Football finally returned this week with, unfortunately a stinker on Thursday night as the Packers defeated the Bears 10-3; The second lowest points the Packers have scored in a win in the Rodgers era. It was defenses fully on top, and both offenses stinking up the place. The Packers only winning thanks to one drive with Rodgers. On the plus side of the two I put on here I had a win and a void (as expected) so nothing special but a good start to the season at least.
So hopefully onto something a little more exciting on Sunday!
Numbers are not my selections at all, just where the line was at when written.
Falcons (+4) @ Vikings : total points – 46.5 (down 1 from Tues)
Two of the NFC big boys start the season facing off in Minnesota. The Vikings have an above average home-field advantage and Zimmer will have his team up to speed and ready to go for this one. They brought in experienced OC Gary Kubiak over the summer which should help Kirk Cousins, the passing game, and the run game. My man to look out for at the Vikings is Dalvin Cook who broke off a big run in pre-season and has looked good in the very limited work we’ve seen him in during his career which has been plagued by injury so far, play action opens up the run game and he’s more than competent catching the ball as well.
The Falcons were poor on defense last year because everyone got injured in the first month of the season, they’ll be better there this year and have a lot of pace in that area. Offensively it seems to be lining up for Matt Ryan to have a good year, he’s got the weapons in the receiving corps; Julio, Calvin Ridley, Mo Sanu, Austin Hooper and the return of Devonta Freeman at RB is a big boost for the team and Ryan specifically with his pass catching ability and the incoming OC, Dirk Koetter has worked with Atlanta and Ryan previously so they know how each other work.
This is a tough one to call but I’ve got to lean to the Vikings at home, and probably the Unders as I think the Vikings will be trying to run the ball quite a lot which slows down the play.
Dalvin Cook anytime TD – 2.05 (Redzone) – 2 points
Ravens (-7) @ Dolphins : 40 (up from 37.5)
The first of a few one-sided match-ups on paper and it’s hard to see past an easy win for the Ravens. They look like they’ll be one of the more interesting teams to watch this season with a very mobile QB and going heavy on the run game. Lamar Jackson looks like he’ll be topping 1,000 rush yards this year if you believe his coach who told everyone to take the overs on his rush yards, and hopefully over the summer they’ve taught him how to throw the ball a little bit; They have definitely given him more options this year picking up Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin in the draft, both excellent Yards after catch (YAC) guys, to add to his many tight ends and Willie Snead IV who had a fair season with Lamar last year. They’ve freshened the defense and get a nice start for them to ease into the season as defending AFC North champs.
The Dolphins are tanking. They got rid of their left tackle and stock-piled a few more picks for future drafts, they let Kiki Alonso go, Kenny Stills went in the Tunsil trade too. They don’t want to win, and won’t. Fitzpatrick is starting at QB and he won’t be afraid to throw it into stupid places. Albert Wilson hopefully returns, he started the season really well last year, Devante Parker is still there (meh) and rookie Preston Williams on the outside got a lot of talk over the summer. They kept Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard though, so at least have the bones of a decent defense at least.
Ravens will win, I’m wary of the spread because teams seem to struggle early on with the heat and humidity in Miami, and despite the basement floor total I’m not touching that either.
Mark Ingram anytime – 2.4 (Redzone), Justice Hill 7.00 (Unibet) – 2 points on each
Bills (+2.5) @ Jets : 41
Remarkably this is actually an interesting game and one I’m very slightly tempted to turn on gamepass for the early kick offs. They’re both chasing the Pats in the East, and it seems increasingly unlikely it will be this year, but both have made good strides over the last 2 years. Josh Allen for the Bills is fun just by himself, his scrambling and huge arm make it easy to compare him to a young Cam Newton. He’s got more weapons in the passing game this year with John Brown a very good downfield threat and Cole PPR Beasley playing underneath. The Bills also boast one of the best defenses in the league and picked up Ed Oliver in the draft who’s a fucking beast.
