NFL Picks Week #2 (2021 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #2)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday September 15th, 2021 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
Claiming that we got off to a HOT start with our betting picks in the 2021 NFL season would be an understatement!
I shared 5 picks and 2 leans with you last week. Overall, those plays led to an incredible 6-1 record.
If Damien Harris does not fumble the ball at Miami’s 9-yard line late in the fourth quarter, we might have gone a perfect 7-0. What an epic weekend for MJ followers!
Buckle up because we already have our first 5-star pick of the football season. Let’s goooooo!!!
PICK #1 (5 STARS): CINCINNATI BENGALS +3 AT CHICAGO BEARS
Joe Burrow is a 3-point underdog against Andy Dalton. Do I really need to say more? That in itself could be enough to convince you to take the Bengals with the 3 points.
But let’s add more arguments. Did you know that over the last eight games where they were established home favorites, the Bears have gone 1-7 against the spread (ATS)? This team is not built to crush opponents.
To me, Cincy’s offense is superior to what Chicago has. Both teams have a pretty weak offensive line. They both have an above-average running back with Joe Mixon and David Montgomery.
However, the Bengals hold a big edge at the QB position and they have more receiving weapons with Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and rookie Ja’Marr Chase, who showed good flashes in his NFL debut. The Bears have Allen Robinson, but the talent level drops off quite fast after that. Cole Kmet seems to be really improving though, but I’m not excited about Darnell Mooney, Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd.
On the defensive side of the ball, I agree that the Bears have the better group overall. But here’s the thing: Chicago can hold its ground against the run, but they are vulnerable against the pass, as we saw on Sunday night when facing the Rams. Cincinnati’s strength on offense happens to be through the air, so that’s bad news for the Bears.
I am taking the Bengals +3 points with confidence, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the line dropped to 1 or 2 point(s) later this week.
PICK #2 (4 STARS): DALLAS COWBOYS +3.5 AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Dak Prescott showed he was fully recovered from last year’s injury with a great performance in the season opener. He helped his team score 29 points against a very stout Bucs defense, while tossing three TD passes and racking up more than 400 passing yards!
The Cowboys get three additional days of rest and preparation after playing the Thursday night game. That’s a key advantage.
I also like the following trends:
- Dallas has a 5-1 ATS record the last six times they were underdogs;
- Dallas has a 4-1 ATS record after a straight up loss (over their last five defeats).
Moreover, here is a NFL betting strategy that I trust:
Bet a road underdog coming off a road loss.
Over a four-year stretch, this system yielded a 160-97-5 ATS record. That amounts to a 62.3% winning rate. I like those numbers!
Finally, the Chargers hold a disappointing 3-9-1 record against the spread in the last 13 games in which they were home favorites.
I’m definitely taking Dallas to win the game, or at least keep it close.
PICK #3 (2 STARS): PITTSBURGH STEELERS -5 VS LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The Raiders are coming off an emotional upset win in overtime on Monday Night Football against the Ravens. I don’t see them keeping the same intensity level in a hostile environment in Pittsburgh. Granted, the Steelers are also coming off a signature win in Buffalo, but they will be fired up in front of their home fans.
Vegas loses one valuable day of preparation after playing the Monday nighter. To top it all off, they will traveling through three time zones to play an early Sunday game, which isn’t easy for West Coast teams. I am aware that such teams did well in Week #1 with a 3-1 record ATS, but that’s just a small sample of four games.
I am a bit worried about Pittsburgh not covering the spread the last four times they were favorites, which explains my 2-star rating. However, the Raiders have posted a 7-17 ATS record following a straight up victory.
The Steelers defense provided a jaw-dropping performance in Buffalo last week, holding in check one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. They shouldn’t have that much trouble limiting the Vegas offense that relies so much on Darren Waller. Josh Jacobs was seen limping on several occasions last week; he is clearly not 100%.
Second-year receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards have been such disappointments so far, except for Edwards who miraculously woke up late in the game against Baltimore last week after being invisible the entire game.
I believe Pittsburgh wins by 17 points, so I’m putting my money on them this Sunday.
PICK #4 (1 STAR): INDIANAPOLIS COLTS +4 VS LOS ANGELES RAMS
It looks like I am fading both teams from L.A. this week!
The Colts disappointed a little bit in Week 1, but in my opinion that was due to facing an elite team led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Russell Wilson. Indy still picked up 23 first downs compared to 18 for Seattle.
Don’t be misled by last week: the Colts defense is solid. I also believe the point spread is inflated because of the fact that the Rams did a great job in their season opener on primetime television with quite a few explosive and spectacular plays. I expect a hard fought and tight game, which leads me to grab the underdog.
As was the case for the Raiders, the Rams will be playing an early 1 PM Eastern Time game as a West Coast squad.
Would you like to know how the Colts responded the last 11 times they suffered a double digit home loss? They came back with a 9-1-1 record against the spread. Sounds convincing to me!
For entertainment purposes, here are some leans:
- Eagles +3.5 vs 49ers (San Francisco is another team from the West playing an early Sunday game. They are 9-25-1 ATS in their last 35 games as favorites. The Eagles have covered the spread the last five times they were home underdogs, and they are 7-2 ATS over their last nine meetings with the Niners);
- Browns -11.5 vs Texans (Houston was projected to be the league’s worst team by far, but they surprised many with a win against the Jaguars last week. But they will be facing a much tougher club who could make a Super Bowl run in 2021. Cleveland will rebound with a blowout win in the Dawg Pound.);
- Vikings +4.5 at Cardinals (Once again I am making use of the system detailed with the Cowboys pick about betting a road dog immediately after a road loss. Following a straight up loss, the Vikings hold an impressive 38-17 ATS record. However, they have lost ATS in each of their last eight games overall, dating back to last year. Arizona has not been good as home favorites: a 7-19 ATS in their last 26 occasions.).
Best of luck with your betting plays my friend, and thank you so much for reading this post, I appreciate you!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)