Man, it was so nice to turn on the television last night, and watch regular season NFL football. We've spent the last seven months counting down to this weekend, marking off the days like a prisoner waiting for his meeting with the parole board, and now football is here, and I want time to stand still. Let's savor the beginning of football season in the most degenerate way possible — by winning money, by going 6-0 in this first weekend of NFL betting. Basically, let's get rich!
Here are the Week 1 NFL Best Bets....
Bills/JETS UNDER 40.5
This is an early season matchup between the two non-Patriot AFC East teams with some level of hope for 2019. (Sorry, Dolphins. You stink.) These are two teams that can reasonably tell their fans that they have a shot at making the playoffs as a wild card, if things break right for them. The Bills should be really good defensively, and the Jets are breaking in Le'Veon Bell, in his first game as a Jet. The Bills are not very good offensively. This feels like a 20-17 kind of afternoon.
Chiefs -3.5 over JAGUARS
There's a reason why the Jaguars have to play a game in London every year — their home field stinks. No home field advantage. The Chiefs don't care where they play, they will hang 40 points on your ass and not think anything of it. In fact, more precisely, they will hang 38.3 points on your ass. That's what they averaged on the road last season. I'm not buying this "bounce back" season everyone is predicting for the Jaguars. I think the step backward that the defense took in 2018 will hold up for another season, and I'm not buying Nick Foles. I feel really good backing the reigning MVP, Patrick Mahomes, here.
Colts +6.5 over CHARGERS
I know we were all celebrating the retirement of Andrew Luck, and rightfully so. The Colts are no longer Super Bowl contenders, and that feels good. However, Colts GM Chris Ballard has constructed a good enough roster to compete every Sunday, and I feel like this 2019 iteration of Jacoby Brissett will be light years better than the one that went 4-11 as a starter in 2017. As for the Chargers, they are operating without RB Melvin Gordon (contract holdout), without safety Derwin James (foot injury), without a home crowd (absent in perpetuity), and with a terrible offensive line. I think the Colts keep this one close, and might even pull off a Week 1 upset.
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CARDINALS +2.5 over Lions
If you read my season win total column, you know that I am NOT a big fan of the Cardinals. I took them to win fewer than five games. However, I also took the under on the Detroit Lions, and there is no way in hell that a Matt Patricia coached team should be a road favorite against ANYBODY. Cardinals win this one straight up (a feeling they should not get too accustomed to).
Giants/COWBOYS UNDER 45.5
Ezekiel Elliott signed his new, market-setting contract this week, so he is in the fold. How much he will play, and how good he looks when he does play are both mysteries. Their top wide receiver, Amari Cooper, was dealing with a foot injury for all of training camp (he should be back on Sunday), and their quarterback, Dak Prescott, is still working on a contract extension, which might be a distraction. In short, if there is a side of the ball that will be out of synch for the Cowboys, it's the offense. The defense should be fine, and going against Eli Manning should be a nice Week 1 feast for Jaylon Smith, Demarcus Lawrence, and company. The only thing that screws the UNDER here is short fields off of Manning interceptions giving the Cowboys some room-service-style touchdowns.
Steelers/PATRIOTS UNDER 49
The Steelers are fully adjusting to life after Antonio Brown, and the Patriots are fully adjusting to life after Rob Gronkowski. I think both teams will be playing it somewhat close to the vest in Week 1, so the clock should roll and the score should stay reasonably low, for these two teams.