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Posted by on Sep 7, 2013 in Blog, Sports Betting | 4 comments

My NFL Picks: Week 1



0 WINS — 0 LOSSES — 0 PUSHES —– (+/- 0.0 units / 1 unit = $100)



NET GAIN/LOSS:  +/-  0.0



Opening weekend can be looked upon in at least two ways.

Some handicappers prefer taking a “wait and see” approach.  They view Week 1 with extreme caution.  Others not only fire away, but look at the first game(s) of the regular season as unique opportunities to exploit confusion.  While overly-cautious bettors claim there’s not enough information to make informed judgements about teams and players, that’s precisely why others insist that early season games are beatable.  After all, linesmakers are operating with the exact same uncertainties and must rely on pure speculation and market perception.

I’ve always been an aggressive early season bettor.  Based on my review of the numbers, I see no reason to change that philosophy this year.  I made 11 plays, so far.  Note that my halftime wagers will not be posted since the time frame is too short.  So, my overall W-L overall record will only reflect what I post in advance.  Be sure and check the site again Sunday AM, as I may add some late 1Q and 1H bets based on the late numbers (not everything has been released yet).

Here are my preferred picks for NFL Week 1:



Green Bay +.5 (-110) vs. San Francisco FIRST QUARTER — $330 to win $300

I’m apparently the only person in the universe who has caught on to this trend, which is San Francisco is a lousy first quarter team.  49ers have proven to be a miserable bet in the first 15 minutes.  They’ve been favored in this spot most weeks (last season), but managed to cover only once at the end of the first quarter during their last seven games.  My theory – QB Kaepernick loosens up and plays better as the game goes along.  But his early numbers (and those of the 49er offense) have been awful– losing 3-7 to Baltimore, losing 0-10 to Atlanta, losing 7-14 to Green Bay, losing 0-3 to Arizona, losing 0-14 to Seattle, beating New England 7-0 (despite three fumbles!), and tied 0-0 to Miami.  That’s just 17 total points in SEVEN games — or an average of LESS THAN 3 POINTS IN THE FIRST QUARTER during that span.  And they are still laying points in the first quarter?  No one else seems to be aware of these stats — as line is exactly where it would be for any other typical -4.5 team (game line).  Great example of public loving the favorite but ignoring the numbers which suggest a slow-starting team.

Cincinnati TEAM TOTAL OVER 19.5 (-120) vs. Chicago — $220 to win $200

NY Giants TEAM TOTAL OVER 23 (-125) vs. Dallas — $330 to win $300


Cincinnati / Chicago GAME OVER 41.5 — $330 to win $300

Total opened up at 41-41.5 and has increased to 42 in some spots.  I think that’s where it ends up.  These two teams have played a string of UNDERs according to the latest trends, with Cincinnati going UNDER in 8 of its last 9 games (!) and Chicago also going under in 5 of last 7 at home.  That’s created one of the lowest totals on the board, this week, with some justification.  But what I see is an overreaction based on three outdated bits of info — (1) the UNDER trend which I’m not sure really matters here, (2) some misconceptions about the Chicago defense which I’m not so sure will be as good as in years past, and (3) some serious offensive weapons for both offenses, especially Cincy.  We’ve got more seasoned (and healthy) quarterbacks coming into a fresh year (with Cutler and Dalton now veterans with their respective teams), and both squads have lots of offensive weapons.  Moreover, Chicago is expected to now play a more up tempo offense with its new head coach Trestman.  Urlacher no longer leading the vaulted and aging Bears’ defense, which could hurt the defensive numbers especially early in the season as this team looks for a new leader.  I see this as a nice OVER play countering public perceptions about these two teams which I think are wrong.


