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Saints vs. Panthers NFL Week 2 Picks and Predictions



saints vs. panthers nfl week 2 picks and predictions

Saints vs. Panthers NFL Week 2 Picks and Predictions

Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers. Mike Comer/Getty Images/AFP

The sharps are on the Carolina Panthers for Sunday’s tilt with the New Orleans Saints – but the Over might be the better NFL pick.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 01:00 PM EDT at Bank of America Stadium

Is this real life? After the Monday night game, the underdogs were 9-7 SU and 12-4 ATS in Week 1. It was a tremendous win for the sportsbooks. Reports from Las Vegas had the favorites pulling in the lion’s share of the action for each of Sunday’s games. If you’re an old-school contrarian bettor like many of us here at the ranch, you couldn’t have asked for much more.

There’s more. Week 2 is here, and this week is traditionally the most mental. Consider the New Orleans Saints; they were surprisingly good in their 38-3 victory over the Green Bay Packers (–4 away), so naturally, the public should be all over them for Sunday’s matchup with the ho-hum Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are now listed as 3.5-point home dog on the NFL odds board at Bovada. (See our Bovada Review). This golden half-point is too good to pass up.

Early to Rise

Well, it’s tricky. The early consensus reports do have 84 percent of bettors on Carolina, which is still a pretty good indicator of sharp money; we’re still waiting for more data to come in for our expanded consensus reports, but with so many books switching to the “European” model and restricting large wiseguy bets, we’ll be keeping our focus largely on the numbers we have at the open. These numbers are very much in favor of the Panthers.

Speaking of numbers, FiveThirtyEight like New Orleans to win Sunday’s game by exactly three points. That happens to match what ESPN’s Football Index is projecting. However, Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today prefers the Saints by 3.27 points using his eigenvector analysis, and 4.97 points using his overall Rating system. Taking Carolina at +3.5 can’t be too bad, but even if we ignore Sagarin’s formulae, that’s still just a half-point difference between the projections and the odds – albeit the most valuable half-point on the NFL lines.

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Crabs in a Bucket

As always, there’s a second option for our NFL picks, and it’s the total, which the fine folks at Heritage Sports (Visit our Heritage Sports Review) have pegged at 44 points. The early consensus is on the Over this time at 77 percent, and even though we don’t have (free) projections to work with, we’re more interested in taking this bet than trying to squeeze value from the spread. Both could be placed, though. There are no false binary options.

We don’t want to over-react ourselves to what happened in Week 1, but five touchdown passes from Jameis Winston are hard to ignore. Winston finished the week second overall in Total QBR at 92.5, which bodes well for this Sunday; Carolina’s Sam Darnold was less impressive (24-of-25 for 279 yards, one TD, zero INTs, one lost fumble) in their 19-14 win over the New York Jets as 3.5-point home faves, but that was good enough for 19th overall in the QBR standings. If the Panthers can get mediocre production from one of the league’s worst quarterbacks the past three years, watch out.

NFL Pick: Over 44 (–108) at Heritage Sports (Visit our Heritage Sports Review)

Over 44(-108)

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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.

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