NFL Picks Week #2 (2023 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #2)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written September 12th, 2023 at 2 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
After a moneymaking Week 1, are you ready for my Week 2 NFL picks?
I’m Professor MJ, a 15-year university statistics teacher. Stay tuned until the end because I’m running a free prediction contest where you could win $1,000 US! Details later.
As you can see above, my picks on spreads and totals last week generated a 4-2 record. I shared some of them for free, while others were available at mjpicks.com for members.
PICK #1: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FIRST QUARTER MONEYLINE (AT CAROLINA PANTHERS)
Pick number one for Week 2 of the NFL regular season goes to the New Orleans Saints first quarter moneyline. I am also fine with first half or full game bets, but my statistical analyses indicate we have more value on the first quarter.
Let me present my arguments supporting this pick. First of all, we have the famous “Double Division Revenge” betting angle pointing in the direction of the Saints. Whenever a team lost both meetings against a divisional foe in the prior season, they tend to be motivated to get some payback and you should consider taking them. I’m not saying you should follow this system blindly at all times, but that’s part of my decision-making process when handicapping NFL games.
In the current case, the Saints lost 22-14 in Carolina last year before getting defeated 10-7 at home in Week 18. I’m sure New Orleans remembers vividly scoring just 7 points in their final regular season game last season in front of their home crowd. That was embarrassing. They will be ready to roll on Monday night.
Also, let’s face it, the Saints have a much better roster overall. Their offense is better, and their defense is better as well. On Carolina’s side, their defensive unit lost a big piece last week. Indeed, cornerback Jaycee Horn will be out multiple weeks with a hamstring injury. As the 8th overall pick in the 2021 draft, this loss really hurts.
I was more or less impressed by Bryce Young’s performance last week. He averaged an abysmal 3.8 yards per pass attempt against a very porous Atlanta defense. He completed 20 passes in total, but most of them were super easy throws. The team’s top 4 wide receivers each caught exactly 2 balls, which is a source of concern when you are about to face a Saints defense that is projected to be a top-10 defense.
Meanwhile, New Orleans beating the Titans by a single point last week was mildly disappointing, but Derek Carr’s first game as a Saint was encouraging. He racked up over 300 passing yards, including a solid 9.2 yards per pass attempt. The team has 3 good wide receivers with Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and underrated Rashid Shaheed. I love this guy.
Give me the Saints to dismantle the Panthers in the first quarter on Monday Night Football.
PICK #2: NEW YORK GIANTS FIRST HALF MONEYLINE (AT ARIZONA CARDINALS)
All right, what is pick number two of Week 2 in the NFL? It goes to the New York Giants first half moneyline. At the time I made this post, the line varied between -165 and -175 in American format. Again, if you prefer to go with first quarter or full game moneylines or spreads, it’s all good to me. I chose this betting market as a personal preference, and this decision is backed by my mathematical models.
Right from the start, I liked the Giants in this matchup. One of the key reasons is that teams coming off a shutout tend to perform well in their following match. More precisely, since 2017 teams that scored 0 point in their previous game have posted a 20-9-3 record against the spread, also called “ATS”. I strongly believe in this betting strategy because such teams are incredibly itchy to rebound quickly.
In this case, the Giants offense is not bad at all. They have some great weapons like Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Darren Waller. Putting points on the board against Arizona is likely to be A LOT easier compared to last week against a stout Dallas defense.
Arizona quarterback Joshua Dobbs isn’t a big threat. He completed 21 of 30 passes last week, which looks good on the surface. However, a 4.4 yard per pass attempt average is incredibly low. He does have some weapons at his disposal, but he isn’t good enough to feed them on a regular basis, except with super short throws.
LEAN #1: LAS VEGAS RAIDERS +9.5 (AT BUFFALO BILLS)
Up next, I’ve got an unofficial pick for you, which I like to call a “lean.” I haven’t pulled the trigger on that team yet, but I’m considering it. Lean number one goes to the Las Vegas Raiders +9.5 points in Buffalo.
