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
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.
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
Saints (+3) over Texans
Steelers (+5) over Seahawks
Broncos (+3) over Patriots
This game is six days away but I think the best line is available now if you want the underdog. The Seahawks are currently a five-point home favorite against the Steelers, who are coming off a bye week. I think the line is too big and the Steelers are equal to the Seahawks on a neutral field.
The reason why I’m taking this game early is because of the injury status of Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. If he is announced out for this game, the line will drop whether it’s justified or not. Thomas Rawls showed he is a capable backup in Week 11 but the public will like the Steelers more with a star running back out. Don’t wait on this one and take Pittsburgh.
Pick: Steelers (+5) over Seahawks
Falcons (-7) over Buccaneers
Steelers (pick ’em) over Bengals
Giants (+3.5) over Saints
Cowboys (+6) over Seahawks
Broncos (+3) over Packers
Have two picks in the NFL this week:
Seahawks (+3) over Bengals
Cardinals (-2.5) over Lions
This season’s Super Bowl reminds me of the same situation last year. The Seahawks needed good fortune to sneak out a home win the NFC Championship against San Francisco. This year they were on the right result of a Packers collapse but Seattle was unimpressive for 55 minutes. Last year the Broncos dominated the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Two weeks ago New England defeated Indianapolis in even more convincing fashion.
I remember the day after Seattle and Denver advanced, I strongly leaned towards taking the Broncos in the Super Bowl. I overreacted to what I saw from one weekend of games and my initial thoughts favored Denver. The point spread for this Super Bowl also reacted to what happened in Championship Weekend. If I remember correctly, Denver went from about a field goal underdog to a field goal favorite in the days following their AFC Championship win. The more I thought about it the more I started to like the Seahawks because they were the better defense and there was line value. I ended up picking Seattle and got that game right even though I didn’t predict a blowout.
This year I had the same thoughts after the Patriots and Seahawks advanced. I was leaning towards the Patriots especially if they were going to be a three-point underdog, which was the line before Championship Weekend. Just like in 2014 the line moved in the Patriots favor and now they are the favorites. When the line moved so much I changed by opinion and started to heavily favor Seattle. I’m going to pick Seattle for this game and here is what I think will happen in the game: