Week 4: Thursday Night Football

Minnesota at L.A. Rams, 8:20p, NFLN (Rams -7, O/U: 49.5)

This past Sunday, The Vikes got absolutely embarrassed at home by rookie Josh Allen. I mean, he literally leapt over their best linebacker with ease. The Bills took the opening kickoff and then drove the field 75 yards to a touchdown. Kirk Cousins didn’t help his teams cause or confidence by having 2 sacks fumbles that lead to 10 more points and a Bills 17-0 lead after the first. A good team being embarrassed one week basically means that they get revenge the next however it will be very tough to do so when going on the road against one of the best defenses and one of the best offenses in the league.

The Rams are on fire this year, picking up right where they left off from last year. Granted, they started off with a few softballs with the Raiders and Cardinals but had a bit of a test against a team that’s been a better road team than a home team, in the Chargers. The Rams ultimately beat them and covered the spread. Goff and his numerous weapons have gelled well with McVay’s playbook and they don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down, averaging 34 points/game on offense and only 12/game on defense.

Short week, big spread to cover but the Bills defense isn’t nearly as good as the Vikings and you see how they played in Minnesota last week. Expect the Rams to learn from what they saw Sunday and pressure Cousins all night. Take the Rams to cover in the win, in the over, Rams 31-21.

Week 1: Monday Night Football

It’s absolutely remarkable how Vegas can set these lines so close to the outcome of the games. Makes you wonder what the secret is, how much homework they do, what kind of insiders they have, or if there’s a formula or algorithm. I had two losses, 1 win and a push within zero to three points of the spread.  Four of the sixteen games could’ve gone either way with a late field goal.  I also had another five games where a touchdown either way could’ve changed the outcome for my bets.  That’s nine of sixteen games where one score (field goal or touchdown) could’ve swung my bets positive or negatively.  I’ve been following lines for  a few years now and I am still amazed by how close these lines are generated to the actual scores of games.  Let the conspiracy theorists converge!

As far as Sunday’s games, I’ve well documented my own 1pm games as mediocre and 2018 has started out no different there. 4-4 against the spread with two games very close from changing that in the 4th quarter of their games until late mistakes happened (Colts & Giants).  I called for a Browns win and they nearly pulled it off to give their fans free Bud Light on opening day no thanks to TJ Watt!  Still, it’s the first season since 2004 that the Browns haven’t lost the opener, so things are looking up in “The Land”.

I bounced back nicely in the 4pm games going 3-0-1. I called the Chargers struggle at home continuing from last season, AP looking good in DC and the Broncos starting the new chapter with Keenum (even though it was a push).

Sunday night was disappointing as far as covering the spread. Seven points is a lot to give up in any game, especially since you don’t know how the teams are going to do in full game action.  I also must admit that I underestimated the Khalil Mack factor.  He made his presence known in that first half, especially when Aaron Rodgers was knocked out before the half.  Still, if that line had performed like they did after the half, all game long, we probably would’ve seen a bigger win and possible cover for the Packers at home, so I’m sticking by my bet and it was just unfortunate to see the line play a poor first half and Rodgers missing nearly all of the second.

I finished Sunday with a 7-6-1 (54%) record, with the potential to pull out a 60% winner’s week in week 1 so I’m optimistic and anxious to watch these games. Now, on to Monday night’s picks…

N.Y. Jets at Detroit, 7:10 PM, ESPN (Lions -7, O/U: 45)

I know what you’re thinking, the Jets are starting rookie Same Darnold, the Lions will blow them out on the road. For that, I have to steal one from Lee Corso, not so fast my friend!  Darnold won that job outright from a guy who’s looked good in the pre-season after not playing for 2 years due to a horrific knee injury (Bridgewater) and a guy beyond his prime, which wasn’t that much of a prime to begin with (McCown).  Don’t mistake him for just some rookie either.  He was taken because he was good and seemed to be the most poised and prepared to start for a team right out of the gate.  The only question was how high would his ceiling be?

As for the rest of the team, they went out and signed Isaiah Crowell to help Powell in the backfield, Terrell Pryor and Andre Roberts to the receiving corps, and Spencer Long as starting center to help give Darnold protection and Weapons to use. The defensive side of the ball saw Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne signed to help the secondary as well as Avery Williamson to start at middle linebacker.