Sam Darnold looks to take a step forward and by all reports he’s been looking brilliant over the summer. As a much touted #1 pick he’s obviously got the talent and being one of the youngest QBs in the league he’s got plenty of time to grow as well. Robby Anderson is playing although dinged up and Jamison Crowder is their underneth threat. They added Leveon Bell in free agency and despite his obvious talent I’m waiting to see how his offensive line cope with his running style (o/u the word Patient being used to describe it set at 17.5 for tonight) They’re banged up on defense, CB and LB being considerable issues for them tonight.
This is going to be a tight one, the price on the Bills has shortened off of a 3 which is a fairly significant move. However I think it’s the right way, I like the Bills this year, in fairness I like the Jets this year. Not a bet for me, but I’d lean to Buffalo.
Chiefs (-3) @ Jaguars : 50.5 (down from 52)
I think it’s safe to assume there will be a juxtaposition (love that word) of styles in this one. As we all know the Chiefs were electric on offense last year with Paddy ‘Homes throwing 50 TD passes, 5,000 yards and entertaining all who watched last year and I’m not entirely sure much changes this year. If anything the offense has got even better. It’s definitely got faster after adding Mecole Hardman. Tyreek avoids a ban and Sammy Watkins will be healthy for at least one game. This looks like it should be a Travis Kelce game though. Last time these met the Jags double teamed Tyreek with Ramsey and a safety which meant a good game for Kelce. I’d assume Damien Williams gets the bulk of it at RB but that’s an interesting area now they’ve signed McCoy to add to Thompson and the other Williams brother. They improved their defense as well.
The jags open the season without their first and second choice LT. Not great. But they finally moved on from Bortles to add BDN (Nick Foles) who might actually be able to throw the ball to his own team. Dede Westbrook is being talked up EVERYWHERE after receiving 8/10 of Foles targets in a preseason game. DJ Chark, Marquise Lee, Keelan Cole. None of them exactly excite anyone. They’ll probably be run heavy again with Leonard Fournette but the LT issue is a big downpoint for them, there’s not a whole lot behind L4 either, rookie Ryqell Armstead the only guy of note. The defense will obviously be the strength of the team again and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ramsey gives Hill a few taunts about him beating his kid which could be interesting.
Interestingly the line has moved to 3 from 3.5 earlier in the week indicating money for the Jags. Despite it being in the heat of Florida (92 and humid) I still fancy the Chiefs.
Rams (-1.5) @ Panthers : 49.5
Will the Rams suffer the feared Superbowl hangover? I think it’s quite possible and they’ve got a rough start on the road to a pretty decent defense. It probably doesn’t help that most of their starters haven’t played in preseason (we saw the obvious rust that cause on Thursday) so I can see why the line has moved towards the Panthers. Jared Goff is a decent enough QB especially in this system, they welcome back his favourite target Cooper Kupp who apparently tested better than before his ACL injury. He’ll go alongside Cooks and Woods who fill their roles perfectly. If there’s any game Todd Gurley will be fully healthy for it’ll be this one, and I’d expect him to get a decent work load, definitely not worth a bet at odds-on though.
Cam Newton wasn’t on the injury list after previously having a foot injury so it would appear he’s a full go, the passing and running game will run mainly through Christian McCaffrey who played 97% of snaps last season for them. The guys’s a machine. DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel both improved markedly last year and are similar in style as YAC monsters. Moore likely to be the 1 in the passing game. The defense is still captained by one of my favourites LUUUUUUUUUUUUKE Kuechly so it will be solid.
Another one I’m staying away from and I don’t even really have a lean on it.
Titans(+5.5) @ Browns (Sky) : 44.5
Very predictably this is the early Sky TV game for the UK, the hype behind the Browns meant it was an easy choice for the bigwigs to pick. As they’ve assembled one of the best, and most balanced rosters in the league it’s easy to see why there’s so much hype behind them. I don’t like Baker and I hope it goes wrong a few time this year, but he’s a bloody talented kid and having the weapons he’s got to throw to he should have a great year. Jarvis Landry recruited his bestest bud in the whole wide world, Odell Beckham to come in and take targets from him, Rashaad Higgins has a good relationship with Mayfield and David Njoku is a good TE. Defensively they’re great as well and Myles Garrett could get multiple sacks tonight against a weakened Titans offensive line.
