It's that time. Time to bet on football...chasing the proverbial greased pig. I ended up 54%+ on 'Blazing Five' picks last season and 50% on the nose picking all games against the spread. I gotta do better. I gotta get back to 60% levels. Here's the first step in the journey, in the process -- the Week 1 picks (subject to change before kickoff on late developing news and will be noted).
@NE -9.0 over KC
-- I would never bet this game on purpose because it's really too many points to lay to a quality team like KC. However, I'm going to play with my heart instead of my head and make the Patriots prove to me that they're not a joke or not the team that's going to wipe out everything in their path.
If this breaks into a shootout, everything favors the Patriots.
The computer says KC, I say the Patriots.
NYJ +9.0 over @BUF
-- This may be moving into my best bet territory. I know the Jets are awful but it's not like Buffalo is the New England Patriots suddenly. This line has to be people hating the Jets so much they are going to punish them via betting and handicapping lines.
The Bills should not be nine point favorites over anyone at this stage – so I'm taking the points for sure. In its simplicity, I don't know that Josh McCown is not a better piece of the puzzle in this game than Tyrod Taylor in his new offense – keeping the Jets within nine if not win it.
@CHI +7.0 over ATL **Switch to ATL -6.0 with Amukamara out
-- Wow…this is a lot of points to give to a home team. Our handicapping group chat on this game may be out before this goes the publish, but Skolman's (our defending handicap champion) take on this game rattled me. I was pretty confident that I was going to cop out and take home + points but Skolman makes a pretty compelling argument why we shouldn't try to overthink it with Atlanta.
That being said, I'm going to trust my computer model on this and take the home dog and if I'm wrong, I'm just going to copy Skolman's picks the rest of the season.
JAC +5.0 over @HOU
-- This could be best bet material. The Jaguars are better than the Texans in every phase/unit of the game except J.J. Watt and at quarterback. Watt doesn't change the line/thinking but the Quarterback differential is huge.
I'm at Tom Savage fan, but it's not like he's crushed anyone this preseason or in his starts last season. I'm a huge fan, but I'm not a fan of Bill O'Brien's offense at all. I don't think it's built for what Savage does best. In addition, the Texans enter this game with a new left tackle and that could be a nightmare. Everyone wants to make fun of the Jaguars, but as I've been saying for months now...you have to respect this aspect of the Jags – they've bought one of the best secondaries and all the NFL. The rare dual shutdown corners. That takes away some of the edge of the the quarterback advantage. If Chad Henne were playing the line will probably be cut in half. And he could be in this game by half time.
I'm taking the Jags and the point – and gun to my head I think the Jags for the win. I'd be so much more confident if Henne was starting.
The computer says take the Texans here.
@WAS +1.0 over PHI
-- I'm 180 degrees opposite everyone in the mainstream on the Eagles. I don’t see it. Somehow Lane Johnson is making this a Super Bowl contender – hell, Colin Cowherd named them the #5 best team in the NFL right now. Wow, Colin…you’re a personal hero but you are losing touch with some things in the NFL…and I can sense it every time I listen the past two years. You used to be the cutting edge of football analysis, now it seems you’re busy and relying on at what others are saying too much.
I think both of these teams are in trouble, so I'm going to go with the home team and the better quarterback. I don't see a defensive advantage for Philly in this game at all. Defenses are equally mediocre and Washington has the better offense…and home field.
@-2.0 DET over ARI
-- This is another game I didn't have strong feelings about at first so it was easy to just take the home team plus the points. I thought that yesterday when I started this rough draft, but then I saw Deone Bucannon would be out and I'm starting to get excited about the Lions in this spot.
People are so latched onto this idea of Arizona being so good going back to last year. I guess we're just going to ignore actual results and constantly go with media accepted, emotional feelings on who the good team are? One of these teams had a winning record last year and was in the playoffs – and one wasn't. I'll take the better 2016 team, playing at home in 2017, and a home under dog.
The computer says this is one of the top bets of the week -- Detroit.
@TEN -2.5 over OAK
-- I kind of love Tennessee in the spot. There's so much media love for Oakland and so much ignoring of anything Tennessee. The Titans were having a great season last year and were really starting to roll until Mariota got hurt and was lost for the season. Mariota is back with a revamped receiver group – give me the Titans.