The Lions pretty much go unchanged other than LeGarrette Blount being signed with rookie Kerryon Johnson to compete with Theo Riddick for carries to improve the ground game that Detroit has lacked in Reggie Bush (even he wasn’t a great rusher for them). Stafford has strung together nearly a decades worth of 4,000 plus yard seasons and doesn’t seem to stop that trend given Tate and Jones tearing it up on the outsides.  Jim Bob Cooter has drawn up a pretty exciting offense these last couple of seasons, let’s see what he can do with a fully functional offense.  Devon Kennard and Christian Jones where brought in to boost the linebacking crew and to improve the defense against the run, since they were near the bottom of the league in rushing allowed.  It’s not hard to do when you lose guys like Suh and Nata from your front.

Look for this to be close but don’t be surprised if the Jets keep it interesting. Take the Jets to cover getting 7 but lose to the Lions in the over, Lions 28-24.

L.A. Rams at Oakland, 10:20 PM, ESPN (Raiders +5, O/U: 47.5)

The Rams return for their second season under head coach Sean McVay who brought this team back to life after a dismal 4-12 first season in LA, with an 11-5 finish but a Wild Card loss to the Falcons. With Sammy Watkins leaving us fans thought that they’d still have an arsenal of guys to through to with then rookie Cooper Kupp looking pretty good in his first season but then we all were shocked when Brandin Cooks was picked up.  McVay wanted to make sure that Goff could replicate his 2017 success with having numerous guys to throw to on the outside.  The offense will continue to improve under McVay as he’s being compared to the likes of Kyle Shanahan, and having a genius like mind when it comes to the offensive game.  Veteran defensive pickups like Suh, Talib and Peters are sure to bolster a defense already feared from the likes of Donald.  Rams went all in on this team the last few years and their fans are being rewarded with the fantastic play and now early contenders for the NFC Championship predictions.

The Raiders made some offseason moves of their own, while one could’ve started a riot, some other veteran signings were poised to being back some of that offensive spark they had two seasons ago. Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin are seen as offering more to stabilize the offense and offer different options for John Gruden, who has not been on the sidelines as the head of a football club in a decade.  Justin Ellis and Tank Carradine were brought in to strengthen the defensive front while Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur were to strengthen the outside of the box/front 8 of the defense.  Marcus Gilchrist and Leon Hall were brought in to help the secondary, adding to the overall presence of veteran leadership.

The one move that has been the buzz of the team, however, was the trading of Khalil Mack to the Bears for a few first round picks and more. Mack, who was looking for a new deal, seemingly was upset with how the Raiders were conducting their side of the negotiations and how little respect was given to Mack when contract negotiations were being discussed.  The Bears received immediate return after showing Mack some contract love in his first game as a Bear, and the Raiders were left looking like cheapskates and a laughing stock of the league for letting their best player go over a worthy contract negotiation, questioning Gruden and his philosophy.

The locker room has to be devastated and especially for the defensive side for the Raiders. The rams with all of the confidence in the world are going to Oakland as five point favorites.  Look for the Rams to win handedly and cover the five point spread in the over, Rams 38-17.

Don’t forget, Colin Cowherd had the Jets at +6.5 in his Blazinn 5 and while the Wise Men didn’t agree, I feel like it’s still a quality bet being given a whole touchdown. I’m also looking to get back above 50% on 7+ point picks.  Hope your Sunday was fruitful.  Pray to the football gods for Darnold that you can #beatyourbookie Monday night, and catapult me to 60% winners for the week.  Good luck to all!

#beatyourbookie

2018 NFL Kickoff: Thursday Night Football

As I sit here and watch the end of the last episode of Hard Knocks with the Browns, I have to start by mentioning how disappointing it was to not see Cajuste get a spot and how shocked I was that they let Nassib go.  I thought for sure Nassib was a lock and with Cajuste having a pretty decent offensive game in the last pre-season game, thought they might keep him but I know they already had 3 solid tight ends so the harsh reality was just seeing him cut.  Anyways, without further ado…..

Welcome to the start of the 2018 NFL season and the start of my predictions machine (hint: I am the machine haha!).

Atlanta at Philadelphia, 8:20p, NBC (Eagles: -1, O/U: 44.5):

The Falcons will play a little roll reversal coming into this game as underdogs compared to being favorites going into Philly for the NFC Divisional game last season.  The previous seasons Super Bowl champs are 12-2 in the last 14 season openers.  The average point totals in those games racked up to a whopping nearly 48 points.

The Eagles have many questions coming into this game as Foles had a bad pre-season and they are dealing with a handful of injuries to key players.  Doug Pederson will keep Foles reigned in and focused while calling plays that will be successful and suit his skill set, like he did in the playoffs.

