I’m back again handicapping games in 2019…coming off a mediocre 2018 (50%-ish type season picking all games and 54% on real bets with a small profit in real +/- dollars by the end but wild swings all season), a sensational best-ever 2017 (flirted with 70% winners on Blazing five all season), and a mediocre 2016 before that (52-55% on real bets). I have definitely not cracked the code on the NFL week-to-week betting yet. I made some tweaks to the computer models for 2019 based on reviewing 2017 and 2018 results. Let’s see if we can get lucky in 2019…starting with Week 1!!
Good luck to all us bettors.
One game leaps off the page in Week 1, one of the highest point spread differentials I’ve been given by The Computer in the past three years. We start there. Games listed in order of the difference of our internal point spread vs. the Vegas consensus spread.
My computer model numbers based on latest info and injury reports and point spreads on midday Wednesday.
*Updated SAT 9/7 for latest injury news and line moves.
DEN (-1.5) at OAK
The Computer says: DEN by 16.4…Spread Differential 14.9
The Computer smells a blowout here, even ‘at’ Oakland on an MNF game. If/when it happens, the Raiders being terrible will be blamed. It will take 2-3 weeks before the Denver light starts to come on in the public.
You get the better Head Coach, O-Line, RB group, a better QB, and by miles a better defense with Denver. The Raiders are missing their best O-Lineman (Gabe Jackson), have an out of control team due to Antonio Brown, a running back who has never been the lead in college and now debuts as ‘the man’ against Denver? This has all the blowout signals you could want.
*One of two games that I have real money this week, the bulk of it here.
BAL (-6.5) at MIA
The Computer says: BAL by 16.0…Spread Differential 10.0
The Computer tried to see a Miami opportunity…the heat/humidity homefield, the Fitzmagic potential a la Week 1 last year. I just don’t see the path to a Miami win/cover here. The Tunsil trade likely took any of the life out of Miami they might have had.
BUF at NYJ (-3.0)
The Computer says: BUF by 2.8…Spread Differential 5.8
The Bills defense wins this game. They hold the Jets to 14 or less points, which means the Bills just need to hit 11pts on a bad Jets defense to cover. The Bills defense might score a TD to help. The Jets don’t even have a real kicker yet…whereas the Bills have a solid veteran, no issues kicker as an additional edge.
*I have a smaller amount of real money here. I think the Bills as a dog here is wonderful.
WAS at PHI (-10.0)
The Computer says: PHI by 14.7…Spread Differential 4.7
Everything favors the Eagles in this game. No Trent Williams is just an extra icing on the cake for a Philly win. You can’t seriously bet on a Keenum-Guice-Quinn led offense, no? I do hate this line is so high. Hard to bet it for real.
KC (-3.5) at JAX
The Computer says: JAX by 0.7…Spread Differential 4.2
*Injury to JAX LT is dropping our confidence here.
The Computer sees KC as a good/dangerous team, but it also sees the Jags as just as good/better and just a differently ‘good’ type of team. Mahomes-Hill is sexy, and the Jags just ram the ball down the opponent’s throat and lock down passing games. KC has a weak defense but that gets pushed aside by Mahomes garnering so much attention. The public’s love for QBs is driving this line. How can you not love JAX at home in the home field heat with their great 2017 O-Line back from the injury devastation of 2018 and with a stable QB?
HOU at NO (-7.0)
The Computer says: NO by 11.1…Spread Differential 4.1
I low key love this game/bet. Houston is making all these headline moves but were a weak team that’s slightly better now, maybe. While the Saints are arguably one of the three best teams in the league, and playing at home in a MNF game is a big edge. The downside is the Saints have been really bad early in seasons…a 2-8 record Weeks 1-2 the past five seasons combined.
CIN at SEA (-9.5)
The Computer says: SEA by 13.2…Spread Differential 3.7
SURVIVOR POOL PICK
You could go Baltimore over Miami as the best survivor pool pick but if you’re going to give me a totally superior Seattle team at home week 1, I’ll take it.
The last time Seattle lost their home opener (whatever week it was played) was 2008…in OT. Russell Wilson is 7-0 in home openers.
DET (2.5) at ARI
The Computer says: ARI by 1.0…Spread Differential 3.5
I wouldn’t touch this game for real, but it’s the game I’m most interested in watching. I’m not sure if we have more Arizona confusion getting up to speed or not on offense. They have all kinds of secondary issues on top of defensive starters in spots all over that make me scratch my head. I’d want to be against the Cards in their debut, but Detroit looks like the team headed downhill fast because of Matt Patricia. Home field and confusion factor for Arizona but not betting money on it until I see this offense in real-time.
IND at LAC (-6.5)
The Computer says: LAC by 4.0…Spread Differential 2.5
*Injuries to LT and PK for LAC are swinging this to ‘take the points’
I’m wary of the public slashing Indy too fast and loving LAC too much. I don’t love Jacoby Brissett but the public’s love for LAC I do not share either. The momentum to LAC is drawing me to wonder if the underdog/cover is the play here. The Computer still sees LAC but not with much conviction.
TEN at CLE (-5.5)
The Computer says: CLE by 7.9…Spread Differential 2.4
The Computer sees blowout potential for Cleveland here. Tennessee able to slow the game down and having a plausible defense keeps it from being an utter destruction on paper.
NYG at DAL (-7.0)
The Computer says: DAL by 4.8…Spread Differential 2.2
The Computer feels like 7.0 is a lot to lay in opening intradivision rivalry game. Dallas is clearly better overall but it’s a lot of points.
PIT at NE (-6.0) *Update
The Computer says: NE by 7.4…Spread Differential 1.4
*Update, I typed the wrong number in. This was the Patriots for The Computer all along. I wrote it down and typed it out wrong.
Org. Comments: I personally think the Patriots might blow the Steelers out and change the whole vibe/direction of this Pittsburgh team for 2019…sends them reeling. The Computer says the Steelers getting +6.0 in what is a playoff-like game for them is troubling.
ATL at MIN (-3.5)
The Computer says: MIN by 4.7…Spread Differential 1.2
Home field advantage is what this basically comes down to. Two middle-tier ‘good’ teams. Atlanta back and full strength after a year of severe injury. I don’t want to touch it as a bettor.
GB at CHI (-3.0)
The Computer says: CHI by 2.6…Spread Differential 0.4
I have switched my gambling thoughts back and forth on this game way too much. We simply do not know what to expect from the new GB head coach and what the Bears look like without Fangio (among other things). The computer is just leaning with the home field/THU night edge.
SF at TB (E)
The Computer says: SF by 0.2…Spread Differential 0.2
Tampa Bay has so many holes and Jameis Winston is so erratic…that even with a home field/heat advantage The Computer leans 49ers.
LAR (-3.0) at CAR
The Computer says: LAR by 3.1…Spread Differential 0.1
Hate this game. Could see a Panthers upset at home. Could see a McVay having months to plan a blowout as well. Wary of the home Panthers here. Wary of betting against McVay with time to plan.