Week 2 BALLER Model: Best Bets to Cover the Spread (Fantasy Football)
Last week, I introduced BALLER*, a machine-learning betting model that predicts which team will cover the spread in each NFL game.
In its Week 1 debut, it went a phenomenal 11/16 (68.8%) overall, and 7/10 (70%) on its selected ‘Best Picks’ (‘Best Picks’ are determined through a combination of model confidence and outside football intuition).
This is not an official Fantasy Footballers betting model* but hopefully a useful tool to make your decisions for fantasy and leans on certain spreads and who could cover. For the full array of betting material, find season-long and weekly props in the DFS Pass and tune in every week to the DFS & Betting Podcast.
In this article, I will break down the model’s best picks for Week 2 (9 games)–let’s dive in!
Week 2 BALLER’s Best
Keep in mind a couple of key points with this model:
- It is still using data from last season to predict these games — it will be better adjusted to each team with more data from the 2023 season.
- It focuses on the spread of the home team.
- It is applied primarily on which team can cover the spread, NOT “use this xspread” the model spits out.
Washington Commanders (+3.5):
The Commanders travel to Denver to face the Broncos, who are coming off a 17-16 loss to the Raiders. Washington, who took down Arizona in week 1, demonstrated their ability to control possession, racking up 32 minutes of offensive play compared to the Cardinals’ 28. The final score was close (20-16), but was heavily due to three careless turnovers by the Commanders, one of which resulted in an Arizona TD. If they can protect the rock in Week 2, it is likely that they will be able to keep the game close and cover the spread.
Las Vegas Raiders (+8.5):
The Raiders looked strong in Week 1 after defeating the Denver Broncos 17-16, while the Bills suffered an embarrassing OT loss to the Rodgers-less Jets. If Josh Allen’s decision-making doesn’t improve, Las Vegas will have a good chance to cover the large 8.5-point spread.
Cleveland Browns (-2.0):
The Browns were absolutely dominant in week 1 as they suffocated the Bengals, winning 24-3. The team ran for over 200 yards and threw for over 150 more–if Watson can progress his play even further, the Browns should have no problem covering this 2-point spread against Pittsburgh. Further, Pickett and the Steelers’ offense was anemic last Sunday, only putting together 239 yards and 7 points–albeit, they were facing one of the best defenses in the league in San Francisco, but it won’t get much easier against Cleveland.
Green Bay Packers (-1.0):
Green Bay looked phenomenal in their season opener against the Bears. Jordan Love tossed the ball for 245 yards and 3 TDs, while his backfield put together 122 yards on the ground to complement his play. While they did give up 20 points to Chicago, they face the Falcons in Week 2, who have been playing a very one-sided, run-the-ball offense, which should be easier for Green Bay to defend than the Bears’ more fluid offense.
Chicago Bears (+2.5):
Chicago gets a chance to reset their season in week 2 against the Buccaneers. The Bears racked up 311 yards in Week 1 compared to the Bucs 242, demonstrating their offensive prowess over Tampa Bay. What they must watch out for is their turnover ratio, which was even in Week 1–the Bucs had three takeaways to Minnesota’s 0, which allowed them to easily take the win.
Baltimore Ravens (+3.5):
Baltimore slaughtered Houston in Week 1, while the Bengals barely showed up to play in Cleveland. The Ravens +3.5 line comes as a bit of a surprise, and the BALLER model is looking to take advantage of that!
Houston Texans (+1.0):
In the battle of first-round picks, CJ Stroud looks to take down the Colts and Anthony Richardson. While the Ohio State product looked abysmal in his first NFL start, the Colts posted a -44 EPA (Expected points added) week 1, which puts the Texans as favorites with BALLER.
New England Patriots (+3.0):
The Patriots surprised many Week 1, only falling to the Eagles by 5 points, in what quite honestly should have been a win for them. While Miami’s offense looked stellar against the Chargers, they will be facing a much harder test against New England’s defense. Look for the Pats to cover +3.0.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5):
Despite a wild dead-ball play that resulted in a Colts TD, the Jaguars impressed in Week 1. Their defense stood up, picking up 4 sacks and 3 turnovers–if they can replicate this against what was a struggling Chiefs offense last Thursday night, they will be in a strong position to cover the spread.
That’s all for this article, as always feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with any questions!