The Falcons roster hasn’t changed much other than adding another offensive weapon via the draft, Calvin Ridley.  The only worrisome note was the drop in offensive scoring output from 33.8 points in 2016 under Shanahan to 22.1 points in 2017 under Sarkisian.  Given that it was the teams first year under Sark, they should see improvement in their consistency, from game to game, in year 2 under his watch.

The game moved 3 points after the official news that Wentz was out and Foles was in as starter for the Eagles.  To be honest, that’s scary but it also gives me what I need to know about the Eagles.  Like I said, Doug keeps Foles in line for this week and keeps the game close but take the Falcons and their high powered offense to cover +1 and win in the over, Falcons 24-21.

There you have it, game one in the predictions column.  Happy football eve everyone!  Don’t forget to thaw the dip, get the family sized bag of Tostito’s and get your order in early to your favorite wing joint…… oh, and good luck!

#beatyourbookie

 

Week 10: Thursday Night Football

Week 9 wasn’t quite as “coachable” as I thought but we technically still didn’t have a losing week, going 6-6-1.  Shocks of last week were the Bills (embarrassing actually), the Ravens, the Bengals coming out flatter than flat, the Chiefs and Dolphins actually keeping up with an NFL team.  Basically all of my losses and the push were shocks.  Some road favorites were some of those losses which are tougher covers.  Hard week but we have another good one brewing starting with tonight’s game.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 8:25p (Cardinals +6, O/U: 40)

New addition to the offensive line for the Seahawks, Duane Brown, was adventurous but he improved the line from weeks ago.  It was adventurous due to the fact that he had a few penalties along with the rest of the team, a season high 16.  Those penalties, a ridiculous number mind you, helped keep the Redskins close and in the end, Cousins capitalized and won the game for them being as accurate as ever.  Wilson nearly pulled off a comeback on his own, striking hard and fast down the field but ultimately leaving too much time on the clock.  The Seahawks still have a staunch defense and can eat up the Cardinals given their lack of an arm under center which will be a difference maker.

The Cardinals made a smart move a few weeks back in picking AP up.  In 3 starts, 2 of them have seen him carry the ball 25+ times for 130+ yards in each game.  It looks like the AP of old and he has to be given Stanton, his hapless quarterback.  Stanton showed some accuracy late in the game last week but ultimately was just mediocre.  Fitzgerald was se I effective but with 5 catches for just 70 yards, expect him to continue being the lead receiver but in a dink and dunk offense.

Look for the Seahawks to take out some aggression this week, rectifying last weeks bad loss at home (which is usually a guarantee in Seattle).  The Cardinals can run all they want but if the Hawks stack the box, I don’t see AP getting much going (even though I would like him too since he’s starting on my fantasy team).  Take the Seahawks to win in the under, Seahawks 24-14.

 

Week 9: Monday Night Football

You live and die by half points.  Yesterday, I died by one.  The Titans were a half point away from making yesterday a little better.  But hey, check out that Colts game!  Tom Savage didn’t look good early on this season and he didn’t look any better yesterday.  Two shocks yesterday was how exploited the Broncos defense was and that the Jaguars played so well without Leonard Fournette.  Tough one tonight, lets look at it:

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, 8:30p (Packers +2, O/U: 42.5)

Detroit comes into this game with one of the worst yards per play in the league and the Packers have to try and rekindle their offense in the wake of Aaron Rodger’s injury.  Brett Hundley had 2 weeks to better understand the offense and get into rhythm with the first team offense.  The Lions have had their usual passing game but they haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since Reggie Bush was in town in 2013 and have only one once in Green Bay since 1992 and it came at the hands of Matthew Stafford in 2013.  Aaron Jones has been a surprise diamond in the rough find for Green Bay, who has been struggling to find consistency in the backfield for years.  I still like Green Bay getting +2 at home against an offense that can’t put the ball in the endzone inside the opponents redzone.  This game either puts me at 50% or 58% so it’s important that I dig down deep on this one.  Take the Packers to cover in the over, Packers 24-21.

 

Week 9 Sunday Games & Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

Well Thursday night was an embarrassment.  Who thought the Bills could come out so flat on both sides of the ball?  My Thursday’s haven’t been great the last few weeks but I’ve still turned them into winning weeks.  I don’t want to talk about Thursday anymore, on to Sunday’s games:

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, 1p (Panthers +2.5, O/U: 42)

Panthers just gave away their top receiver, their next best receiver is still on IR, don’t expect the Panthers to do much to rest of the season.  Panthers lack of offense will keep their defense out on the field too much.  Take the Falcons cover in the over, 27-17.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, 1p (Texans -7, O/U: 45.5)

Texans gave away their top tackle this past week, an majorly unfortunate ACL injury to Watson ends his season and their still a 7 point favorite?  Did anyone see how Tom Savage did in that first game?  Take the Colts to cover and win in the under, Colts 24-21.

