on Sep12

The NFL is back! There’s a full slate of games this weekend, so let’s jump in!

Here are my five favorite bets on the NFL card (with all odds via FOX Bet).

Washington Football Team (-.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers

This game is a prime spot to fade an offseason public darling. The Chargers have a green head coach heading on the road for their second-year quarterback’s first start in a packed stadium since his final college game in the Rose Bowl. Do I need to say much more? 

I’m a massive fan of Justin Herbert, but he played his entire rookie season in primarily empty stadiums. FedExField in D.C. will be sold out, as Washington Football fans are excited about this upcoming season. The Chargers have a new head coach, who spent a single season as a coordinator before landing the job.

Los Angeles played some of its starters only a handful of snaps in the preseason. Now the team gets to start the season against a physical team in Washington. The Chargers have rebuilt their offensive line the past two years, and now they get to face the best front seven in football. It will be a challenging task.

The Chargers are talented and hoping to avoid the injury bug this season, though it appears that starting running back Austin Ekeler is already questionable for Sunday.

Washington’s offense should be more efficient, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The team also upgraded the offensive line with the additions of Charles Leno Jr. from the Chicago Bears and Sam Cosmi in the draft.

Head coach Ron Rivera led the Washington Football Team to a 6-2 mark against the spread down the stretch last season, and I expect that to continue this weekend with an outright win.

PICK: Washington Football Team (-.5) to win outright

Denver Broncos (-3) at New York Giants

I enjoyed this number more when the Broncos were a 1-1.5-point favorite. But then everyone saw the Giants’ offensive line in action and pounded the Broncos. 

This one is simple for me. Where are the Giants better than the Broncos? Only at running back, and that is if Saquon Barkley is fully healthy. The Broncos are better on the lines and have weapons on the edge, and I get quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is 35-13-1 in his career against the spread. Is Bridgewater dynamic? No. But Teddy protects the ball, finds his weapons when called upon and is able to guide his offense in the right direction.

The Giants are hoping Daniel Jones can make a jump this season, and maybe he can, but this doesn’t feel like the weekend for that to happen.

Vic Fangio is an extraordinary defensive mind and will outwit Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. I don’t see the Giants scoring enough to cover the three points. Add the Giants’ against-the-spread record at home, which is 4-9-1 their past 13 games at MetLife, and I’m rolling with the road favorite.

PICK: Broncos (-3) to win by more than three points

Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Indianapolis Colts

I wouldn’t say I like making this wager, as the Seahawks are 3-8-1 against the spread as road favorites their past 12 games. But I have to fade the Colts in this spot.

First off, Frank Reich is 0-3 on opening weekends, all with horrendous performances. The Colts lost by 11 to the six-win Cincinnati Bengals to open the 2018 season. In 2019, they lost in overtime to the Chargers, and last season, who can forget their seven-point loss to the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars? There’s something about the way Reich prepares for these opening games in which the team underperforms. 

What’s more, this team is primed for an opening day flop. Their quarterback Carson Wentz, former Philadelphia Eagles first-round pick, struggled last season, and that’s putting it nicely. Even if Wentz is improved this season, he will be no better than average. And he won’t start the season fast, as he missed most of training camp because of a foot injury.

His center, Ryan Kelly, missed time because of a positive COVID-19 test. All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson, one of the team’s most important pieces, missed camp because of a foot injury. Nelson is questionable to play this weekend because of a back issue.

The Colts signed Eric Fisher to play left tackle for them, and he’s recovering from an Achilles injury; he has been ruled out for this week. I’m also curious about the Colts’ mindset after these injuries. Then there are all the questions about their leadership not getting vaccinated.

On the flip side, Seattle had a mostly quiet training camp, which is a positive thing. Russell Wilson started fast last season, and I would expect the same this year. 

The defense, which had issues early in the season because it had new personnel starting, made huge strides as the season went along. In the first nine weeks, the Seahawks’ defense was 26th in EPA, but in the final seven weeks, that jumped to eighth.

The improvement should continue into the early part of this season, especially against a Colts OL that appears beat up and a quarterback who is not good right now.

PICK: Seahawks (-3) to win by more than 3 points

Houston Texans (+3) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Welcome to the first “hold your nose and bet” game. Through the stink, you know it’s the right thing to do.

Houston’s roster is not good, but are we sure Jacksonville’s roster is any better? The Jaguars have a first-time head coach who appears to be learning the ropes. Their offense looked blah in the preseason, and it’s difficult for me to envision it looking much better against the Texans. 

First overall picks are 1-6-1 against the spread in their first game. Let’s see if Trevor Lawrence can buck the trend.

Through the noise, the Texans have just gone about their business and are starting a veteran quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, who can’t seem to catch a break in his career. However, he is now playing with a decent offensive line and some weapons in the backfield, and he has the ability to move the ball against the Jaguars’ defense, which can’t rush the passer and has no solid defensive backs.

PICK: Texans (+3) to lose by fewer than 3 points (or win outright)

Miami Dolphins at New England PatriotsUnder 43.5

The Patriots have chosen rookie Mac Jones to start the season under center. Jones was a one-year starter in college, and while the Patriots are high on him, he’s facing a Brian Flores defense to start his career.

The Patriots have a great offensive line and will rely on running the football, play-action passes and game management from Jones.

On the other side, the Dolphins are hoping second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa can make a considerable jump in year two. While he looked decent in the preseason, his offensive line … oh, boy.

Left tackle Austin Jackson appears to have gotten worse, and he’s probably out this week due to COVID-19. Elsewhere, the line is young and hasn’t improved at the rate I expected.

The Patriots revamped their defensive front seven, and I believe they will give Tua trouble. That makes two green quarterbacks, two offenses that will be more conservative than not and two good-to-great defenses.

Please give me the under!

PICK: Under 43.5 combined points scored by both teams

Source link

Previous postMellusi powers No. 18 Wisconsin past Eastern Michigan 37-7 Next postShaw singles in 10th, Red Sox beat White Sox 9-8

Chicago Financial Times

Copyright © 2023 Chicago Financial Times

Updates via RSS
or Email