Week 1 of the NFL season is great for many reasons. Not only do you get to cheer on your favorite team and live or die with them for four months, but you get to enjoy everything else that comes with it. You wear your jersey of your favorite player or your lucky t-shirt, you eat buffalo wings and drink a few (dozen) beers with your friends while you watch games, you play fantasy football and talk trash, and of course, you get to bet on games! And that’s what this space right here is going to be about every week leading up to the games: Gambling on games and picking winners (hopefully).
Last year, I was around .500 for the entire season before catching absolute fire in the playoffs. As you may recall (but probably don’t), in the playoffs I hit everything from the winners of the games, to over/unders, to teasers, to prop bets, and everything in between. It was glorious. This year, I’m aiming to do better in the regular season, and pick 4 or 5 best bets each week. Those will be the games I’ll be putting money on myself, so I’ll be sure to make a note of those games.
Also, this year I’m going to be doing something a little different. In addition to my picks on all the games, I’m going to select one shitty national NFL writer who picks games each week with scores and I’m going to list their picks as well. I’ll simply take the score they provided for each game, measure it up to the spread on the game, and post who they have covering the line. One of my favorite ways to bet on games is find the biggest idiot you know, see what they think, and do the opposite, so I’ll pick a different idiot each week and put their picks up here for reference. Simple. This week’s Loser of the Week is Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, who is absolutely awful. He posted his picks on his site with scores, but I’m not going to link to it because I value everyone who is reading this and don’t want your brains to hurt reading his nonsense. Let’s get to it!
Packers +6 @ Seattle – Whoops! Ok so not the best way to start the season, and to make matters even worse, Florio had Seattle by 7. Damn it.
Falcons +3 vs. Saints – Here’s a classic case of “If it looks too easy, it probably is” at play. The Saints are good and the Falcons look like they’re going to be terrible. The Saints have a great offense and the Falcons couldn’t stop a nose bleed. And it’s only 3 points? Yeah, no thanks. I’m going the other way and taking the Falcons and the points at home. Florio pick: Saints -3
Rams -3 vs Vikings – The loss of Sam Bradford will surely hurt in the long-run, but for at least one week – at home – Shaun Hill will be more than capable. He’s got a solid running game and a decent group of WR’s, so the only thing holding him back is Brian Schottenheimer, who is miraculously still employed in the NFL. It will probably be close, but I think the Rams win and cover. Florio pick: Vikings +3 (and win outright)
Browns +7 @ Steelers – While all eyes will be on the Browns backup quarterback in this game, they should really should be on the Browns defense which looks like it could be awesome. Sure, Mike Pettine is a crybaby rat who stabbed Rex Ryan in the back and leaked stories for years to the New York media, but he’s a damn fine defensive coach. He worked wonders with the Bills last year and he has even more talent to work with in Cleveland. They may not win, but this game will come down to the wire. Florio pick: Steelers -7
Jaguars +11 @ Eagles – I know Blake Bortles was all the rage this preseason, but he won’t have anything to do with this game. Chad Henne is getting the start, and the Jaguars shockingly don’t seem like they’ll be too bad this year. I think Marqise Lee is going to be terrific, and they have a very good defense. The Eagles are going to score their points, of course, but their defense is still suspect. They’ll win, but the Jags are covering this number. Unfortunately, Florio agrees. Florio pick: Jaguars +11
Jets -5.5 vs. Raiders – While I don’t think the Jets are going to totally blow the Raiders out, they should win by over 10 points, I think. This game comes down to Rex Ryan and a stud defensive line against a rookie QB behind a terrible offensive line. Sure, Carr looked good in the preseason but it’s a whole new ballgame when the defenses stop being vanilla and gameplan to come after you. Things could get ugly for young Mr. Carr. Florio pick: Jets -5.5
Bonus pick: Jets/Raiders over 40. The Jets are going to approach 30 points in this game, due to the defense putting the offense in great position all day. Also, Florio has the total at 27, which is a sure sign that this will be higher scoring than many think.
Ravens -1 vs. Bengals – I think this will be a big bounce-back season for the Ravens, and the addition of Gary Kubiak will help a lot, especially when it comes to Torrey Smith’s fantasy production. Andy Dalton is Andy Dalton and I expect him to struggle this week. Not really much more to say about this game, and it’s probably one of the games I’m least confident in, but whatever. Florio pick: Ravens -1
Bills +7 @ Bears – I know, I know. EJ Manuel absolutely sucks and Doug Marrone is basically a big joke. While those things are certainly true, for some reason I think the Bills are going to keep this game close and it will come down to the wire. Everyone is just a little too high on Chicago and just a little too down on the Bills this week. I like this one a lot. Especially since… Florio pick: Bears -7 (has them winning by 15)
Texans -3 vs. Redskins – I think Texans are going to be much-improved this year and Bill O’Brien will have the offense clicking. Washington, on the other hand, uhh… they stink. Florio pick: Texans -3
Titans +3 @ Chiefs – Whoa! The Chiefs were good last year and the Titans stink! The Chiefs have a great home-field advantage! And it’s only 3 points! Easy money, right?! NOPE! I’m rolling with the Titans here, and I’m actually pretty confident about it. I like this one a lot. Florio pick: Chiefs -3
Dolphins +4 vs. Patriots – The Pats always struggle in Miami. And while I do think the Dolphins are terrible, this game has all the makings of a last second Gostkowski field goal followed by a week of Dolphins fans foolishly thinking taking the Pats down to the wire means they’re headed for a strong season. That will be followed up by me laughing at all those stupid fans and media members spewing that crap, just so you know. Florio pick: Patriots -4
Bucs -2.5 vs. Panthers – Cam Newton is basically the entire Panthers offense, and there are whispers he might not even play this week. Even if he does, he will be less than 100% and the Bucs defense has potential to be really good. I’m laying the 2.5 here. Unfortunately, so is Florio. Florio pick: Bucs -2.5
49ers -4.5 @ Cowboys – I know, this one seems too obvious, and I generally avoid teams like that at all costs. However, I also have a strict rule about not betting on teams that don’t have a competent NFL defense, and the Cowboys fall into that category. I’ll take the 49ers here, even though I think they’re due for a drop off this year. Florio pick: Cowboys +4.5
Broncos -9 vs. Colts – Peyton and the Broncos owe one to Luck and the Colts after what happened last year in Indy. Also, the Colts appear to have forgotten to get Luck any offensive linemen or to get rid of Trent Richardson. This could be a rout. Florio pick: Broncos -9
Giants +5.5 @ Lions – The Giants have been absolutely atrocious in the preseason and this pick could make me look like a huge fool come Tuesday morning, but I’m taking the points and wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants win outright. Florio pick: Lions -5.5
Cardinals -3 vs. Chargers – I’m seeing too much Chargers hype for some reason. Everyone does know they’re still the Chargers right? Florio pick: Chargers +3
Best Bets: Jets -5.5, Bills +7, Titans +3, Falcons +3, Jets over 40
Teaser of the Week: 3 team/10 point – Jets +4.5, Eagles -1, Broncos +1
Also, if you care about such things, check me out on Twitter, I’ll post my official bets Sunday morning. Hopefully we can win some money together this year. Feel free to post your bets of the week in the comments as well. Good luck!