Coach Nolan’s Week 1 NFL Bets

Coach Nolan gives his NFL bets of the week!

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for TOJ. But since I’ve taken the season off from Coaching High School Football, I wanted to jump back in to quench my football thirst. I figured I’d branch out from Offensive Line-specific content and talk about everyone’s second favorite football topic: Gambling.
Bet the Jets?

Moneyline: NYJ: (+160) | CAR: (-190)

Spread: NYJ: +4 (-110) | CAR: -4 (-110)

Total: 44.5

Game Preview
The Sam Darnold revenge game. Is it really though? He doesn’t seem to hold much animosity towards the Jets. Either way, the matchup of the Jets QB of the Future vs. the former QB of the Future is an intriguing one. It will be interesting to see how Darnold plays now that he’s out from under Adam Gase. He will have more weapons than he ever had in New York, especially with Christian McCaffrey back after injury. But his Offensive Line is one of the worst in the league and starting RG John Miller is out with COVID. The Jets have a clear advantage in the trenches. They should make it very difficult for CMC to run and should take advantage and get after Darnold. The key will be if the Jets can rally and tackle CMC, DJ Moore, and company in the short passing game and stay disciplined enough to keep the RPO game in check.

There will be plenty of opportunities for the Jets on offense, but the Panthers defense is somewhat of an underrated unit and only got better this offseason adding Haason Reddick and Jaycee Horn. The Jets tackles will need to hold off Brian Burns and Reddick to give Wilson time to utilize that big arm. An intriguing matchup will be the battle of rookies with Wilson throwing the ball at CB Jaycee Horn. The key to the Jets’ offense will be running the football. I’m very interested to see the Jets stretch run game behind this offensive line. If they can get the stretch run game going with this RB committee, there will be big play opportunities off play action.

Line Movement and Trends
This line opened up with the Panthers as -5.5 favorites and has since been bet down to -4. After a promising preseason preview of Zack Wilson, it would appear sharp bettors are running to the betting window to take the Jets. The Jets are only getting 30% of the bets currently, but the line has come down, suggesting the Jets are seeing higher dollar value bets.
The total opened at 43.5. You can get 44 or 44.5 at most books now. I don’t see much value in the total and will lay off.

The Pick
Jets +4 (1 unit)
I wish I jumped on that +5.5 line. I’d still be willing to place a small wager on Jets +4. I’d lay off if the line dips any lower. I could legitimately see this being a high scoring game or a low scoring game. So I’ll lay off the total, but I think the Jets keep it close regardless. These teams are more evenly matched then the public thinks and I have a lot of faith in Robert Salah to have the Jets ready to play.

Best Bets from Around the League
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at New York Giants (1 unit)
On paper this feels like a no brainer. Broncos a lot more talented. Bridgewater is a cover machine. I’m a little nervous about this being a stinky line, feels like it should be higher. But going to ride with it.

Washington Football Team (-1) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1 unit)
I actually bet this back in August at +1.5. It felt like Vegas had the wrong favorite with the Chargers making the cross country trip for the early game. I’m still willing to bet it at -1. Although Jets fans might not be as high as I am on the WFT with Fitzmagic at the helm.

San Francisco 49ers (-8.5) @ Detroit Lions (2 units)
49ers have one of the best rosters in the league and the Lions have one of the worst. Sometimes it’s that simple. I think Shanahan will be energized by the Trey Lance packages he has cooked up and Garoppolo has a lot to prove. Niners roll.

Cincinnati Bengals (+3) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1 unit)
This is a fade the public play. Everyone will be betting the Vikings (69% as of this column) and the line has gone the other way. And Vegas notoriously undervalues bad teams in week 1. Teams that won 6 games or fewer the previous season cover at a 60% rate in Week 1.

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (Under 43.5) (1 unit)
Think both QBs will have some difficulty against very good defenses. I’m expecting a close, low-scoring game.

Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams (Under 47) (1.5 units)
The Rams have the best defense in the NFL and Andy Dalton stinks. I don’t trust Matt Nagy to resurrect the Red Rifle. These teams have played 3 times in last 3 season and each game hit the under by a big margin.

Teaser of the Week
2 Team 6 Pointer – 49ers -2.5, Rams -1.5 (2 units)