Arizona / St. Louis GAME OVER 41 —   $330 to win $300

I tend to like betting on veteran QBs early in the season, linking them with OVER money.  Here’s another game where we have two offenses led by experienced signal callers, both with something to prove.  QB Bradford hopes to finally get through a regular season healthy and comes off a productive last season which stayed under the radar of anyone noticing.  He enjoyed his best year (stats wise and win wise) and now for the first time comes into the new season with the same offensive coordinator as the year before (his first three seasons were all with new systems, creating some early confusion).  Meanwhile, QB Palmer must be thrilled to get out of dysfunctional Oakland and get what is likely to be one final opportunity.  Dome games are carpet are always attractive OVER wagers for me anyway, and with signs of some improving offenses, I look for points to score.  Here’s another pick that’s counter to some ugly trends which favor the UNDER, but those numbers occurred back while Arizona ran through a roulette wheel of atrocious QBs and the Rams had all kinds of injuries at their skill positions.  Add reports that Arizona’s defensive secondary, with two new free agents signed (uncertainty as to who they will perform), plus the Cards Pro Bowl MLB Washington on suspension, means St. Louis should find some holes in the defense.  I’ll buck the recent trends here and go OVER one of the lowest totals on the board.


NY Giants / Dallas GAME OVER 48.5 —   $220 to win $200

NY Giants +3 vs. Dallas FIRST HALF (-115) — $440 to win $400

Here’s a matchup where I think recent trends actually *do* matter because the coaching and personnel is essentially unchanged.  QBs Romo and Manning more than capable of putting up plenty of yards and points.  Six of last eight games between these two have eclipsed 50+ points and some of those were night games — note this is Sunday night game.  That’s another factor — as night games seem to run a little higher scoring on average.  Add the unfortunate NYG running back injuries and I think that makes Manning now have to throw even more — and he has plenty of targets to chose from.  In fact, I predict the Giints offense is going to put up some record passing numbers this year.  No question that Dallas is loaded at WR and TE and should also be successful moving the ball.  There’s not much that’s impressive about either defense.  I’m a little surprised this game isn’t lined up there with some of the other three high totals, well above 50.  Bet this total early, as the number will inch up by game time…..Also like Giants to keep this within a FG in first half so I recommend a first half wager.  Dallas winless against NYG in home stadium and rarely play well in 1H in any game.  Too much to ask for a team with so much uncertainly to lay this number in first half.  Solid bet here on Giants as the play.  Also tempting to take NYG +3.5 for game.  But better play is the fist 30 minutes capturing a push on the most key numbers in NFL betting.


New England / Buffalo GAME UNDER 51 — $550 to win $500

New England / Buffalo FIRST HALF UNDER 27 — $550 to win $500

Here’s a wonderful contrarian wagering opportunity.  The entire rest of the world is all on the OVER, looking at last year’s two high scoring games (with what amounts to almost two different teams — new coach and offense in Buffalo now, plus New England some turnover in skill positions).  Better yet, the total moved from 49.5 up to 51.  The OVER is an absolute sucker play.  First, we all know Buffalo is a mess at QB and is starting a nobody named EJ Manuel (who?).  There’s no way a first-year head coach is going to put the game in the rookie’s hands and put him in the pocket 50+ times.  Forget the no-huddle offense, that’s not going to be a factor.  Buffalo will need to slow the pace of this game down, so look for RB CJ Spller to get a shitload of carries.  For New England, it appears Brady’s favorite target TE Gronkowski will not play, which now leaves the passing game down to a couple of flunkies and rookies.  Reports are that RB Ridley to get a load of carries, especially if New England builds a lead early.  I just don’t see the shootout happening, unless there are several miscues and defensive scores.  Any handicapper who likes the OVER in this game is someone I have no respect for whatsoever.  Bypass betting the UNDER if you wish, but anyone who advises betting OVER a high number with this inexperienced personnel at skill positions deserves to be lit on fire…..Love this wager just as much in the first half, which should be more conservative than the 2H, when mistakes could create a blowout.


Carolina +3.5 vs. Seattle GAME —   $330 to win $300

Carolina +.5 (-120) vs Seattle FIRST QUARTER — $220 to win $200

Another contrarian anti-public play.  Many bettors already circled Seattle as a Super Bowl team.  Not so fast.  While I certainly respect what Seahawks have accomplished in 2012, they won’t be catching anyone by surprise this season.  This appears to be a bad opening spot, with a West Coast team flying East through three time zones, playing off its normal surface (natural grass field in Charlotte, as opposed to that horrible rubber grass in Seattle and elsewhere), against what’s certainly a motivated team many think is on the rise.  I see this game closer to a toss up, and look for a close game.  The hook on the +3 is more than enough to entice me into taking a very live home dog.  Don’t be shocked to see an outright upset here…..I also like this dog in the first quarter, getting the half point at a fair price.  Seahawks are a much better home team (8-0 last season ATS) than road team, just 3-5 ATS in road games.  And now, they are laying points, which wasn’t common for them last year.


