NFL Week 2 Predictions: Saints vs Panthers Fits Luck Rankings Threshold

NFL Week 2 Predictions: Saints vs Panthers Fits Luck Rankings Threshold article feature image

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Young.

Our Action Network Luck Rankings are out for the first time in 2023!

For those unfamiliar with our Luck Rankings, here's a quick primer on how to use them for betting the 2023 NFL season, and here are our Luck Rankings after Week 1.

As a quick recap, the unlucky team from the Action Network Luck Rankings is 96-54-4 (63.6%) against the spread (ATS) since the start of 2018 if the unlucky team in a matchup meets at least one of the following two criteria:

  1. Is at least 24 places lower than their opponent in the Luck Rankings
  2. Has a luck percentage at least 50% worse than their opponent

Those criteria yield us nine Luck Ranking matchups for Week 2.

Here's a quick breakdown of each of the matchups, with a full rundown table at the end.

Click here to skip down to the Saints vs. Panthers breakdown.

NFL Luck Rankings Week 2 Matchups

Each team’s luck ranking is in parenthesis.

Sunday, Sept. 17
1 p.m. ET
Seahawks +4.5

Luck Rankings: Seahawks 26, Lions 2

The Seahawks, like the Vikings who covered +6.5 and +7 on Thursday Night Football, actually check both boxes with a Luck Difference of 24 and a Luck Gap of almost 107%.

The Seahawks were unable to move the ball on four second-half drives against the Rams last week, but their lack of luck came mostly in the first half. Seattle reached at least the Rams' 23-yard line on all four first-half drives. Ultimately, they only converted that into 13 points instead of just less than 18 expected.

Meanwhile, the Lions benefitted from Kadarius Toney's drops, including one that safety Brian Branch returned 50 yards for a touchdown.

The Seahawks should have an easier time moving the ball on the Lions, who defensively allow an Expected Score of more than 2.5 points per game than the Rams.

Take the 4.5 points that bet365 is giving to Seattle.

Sunday, Sept. 17
1 p.m. ET
Bills -8

Despite Aaron Rodgers' injury, the Bills were the unlucky team in their Monday Night Football opener against the New York Jets. That's because for what actually took place on the field, the Bills would win that game nearly 57% of the time.

Luck Rankings: Raiders 3, Bills 29

If Josh Allen cleans up the turnovers and the Jets don't return a punt 65 yards for a score, it's likely the Bills start the season with a win. We can't expect Allen to be that turnover-prone every game, and we can't expect 65-yard punt returns all the time. That's why, if we replay those scenarios, the Bills are the likely winner.

Meanwhile, the Raiders were only slightly lucky to beat the Broncos, but that puts them alongside the Jets as one of five Week 1 winners that "should have" lost based on our expected score metric, hence their place inside the top five.

This is another game that meets both criteria with a Luck Difference of 26 and a Luck Gap of 117%, meaning the play would be Bills -8 as the unlucky team.

However, a word of caution: Unlike road teams, home teams meeting the criteria are just 10-9 ATS in Week 2. It could just be a small sample size noise. Overall, teams meeting at least one of the criteria are still 24-15-1 ATS in Week 2.

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Sunday, Sept. 17
1 p.m. ET
Bears +2.5

Luck Rankings: Bears 27, Buccaneers 5

With a Luck Difference of 22, this is the first of the remaining five games that doesn't meet both criteria.

That's because the Luck Gap is just 22. However, the Luck Gap between these two teams is over the 50% threshold, nearly doubling it at 95.7%

Against the Packers, Chicago was unlucky to fail to recover any of the game's three fumbles. Quay Walker's interception return for a touchdown was another big play that swung toward Green Bay that can't be expected to be repeated very frequently.

Chicago also had a big win probability swing go against them when they failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from their own 40-yard line on the first drive of the game. Green Bay capitalized with a touchdown on the ensuing drive, putting the Bears in an early hole that's avoided if they just convert it, which was the expectation.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers were the beneficiary of three Kirk Cousins turnovers in a game the Vikings otherwise dominated.

