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Posted by on Sep 8, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

NFL 2019: Week #1 Picks



This year in my posts and wagers, I’m doing something different.  I’m controlling an “investment fund.”

Several thrillseeking investors bought into my NFL investment pool, which will be used as a wagering bankroll.  My investors posted amounts — ranging between $50 up to $1,000.  This grand sum will be my starting bankroll for the regular season, which will (hopefully) last all the way through the Super Bowl, and if past results are any indication of future returns, we might also realize a profit.

The name of my private investment group is BD/SM, which stands for Balls Deep / Sports Management.  Not for the timid.

As in years past, I’ll post my write-ups and recommendations here on this page, expected to be up at the site by late Saturday night.  To investors, fans, lurkers, and enemies alike, I suggest checking in at midnight Saturday night PST which will have my latest updates.  It’s also suggested you follow me on Facebook, where I might post some late plays, including second-half wagers.

IMPORTANT:  At the end of this report, please see the member consortium of the BD/SM investment group, along with the dollar amount(s) invested.  If you see errors or your name is not listed and should be, then please-mail me privately at —

Moreover, I have invested $200 of the total fund into a season-long “pick the winner with no pointspread” contest which is run by someone many of us know based in Philadelphia.  I will post my plays in that contest in each weekly report so investors can check the progress of that speculative endeavor, as well.



Wins — Losses — Pushes          0 — 0 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   TBD

Current Bankroll:   TBD

Last Week’s Results:          + /- $0


Unfortunately, an injury affects the betting action this week.  Not with the players.  But with me.  Last weekend, I lost the use of my left hand which is now engulfed in a cast.  So, I’m typing this report with one hand — not easy for someone who does lots of writing.  My point in telling you this — is not to gain sympathy — but to convey that this will be a somewhat abbreviated report.  I normally handicap every game in full, in writing.  That won’t be as easy for the next week, or two without the use of half my fingers on the keys.  So, please don’t think I’m cutting corners in today’s report.  Here we go:  Wagering $800 to win $700 in seven bets.

This Week’s Wagers:

Atlanta +3.5 at Minnesota (at -110) — Laying $110 to win $100

Comments:  Several trends favor Minnesota as a home favorite here, including Vikings’ strong ATS record at home combined with Atlanta’s stinky recent road history.  However, Falcons might be the better team at the moment, certainly true on offense.  Falcons will get to play 12 of 16 games inside a dome this season, which plays to the experience of their skill positions and sets them up for favorable advantages given their strong history indoors.  I also like QB Ryan over QB Cousins, even though both very posted similar stats last season.  Gamebreaker WR Jones is expected to start according to late reports, so that likely explains the line drop (in some spots) from +4 down to +3.5  I think Jones even at 80 percent is well worth the half point, even around those sensitive key numbers in the 3-4 range.  In what looks to be a close matchup on paper and in coaching, I’ll take the hook on the 3 and grab the points.  Key in this game will be Atlanta running the ball.  Rushing “attack” was dreadful last year (ranked 29th) due in part to injuries.  Falcons now come into the season fully healthy with five first-round draft picks on OL, which tells me this unit should show improvement to go with a strong passing game.  Vikings also have a league-high 12 rookies on their roster, including a few new starters.  Look for the experienced Falcons to stick with the home favorites for 60 minutes and get the road cover, if not the outright upset win.

Buffalo +3 at NY Jets (at -120) — Laying $120 to win $100

Comments:  This looks to be a pick ’em game in talent, with the customary +3 points given to the home team.  However, Buffalo destroyed NY Jets at home last season (one of only two road wins), which I think gives the young Bills some confidence that this is a division opponent they can beat.  Sometimes, outmatched teams don’t give the full effort when a loss seems imminent, but Buffalo and NY Jets certainly understand this game could set the direction for the season and show who is most likely (if anyone) to challenge New England’s divisional dominance.  I like Buffalo for a few reasons — namely QB Allen’s scrambling ability combined with some questions about NY Jets defense and secondary under (another) new DC, this time, Gregg Williams who seems to be with a new team every year.  Week #1 divisional underdogs are an impressive 11-4-2 the last four seasons, which bodes well for the visitor.  NY Jets are 0-4-1 last five homes games.  New coach Adam Gase was 0-3-1 ATS when coaching against Bills with Miami.  I also like RB McCoy being cut from the Buffalo roster, who was arguably the least effective, highest-paid RB in the league.  Both teams should be interesting to watch.  I’ll take the FG and lay double juice to -120.

