NFL Best Bets: Week 2
Last week, we kicked off with a 3-0 record in our Best Bets, choosing three road underdogs. The Buccaneers, Packers, and Raiders ventured into hostile territory and emerged victorious in their games. It seems that the strategy of picking road underdogs might be a smart move for the foreseeable future.
For this week, I’m sticking with underdogs but shifting our focus to home underdogs, which proved profitable last year. Home underdogs had a record of 55-43-3 against the spread last season, although they only managed a 1-4 record last week. However, I believe we need more data before we can conclude that last week was anything more than an anomaly.
I’ll continue to share my simulation model picks each week. I use these as a starting point when placing bets, but I don’t always follow them blindly. Last week, the model performed impressively with a 35-12-1 record (74.5%), encompassing picks for the spread, total, and moneyline. It also went 12-4 when picking straight-up winners. Perhaps I should consider sticking with the model’s picks.
|Away||Home||Spread||Game Winner||Spread Pick||Total||Moneyline|
|MIN||PHI||-6.5||PHI 83.3%||PHI||O 49||PHI -290|
|GB||ATL||1||ATL 57.6%||ATL||O 41||GB +106|
|LV||BUF||-8.5||BUF 78.7%||BUF||U 47.5||BUF -395|
|BAL||CIN||-3.5||Push||BAL||O 46.5||BAL +160|
|SEA||DET||-5.5||DET 62.1%||SEA||U 49||SEA +215|
|LAC||TEN||3||TEN 56.1%||TEN||O 46||TEN +145|
|CHI||TB||-3||TB 69.7%||TB||O 41.5||TB -154|
|KC||JAX||3.5||KC 51.5%||JAX||O 51||JAX +144|
|IND||HOU||1||IND 51.5%||HOU||U 40||HOU +106|
|SF||LAR||7.5||SF 62.1%||LAR||O 44.5||LAR +290|
|NYG||ARI||4.5||NYG 56.1%||NYG||U 40.5||ARI +175|
|NYJ||DAL||-9.5||DAL 84.8%||DAL||U 42||DAL -345|
|NO||CAR||3||NO 66.7%||NO||U 40||NO -160|
|CLE||PIT||2||CLE 59.1%||CLE||O 40.5||CLE -125|
Titans +3 vs Chargers
This week, the Chargers are heading to Tennessee to take on the Titans. Both teams are coming off tough losses in close games. Last week, L.A.’s defense had a rough outing, conceding a staggering 536 yards to the Dolphins, which was 103 yards more than the next closest team allowed. However, they won’t be up against Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill this time, so the likelihood of a repeat performance against Ryan Tannehill is close to zero. Tannehill threw three interceptions in his game against the New Orleans Saints, and another performance like that could lead to his tenure with Tennessee ending on the bench.
On one hand, you have a struggling offense (Titans) facing a porous defense (Chargers), and on the other hand, you have a potent offense (Chargers) going up against a moderately solid defense (Titans). To me, this matchup seems fairly balanced. Injuries might play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the game. Joey Bosa is likely to be sidelined, which will significantly boost Tennessee’s running game, and there are doubts about Austin Ekeler’s availability. Without Ekeler, it will be even more challenging for the Chargers to run against the Titans’ robust run defense.
I believe Tennessee has a good chance of winning this game outright, so betting against the Chargers as three-point favorites seems like a great value.
Jaguars +3.5 vs Chiefs
Kansas City will welcome back Travis Kelce and Chris Jones. Even if Kelce is only at half-strength, his presence will make a significant impact on the Chiefs’ offense. Jacksonville allowed 223 passing yards to Anthony Richardson last week against the Colts but managed to escape trouble by forcing three turnovers. In their meetings last year, the Jaguars surrendered 27 points to Kansas City in both games, resulting in losses. I anticipate the Chiefs scoring similarly in this matchup, although the competition is getting tighter. In my opinion, Jacksonville is a top 12 team and can compete with anyone, especially on their home turf.
Making early-season predictions based on data can be challenging because there isn’t enough information to draw solid conclusions after just one game, particularly when a team was understaffed, as the Chiefs were. Just as in fantasy football, it’s crucial not to overreact to the first week’s performance. Nevertheless, I do have concerns about the Chiefs relying too heavily on one dimension of their offense. They need another dominant receiver to complement Kelce. On the flip side, Jacksonville appears to have found their primary playmaker in Calvin Ridley. As I mentioned earlier, the gap is narrowing. While I don’t believe the Jags will win the game outright, I’ll take the points and bet on Jacksonville to cover the spread.
Patriots +3 vs Dolphins
The talk of the town is the Dolphins’ offense, particularly Tua Tagovailoa’s impressive 466-yard performance. However, the Dolphins were trailing by four points with just two minutes left in the game before they scored the game-winning touchdown. Defensively, Miami faced some challenges, allowing the Chargers to rush for 233 yards, amass 30 first downs, and convert 9 out of 15 third-down plays.
On the other hand, the Patriots may have lost to Philadelphia, but they performed well against a formidable Eagles team, despite concerns about their offensive line. Two early mistakes handed the Eagles 13 points, forcing New England to play catch-up for the remainder of the game. Mac Jones displayed significant improvement last week compared to his performance in 2022.
Miami finds itself in a challenging situation this week. They traveled to the west coast in Week 1, returned home, and are now heading north to face the Patriots. This game initially had Miami as a -2 point favorite, but it has since moved to -3 points due to the public’s perception of the Miami offense. However, I believe this adjustment doesn’t fully recognize the strength of the New England team. The Patriots have a formidable defense, and while Mike McDaniel’s offense is legit, I think New England will effectively run the ball and limit Miami’s passing game. In my view, the outcome of the game is a toss-up, so I’ll take the Patriots at +3 points.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.