Four Teams I’m Looking to Bet On Early in the NFL Season

After picking six teams I’m looking to bet against, I’ll be more positive in this article and recommend teams I’m looking to bet on. I’ll look to back these teams in individual games rather than win totals in most cases. There’s a risk betting over a team’s win total because an injury can impact everything about a team’s success. Also these win totals have been out for months so there isn’t much value left in August. Instead of waiting four months to learn the result of your bet, I prefer betting on the teams I like early in the season.

I have four teams I like but want to mention two before diving in. The Rams and Chargers are two teams I like a lot but so do a lot of people. The Rams win total is 10 and they are in a loaded NFC. It’s asking a lot of them to win 11 games. Instead of going over their win total, I tweeted that I bet them to win the NFC West at -135 because I’m down on the 49ers and Seahawks, who are the other two teams that could realistically win the division.

The Chargers win total is at 9.5 but they sit at +155 to win the AFC West. I wrote about betting against the Chiefs and Raiders so I’m considering a division bet on the Chargers. I’m interested in taking them -3 in Week 1 against the Chiefs too. I’ll tweet out whatever I end up doing with the Chargers.

Falcons- It would’ve been a very predictable outcome if the 2017 Falcons didn’t meet expectations after one of the worst Super Bowl losses in NFL history. Their play was up and down but they ended up going over a win total of 9.5 with a victory in Week 17. They were able to make the playoffs, upset the Rams and had a great chance of beating the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles in Philadelphia. I think the Falcons’ offense will see positive regression in offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s second season in charge. I expect a strong year from the defense as Dan Quinn continues to develop players that fit his system. A win total at 9 seems a touch low and it’s tempting to take the Falcons in a Week 1 revenge game against the Eagles on the first Thursday night of the season.

Verdict: There are several ways to bet on the Falcons this season so I’m going to look to find spots early in the season to back them.  Continue reading

Six Teams I’m Looking to Bet Against Early in the NFL Season

After months of research and reading, I’m ready to reveal some of my NFL thoughts for the 2018 season. I’ll start with teams I’m looking to bet against early in the season. That can include under the season win total, bets against teams in individual regular season games or both. I also looked closely at the yes/no props to make the playoffs that are posted for each team, which is something new for me this season.

Before starting, I have a few things to say about the Buffalo Bills. I bet Bills under 6.5 wins in early July. The most popular win total bet I saw people talk about earlier this summer was Bills under 7 or 6.5 wins. Then LeSean McCoy was involved in domestic violence allegations and the win total went down to 6. I still think they go under 6 but understand if people want to stay away now that some of the value has been extracted. Everything lines up for the Bills to be an under team this season. They made the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. They traded quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and signed A.J. McCarron and drafted Josh Allen. I’m not sold on McCarron as a NFL starter and Allen had accuracy concerns in college. The offensive weapons in Buffalo are limited and the defense benefitted from turnover luck last season. The Bills have road games against the Ravens, Vikings and Packers in September with a Week 2 home opener against the Chargers in between. If the Bills have a poor record to start the season, I’m guessing they’ll start Allen and become an even worse team. I can see the Bills finishing with the worst record in the NFL but they’re already being priced as one of the bottom teams in the league.

Jaguars- When looking to identify teams that I want to bet against, I tend to look at teams who greatly exceeded expectations the previous year. The Jacksonville Jaguars had a win total of 6.5 after winning three games in 2016. They won 10 games last season and now their win total has increased by 2.5 games to 9. Under 9 will be a bet for me. Jacksonville’s defense is an amazing unit but I don’t believe in Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette’s numbers were inflated by breaking off a few long runs. The Jaguars benefitted from Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck not starting against them in both games, and Texans and Colts will be a lot better than they were last season. I’m undecided if I want to bet against the Jaguars in Week 1, where they are a 3.5-point favorite at the New York Giants, but I’ll be looking to fade them in other spots early in the season.

Verdict: Jaguars under 9 is a strong bet and also betting against them in several early season games. Continue reading

NFL Picks: Week 13 Picks, Leans and Preview

Picks

Falcons -3 vs Vikings: I have these teams even in my power ratings so I think the spread is right. I side with the Falcons though who really need this game to maintain their position in the playoff race and stay within striking distance of the Saints for the NFC South. The Vikings put a stranglehold on the NFC North with their win on Thanksgiving Day so this isn’t as important of a game for Minnesota. My only concerns are that the Vikings had more rest and time to prepare for this game, and the Falcons host the Saints on Thursday in Week 14. If you agree with the Falcons, I would wait a little bit to see if this goes down to -2.5 or you could just take the moneyline at around -145.