The Titans are a professional football team based in Tennessee. Mariota will be at QB and they’ve given him help in the passing game bringing in Humphries in FA and AJ Brown in the draft. Delanie Walker and is the safety blanket for this team, he and Humpries will likely get a lot of targets in the middle of the field tonight. Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis return at RB so we’ll see how that pans out. It’s never really been a predictable backfield frankly. The defense should be good though and they’ll need to be for this team to get to 9-7 for the fourth year running.
I can’t see past a Browns win and cover. Again I’m not betting it because they’re institutionalised losers, but this team could be very good this year.
Redskins(+10) @ Eagles : 44.5
The Redskins do not look in a good place. The best player on the roster doesn’t want to play for them, left tackle Trent Williams, which really doesn’t help them with protection, and going up against one of the best D-Lines in the league isn’t ideal… but they welcome back Derrius Guice who we think is good, apparently he’ll get the bulk of the carries tonight with AP behind him. The pass catchers are some of the worst in the league, Trey Quinn the leader? Paul Richardson doing something and rookie Terry McLaurin possibly the most interesting of them. Jordan Reed is already out with concussion for Vernon Davis will be in at TE. All trying to catch passes from Case Keenum who loves a short pass.
The Eagles have the best roster in the NFC, possibly the league, with strength in depth everywhere. Carson Wentz is back at QB and will be hoping avoid injury this season. He was MVP-elect a couple of years back and looked good when fit last year. They’ve got the weapons there, Alshon Jeffrey had a great season with Wentz last we saw, Nelson Agholar has improved to be a good 2, JJ Arcega-whiteside is a huge guy who adds a redzone threat and Zach Ertz is a top 3 TE in the league. They’ve got many options at RB as well, Jordan Howard the grinder, Corey Clement surviving on the roster and Miles Sanders brought in through the draft. Most seem to think Sanders will get more and more through the season so keep an eye on him. The defensive front is great too and should eat tonight.
Eagles win, I won’t touch a double digit spread, but I’d lean to them covering it
Bengals (+9.5) @ Seahawks : 44.5
OK positives first for the much-maligned Bengals. There’s talent through the roster, a top 10 RB, top 10 interior D-Lineman, top 10 safety, top 10 CB, and once again I expect Carl Lawson to be a beast if he avoid injury. Negatives, we’re deficient in key areas, offensive line being the most obvious, it may well be shambolic tonight, and stopping the run. AJ Green is out, probably for another 2 weeks as well, so Tyler Boyd will be the main man in the passing game, John Ross should be suiting up and I’m interested to see how he’s used, and replacing AJ is UDFA Damion Willis who had a very good camp and deserves a start. I’m also interested to see how much use Gio Bernard gets alongside Mixon in the backfield.
Run run run run run run run run run run run run run run. I think that will be the game plan tonight, and rightly so, the Bengals couldn’t stop the run last year and haven’t done much to make me think that changes tonight. Chris Carson should be able to go where he wants tonight, he finished the season on fire last year and Pete Carroll has talked up giving him more targets as well. Rashaad Penny should get some work as well tonight. They have Tyler Lockett at WR who had a highly efficient season last year and somehow DK Metcalf is playing after having ‘minor’ surgery on his knee 3 weeks ago. Some I know are very high on Will Dissly at tight end, fuck knows with him.
Honestly. I don’t think the Bengals will be as bad as predicted this season, but this game couldn’t be much of a worse matchup to start the season. Again I won’t touch a spread this big, but wouldn’t be shocked to see if being covered.
Chris Carson anytime TD – 2.30 (Ladbrokes) – 5 points, Carson 2+ – 8.5 (Ladbrokes) – 2 points
Colts (+6.5) @ Chargers : 44.5
These two teams haven’t had the best off-seasons. The Colts had Andrew Luck retire before the 4th preseason game meaning that Jake Brisket (Jacoby Brissett) takes the reins at QB and was rewarded with a decent contract by the Colts. He’s straight into the QB power rankings at mid-20s so not awful by any stretch and they’ve got an offensive line there now who will give him time to make throws. Parris Campbell and Devin Funchess were added alongside TY Hilton over the summer, and they’ve kept their TEs in place as well with Ebron and Big Mo likely the redzone threats while Jack Doyle should move the sticks for them.
