayfield’s first game — against his former team, the Cleveland Browns — is behind him. The end result: 16-for-27 passing, 235 yards, two touchdowns (one rushing), one pick and one loss to Jacoby Brissett.

Panthers money line +115

The Panthers ended 2021 on a seven-game losing streak. That skid is now eight after Sunday’s loss to the Browns. Carolina is 10-24 under coach Matt Rhule’s reign. The recent history isn’t pretty in Charlotte, but in reality, it’s the kind of streak we expect to be broken sooner rather than later.

Mayfield led the Panthers back from a nine-point deficit with 6:13 to go, helped by a 75-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Anderson. They’d have won the game if not for Cleveland’s 58-yard field goal conversion in the dying seconds. The two-point loss was far closer than any of their first seven losses of this stretch, four of which came by double digits.

Brian Daboll firing up his team on the sideline.
Brian Daboll firing up his team on the sideline.
Getty Images

The Giants can still be hurt through the air, and three cornerbacks are on the injury report as of Wednesday, along with pass-rushers Azeez Ojulari and rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux. We’d also venture to say that Mayfield is more talented at this stage of his career than Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who fared well in Week 1.

These teams don’t present a huge mismatch on paper, and if Sunday’s game is remotely close, we’ll play the law of averages and take Mayfield and the Panthers to finish the job this time.

Our Pick: Panthers to win outright @ +115 with Caesars Sportsbook

Giants vs. Panthers under 43.5

Before the Giants’ surprising comeback victory, don’t forget that they were down 13-0 at halftime and it was nothing but doom and gloom among New York fans. Things might be starting to click this month for Jones and Barkley under Daboll and new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, but it’s clear they won’t start playing like the Bills overnight.

Meanwhile, there are undoubtedly positives to take away from New York’s win, one of them being the run defense. The Giants held Derrick Henry under four yards per carry (21 for 82 yards) and limited the Titans to 93 rushing yards overall.

Now the Giants go from one star running back coming off an injury to another. McCaffrey totaled an underwhelming 57 yards from scrimmage on 10 carries and four receptions. Carolina only gained 54 yards rushing on 2.8 per carry.

Add it all up, and the 43.5-point over/under line feels generous. Giants-Titans failed to hit the over last week, also set at 43.5 points. We’ll lean under this time.

Our Pick: Under 43.5 total points @ -110 with Caesars Sportsbook

Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Getty Images

Betting on the NFL?

Saquon Barkley first TD

Barkley (+270) and McCaffrey (+325) have the shortest odds for first touchdown scorer — not just because they’re star athletes in their own right, but also because running backs have likelier chances to score early as teams tend to begin games with methodical drives rather than deep shots at the end zone. Carolina’s run defense was victimized early and often by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt last week.

But while McCaffrey is known as the quintessential dual-threat back, someone who can christen the end zone either on a rush or on a catch, Barkley saw more targets in the passing game in Week 1 (seven) than McCaffrey did (five).

Barkley led the Giants in targets and receptions (six), handling the ball 24 times in all. With apologies to Devin Singletary, Daboll never had a running back in Buffalo with Barkley’s promise. The coach is feeding the ball to who he’s got, which inevitably leads to early scoring opportunities.

Our Pick: Giants RB Saquon Barkley to score the game’s first touchdown @ +270 with Caesars Sportsbook

Panthers vs. Giants odds

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. Correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

Team Spread Moneyline Total Points 43.5
Panthers (+2) -110 +115 Over -110
Giants (-2) -110 -135 Under -110

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