Seahawks +6 vs Eagles: It’s scary to step in front of the Eagles but this line is too inflated. If this game was on a neutral field, I think that the line would be around six. This game is in Seattle and they have one of the best home field advantages despite their team being down. The game is also at night so the crowd should be even louder. Along with the line value, I like the Seahawks as an underdog in a game they need to win.

Leans

Lions +3 vs Ravens: I think the line is right but the Lions have an edge with 10 days to prepare for this game and the Ravens coming off a Monday night game. Baltimore’s offense won’t be able to expose Detroit’s struggling defense and Matthew Stafford is much better than most of the quarterbacks the Ravens have faced. Continue reading

NFL Picks: Week 8 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

In the audio below I reviewed Week 7 and looked ahead to five games in Week 8 (Falcons-Jets, Panthers-Buccaneers, Cowboys-Redskins, Raiders-Bills and Texans-Seahawks).

Already picked Falcons -3.5 this week and will tweet out any other additional plays.

 

Team After Week 6 After Week 7
Patriots 11 11.5
Steelers 11 11.5
Chiefs 11 11
Eagles 10.5 11
Seahawks 10 10.5
Cowboys 9 9.5
Flacons 9.5 9
Vikings 8.5 9
Saints 8.5 9
Panthers 9 8.5
Redskins 8.5 8
Rams 7 8
Broncos 8 7.5
Texans 7.5 7.5
Chargers 7 7.5
Titans 8 7
Bengals 8 7
Raiders 7 7
Bills 7 7
Jaguars 6 6.5
Buccaneers 6 6
Lions 6 6
Ravens 6 5
Dolphins 5 5
Giants 5 4
Bears 3.5 4
Cardinals 5.5 3
Packers 4 3
49ers 3.5 2.5
Jets 2.5 2.5
Colts 1 0
Browns -2 -1
Game Look ahead line Tuesday line My line
Dolphins at Ravens Ravens -4.5 Ravens -3 Ravens -2.5
Vikings vs Browns (London) Vikings -7.5 Vikings -10 Vikings -10
Bears at Saints Saints -8.5 Saints -9 Saints -7.5
Falcons at Jets Falcons -7 Falcons -3.5 Falcons -5
Panthers at Buccaneers No line Buccaneers -2 Panthers -0.5
49ers at Eagles Eagles -10.5 Eagles -13 Eagles -11.5
Raiders at Bills Bills -2.5 Bills -2.5 Bills -2.5
Colts at Bengals No line Bengals -10 Bengals -9.5
Chargers at Patriots Patriots -7 Patriots -7.5 Patriots -7.5
Texans at Seahawks Seahawks -6.5 Seahawks -5 Seahawks -6.5
Cowboys at Redskins Redskins -1 Cowboys -2.5 Redskins -1.5
Steelers at Lions Steelers -3 Steelers -3 Steelers -3
Broncos at Chiefs Chiefs -6.5 Chiefs -7.5 Chiefs -6.5

NFL Picks: Week 5 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

Here are the two charts for this week. I made a few aggressive changes to my numbers since it’s the quarter mark of the season. Here are my early handicapping notes from Tuesday.

Note: My numbers and point spread involving the Titans, Raiders and Vikings is based on Mariota, Carr and Bradford starting. Mariota and Bradford are questionable for this week. Carr has been already ruled out for the Raiders but still don’t know how much of a downgrade he is to EJ Manuel.

After Week 3 After Week 4
Patriots 13 11.5
Steelers 11 11.5
Chiefs 11.5 11
Falcons 11.5 10.5
Packers 10.5 10.5
Seahawks 9.5 10
Cowboys 10.5 9.5
Eagles 9 9.5
Redskins 8.5 9
Broncos 8 9
Panthers 7.5 9
Vikings 10 8.5
Titans 9.5 8.5
Raiders 8.5 8
Bengals 7.5 8
Saints 7.5 8
Texans 6.5 8
Lions 7.5 7.5
Giants 7.5 7.5
Buccaneers 7 7
Bills 5.5 7
Ravens 8 6.5
Rams 5 6.5
Chargers 6.5 6
Jaguars 6 5.5
Cardinals 5.5 5
Dolphins 5.5 4.5
Bears 4.5 3.5
49ers 2.5 3
Jets 0 1
Colts 1 0.5
Browns 1 -1
Game Lookahead Line Wednesday Line My Line
Patriots at Buccaneers Patriots -4.5 Patriots -5 Patriots -2.5
Chargers at Giants Giants -3 Giants -3 Giants -4
Bills at Bengals Bengals -3 Bengals -3 Bengals -3.5
Jets at Browns Browns -4 Jets -1 Browns -0.5
Jaguars at Steelers Steelers -7.5 Steelers -8 Steelers -8.5
Titans at Dolphins Titans -2.5 No Line Titans -2.5
49ers at Colts Colts -2.5 Colts -1 Pick ’em
Cardinals at Eagles Eagles -5.5 Eagles -6.5 Eagles -7
Panthers at Lions Lions -3 Lions -2.5 Lions -1
Seahawks at Rams Seahawks -3 Rams -1 Seahawks -2
Ravens at Raiders Raiders -5 Raiders -2.5 Raiders -4
Packers at Cowboys Cowboys -3 Cowboys -2 Cowboys -1
Chiefs at Texans Chiefs -3 Pick ’em Chiefs -0.5
Vikings at Bears No Line No Line Vikings -3