The Chargers are without their main man on the O-line Russell Okung missing out this week, but Philip Rivers has dealt with shoddy O-lines for most of his career so he’ll still put up numbers. They’re without Melvin Gordon who they seem happy to leave so it will be Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler at RB. I’d expect Jackson to be the goal line back, but I can see Ekeler getting into the endzone from a Rivers pass. Keenan Allen is reliable as ever at WR, and Mike Williams is a large fella on the outside. Hunter Henry returns to help the middle of the field. The defense took a hit with Derwin James out for a few months, but Bosa and Ingram are still one of the best pass rush duos in the league.
Another tough one to call, I think the Chargers should win, but it will depend on how good Brissett actually is for the Colts.
Lions (-3) @ Cardinals : 46.5
Another to stay away from on the betting front. It’s expected with Darrell Bevell in at OC that they’ll be more run heavy this year which should be good for Kerryon Johnson but the off-season wasn’t convincing on that front with them mixing in CJ Anderson and TY Johnson for series at a time. They’ve got good options in the passing game when they use it too though, Matthew Stafford played half the season last year with a broken back so should be good now he’s fully fit and with Kenny Golladay expected to take a big step forward and Marvin Jones back, Danny Amendola signed he’s got reliable targets to hit, as well as TJ Hockenson the highest drafted TE this year.
The Cardinals could be anything, it’s expected they’ll play quick and aggressively this year. If it works it’ll be great to watch, if not it’ll be shambolic. Kyler Murray hasn’t looked great in the off-season behind a terrible offensive line, but it’s claimed they haven’t shown anything like the way they’ll play in the regular season. They’ve got old reliable Larry Fitzgerald in the slot, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, Keesean Johnson all good young guys coming through and they added Michael Crabtree for a bit more experience in the passing game. David Johnson should have a good season too with a coach who won’t just smash him down the middle of the field. The big worry for the Cards is their defense which is beaten up and they go without their top 2 CBs tonight.
All the money has been for the Lions, the line has moved a fair bit their way. Another wait and see for me, I want to see how the Cardinals actually play.
Giants (+7) @ Cowboys : 45
These two seem to play each other early every year, and it’s usually quite a tight matchup. The Giants have said they’re starting Eli Manning while they’re “in contention” but the media will be clamouring for Daniel Jones to come in as soon as something goes wrong. Eli didn’t seem to have the arm last year so they’ve surrounded him with slot receivers for this season. Golden Tate came in, but misses through suspension so it seems it will be Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram stepping up again. They did it well when Beckham missed most of the year 2 years back. Saquon Barkley will continue as one of the best RBs in the league and he’ll be used a lot in the passing game too. Not much to say about the defense really.
The Cowboys. If you’ve read a few years of my posts then you’ll know they’re not my favourite team, so for me to say I think they’ll be very good this year is painful. But they’ve got a new offensive coordinator who should bring some new ideas to the table for Dak Prescott. I still don’t rate Dak to any high extent but he’ll be good enough and provide enough with his legs to keep this team moving. Amari Cooper came in last year and the offense took a step forward. He’s still very boom/bust but helps everyone else out and if Michael Gallup improves as he appears to have done over the summer then these two with Randall Cobb provide reliable targets. It helps that Zeke has signed for them as well, obviously having the leading rusher always helps and he’s great in the passing game too. The defense quickly became one of the best in the league last year with LVE and Jaylon Smith a fantastic LB pairing.
The Cowboys should win, they’ve won 9 of the last 12 between the two sides, but only covered 7 points three times in that run so I’m avoiding the spread.
49ers (+1) @ Buccs : 51
Is Jimmy G actually any good? He’s shown a lot in small spells, but for me it’s still unproven and his summer hasn’t exactly been very good. Honestly I’m really not sure and time will tell. The best WR when he was playing was the forgotten man Marquise Goodwin, and he’s likely the WR1 tonight with Dante Pettis who has been talked down all summer on the other side of him, the WR3? Kenrick Bourne (he led the WRs in yards last year) or rookie Deebo Samuel I guess. Everyone loves George Kittle and he was great last year, mainly with backup QBs. I want to see how well he does with Garoppolo. I’d assume well as he’s schemed so open that it’s a no brainer, but again a wait and see for me personally. The defense should move forward too adding Nick Bosa to get pressure on the opposition should help the other areas of it.
