NFL WEEK 1 - 2019
NFL 2019 WEEK 1 SUNDAY
The Week One TNF game is the perfect example of why Week 1 and Week 17—actually, the first four weeks and last two weeks of the season—are the Handicappers biggest challenge.
If the NFL and Vegas, were honest, (I can dream, can’t I?), they would admit we are just starting the preseason…
All the hoopla about Aaron Rodgers and Matt Lafleur power struggling over audibles, all the 100 year celebration hype, and the rest of the schlock that comes with an NFL season opening game, brought us a penalty/mistake marred game with uncoordinated offenses and defenses way ahead on the performance dial.
The one TD pass Rodgers managed to throw was a wobbling wrist-flicked quacker thrown into traffic that would rival L.A.
The core stat of offensive success, Yards Per Play, (YPP), had both teams rasping along at an anemic 3.6 clip—two yards under the 2018 NFL average.
What this handicapper missed was how impressive the Pack defense would be under DC Mike Pettine.
So, with the proviso that it’ll be before October when we can accurately gauge the offenses, we’ll try improve our record with the remaining three Specials
LOCK OF THE WEEK
BALTIMORE RAVENS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS +6.5 37 [O]
You like trends? Here are only a few culled from Oddshark.com and many other sites. We could say trends support this game as the Lock of the Week, (LOW), or as the Upset Special, (US). The Magpies have been an ATS disaster for their last 8 games and the Fish have been an awful September team for two decades running.
The Dolphins are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games at home in September.
The Ravens are 7-1 SU and 8-0 ATS in their last eight games vs. the Dolphins. Miami scored just six points in the two most recent matchups.
The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Dolphins' last 11 games in Week 1.
The total has gone UNDER in five of the Ravens' last seven games on the road. (Avg combined score: 37.71)
The Ravens are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as favorite.
The total has gone OVER in 14 of the Dolphins' last 20 games at home. (Avg combined score: 46.3)
Trends are useful to get a microscopic view of a match up, but I don’t use them as a primary tool.
The above trends don’t tell a full story. Since 2014, as Visiting Favorites, the Ravens have a .380 winning percentage. Miami is only a couple points higher as a Home Dog.
All of the above doesn’t convince us we have a lock with the Crows, but this does: Baltimore has some brand new toys for sophomore QB, Lamar Jackson—Antonio Brown’s cousin Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin from Notre Dame.
I know the Ravens lost their best LB and best safety in Eric Weddle, but since their clandestine arrival in the Charm City, Baltimore has seldom fielded a bad defense. GM, Eric Decosta knows what he’s doing; he made his bones as Ozzie Newsome’s assistant GM for six years.
I’m not as confident about Steven Ross’s stewardship in Miami. He hires and fires coaches like it’s not a vital organizational decision. What message does having a coach for two years then firing him send to your staff and players?
I think the Ravens know they need to make a statement early and their going to do it this week—unless Fitzmagic pulls a Raven out of his helmet.
We’re with the pundits and public on this one---give the Fish the points and take the Ravens to win big, Over the Number.
OVER/UNDER OF THE WEEK
K.C.CHIEFS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS + 4 52.5 [U]
We like the under in this tilt; again, trends and long-term history don’t matter. We think Patrick Maholmes might have a more difficult year 2018 after setting the league on fire last year. DCs have been studying his tape for six months—they can see his tendencies and should be able to slow him down.
Against most defenses, it might not matter. The Jaguars feel disrespected—playing that card is starting to get old--because last year,they surrendered only 15.1 PPG last year, at home
The Chiefs are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games on the road in September, including 4-0 ATS the past two seasons.
The Chiefs led the league with 34.8 points per game last season, including the most points per game on the road at 38.2, while their games averaged a league-high 61.63 combined points. And, this might be no help at all because the Jags allowed a league-low 13.9 points per game at home while their games averaged a league-low 35.06 combined points.
The total has gone OVER in the Chiefs' last five games on the road. (Avg. combined score: 77.6)
The Chiefs are 9-0 SU in their last nine games in the early afternoon. The Jaguars are 3-10 SU in their last 13 games at home in September.
The Jaguars are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games vs. AFC West teams.
The Chiefs are 4-0 SU in their last four games vs. the Jaguars. (Avg. winning margin: 17.25)
In Week Five last year, remember it was billed as a potential game of the year, the Arrowheads scored 30—in Kansas City.
This year with Nick Foles at the helm, The Spotted Cats think they’re more than a defensive team. They have to prove it, and proving it against the coach who drafted and developed Foles is a task the Jags aren’t ready to complete.
Take the Chiefs, lay the 4 points and bet the Under big.
DENVER BRONCOS @ OAKLAND RAIDERS PK 43 [O]
We are very reluctant to admit changing this Special from the matchup in New England.
However, betting against a lousy Raiders team that acquired a cancer name Antonio Brown, in mid-metastasis—against their fiercest, defensively loaded rival is a much safer bet than wagering on a young Steelers team to conquer the House of Count Belichick.
(I try to stay away from Steelers bets because they are my team, though I still believe they will win in Foxboro for the first time this century.)
I picked Oakland because usually after the cancer is rooted out, the exhausted patient needs rest.
Denver sacks Carr 5 times, Joe Flacco tosses three TD passes, the Broncos win big; take the Over.
Broncos 29 Raidas 17