ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Football is back, fans are back, and so is Feldman’s Favorites.
It’s year two of the column after grinding out a record of 63-62-7 last season. I’ve already made my preseason picks, feel free to give those a read before kickoff. After all, I did go perfect in my preseason predictions last year.
Week one of the NFL season offers a lot of opportunity for bettors. There’s plenty of unknowns to start the year, which could give you an edge over the books if you have a good feel for the league. That’s at least what we’d like to tell ourselves.
As always, the lines are the consensus lines as listed on the Action Network at the time of publication.
Bills -6.5 vs. Steelers
Highmark Stadium is going to be rocking and the Bills will put on a show. I’ve gone back and forth with this pick, but came to my conclusion earlier Saturday afternoon.
I’ve been looking at Josh Allen training camp footage (as well as attending training camp) non-stop for the last six weeks. He looks very good. On Saturday, I watched some practice footage of Ben Roethlisberger as I prepared my 6:00 broadcast. He looks like a 39-year-old man.
Now, this is obviously an over-simplification of the matchup, but it’s just the Bills’ time. Big Ben did look good in the preseason, but Allen is by far the better quarterback right now.
The Steelers have a brand-new offensive line and the Bills don’t have a brand-new anything.
Continuity, home-field advantage, and talent will win the day. Bills 31, Steelers 20.
Najee Harris over 58.5 rushing yards
That’s right, we’re putting some props in Feldman’s Favorites this year.
Ever since the Steelers’ embarrassing playoff loss to the Browns, they’ve made a concerted effort to get better at running the football.
In January, Steelers President Art Rooney II said “I would like to see us be a team that can be more consistent running the football. I think that has to be a part of the game.”
The team followed up Rooney’s challenge by taking Najee Harris to be their workhorse running back in the first round.
You can argue whether that’s a smart strategy, you can argue whether the Steelers actually need to run the football more, but you can’t argue that they’re going to try.
Rookies also tend to get undervalued in the prop market to start off the year. Here are some of the under/overs for running backs taken in a similar spot in fantasy football drafts: Antonio Gibson 62 yards, Aaron Jones 60.5, Jonathan Taylor 67.5, Joe Mixon 65.5.
If the Steelers are going to win, there’s a good chance they run the ball to try and keep Allen off the field, especially with Star Lotulelei injured and out for the game.
There’s a good chance both of these first two picks hit. I have a hard time imagining at least one of them doesn’t.
Rams -7.5 vs. Bears
Honestly, when I first saw this line I thought that it was the Bears at home and not the Rams.
You’re telling me I get Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay against Matt Nagy and Andy Dalton? And I only have to give a touchdown and the hook?
The only way this bet fails is if Aaron Donald knocks Dalton out of the game and the Bears actually put in their best quarterback.
Broncos -3 at Giants
Teddy Covers rides again. If you’ve read any sort of gambling column ever, you know that Teddy Bridgewater is a covering machine. In his career, he’s 35-13-1 against the spread. That’s a cover rate of just over 71%. Tom Brady has is the only quarterback in NFL history who has won games at a better clip than Teddy Covers covers them.
Saquan Barkley’s health is a question mark heading into week one and so is the Giants’ offensive line. Luckily for them, they get to start off the year against Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.
Daniel Jones will be harassed all game and Bridgewater will lead the Broncos to an unsexy win in their opener.
49ers -8.5 at Lions
When I picked every single game in my preseason column, I had the 49ers going 12-5 and the Lions going 2-15.
This is Kyle Shanahan’s fifth season with the 49ers and each one he hasn’t had an injury-ravaged team he’s made the Super Bowl. Well, they’re healthy to start the year and they’ll be healthy enough to destroy the Lions.
2020 record: 63-62-7
In addition to reading my weekly 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.