I’ve taken the season off from coaching and I need to find a way to get the competitive juices flowing. No better way to get some skin in the game than throwing some bets down. I’ll be posting my weekly best bets on TOJ. I generally employ a mix of football analysis and line movement analysis to handicap games. See my midweek preview of the betting lines here and my Week 1 picks here.
My favorite comedian, Norm MacDonald, passed away this week. It has been a rough week of listening to tributes and going down the Norm YouTube rabbit hole, a place I’ve spent a lot of time whenever I’m bored. Norm was a notorious degenerate gambler. In honor of him, let us win a lot of money this week. And, if not, maybe we give it up and go cold turkey by throwing all of our money in the Atlantic Ocean from the Atlantic City Boardwalk as Norm once famously did.
Week 1 Results: 3-4 (43%, -2.77 units)
Teaser of the Week: 1-0 (100%, 1.82 units)
Overall: 4-4 (50%, -0.95 units)
Week 1 Recap
All in all, not the start I was looking for in this column. Luckily, I was bailed out by some props, teasers, and some last-minute Sunday morning plays to come out slightly on the plus side for the Week. As this column evolves, I will post some props and hopefully update Sunday morning if there are any last-minute plays I like.
Had a couple of bad beats. As I stated last week, I wish I got the +5.5 line on the Jets. We would have somehow covered despite a disappointing performance. Fitzmagic went down last week and took the loss at home to the Chargers. I was able to get the 49ers -7 early last week to avoid the back door cover, but in my column, I said to still take them at -8.5 and we, therefore, have to take the L. The lesson here is if you like a line early in the week, jump on it before it moves.
The other key this week is to not overreact to what we saw in a 1-game sample size in Week 1.
Bet the Jets?
Moneyline: NYJ: (+198) | NE: (-240)
Spread: NYJ: +6 (-110) | NE: -6 (-110)
In what should be the 1st of many battles between these rookie QBs, both teams try to bounce back and get their first win of the season. The Patriots lost a close one to the Miami Dolphins on the road after Damien Harris fumbled away a potential game-winning drive. The Jets started off slow, but Zach Wilson seemed to get into a rhythm in the 2nd half. The offensive line is a huge concern coming out of week 1. They struggled to protect Wilson, couldn’t get the run game going, and now Mekhi Becton is out with a sprained MCL.
Line Movement and Trends
This line opened up with the Patriots as -4 favorites and has since been bet up to -6. As I said in my Week 2 preview, I thought this line could get up to the -6 to -7 range. After the Jets Week 1 performance and the loss of Mekhi Becton, the heavy bets have been coming in on the Patriots. As of Thursday, 85% of bets were coming in on the Patriots’ side.
The total opened at 42.5 and is now sitting at 42 (41.5 at some books). The under has hit in 8 of the last 9 games for the Patriots.
Under 42 (1 unit)
If I had to take a side, I’d lean towards taking the Patriots. That being said, I’m going to lay off the side. It’s too many points for me and it feels like everyone will be on the Patriots’ side. I am, however, going to take the under. I know this is the 2nd lowest total of the week. But the Patriots have hit the under often, especially on the road. I don’t always follow trends, but the efficient, methodical style of offense the Pats want to play lends itself to moving the chains and moving the clock. And I don’t see the Jets putting up a lot of points against a good Pats defense.
Best Bets from Around the League
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (+4) (1 unit)
This is a prime example of not overreacting to what you saw in week 1. The Saints dismantled the Packers. It was about as good as the Saints could play and as bad as the Packers could play. Expect them to revert to the mean a little this week especially with defensive injuries and a COVID outbreak. I’ll take Carolina to cover at home.
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns (-12.5) (1 unit)
I usually don’t like to take double-digit lines, but I’m going to do it here. I still think the Texans are terrible despite what we saw last week. The Browns are going to want to take care of business after a tough loss to the Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) (1 unit)
I know I said I never bet the Eagles, but I can’t help dropping a unit on them this week. Jalen Hurts and crew looked great last week. I realize it was against a bad Falcons team, but as the defensive injuries have piled for the 9ers, I like the Eagles more and more to cover at Lincoln Financial Field.
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) (1 unit)
I mentioned this one in my midweek preview and the line is finally starting move up. I got it at -5.5. The Steelers went on the road and handled the Bills, many people’s Super Bowl favorites. I expect a let down spot here for the Raiders after an emotional win on Monday night and will take the Steelers to cover.
Los Angeles Chargers over 28 points (1 unit)
I jumped on this earlier this week. I see a high-scoring game here (And so does Vegas) and saw more value in taking Dallas out of the equation, especially after the total jumped 5 points. The Chargers looked good offensively, but they struggled in the Red Zone against a very good WFT defense. I don’t see that being an issue this week.
Teaser of the Week
None. No spreads fit my criteria for a teaser this week.
Top Props (Half unit on each)
-Jonathan Taylor over 13.5 receiving yards
-Keenan Allen over 77.5 receiving yards
-Justin Jefferson over 70 receiving yards
-DeVonta Smith over 3.5 receptions
-Nick Chubb over 84.5 rushing yards
-Antonio Brown over 66.5 receiving yards
Just Equal The Spread, Week 2
TOJ Weekly Pick-Em Week 1 Standings