NFL Week 1: Journey of 1,000 Miles

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Well it’s been a long time since I’ve posted and it’s been a long time since the superbowl. These two things aren’t related, my lack of posts has more to do with me feeling like this rabbit the last month or so:

There’s been tons happening in the world and I’m hoping this post will get me back on track. So what will this post be you might ask? A quick primer to football gambling and my picks for the season. I won’t be doing a full season preview post because I think trying to predict a superbowl winner at the start of the season is an exercise in laughable futility.

Most football bets are played ‘against the spread'(ATS). Tonight’s game is Green Bay at Seattle(-6). The -6 is the point spread, it could also be read as Green Bay(+6) instead of Seattle(-6). The spread means you aren’t just interested in who wins, but also by how much. Whichever way you want to read the spread, either +6 or -6, you apply that to the final score. If you bet Seattle(-6) and the final score is Green Bay 21 Seattle 24, you would lose your bet because you’d have to subtract 6 from Seattle’s final score, in which case Green Bay would win 21-18. It often confuses people to start with that the negative number is put next to the team that is the favorite, but that’s the way it is.

My picks come in three pieces. The first piece is my survival pool pick. A survival pool is when you just make one pick per week and you can’t pick the same team twice in one season. Once you lose one game you are eliminated. Next will be the games I would actually recommend you bet on, and finally I’ll list what way I would go on the other games although I have substantially less confidence on those.

Survival Pool

Week 1 is always dangerous in a survival pool because you don’t have much info on what the teams are going to be like this year. Two rules become crucial here, try to avoid picking a road team and try to avoid picking a divisional matchup. Weird things happen when a team is on the road and even weirder things happen when two divisional rivals are facing off.

It’s the biggest Vegas favorite of the week, and I certainly don’t feel like taking a gamble with my whole season week 1, so I’m picking the Eagles to beat the Jaguars. One of last season’s worst teams on the road against an Eagles team that was looking better and better as the season progressed. Seems like a safe way to ease into the season.

Bets To Actually Make

I apologize because in the future there will be substantially more analysis but I want to get this up before kick off.

Green Bay@Seattle(-6)

Aaron Rodgers and company go to Seattle and even though it was 2 years ago the infamous Fail Mary is going to be replayed so often before tonight’s game it will be quite fresh. The running game is really going to be what keeps this game close though. Seattle was great against the pass but only ok against the run and Green Bay’s running back Eddie Lacy is going to wrack up some yards tonight. I don’t think Green Bay wins outright, but people tend to overrate the defending super bowl champ and I think the packers keep it close. Green Bay(+6)

Oakland@New York Jets(-4.5)

Neither of these teams were great last year, but only one has a reasonable defense. A west coast team traveling three time zones for an early start game also tends to go poorly for the visitors. Rex Ryan also knows this is really his last year to try to do something with the Jets before he’s likely to end up on the hot seat and this first game of the season is one he can really make a statement in because the shoddiness of the Raiders. New York Jets(-4.5)

Carolina(-1.5)@Tampa Bay

Carolina over performed last year when several of the other teams in their division fell off the map unexpectedly. Tampa went through a coaching change midway through the season and had an outbreak of MRSA in their locker room. They’re poised to make a much bigger splash this year including a win at home against a division rival to start their season. What I said in the survival pool section also applies here. When there is a home underdog in a divisional game, history says take the points. Tampa Bay(+1.5)

Other Picks I’m Not Putting Money On

New Orleans(+1.5) over Atlanta

Chicago(-6.5) over Buffalo

Cleveland(+5.5) over Pittsburgh

Kansas City(-6.5) over Tennessee

Minnesota(+6.5) Over St. Louis

Miami(+3.5) over New England

Philadelphia(-11) over Jacksonville

Houston(-2.5) over Washington

San Francisco(-4.5) over Dallas

Denver(-6.5) over Indianapolis

Detroit(-4.5) over New York Giants

Arizona(-3.5) over San Diego

 

As always, questions, comments, and criticisms are welcome. Answers are guaranteed.

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