Welcome to the first edition of my new weekly publication! For these articles, I will provide analysis on three bets that I feel have the best chance at getting you a nice payday. Whether it be due to matchups, injuries, or other factors, these are the three bets I feel the most confident in placing.
I will also make predictions on the rest of the week’s spreads. To keep myself accountable, I’ll be keeping track of my wins and losses on the three bets I provide analysis on. The rest of the predictions will be more “gut-feel,” and as such, I will not be keeping track. You should certainly feel free to use them to help you place your wagers!
Let’s get started.
Ravens (-7) at Dolphins
Do I need to write much on this one?
Miami is the worst team in the NFL, and it’s not even close. While it is true that they possess some great, young talent on the defensive side of the ball, they just traded their arguably two best offensive players to the Houston Texans for a haul of draft picks. Following that trade, their starting offensive line doesn’t have a single player with a PFF Grade above a 56, yuck! Meanwhile, their highest-rated player is a notoriously carefree gunslinger who unfortunately faces a team that allowed the fewest yards per game to opponents in 2018. The team is very clearly forfeiting the 2019 season, and no amount of “Fitzmagic” can change that.
The Ravens, on the other hand, are trending in the exact opposite direction. They seem fully committed to a rushing attack that ranked second in the NFL last year. Meanwhile, the Dolphins run defense ranked second as well in yards allowed per game to opponents. The Ravens have re-tooled their offensive scheme to better suit Lamar Jackson’s strengths and drafted new weapons to accelerate his development. The Ravens may have lost some talent on the defensive side of the ball, but still, enter the year with Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked secondary.
I’m not intimidated by the game being in Miami or the touchdown spread. Take Baltimore (-7) with confidence.
Falcons (+4) at Vikings
A battle between my two bets to win their respective divisions. I’ve written at length about my love for the Falcons in the linked article. To briefly summarize, I think they are going to be unstoppable this year. The Falcons only added more talent to last year’s sixth-ranked offense and return three key defensive pieces from injury in Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Ricardo Allen. Remember, this was a defense that was ravaged by injuries minutes into the 2018 season. The Falcons allowed the ninth fewest yards in 2017 and were poised to build off of that year before their disastrous start. This should be a complete team that can compete with anyone in the NFL.
That’s not to say the Vikings are a bad team by any stretch. They certainly have the talent and coaching staff to make waves in the NFC North. But the Falcons are criminally undervalued right now, and this may be one of the few chances this year to grab them as an underdog. With the extra half-point, I think the Falcons at +3.5 represent great week one odds. If you’re feeling bold, I would even advocate for taking the Falcons to win straight up at +150.
Chiefs (-3.5) at Jaguars
For my final pick, I’m siding with the Kansas City Chiefs against an underrated, but still flawed, Jacksonville squad.
Jacksonville deserves much more respect than they have gotten in recent months. Their defense was still a top-five unit last year, and they only got better by drafting PFF’s highest-rated edge rusher out of Kentucky. They were held back by an atrocious offense that averaged only 302 yards per game, but much of that concern has been alleviated due to the addition of Philadelphia hero Nick Foles. However, those additions alone are not enough to overcome the buzz saw they face in Week One.
The 2018 Chiefs’ offense was truly spectacular. Last year’s Chiefs were first in yardage, scoring, and points per game and top-three in numerous other categories. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, all indications point towards the Chiefs returning to that form. They return all of their starters save for Chris Conley, who was replaced with a much more dynamic athlete. Perhaps more importantly, the Chiefs addressed their primary weakness and improved their much-maligned defense through key acquisitions Tyrann Mathieu and Darron Lee. With an improved defense and the same high-octane offense we all came to know and love, the Chiefs should once again be favored to beat almost any team in the NFL.
Though I believe this will be a hard-fought game, I expect the Chiefs defense to do just enough to allow their offense to pull away late and easily cover the 3.5 point spread.
Packers at Bears (-3)
Redskins at Eagles (-9.5)
Bills (+3) at Jets
Titans at Browns (-5.5)
Rams (-3) at Panthers
Bengals at Seahawks (-9)
Colts (+6.5) at Chargers
49’ers (PK) at Buccaneers
Giants at Cowboys (-7)
Lions (-2.5) at Cardinals
Steelers at Patriots (-5.5)
Texas (+7) at Saints
Broncos at Raiders (PK)