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1p (Jaguars -6, O/U: 38.5)

Jaguars have a real shot at winning this game.  As long as they keep from turning the ball over.  The Bengals really need a win this game to have some momentum leading in to the second half of the season.  I still just don’t trust the Jaguars and their basically one dimensional running game.  Take the Bengals to win in the under, Bengals 17-14.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, 1p (Saints -7, O/U: 52.5)

Saints look like they are back to their old selves and actually have a solid running game between Ingram and Kamara.  Take the Saints to cover in the over, Saints 34-20.

Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants, 1p (Giants +4.5, O/U: 42)

Take the Rams to cover in the over, Rams 27-17.

Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles, 1p (Eagles -7, O/U: 41.5)

Take the Eagles to cover in the under, Eagles 27-14.

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans, 1p (Titans -3.5, O/U: 42)

Take the Titans to cover in the under, Titans 20-14.

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05p (49ers +2.5, O/U: 39.5)

Take the Cardinals to cover in the under, Cardinals 17-14.

Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05p (Seahawks -7.5, O/U: 45)

Take the Seahawks to win but the Redskins to cover in the over, Seahawks 31-24.

Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25p (Cowboys -2.5, O/U: 53.5)

Take the Chiefs to cover in the over, Chiefs 31-30.

Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins, 8:30p (Dolphins +3, O/U: 44)

Take the Raiders to cover in the under, Raiders 24-17.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

  • Atlanta at Carolina – Atlanta (-1.5)
  • Baltimore at Tennessee – Tennessee (-3.5)
  • LA Rams at NY Giants – LA Rams (-3.5)
  • Tampa Bay at New Orleans – New Orleans (-7)
  • Kansas City at Dallas – Kansas City (+2)

 

Week 8: Thursday Night Football

We barely escaped the week with a winning record and on the verge of a really good week or a really bad week with the 2 pushes.  Nevertheless, I had an issue with my bread and butter, the primetime games.  Now I knew that the Falcons were having trouble covering their games but every team that struggles can turn it around with a defense that allows a lot of yards, which the Patriots defense has done a bunch of this year.  WRONG!  Belichick corrected that ship.  Falcons were beyond ineffective until late when they threw Julio Jones’ way more.  Hopefully we can continue this roll with our back to back winning weeks.  On to tonight’s game:

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens, 8:25p (Ravens -3, O/U: 37.5)

By god, what a barn burner we have tonight.  Sheesh.  Just when you thought the Thursday night games were turning out some good matchups for fans, they hand deliver this turd of a game.  As you just finish your delicious, beautifully constructed meal consisting pan seared steak and baked potato, this pops on your TV to put a bad taste in your mouth.

Cutler did everyone a favor and broke some ribs but the jokes on him, it’s hard to smoke a pack of cigs on the sideline with busted ribs.  Moore stepped in and showed his team why they should’ve had more (no pun intended) faith in him from the beginning.  Moore is a capable fill in until Tannehill takes back over.  Now, Cutler was actually having quite a game before his injury and against a Jets defense that hasn’t looked too bad against some good teams this year.  Cutler exits and Moore comes in to lead them back with 17 points in the 4th to win it.

The Ravens just haven’t been consistent.  Beating a poorly playing Bengals team in week one, the hapless Browns in week 2 and since have been 1-4 with their only win coming against a Raiders team without Derek Carr.  Flacco has looked bad, and they’ve been relying on their running game to pick up the slack which hurts their yards per play and to only average 18 points a game and 35% on third downs just spells out bad football.

I’m shocked that the Ravens are still 3 point favorites given their noticeable offensive struggles.  Take the Dolphins as road dogs to turnout Moore (pun intended) offense this week than under Cutler’s watch and to win this ugly baby of a game on the road in the under, Dolphins 20-14.

Extras:  World Series talk.  Holy S**t, what a series so far.  2 games in, noted at a game a piece, everyone swinging for the god damned fences, hoping for their chance at a memorable World Series moon shot.  The pitching has been great, the power hitting has been unreal and we’ve seen a really quick game one and a longer than normal game 2.  Puig’s stare down after looking a running back to second in the later innings was epic but the Astros comeback was thrilling.  Dodgers showed you how not to blow through your bullpen so quickly with a short lead.  Any-who, looking forward to the game in Houston this weekend, should be great.  Go Dodger dogs, haha!