NFL Best Bets: Week 2

by Ahaan Rungta · Betting & Props

Welcome back to our game line article series, where we find the best moneylines, spreads, or totals to bet on your sportsbooks for the weekend NFL slate each week in the 2023-24 NFL season. Each week’s article will continue to feature two to three picks on such a market. For each bet, we will provide a wager size recommendation (note: 1 unit = 1-percent of your gambling bankroll). It’s best to keep the exposure disciplined and stick to the recommendations. It is also always worth line-shopping at the time you place your bet so that you can get the best value available online. In Week 1, we split our two plays and broke even. It’s time to use those learned lessons to make us better as bettors going forward. These are our NFL Best Bets for Week 2. These include the best odds provided as of Thursday morning.

1 Unit: 49ers/Rams Total UNDER 45 (-110, DraftKings)

The Sean McVay vs. Kyle Shanahan matchup is one of the most discussed battles in recent NFL history. Since the 2021-22 NFL season, San Francisco is 4-0 in this head-to-head series in the regular season, but 0-1 in the playoffs. Both teams look a bit different now and are coming off weird games in Week 1.

At the helm of the San Francisco offense is the Cinderella story of Brock Purdy. He was uber-efficient against a hyped Steelers defense in Week 1. Purdy posted a 19-29 passing line with 220 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and no turnovers. He helped produce a huge performance from wideout Brandon Aiyuk. However, outside of that, the 49ers just relied on a pound-the-ground masterclass from Christian McCaffrey and a defensive showcase to tick the clock down and expose Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Puka Nacua

The Rams, on the other hand, looked awfully similar to their Super Bowl selves even without superstar receiver Cooper Kupp. Head coach Sean McVay heavily out-dueled Pete Carroll. Veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford was sharp and allowed rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua to take over the Kupp role and break records.

Neither offense can repeat that script in this matchup. Purdy should be much less efficient against a Rams front seven—led by Aaron Donald—that posted a 31.0-percent pressure rate and an 11.5-percent quarterback knockdown rate. The Stafford and Nacua connection should have a much harder time against an elite 49ers defense that recorded a blistering 46.2-percent pressure rate and 26.9-percent quarterback hurry rate. Last year, the Rams were one of the least efficient offenses in the NFL on snaps where Kupp was off the field. They should be humbled in Week 2 as the 49ers have had time to adjust to Nacua in that role and Stafford does not many playmakers elsewhere.

Bettors should expect this game to be a defensive chess match. The 49ers are rightfully heavily favored in this contest due to the superior roster. Additionally, if they take an early lead, the 49ers will look to tick the clock down by keeping their offense safe and on the ground instead. This supports a slower pace of play, promoting the under

1 Unit: Patriots +3 (-110, BetMGM)

Week 2’s Sunday Night Football matchup features a divisional rivalry between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Additionally, it involves two quarterbacks that put up impressive performances in Week 1. This line is favoring the more hyped offense coming off a win. However, this number is still short because New England deserves respect for their overall roster build.

Last Sunday on the road against the Chargers, Tua Tagovailoa diced up defenders across the field and relied on an accurate deep ball connection with wideout Tyreek Hill to cook for 466 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and just one interception. However, that was against a Chargers secondary that was heavily unaddressed this offseason. In this matchup, the Chargers only hurried the quarterback three times. They also allowed the Miami weapons to expose some slow secondary play.

Built Differently

The Patriots are built differently on defense. Under head coach Bill Belichick, they consistently rank among league leaders in defensive DVOA. In the offseason, they were aggressive in bolstering the secondary by drafting elite prospect cornerback Christian Gonzalez. New England’s depth on defense showed in Week 1 when they stymied one of the best offensive rosters in football. They held the Philadelphia Eagles to just one offensive touchdown and four field goals.

On offense, New England might just have taken a step forward as well under new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Whether Mac Jones can be a big play-maker for a full season is yet to be seen. However, he did march down the field and put up a solid performance in Week 1 against the reigning NFC champions. Jones posted a 35-54 passing line for 316 yards, three passing touchdowns, and one rain-inflicted interception.

If he can put up a similar performance against the Miami secondary, a much easier target than Philadelphia, New England should be efficient on offense yet again. In Week 1, Miami posted a pressure rate of 35.0-percent (about middle-of-the-pack) and hurried the quarterback only four times. For comparison, last week, Jones’ opponent—the Eagles—hurried the quarterback an NFL-leading 17 times.

Miami is 4-0 against the spread against New England over the last two seasons and that is probably why over 80-percent of the public as of now is backing the 1-0 Dolphins. However, on paper, this matchup should be closer to a pick ‘em. I’ll gladly back the new-look coaching staff of the Patriots on primetime to snap the streak as they get spotted a field goal on the spread.