Here are a few more notes about teams I reassessed the most:

Vikings- The mindset nowadays is running backs are easily replaceable and shouldn’t impact the point spreads but I think the Dalvin Cook injury could really hamper the Vikings offense until Sam Bradford is fully healthy. Cook was the type of back that opened up the passing game for Minnesota. For now I’m downgrading the Vikings an extra point with the loss of Cook for the season.

Broncos- In my season win total article, I mentioned that the Broncos defense would miss Wade Phillips. The Denver defense took a step back in 2016 when it came to their run defense. However, the unit appears to be back to their 2015 form:

I had the Broncos too low in my power ratings because I assumed the defense would be just above average and the offense would struggle. I still think there are some questions with the offense but they aren’t worse than the 2015 version of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler. Another point with the Broncos and Wade Phillips is the Rams defense is really struggling statistically this season so maybe the Broncos players deserve more credit for their success than their former assistant coach.

Texans– I was feeling good about my Texans under 8.5 wins pick after their Week 1 disaster against the Jaguars. I downgraded them after that performance but have to reconsider the team totally with Deshaun Watson under center. His mobility can hide the deficiencies in their offense line and it’s looks bad on the head coach that he wasn’t starting at the beginning of the season. The Patriots and Titans are bad defenses so I’m not going to upgrade Houston too much but I gave them more of a bump than I give most teams after a big win.

Chargers– I’ve slowly downgraded the Chargers after every loss this season. I truly thought they were an above average team that could compete in the AFC West. I trust the talent they have but the conservative coaching decisions and lack of a home field advantage has me totally off the Chargers for their last 12 games of the season.

Rams– I talked about the Rams before the season and to cover in Week 4 but don’t think I had them adjusted high enough in my ratings before last week. I had them just about the same level as the Bears and only slightly higher than the 49ers. I made a more drastic adjustment this week.

NFL Picks: Week 5 Early Thoughts

Wanted to share my thoughts on a handful of NFL games for Week 5 before the lines move too much. Last week I wrote about five games, and the four contests that kicked off on Sunday had line movement throughout the week.

Patriots -5 vs Buccaneers

Surprised the line is this high.The Patriots were -4.5 on the look ahead line and their defense continued to struggle in a Week 4 loss to the Panthers. The Buccaneers won but didn’t cover against the Giants and get a boost this week as running back Doug Martin is available to return. Maybe the line is higher because of New England’s history of bouncing back after a straight up loss. It’s a Thursday night game so I’ll probably pass on picking this one but I would be very hesitant to back the Patriots at a number like this on the road.

Bills vs Bengals -3

At a field goal or lower, I’ll probably be backing the Bengals here. Don’t let the 1-3 record for Cincinnati fool you because they are a new team since Bill Lazor has taken over as offensive coordinator. I’ve been impressed with the Bills this season but can see a letdown after the beat the Falcons in Week 4. The Bengals are a better team and I see them showing up after disappointing their home fans in the first two weeks.

Jets vs Browns -1

The look ahead line here was Browns -4 and the Week 4 results shifted that line down. It seemed like the Browns were getting some respect in the betting market since their close loss in the opener to the Steelers. Cleveland was a road favorite to the Indianapolis Colts and failed to win in that spot. The Jets are coming off two straight wins at home and might not be the worst team in the league. In my personal ratings, I have Cleveland as the worst team in the NFL but this could be a time to buy low on the Browns if this line continues to gravitate to a pick ’em. The Browns know this is a game they should win at home and this is a game Hue Jackson needs.

Titans vs Dolphins

No line for this game because of the Marcus Mariota injury. I will say that I expect that Titans to bounce back after an blowout loss to the Texans. Whether it’s Mariota or Matt Cassel under center, I expect the Titans to rely on the running game. The Dolphins are playing their first home game of the season and played in London in Week 4. Both the Jaguars and Ravens lost and failed to cover a week after playing in London so it’s either Titans or pass in this situation.

49ers vs Colts -1.5

Really want to fade both these teams this week. The 49ers are coming off a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the Cardinals and have failed to score a touchdown in three of their four games. The Colts are coming off a loss in Seattle and I usually don’t want to pick a team a week after playing a physical Seahawks team.

