Avoid the Vig
Picks - NFL Week 1
Note: The following post was originally written on August 30, 2019.
Week 4 of the preseason actually lowered our winning percentage despite hitting 3 out of 4 games. Minnesota, the one loss, was up 23-6 with 3:53 left. An offensive fumble returned for a touchdown, a punt return, and a passing touchdown with 8 seconds left gave us one of the worst beats of all time. But just remember, every bad beat is a good story. You may be slightly more poor, but you will be entertaining at parties.
We finish the preseason 11-4, picking 79% winners, up 18.4 units. With the goal being 55%, we came out way ahead. Along with the NBA and NFL drafts, the NFL preseason offers tremendous opportunity. Now that the NFL regular season starts, the sportsbooks' limits raise and the road gets much more difficult.
On to the regular season...
GAME: BAL -5 @ MIA
John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens have been a golden ticket in the preseason. We look to capitalize in week 1 of the regular season. Baltimore has been a solid team with Harbaugh at the reigns. He's now had an entire off-season to implement new wrinkles to his already nontraditional offense which features the mobile Lamar Jackson. Miami has had all summer to prepare for his unique style. With that being said, how can you replicate this offense? There is no scout team quarterback that can reproduce what Jackson does on the field. I give Baltimore the decided edge on the field. But what about off the field?
The Ravens are very much in the playoff hunt, if not an outright Super Bowl contender. Miami is expected to be basement dwellers. Vegas has their win total at 4.5, lowest in the league. Even though expectations are that they will be abysmal, they are starting Ryan Fitzpatrick who has put up incredible numbers in relief roles, but when he's the expected starter, he falls incredibly short. Miami Dolphins management has to be punting on this year with eyes fixated on Tua Tagovailoa in this upcoming draft or Trevor Lawrence in 2021. They aren't even willing to give Josh Rosen, last year's 10th overall pick, a shot despite trading assets for him this offseason. Rumor has it, they are even considering trading Jeremy Tunsil who, despite his predraft video exploits, has been an anchor of their offensive line. I have no idea what the Miami Dolphins are doing and I don't think they know either. Because of this, we fly with the Ravens.
2 Units: BAL -5 (FanDuel NJ) WON
GAME: LAR -3 @ CAR
You can go broke real quick betting on NFL road favorites and yet here we are betting them back to back. Cam Newton battled injuries all last season and is expected to have a bounceback performance this year. However, he was dinged up in their 3rd preseason game. All reports suggest he will suit up and be close to 100%, but he's missed practice time. He's a veteran so maybe he doesn't need as much, but there is an impact. Maybe it is only a point, but when you are sitting on a key number, a point is all you need.
The last time we saw the Rams, Todd Gurley was an enigma and Cooper Kupp was on the shelf. Maybe Gurley will never be 100% again, but he will be most certainly an impactful player, particularly early in the season. Kupp is ready to roll and Sean McVay, the boy genius, has had an entire offseason to craft a game plan against Cam and the Panthers. I'll jump on this one with the squares. However, with approximately 10% of games landing on -3, I wouldn't take it If this moves to -3.5.
2 Units: LAR -3 (DraftKings NJ) PUSH
GAME: SF +1 @ TB
It is important to be very cautious about gleaning anything from the preseason. That is good news for the 49ers and Bucs. Both teams looked horrendous at times. Some early optimism on the 49ers were quelled by a 5 straight interception practice and a poor preseason performance by Garoppolo. I'm expecting quarterback guru, Kyle Shannahan, to fix the offensive problems by next Sunday. I think these poor performances actually allow us to hold on to plus money here and I don't think its indicative of what will see from Garoppolo moving forward.
Jameis Winston is in a contract year. Will that make him mature and stop throwing picks? I'm not so sure. He can keep licking his figures, but this time, it won't taste like a "W". For Tampa Bay, the Bucs really do stop here. Give me the 49ers to pull off the road upset.
2 Units: SF +1 (DraftKings NJ) WON
BONUS PLAY: SEA -9 / PHI -8.5 (6 point teaser)
Washington and Cinncinati are poised to be two of the worst teams in the league. The Bengals are down several linemen (cluster injuries) and their star receiver in AJ Green. The Redskins have three backup quarterbacks on the roster and no starter.
In the Seahawks and the Eagles, you get two NFC powerhouses that have a distinct home-field advantage. It is extremely difficult to play in these environment, particularly if your offensive line is porous and your projected starter is Case Keenum. Taking both as a teaser gets us to and through the key number of -3.
3 Units: SEA -3 / PHI -2.5 (-130) LOST