Washington -3.5 vs. Philadelphia GAME — $550 to win $500

A baffling line.  What in the hell are people looking at?  This is a MNF game played at Washington, which is supposedly worth three points..  Yet, the line is listed at 3.5, which tells us this would be close to a PICK on a neutral field?  Huh?  Run that by me again?  Eagles come off a horrible 4-12 season with a new head coach who has never been in the pros, with a new (untested) offensive system.  He’s playing versus a 10-win team playoff team from last season, with a team some say could win the NFC East.  Skins QB Griffin is the NFL’s most exciting player, and even when he was injured, Redskins offense still produced solid numbers and a string of wins.  Why is this line not at least Washington -6?  Redskins were 5-1 in division play and won 7 of last 8 games last year regular season.  Now, they open on MNF.  Pretty good spot for the favorite laying a small number.  Eagles will eventually improve, but not right out of the gate in first game on the road.


6 PT. TEASER:  Indianapolis -3.5 / Pittsburgh -1 — $550 to win $500

Everyone is fading Oakland early, with good reason.  Horrible organization, clueless head coach, lack of leadership, weak at skill positions, and a dumb QB starting for Raiders (Pryor).  Don’t put too much stock in pre-season, but Raiders starting units played terribly.  Indianapolis coming off surprising first-year playoff appearance with plenty of talent and leadership.  At home, versus outmatched team, Colts should manage an easy cover with number teased down….Revenge game for Steelers, opening at home versus Tennessee, which upset Steelers last season.  Shouldn’t happen this time, with healthier team and season opener.  I look for Pittsburgh to struggle this season for a lot of reasons.  But they should have more than enough talent and motivation to cover this teased number, which means just win the game.


6 PT. TEASER:  Indianapolis -3.5 / New England -3.5 — (BEST BET) $660 to win $600

See Indianapolis Above….Patriots should be able to create enough confusion for an untested QB making his first start and a new offensive system to lay -3.5 (number teased from -9.5).  See write-up on New-England-Buffalo above.




DALLAS COWBOYS UNDER 8.5 WINS (-125) —– Wagering $750 to win $600
NEW YORK GIANTS OVER 9 WINS (-105) —– Wagering $1,050 to win $1,000
GREEN BAY PACKERS UNDER 10.5 WINS (-115) —– Wagering $575 to win $500
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS UNDER 7.5 WINS (+105) *BEST BET* —– Wagering $1,500 to win $1,575
NEW ORLEANS OVER 9 WINS (-165) —– Wagering $1,650 to win $1,000
ST. LOUIS RAMS OVER 7.5 WINS (-110) —– Wagering $440 to win $400
BALTIMORE RAVENS OVER 8.5 WINS (-110) —– Wagering $1,100 to win $1,000
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS OVER 8.5 WINS (-110) —– Wagering $880 to win $800
OAKLAND RAIDERS UNDER 5.5 (-180) — Wagering $1,800 to win $1,000



98 WINS – 87 LOSSES – 6 PUSHES —– (+ 34.6 units / 1 unit = $100)



NET GAIN:  +$3,460




  1. Good analysis and a great read. I have Washington -3.5 as by far the best side this week, with Carolina +3.5 a distant second. I don’t really look at the O/Us but you are spot on on Chi/Cin. Happy football season!

  2. Nolan, you never read the Ten Commandments?

    Thou shalt not tease without gaining the Trey.

    Would love to book your teasers…

  3. Best wishes for a great season. I like the WASH pick too, but I find picking O/U to be very difficult, especially early in the season.

  4. wouldn’t -120 make it 240 to win 200 and -125 make it 375 to win 300?

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