Last year, opening day, the Titans entered opening day with Tajae Sharpe, Harry Douglas, and Andre Johnson as guys they were building the passing game around. It's a little better this year.
BAL +3.0 over @CIN
-- You have to love Baltimore in this spot. The Bengals come in restricted on their offensive firepower, to a degree, because John Ross is hurt and they want to take it too slow with Joe Mixon. On defense, the Bengals will be missing their key starting linebacker and best corner. Why is it people think the Bengals are three point favorites here? I'm not wowed by the Ravens, but they're definitely better than the Bengals walking into this game a lot because the Bengals enter with some key suspensions and injuries.
PIT -9.0 over @CLE
-- If Brock Osweiler were starting for Cleveland, I would pause at the 9.0 line. I thought the Browns defense could give Pittsburgh some fits, but then seeing Myles Garrett is hurt now seals the deal as a guarantee on the Steelers in a blowout.
Hue Jackson continues to make things easy for us. He starts DeShone Kizer, the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. He trades away Joe Haden to the very team he's playing Week 1. All Pittsburgh has done is patch up and upgrade every rough patch they had on their roster by grabbing Haden and getting Vance McDonald.
The Steelers are going to get up in this game probably because Kizer can't move the offense, and once the dam breaks the Browns will roll over with no quarterback to even keep it close. I'll take the Steelers in a blowout where three weeks ago that would've been a bit nervous on the high spread.
If you don't want to get cute in a survivor pool – you have to take the Steelers for Week 1.
@LAR -3.5 over IND
-- This could be a Rams blowout. The savvy play for a survivor pool to use up a team you won’t normally use the rest of the season. I have no argument for the Colts winning this game besides the Rams are an unknown entity under the new coach. From what I've seen, the Rams are upgraded with Sean McVay and Wade Phillips in every way. From what I've seen, the Colts are racing towards 'worst team in the NFL' status. At home, in a new coach his debut, needing some offensive confidence – I think the Rams are going to run it up on the Colts. I wouldn't be surprised if the Rams dropped 40+ points here.
@GB -3.0 over SEA
-- I'll take Green Bay and lay the three-points because I don't trust Seattle on the road. I try not to bet against Belichick or Aaron Rodgers.
@SF +5.5 over CAR
-- I do like new coaches debuting in the new NFL season for handicapping purposes. First-time head coaches do not have as much of a book of tendencies for everyone to consider. New coach's teams tend to over perform and surprise in Week 1 (See: LAR, BUF, JAC too).
If I take my new coach theory + always favoring home underdogs plus not afraid of Cam Newton – I'll throw my support behind the 49ers. I'll probably cop out and take the Panthers in Pick 'em pools where point spreads don't matter, but I'm tempted to take the 49ers to be different.
NYG +4.0 over @DAL **Switch to DAL with OBJ assumed out.
-- You may have heard that I'm kind of into Dallas winning the Super Bowl this year. The problem is I have a growing respect for the New York Giants. The Giants team that beat Dallas twice last year.
Four points is probably too much in this heavyweight fight that fight the Giants won twice last year. It's not a great match up for Dallas right off the bat -- a young, inexperienced secondary for Dallas is taking on to Hall of Fame wide receivers, a Hall of Fame quarterback, and the X factor Evan Engram. I'll pick Dallas to win to hedge my bets, but I'll take the four-points with the Giants.
If OBJ is out, it puts a dent in the Dallas young secondary issue…and then I go Dallas.
NO +3.0 over @MIN
-- One of my favorite bets of the week – the Saints and the points. I will take the Saints to outright beat the Vikings.
The Saints have a defense that's going to surprise pundits this week…aided by the fact that the Vikings have the worst offense in the NFL. On the flip side, Drew Brees is Drew Brees, and 2/3 of the field will not be covered by Xavier Rhodes. Saints to win outright.
@DEN -3.5 over LAC
-- I have to take Denver here because the Chargers look awful in the preseason. Plus, I fear Anthony Lynn is a horrible head coach and he's done nothing but prove me right all preseason. I think this Denver defense has enough in the tank to put a beat down on the Chargers and then the Denver offense just has to hit 14 or so points. Jamaal Charles may be the MVP of this bet.
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