Miami +7 vs. Baltimore (at -120) — Laying $120 to win $100 

Comments:  Why the hell is Baltimore laying a touchdown on the road to anyone?  This team has major uncertainties on offense, especially at QB.  I’ve seen QB Jackson ranked as low as dead last among NFL starters.  While I don’t share the level of deep pessimism, the Ravens are still a one-dimensional team.  Ravens wideouts are among the league’s weakest.  However, Baltimore has relied on a heavy rushing game, including Jackson’s legs.  Miami’s few strengths include the pass defense so look for Baltimore to keep it on the ground.  I think this plays into a low-scoring game where points could be at a premium.  So, the +7 looks like a gift.  Valid concerns about what shape Miami will be in, which is in a complete rebuilding phase with new coaches in every area.  Moreover, Miami starter might be the weakest QB in the NFL (poor leader, weak arm, no mobility — other than that, he’s terrific!).  Fynny thing is, I could be talking about either Fitzpatrick or Rosen here.  I’m counting on the home humidity, some genuine energy in Miami for the first time in a while, and perhaps some Baltimore mistakes to keep the Dolphins in this game.  Taking yet another dog.

Tampa Bay -1 vs. San Francisco (at -110) — Laying $110 to win $100

This is more of an anti-San Francisco play than anything else.  First, QB Garoppolo hasn’t started a meaningful game in like….forever.  He hasn’t taken a snap since 2017 when all the games were pretty much against bad teams when coaches were playing for draft order.  This is a weak team, unproven in virtually every area.  The offensive line is average, at best.  Defense doesn’t pressure — this unit had just six (SIX!) takeaways in 16 games last season, worst of any team in 18 years.  You don’t fix those glaring problems with a 27-year-old highly paid QB making just his 11th NFL start.   Oh, and the 49ers get to travel 3,500 miles for an early start in the Florida heat.  Tampa Bay meanwhile, gets the favorable home spot, lays a small number, gets DT Suh on the defensive front as the top free-agent signing, and (I believe) has much better coaching.  Bruce Arians taking this job was a great move for the franchise.  I also like DC Todd Bowles,  who I expect will get more out of that unit than many people are expecting.  Reasonable number to lay here, even with QB Winston’s storied troubles as a pro.  This might be a better system for him, certainly with better coaches, and he faces one of the least intimidating defenses in the NFL in his home opener.  Taking the small home favorite.

Tennessee +5.5 vs. Cleveland (at -110) — Laying $110 to win $100

Another big overreaction to hype.  I love fading hype.  Sure, Cleveland will be a fun team to watch this season.  They are finally heading in the right direction and may have a winning season.  But that’s not what handicapping is all about.  We want to go contrary to those perceptions and take value —  and in this matchup, the points are clearly the more attractive team.  Titans are coming off the better season at 9-7 to Browns 7-8-1.  Titans also closed down the stretch with the NFL’s top running game — RB Henry 135 YPG last six games.  Tennessee should be able to run the ball here and keep this within the margin.  Admittedly, I’m always wary about backing any QB Mariota-led team on the road (he’s dismal on the road versus home).  But Mariota won’t be asked to win the game alone.  I think people expect too much out of the Browns, especially this early.  Tennessee has a better than average defense, a really good secondary, and asking the Browns to cover what seems to be a big number is a prospect I’ll gladly fade.  Taking the Titans and looking for the outright upset.

Detroit -2.5 vs. Arizona (at -120) — Laying $120 to win $100

Rare for me to bet a road favorite, but this is a good spot for the far-more experienced team and roster of key starters.  This is a rebuilding phase for Cardinals and like Miami, they will have home-field and fresh coaching staff, with a new starting QB.  Thing was, Miami was getting +7.  Here, we will lay less than a field goal.  New Cardinal coach Kingsbury is expected to produce fireworks on offense reminiscent from his Texas Tech days, and he might do that in time.  But in their first game with so many question marks, I don’t think we’ll see that for some time.  Cardinals are also missing their best defensive player Peterson due to suspension fo 6 games, plus two starting CBs, which will allow an experienced Lions team some opportunities.  QB Stafford has reliable receiving weapons with WR Golladay, WR Jones and WR Amendola along with top draft pick TE Hockenson.  Detroit won in this identical spot last year, winning by two touchdowns.  Probably just as much a mismatch at this stage of the season.  Hard to write this sentence and keep a straight face but Lions have an advantage at virtually every aspect of this matchup.

Indianapolis +6.5 at LA Chargers (at -110) — Laying  $110 to win $100

I’m taking the underdogs with the major chip on their shoulders after (now retired) Luck’s disappearing act, which now leaves QB Brissett in charge and under center. Brissett quietly improved and was already widely considered a more than capable backup.  Now thrust into a system that was projected as a playoff contender, I look for a major statement game bere from a very well-coached team, playing an opponent with minimal home support and a reputation for being soft.  Chargers are plagued with some key injuries, a RB holdout, and perhaps a spot where they might be a bit overconfident taking on a team perceived as significantly weaker with change at QB.  Thanks to Stephen Nover for also pointing out San Diego-Carson-Los Angeles has lost three straight season openers.   Colts were getting +7, which was a major gift.  I missed that generous number, but still think the dogs are worth betting at +6.5  Solid live dog here I think capable of winning outright.


