For the last couple of years, in addition to playing fantasy football for a little scratch among friends, I’ve thrown some money around betting spreads/futures on the NFL and gradually expanded to homer baseball wagers, the World Cup and a little on fights I’m interested in. During the 2018 NFL season on Saturdays (or Wednesday depending if I’m into the TNF game) I’ll be having a little Degenerate Gambler’s Column where I show you my picks and you can tail or fade at your own risk. If you’re not familiar with the unit betting concept, 1 unit (1U) is generally between 1-10% of your bankroll. If you want to bet but don’t have an online book, I can’t say enough nice things about Bovada and you get some nice bonuses if you use my referral code. Without further ado, here’s my picks for NFL Week 1, along with my logic behind them.
NFL Week 1 Picks
NFL Season Record: 0-0
Minnesota Vikings -6.5 1U – At home against the 49ers and I think Kirk Cousins has something to prove. The Vikings are a little banged up or else I think this line would be substantially higher. Even seeing Jimmy G go on a tear at the end of last year, I don’t see the weapons that can take on a formidable Minnesota. The Elo has this for the Vikings at -8, so I think a -6.5 is a bargain.
Jacksonville Jaguars -3 1U – A road favorite but playing in a house divided, JAX has arguably one of the best defenses in the league and should keep this pretty low scoring against the Giants. It’s going to be tight and competitive in regards to covering, but the Jaguar offense is being a little underestimated as an anemic unit and against a dysfunctional Giants team, I think this might be easier than how murky it looks.
Denver Broncos -3 1.5U – Kind of a homer bet, but an opener at Mile High is like getting balls off the table. Seattle is a straight up shell of itself, losing so much veteran talent in the offseason that I can’t believe the juice is as good as it is and that there’s been little-to-no line movement since I bought this last week. I wish I got it at -2.5, but I think the Donkeys are going to dominate.
Los Angeles Rams -4.5 1U – Fade the Gruden Raiders all day long, doesn’t matter if they’re at home. It’s a coach that hasn’t been in the league for fifteen years on a team with more internal strife and drama than probably any other team in the league. The Rams franchise turnaround since moving to LA is insane.
I’m staying away from the Pats until some of their injury problems work themselves out. Brady is sorely lacking targets against a Houston team with offensive and defensive assets that I think are going to trouble them with -6.5 points to cover. I also put 1U on Colorado +4 against Nebraska just for rivalry funsies, and with the weather apparently looking terrible for the Steelers v. Browns, it might be a little interesting to throw money on the under, although the books are already adjusting downwards from a o/u of 44 so it might be too late. Lots of tight lines opening week, and obvious stuff like Detroit -7 against the Jets or the Packers -7.5 against Chicago seems a little trappy to me. A virtual pick ’em in Miami, with the Titans -1 is something else I’m staying away from, despite some confidence Tennessee walks away with it handily.