For your information, I will be attending this game, which should be exciting! Last year I witnessed the mind-boggling Vikings versus Bills game that ended in overtime, so hopefully the game will be just as fun to watch.
That will prevent me from sharing some second half bets for the 1 pm games, but I’ll do it for Week 3. Subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the little bell in order to get an alert as soon as I release new betting picks!
Why do I like the Raiders? Here is a sound betting strategy that very few people have ever heard of: fading big or moderate favorites after throwing at least three interceptions the prior week. From 2013 to 2020, teams favored by 5.5 points or more who threw 3+ picks the week before produced a 17-26 record ATS, a 39.5% winning percentage.
I really like this betting angle because it makes perfect sense to me. After being the victim of many interceptions, such teams tend to get more conservative in response, especially when they are facing a weaker opponent. The Bills fit the description perfectly, as Josh Allen threw 3 picks against the Jets on Monday night, and he is now facing a weaker squad.
Buffalo loses one day of rest and preparation since they are coming off a Monday night game. However, I am not fully sold on that bet yet since elite teams tend to perform well after a straight up loss. The Bills could be mad and will try to display a great performance for their home opener. But will they succeed doing it?
The answer is coming up this Sunday, and for now I am projecting a tight game. The Bills might end up winning the contest, but it won’t be easy. Jimmy Garoppolo did better than expected in Denver last week, and he has Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers to support him.
LEAN #2: GREEN BAY PACKERS -1 (AT ATLANTA FALCONS)
Last week, one of my official picks was Green Bay as slight underdogs in Chicago. In Week 2, this time the Packers are small FAVORITES in Atlanta, but my pick remains the same: lean #2 goes to Green Bay laying one point. Again, notice how this is an UNOFFICIAL pick though.
The Falcons were outgained 281 to 221 in terms of total yards against Carolina at home. That’s a huge source of concern to me. The Falcons ended up taking the game by a 24-10 score, but they were helped a lot by a +3-turnover differential.
Jordan Love did a very fine job at Soldier Field last week. His numbers were not overly great, but he completed several long passes on third downs that weren’t easy to convert. Also, he was missing one of his top targets, Christian Watson. The latter seems to have a good shot to suit up on Sunday.
The best player on the field in Chicago was Aaron Jones. He averaged 11.5 yards per touch and he looked in great shape. Unfortunately, he got hurt on a TD reception, but the good news is he walked off the field under his own power so that tells me he is likely to play in Week 2.
Green Bay’s defense is much superior to Atlanta’s unit, I don’t think there is any debate here. Offensively speaking, these teams look similar. I also trust Green Bay’s coaching staff more, as Matt LaFleur seems to be getting the best out of his players.
If someone gave you the opportunity to win $1,000 for free, would you take it? Of course, you would!
Then, you have no reason not to play my free NFL prediction contest! All you need to do is make your picks against the spread for each of the 15 games to take place on Sunday and Monday.
You must grade each pick with a rating from 1 to 15, where 15 corresponds to the pick you like the most, and 1 is associated to the pick you like the least. If your pick with a grade of 15 wins, you get 15 points. If your pick with a grade of 14 wins, you get 14 points, and so on.
The person with the most cumulative points will win $100 US. And if you get a perfect score, I’ll give you $1,000 instead. How cool and exciting is that?
The only remaining question is: how do you enter this free and fun contest? Simply sign up at mjpicks.com. Predictions submitted to my email address or in the comments below won’t be accepted.
During the signup process at mjpicks.com, you will be asked to choose between the free plan, or a paid plan that allows you to receive all of my betting picks directly in your mailbox and via SMS. Whatever you choose, once you are registered, you’ll be able to enter the contest in the “Free Contests” section of the site.
Come on man, show us your handicapping skills! Who will be the prediction beast for Week 2? It could very well be YOU my friend, so come and participate in that free contest!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)