Other Games and Thoughts:

PHILA laying -10 to WASH looks about right.  Wanted to bet WASH in some early games, people forgetting Redskins won 7 games last season and collapsed down the stretch because they had 25 players on IR at seasons end, most of any team, and were basically starting Billy Kilmer at QB.   Love WASH to make move about midseason as a strong play on team.  But not this week, with awful QB Keenum getting the start.  Highly favored Eagles should be able to name the score and make a statement here.  I just won’t lay double digits in road division games.

JAX getting generous +3.5 is clearly the right side of the KC matchup.  Way too much is expected of KC after a marvelous 2018 season.  However, their porous defense is still a serious concern.  KC did outscore just about everyone last season and they could post similar numbers.  But here on the road, in the Florida heat, facing NFL’s best defense statistically, and then LAYING MORE THAN A FG is just a horrible spot for the favorite.  Anyone who bet JAX at this number can be tattoed instantly as a sucker.  You might not like JAX, but KC is the worst bet on the board this week.  For idiots only.

LAR laying -1 to -2 on the road (lots of road favorites!) is another trap game.  Not sure about CAR coming off a down year.  Here’s an ideal statement game for the underdog.  Just wish I was getting a little more points-wise with the Panthers.  So, this ranks as a pass.  LAR looked pretty woeful in their two road games at the end of last season.  Let’s see if that decline was just due to step up in class.  Interesting game to watch, but I want no part of betting it.

I really do like CINCY plus 9.5 at SEA.  Bengals collapsed down the stretch last season after starting out 5-2.  Same lineup of mediocrity returns, but there’s enough talent to cover this high number.  Seattle overachieved las season given the roster of players.  Now, more is expected.  Accordingly, I think this line is a little high.  I’d go with a 7.5.  Probably should bet this game, but with other more attractive options will pass.  Something to be said for not having to sweat QB Antony Dalton to cover the spread for us.

I love DAL to roll over the weak NYG, but a few trends keep me off this game — divisional dogs in Week #1, NYG-DAL games often being close, DAL relatively poor home ATS record.  DAL should dominate both sides of the line of scrimmage.  Hard to see where NYG have any advantages.  I considered teasing DAL down to -1.  That’s probably the optimal play if you wager on this game.  Nover likes the UNDER here, which I agree is probably best total on the board.

NWE plays PIT.  I don’t have money on it, so I don’t care.  Disgusted with that prick WR A  Brown getting signed by Patriots.  Disgusting.  Hope his season ends on first play.

HOU at NOR…before wagering on Saints and laying points remember that NOR often starts season dreadfully slow.  Don’t know if it’s the complexity of offense, or the heat, or whatever, but NOR is a terrible Sept. team as a favorite.  Might be wise to play visiting HOU here to keep it closer than a TD.

I’m likely playing DEN on MNF and will post late action on Facebook.  OAK looks to be a fade with all the distractions and mess of a team, right now.  DEN gets Flacco under center for the first time.  Hard to see how this will turn out, but the first week might be a good spot to bet the slightly-favored Broncos.  Another division road favorite.  Have to be careful with these.  If it’s -2 surely a bet, but if this moves to -3, will pass.



Season Record To-Date:  0-0-0

Week #1 Picks:

Green Bay over Chicago

Tennessee over Cleveland

Baltimore over Miami

Atlanta over Minnesota

Buffalo over NY Jets

Philadelphia over Washington

LA Rams over Carolina

Jacksonville over Kansas City

Indianapolis over San Diego

Seattle over Cincinnati

Dallas over NY Giants

Detroit over Phoenix

Tampa over San Francisco

New England over Pittsburgh

New Orleans over Houston

Denver over Oakland



200. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels (payment pending)
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
51. — George Wattman



1 Comment

  1. “Why the hell is Baltimore laying a touchdown on the road to anyone? ”

    They aren’t laying a touchdown on the road to anyone, they’re laying a touchdown on the road to Miami, a team that’s obviously tanking this year in a way that would make Derek Jeter blush. I don’t think Miami should properly be considered an NFL team this year, and comparisons to the Detroit or Cleveland teams of yore have already been made. Myself, I think that’s a little premature, but while that level of performance would surprise me, it sure wouldn’t shock me.

    All that said, there is a number that would get me to back Miami, but 7 ain’t it.

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