Week 11: Monday Night Football

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20p, ESPN (Rams -3, O/U: 64)

This game has been circled by all fans since week 4 when these two teams have been on fire, turning out tons of points each week. No it’s not in Mexico City thanks to a rump shaking Shakira concert. If you think that will slow up the guys, think twice. The Chiefs were spending time in Denver to get their bodies used to the similar altitude that Mexico City would’ve had.

Mahomes and Goff have nearly identical numbers other than touchdowns (Mahomes 31, Goff 22) and the Chiefs have scored the most points each game on average, in the NFL. Similarly, the Rams have out paced “The Greatest Show in Turf” in most offensive categories this season. They will be without stud Cooper Kupp for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL from last week but don’t think it’ll hinder Goff too much.

This is going to be like a Madden game on easy. I’m predicting massive scoring, mostly through the air. The Rams pass rush will have their hands full chasing around Mahomes. Take the Chiefs to cover in the over (that’s right, I said over 64 points), Chiefs 42-36.

#beatyourbookie

Week 5: Thursday Night Football

Indianapolis vs New England, 8:20p, NFLN, (Patriots -10.5, O/U: 50)

It’s the battle of the twelves.  Andrew Luck back at it and revitalizing the Colts/Patriots rivalry that once included former Colts great Peyton Manning.

Both leaders will more than likely be without their top receivers (Hilton, Gronkowski) but Brady still would have Chris Hogan, Eric Ebron and newcomer Josh Gordon.  The running games for both have been coming along with both introducing rookies into thei backfields, leading their rushing attacks with Hines/Wilkins for the Colts and Michel for the Pats.

The Colts defense has looked improved compared to their most recent seasons and actually are near the pace the Patriots have set themselves this season.  The difference maker will be if the Patriots line can stop the defensive front of the Colts since Brady has an obvious lack of mobility.  This will be close early but once Brady gets dialed in, expect him to slowly pull away from the not quite 100% Andrew Luck.

There has been a huge uprising in the league this year where games you thought were a lock were turned upside down in the first few minutes.  Just when you thought, “ok, maybe this one isn’t such a slam dunk given how hard it’s been to nail bets this year”, not so fast my friend, just a friendly reminder, it’s HARD to win in Gillette Stadium.  Take the Patriots to cover in the win and in the under, Patriots 28-17.

#beatyourbookie

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 3: Thursday Night Football

Last week was horrible for yours truly.  One of my worst weeks since picking winners.  This week, we will right the ship.  We have a toughie to kick off this week so lets get to it.

New York at Cleveland, 8:20p, NFLN (Browns -3, O/U: 41)

New York comes into this matchup being brought back down to earth last week by the Dolphins, following their Rookie quarterbacks huge first win in his first game in Detroit in week one.  Sam Darnold looked more like a rookie last week but with more picks than touchdowns however he still had poise and threw for over 300 yards despite the turnovers and lack of running game.

The Browns are still looking for their first win and they can just taste it.  No, they’re not salivating at the thought of the beer lockers being slung open if they win, they literally tasted a victory.  The Browns entered the fourth quarter holding a 12-3 lead giving up 15 unanswered points before Tyrod Taylor launched the ball to the back of the end zone and Antonio Callaway making a huge grab to tie the game at 18, with a pending extra point.  The Browns, rarely in this position to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, ended up missing the extra point which would’ve given them a 19-18 lead.  They’re tired of losing, tired of coming up just short and a hungry in front of their fans, but keep in mind, it’s still the Browns.

The line is surprising given the Browns usually finding ways to lose games and they’re rarely favorites.  The moneyline scares me a bit with the Jets getting +150 and the Browns getting -170 but I’m still rolling with the safe bet, taking the Jets to cover and win in the under, Jets 21-17.

I feel for you Brownies, I want you to win (just not this week) but like a friend has perfectly put it, until you show me you can win, I will bet against you.  Happy Thursday football night, good betting and don’t forget to #beatyourbookie.

Week 2: Thursday Night Football

Week one is in the books! It is statistically the hardest week to predict anything when it comes to the NFL and we made it out alive with 60% winners!  That caught me by surprise since I was only hoping to get at least around 53%.  The one real shocker was Buccs at the Saints.  Who knew the bearded one would go for over 400 yards in a shootout against Brees?  I know a ton of people were knocked out of elimination pools over it and well, we were caught too, figuring that the Saints covering a 10 point spread was cake.  The other disappointment was the Packers, which I already expressed in a previous post that had Rodgers been healthy all game, I think they would’ve covered that spread.

It’s been a long two and a half days without football but boy, do we have a great matchup tonight…

Baltimore at Cincinnati, 8:20 PM, NFLN (Bengals +1, O/U: 45)

The Ravens absolutely unloaded on the Bills last week and actually forced out Peterman, who was touted as having improved and looked good in the pre-season, for rookie Josh Allen. Now there was a lot of speculation that the Ravens were going to have a great game, but not this great.  Flacco was predicted to have a solid game partly due to having rookie Lamar Jackson on his heels for the starting role.  Flacco finished 25/34 for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Ravens had questions at running back as to who would lead the team and that seemed to be Kenneth Dixon who had nearly as many carries as both Collins and Allen combined. Lastly, what can we say about the defense? I think it’s back to being great.

The Bengals looked pretty decent against the Colts. Dalton went 21/28 for 243 and 2 scores while throwing a solo pick.  Dixon ran hard in his 17 carries for 95 yards and a score; his biggest run came in at 27 yards.  He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and even without the 27 yard gain; he averaged 4.25 yards/carry.  He’s looking to have a breakout sophomore year.  People weren’t sure what they’d see out of AJ Green since he’s turned 30 and all.  Well, he didn’t disappoint either.  He went off for 6 grabs and 92 yards and even was nice enough to throw a score in there, so I think it’s safe to say that he’ll have another consistent 1,000 yard year.  The Colts lack of running game made the Bengals defense look a little better than it is so look for this one to be a close game.

The Ravens will be tested by the fairly balanced Bengals offense but Dalton folds under big pressure defenses which is exactly what the Ravens are. Take the Ravens to win and cover on the road in the under, Ravens 20-17.

Fast 8

You can’t ask for anything better for the start of the season.  60% winners is the overall that I was hoping to get to for the season and to have it week one is special. Look out for a new feature to the blog, my “Fast 8” picks.  Every week, I’ll choose 8 games that I feel are absolutely worthy of your money on the game.  Think of these games as the best bets of the week or the fastest way to cash/a wining week.  Count this game in with the Fast 8 this week.

It should be another fun dynamic of my blog and another tool for you to #beatyourbookie ……good luck everyone!

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