Panthers vs Lions -3

The Lions have been awesome as an underdog this year but now they are in the favorite role for the first time this season. Their early-season wins against the Cardinals and Giants don’t look as impressive as they did a few weeks ago. They probably were robbed of a win against the Falcons but they were also dominated in the box score that game. This past week, they played Case Keenum and were aided when Dalvin Cook went down with an injury. Basically I’m trying to say the Lions are overvalued here and don’t be surprised if this line goes lower and in the Panthers favor before kickoff.

Seahawks vs Rams -1.5

Looks like this point spread is the biggest adjustment from the look ahead line. The Seahawks were a -3 favorite before Week 4 and now the Rams are a short favorite. The Rams were a really popular underdog as their line against the Cowboys moved in Los Angeles’ favor all week. They came through for bettors by winning straight up. Seattle trailed at home in primetime to the lowly Indianapolis Colts but finished strong in the second half. I’ll be interested in seeing where this line goes but I think this is an opportunity to bet on the Seahawks as underdogs. Seattle lost in Los Angeles last season so they won’t overlook this opponent.

Packers vs Cowboys -2

I mentioned last week that the Cowboys might be looking ahead to this game and they ended up squandering a lead against the Rams before losing in Week 4. The Packers came through against the Bears but their injury list increased, including knocks to Ty Montgomery and Davante Adams. Green Bay also has injuries all over the offensive line so this is one of the games to pay close attention to information all week. The Cowboys were 5.5-point favorites last year in the playoffs against the Packers so you can argue that there’s line value here in Dallas. Anything under a field goal has me interested in the Cowboys and I’ll like Dallas a lot more based on the Green Bay injuries. 

Chiefs -1.5 vs Texans

The Texans beat the Titans 57-14 this past weekend and whenever a team wins by that kind of margin, I’ll look to pick against them the next game. The Chiefs are coming off a close Monday night game, with an all-time backdoor cover, but they are the better team and have a huge advantage at head coach. This is another revenge opportunity from last year as Kansas City let a game slip away against a Houston team led by Brock Osweiler.

The leans for this week are on the Bengals, Browns, Panthers, Seahawks, Cowboys and Chiefs. Nothing strong enough to make a pick but I’ll tweet out when I feel confident enough.

 

NFL Picks: Week 4 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

Here is an explanation of how I make my own spread using the power ratings.

I wrote about five games during Week 4, including a pick in the Thursday night contest.

Here are the two charts for this week:

Team After Week 2 After Week 3
Patriots 15.5 13
Falcons 11 11.5
Chiefs 11 11.5
Steelers 12 11
Packers 11 10.5
Cowboys 10.5 10.5
Vikings 10 10
Seahawks 11 9.5
Titans 9 9.5
Eagles 9.5 9
Raiders 9.5 8.5
Redskins 7.5 8.5
Ravens 9.5 8
Broncos 8 8
Panthers 9.5 7.5
Lions 7.5 7.5
Bengals 7 7.5
Giants 7 7.5
Saints 7 7.5
Buccaneers 8 7
Chargers 7 6.5
Texans 5.5 6.5
Jaguars 5 6
Dolphins 6.5 5.5
Cardinals 6 5.5
Bills 5 5.5
Rams 4 5
Bears 4 4.5
49ers 2 2.5
Colts 0.5 1
Browns 1 0
Jets -1 0
Game Lookahead Line Wednesday Line My Line
Bears at Packers Packers -11.5 Packers -7 Packers -9.5
Saints vs Dolphins (London) Dolphins -1 Saints -3 Saints -2
Panthers at Patriots Patriots -9 Patriots -9 Patriots -9
Rams at Cowboys Cowboys -8.5 Cowboys -6 Cowboys -7.5
Lions at Vikings No Line No Line Vikings -5.5
Titans at Texans Titans -2.5 Titans -2 Titans -0.5
Jaguars at Jets Jaguars -4.5 Jaguars -3 Jaguars -4.5
Bengals at Browns Bengals -1.5 Bengals -3 Bengals -5
Steelers at Ravens Pick Steelers -3 Steelers -0.5
Bills at Falcons Falcons -9 Falcons -7.5 Falcons -8.5
Giants at Buccaneers Buccaneers -6 Buccaneers -3 Buccaneers -1.5
Eagles at Chargers Eagles -1 Chargers -1 Eagles -1.5
49ers at Cardinals Cardinals -7 Cardinals -7 Cardinals -5.5
Raiders at Broncos Broncos -1.5 Broncos -2.5 Broncos -2.5
Colts at Seahawks Seahawks -14.5 Seahawks -13 Seahawks -13
Redskins at Chiefs Chiefs -8.5 Chiefs -7 Chiefs -6