NFL Week 2 Predictions: 7 Data-Driven Bets for Sunday, Including Player Props, Anytime Touchdowns, More
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Terry McLaurin.
NFL Odds & Picks
Billy Ward: This one is a pure math play. Based on the five years of data I collected on the subject, games with spreads of two or less have either team score three unanswered times only 56% of the time.
This prop correlates heavily with the spread, with various sportsbooks missing that fact in their pricing. BetMGM is offering +175 on “No,” when the fair value should be roughly +130.
Lions–Commanders has a similar spread and thus the same approximate 8% edge this weekend (if you can find "No" at +175). I prefer Giants–Panthers for this bet thanks to the lower total. While this prop doesn’t correlate as heavily with the total, lower total games do favor the “No” side slightly.
This bet can be found in the “scoring props” tab on BetMGM.
Sean Koerner: The Panthers threw on early downs at a league-high rate in Week 1. I expect that trend to continue against the Giants' pass-funnel defense.
It’ll be tough for McCaffrey to find room to run behind his offensive line, especially against a Giants defensive front that limited Derrick Henry to 82 yards on 21 carries last week.
I expect the Panthers to produce dump-off passes to McCaffrey that will essentially be an extension of their rushing attack.
I’m projecting CMC’s median closer to 59.5 yards.
Last year, the Lions gave up the 12th most touchdowns to the WR position; A.J. Brown just torched them for 155 receiving yards, but he couldn’t find the end zone.
There are reasons to like the top-three Commanders WRs, and our projections show value on each of their anytime TD props.
Here are their anytime TD value bets, with our projection’s fair odds for each in parenthesis.
- Terry McLaurin +175 at PointsBet (+159)
- Curtis Samuel +230 at FanDuel (+175)
- Jahan Dotson +250 at FanDuel (+192)
Instead of trying to shoot fish in a barrel and pick which one will hit, it’s possible to size your units so that you make a small profit if just one hits. And should two or more hit, you’re quite happy!
Billy Ward: Speaking of Commanders-Lions, there’s another math/trends-based bet that I like. The edge is a bit smaller in this one, but the fair price on this bet in games with a spread of three or less should be about +133.
With BetMGM leaving +140 on the board, there’s a slight edge based on that. Additionally, the higher the total, the more likely the team to score first is to lose, making this the better option than Giants-Panthers for this prop.
Sean Koerner: Hockenson has elite underlying usage, but he may need five-plus receptions to clear this number given his 6.0 aDOT.
D'Andre Swift only saw three targets last week, which will only go up (and likely at Hockenson’s expense). Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark will continue to command targets as well.
The Lions also had the second-highest rush rate on early downs (in a neutral game script).
I project this number closer to 39.5.
Billy Ward: We went to this well last week with the Steelers, with the bet ending as either a push or half-point loss depending on the sportsbook. The offenses held up their end of the bargain, but a Steelers pick-six ended up costing us. As mentioned then, Pittsburgh played nearly five seconds faster in the second half of games than the first in 2021.
That trend continued into 2022, with Pittsburgh ranking 26th in first-half pace but first in second-half pace last week. That’s despite holding a 17-6 halftime lead against the Bengals. The Patriots also play faster in the second half than the first, both last season and in Week 1 of 2022.
Assuming the 40.4 pregame total is roughly efficient, that points toward the under in the first half. There’s even more reason to like it this week, with key offensive players Najee Harris and Mac Jones both banged up.
Last week, even on one leg for part of the game, Harrison Butker dropped seven points against the Cardinals. Kansas City racked up 488 yards of offense in that blowout win.
This week, I’m projecting the Raiders for more than two field-goal attempts and three extra-point attempts.
My model has this going over 6.5 at 63.6% of the time with a fair value of -175.
The best odds for Carlson are at bet365 (-135) and DraftKings (-140). I’d bet Carlson to go over his total up to -150.