ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Week one is the best time to be a sports gambler. That’s not just because it’s the first time in months you get to put down some money on an NFL game.
When it comes down to it, betting sports is a battle between yourself and “the house”. Who’s right? Who knows more? Who has a better grasp on the league? Who knows who’s good and who isn’t? Most of the time, the answer that question is the house, the book, Vegas. In fact, it’s probably always the answer.
But if there’s ever a shot that the tables are turned, it’s in week one. Especially this week one without a preseason and limited practices. In week one, there’s very little to go on. You of course have to look at the roster, the coaching changes, the continuity, and last year’s record. But in a lot of ways, it’s a guessing game.
So if you have a better handle on the league than the book, you’ve got a fighting chance to start the year.
If you read my season preview column, some of these bets won’t come as a surprise. If you like a team for the season, you’re probably going to like them in week one.
For this column, I’ll pick about five games each week. Five will be the standard, but it’s never a smart idea to force a bet. That is, of course, unless you need to force some bets. Then the more the merrier. I’ll also pick the Bills game each week, although it won’t always be one of my best bets.
All lines will be the consensus line at the Action Network, a great site to learn more about sports gambling.
Bills -6.5 vs. New York Jets
As I mentioned, I won’t always make the Bills game a best bet. This week was too good to pass up.
I really don’t get this line. The Bills have the most continuity in the league with their head coach, both coordinators, and quarterback returning. They also added great pieces like Stefon Diggs in the offseason. The Jets traded away their best defensive player in Jamal Adams and in my opinion, will be a mess this year. These are two teams going in the opposite direction and I think it plays out that way on Sunday. Bills 27, Jets 13.
If you’re interested in some props, I like any Diggs over you can find. I’ve seen his receiving yards over/under float around the low 50’s. Sign me up. The Diggs/Allen relationship by all accounts is going great right now and I think they get the ball to Diggs a lot in week one to continue that moving forward.
Lions -2.5 vs. Bears
If you read my season preview column, this should come as no surprise. I hate the Bears this year and think they’ll be a trainwreck alternating between their two quarterbacks all season.
Kenny Golladay is doubtful to play, but I think the Lions can overcome it. Matthew Stafford was sneaky good last year when healthy, throwing for 19 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. Seven of the eight games he played last year were decided by one score. I’ll gladly take Stafford over Trubisky in crunch time.
Buccaneers/Saints over 48
C’mon, this one just seems like a shootout, doesn’t it? You’re giving me Drew Brees and Tom Brady with a whole offseason to prepare and you’re not even making me get to 50 points?
In the early weeks, I think that offenses will be able to take advantage of the lack of preparation. The tackling will be shaky at best and I think there will be a lot of high numbers this week.
The Saints always play in high scoring games to start the year. The last time 48 points weren’t scored in their season opener was 2013. They’re also 0-6 against the spread over that time frame. I’ll skip the Tampa bet and stay with the over.
Rams +3 vs. Cowboys
The Rams and the Cowboys were two of the toughest teams to get a read on last year. I think this game is a tossup and I will gladly take the field goal.
The range of outcomes for both of these teams this season is massive. The Cowboys could finally live up their lofty potential and contend. The Rams could bounce back to their 2019 NFC Championship-winning ways. Or they could both disappoint like they did last year.
The Rams will be showing off their stadium to the world, without fans, and I like them to take their home opener.
Patriots/Dolphins over 42
Once again, I’m thinking the offenses will rule week one. The Patriots lost a handful of quality defenders like Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung to COVID-opt outs.
Six of the last seven games for the Dolphins hit the over last year and four of the last six overs for the Patriots cashed.
I like my chances with at least one of Fitzmagic or MVP Cam Newton showing up. Maybe both will.
In addition to following along with my picks, you can compete against me in our WROC’s Football Pick’em for weekly and season-long prizes. You can find all of my predictions in the VIP section where you can go head-to-head with all of our station’s “VIP” picks.