As the road team, the Bears fit that 14-6-1 Week 2 luck trend.

Sunday, Sept. 17
1 p.m. ET
Chiefs -3.5

Luck Rankings: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 12

We talked about the Chiefs' poor luck above with the Lions, while the Jaguars' win over the Colts came right in around expectation putting them close to the middle of the luck pack.

Two other notable trends about the Chiefs with Mahomes under center: They're 19-6-1 ATS when favored by three points or fewer and 13-3 straight-up after a loss.

We'll back the Mahomes-led Chiefs also as a Week 2 luck criteria away team in a rebound performance.

Sunday, Sept. 17
4:25 p.m. ET
Cowboys -8.5

Luck Rankings: Jets 4, Cowboys 15

It's pretty funny that the 40-0 winners are the unlucky team, especially considering their win by Expected Score was 27-6. That's because there's very little win probability difference between the two scorelines.

Meanwhile, we talked above about how the Jets were lucky to beat the Bills, especially with Zach Wilson under center for almost the entire game.

However, with a Luck Difference of 11 and a Luck Gap of just 52.7%, only the Luck Gap threshold is met, and just barely. In addition, the Cowboys are at home, meaning all the Week 2 luck-based signals are either not met, or just barely cleared.

If you like the Cowboys at -9 at BetMGM or bet365, the luck trends technically favor them, so only use luck as one final reason to play them if you already find value here.

Sunday, Sept. 17
4:25 p.m. ET
Broncos -3.5

Luck Rankings: Commanders 13, Broncos 30

Now, we're getting into the games where the luck trends are much closer to the thresholds. All three of the remaining teams are also home teams, so these should only be picks you make if it add to reasons you may already like a team.

First up, the Broncos who had an Expected Score win of 18-15 against the Las Vegas Raiders. Unfortunately, Expected Score wins don't count in the NFL standings which is why the Broncos were unlucky. It's a small swing in Expected Score, but as one of just five teams to lose that were expected to win, it puts the Broncos in the bottom five of the Luck Rankings.

Meanwhile, the Commanders failed to cover as seven-point home favorites against the lowly Cardinals, putting up just 20 points. Now they travel west to meet a stingy Broncos defense who had an Expected Score against of nearly 100 points less than the Cardinals last year.

Our PRO Projections show two of the five key metrics on the Broncos, and if you count Luck Ranking criteria as a PRO System, that would be a third.

Thus, they'd be the play as the unlucky team at -3.5.

Sunday, Sept. 17
8:20 p.m. ET
Patriots +2.5

Luck Rankings: Patriots 8, Dolphins 32

The final game that meets both the Luck Difference and the Luck Gap criteria is between two AFC East rivals. The Patriots are 24 places lower in the Luck Rankings while coming in 114% lower in Luck% than the Dolphins.

As noted above, the Patriots should have beaten the Eagles but just couldn't close out drives.

Meanwhile, Miami's explosive offense was actually slightly unlucky not to score more against the Los Angeles Chargers. However, the Bill Belichick-led Patriots defense should slow down the Dolphins more than the Chargers did.

Add in home-field advantage, and the Patriots are a comfortable Luck Matchup play at +3.

Monday, Sept. 18
8:15 p.m. ET
Panthers +3.5

Luck Rankings: Saints 9, Panthers 23

This is the only one of the nine games in which neither team lost when it should have won or won when it should have lost.

In addition, the Panthers are the home team, meaning this game is about as close to the bottom of the luck totem pole as it gets.

That said, there's still plenty of reason to back the Panthers here. Both Sean Koerner and Chris Raybon make this a closer matchup than the 3-point favorites books are making the Saints.

By Expected Score, Carolina should have lost by slightly less than 7 points instead of the 14 they did lose by. That more than seven-point swing is more than the Saints' three-point swing between their margin of victory and Expected Score margin of victory.

Thus, scoreboard watchers will overestimate the Saints relative to the Panthers.

NFL Luck Rankings Week 2 Matchups

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