The Buccs could be the highest scoring team in the league with Bruce Arians in at HC, he plays more 4 wide receiver sets than any other coach and they’ve got a QB who will throw the ball all day long. Jameis could well lead the league in yards and interceptions this year. Mike Evans looks like he’ll be playing despite a stomach bug this week and he’ll get the main coverage which should open things for Chris Godwin on the other side who looked good last year and is expected to breakout this year. OJ Howard is a good TE to have alongside Cameron Brate who used to be Jameis’ favourite target. The defense won’t be as bad as expected either, although the secondary isn’t great they should be able to get pressure with Vita Vea and Suh there this year.
This could be the highest scoring game of the weekend and one I want a piece of. Chris Godwin anytime TD – 2.75 (Skybet) – 3 points
Steelers (+5.5) @ Patriots : 51
I don’t want the Steelers to be good. I want them to fall apart, why can’t they go back to the over-dramatic prima donna pricks of the last few years?! They’ve had a quiet and progressive off-season and more and more people are starting to realise they could be a genuine challenger this year. The main addition for them this year looks like it is Devin Bush who has been controlling the defense and calling plays already, if he’s as good as expected then it should make their defense a lot better. Offensively Juju will be taking over as the main man. I’m not entirely sure how he’ll cope with the main coverage, but people seem confident he’ll step up and as the Steelers are the kings of drafting and developing receivers James Washington should do well with Donte Moncrief filling out the WR spots for now. James Conner will get the bulk of the carries at RB again and Jaylon Samuel is there when needed as well.
The Pats. Fuck the pats. The start of the off-season had them with 1 pass catcher. Julian Edelman. They’re now entering the season with Edelman, Josh Gordon and fucking Antonio Brown (who can’t play this week) – Seriously. Sony Michel looks like he’s good to go at RB with James White, Rex Burkhead and rookie Damien Harris all there in the backfield as well. It’s becoming more well known just how good the Pats defense is as well. They’re a well rounded team. Bastards.
I actually have this as an upset with the Steelers winning. The Pats tend to start slow and while the Steelers record hasn’t been great, Tomlin is a clown, they’ve had a lot of time to work out how to beat the Pats in the opener. Should be a great game to finish off Sunday.
Vance Macdonald – 6.00 (Skybet) – 2 points
- Chiefs -3, Bills +2.5, Buccs -1 – 6/1ish – 2 points
Anytime TD scorers – all 2 points unless stated;
- Dalvin Cook – 2.05 (Redzone)
- Mark Ingram – 2.4 (Redzone)
- Justice Hill – 7.00 (Unibet)
- Chris Carson – 2.30 (Ladbrokes) – NAP – 5 points
- Chris Carson 2 or more – 8.50 (Ladbrokes)
- Chris Godwin – 2.75 (Skybet) – NB – 3 points
- Vance Macdonald – 6.00 (Skybet)
Yardage props – 2 points unless stated;
- Derrick Henry
u73.5 rushing yards – 1.83 (William Hill)u69.5 (365)
- Damien Williams o24.5 rec. yards – 1.90 (Betway)
- John Brown o37.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (WillHill)
- Frank Gore o32.5 rush yards – 1.83 (WillHill)
- George Kittle u86.5 rec. yards – 1.86 (Redzone)
Well, this went a lot longer than I expected and ended up a lot more bets than expected.
If you’ve not entered the Pigskin Pick’em come take me on here – PIGSKIN PICKEM
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Check out Sports book review who I’ll be writing for this year, as well as @MrFixitstips on twitter. Gridiron Hub where I’ve got some tips as well, @Full10yards on twitter and at Full10Yards.com – Fuck me I’m busy this season!
And finally the player props spread sheet on @GScrufTraders twitter account, immensely useful and time-saving if you’re after yardage props this season!
Thanks, lets enjoy a good night!
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