Thanks to Trubisky and Nagy, NFLbets forces bets on Rams and Jets in week 1

Sunday, 08 September 2019 10:26 EST

See, now this is why proper NFL bettors stick to their own rules. Mentally, NFLbets is as tormented about betting any game in NFL week 1 as we are flabbergasted by Mitchell Trubisky’s ineptitude, Matt Nagy’s colorless play-calling and Tarik Cohen’s subsequent invisibility out of the backfield.

Our response to totally whiffing on the Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears TNF season opener, i.e. to take a couple more swings in opening week, is not at all recommended. The easier of our two makeup bets – just two; again, let’s not go nuts here – may not even go off:

Los Angeles Rams -2 at Carolina Panthers

Betting on a home underdog particularly in week 1 has, until very recently, been thought to be a no-no. But as Bill Simmons reported on a recent podcast, a study showed that home ’dogs are just 49% ATS in recent years, essentially reducing these bets to (imagine this) talent winning out.

And surely we’ll admit that the L.A. Rams have talent to spare. Despite the reputation, Jared Goff led a statistically top-10 offense last season; admittedly, these stats were distorted by the single 105-point game against the Kansas City Chiefs and the numbers decidedly tailed off with Cooper Kupp’s injury. But Kupp is back, and fireworks are expected from Todd Gurley again despite the RB’s own mysterious apparently lingering injury of late 2018/early ’19.

As for the defense, well, you know about the defense.

On the other side are the Carolina Panthers, not dramatically reworked from the 7-9 SU squad of last season. Much will hinge on two-way offensive threat Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton. One never feels especially great about betting against these two – especially in fantasy football, eh…? – but it’s tough to side with Newton coming off massive surgery for yet another undefined ailment.

You know what the record is for QBs in their first game after double shoulder surgery? Okay, that stat doesn’t exist because … *it’s never freakin’ happened before*. You really want to cover that against the defending NFC champs? Hell, if you like the Rams as bona fide Super Bowl LIV contenders as does NFLbets, you should be covering them to win this game by a field goal or more, Newton at 100% or no. Take the Los Angeles Rams -2 at Carolina.

Buffalo Bills +2 at New York Jets, over/under 41 points

Why is NFLbets crazy for believing in the Jets offense in 2019? The Jets front office did some nice work in the offseason in reshaping a bottom-5 unit. LeVeon Bell was naturally the headline-grabber (though the deal LB C.J. Moseley signed was actually bigger money), but Bell will now be joined in the backfield by hybrid HB/WR Ty Montgomery and the returning Bilal Powell.

Though Josh Darnold’s rookie season was mostly known for the gobs of interceptions, at least the dude has confidence to chuck the ball to spare – and he’s got lots more viable targets for 2019 including Jamison Crowder and Josh Bellamy along with Montgomery and a nice under-the-radar acquisition in TE Ryan Griffin, who nabbed 50 catches in 2016 and has a lifetime 11.0 yards per reception average. The real key to any success Darnold may enjoy in ’19, though, will be buoyed by newly-acquired center Ryan Kalil; after giving up 30 sacks plus untold hurries in 13 games, Kalil by default to lift this OL to the next level.

NFLbets is liking this Jets offense so much alone that we’re already ready to jump on the over. But what about those Buffalo Bills, another low-watt offense in 2018?

Darnold’s counterpart in Buffalo, like rookie Josh Allen, was just about as fearless as the Jets’ new guy, but far less successful with 28 sacks taken in 12 games to go along with 12 interceptions against just 10 TDs. Yeesh.

So Buffalo's offseason was even more action-packed (and expensive) than the Jets’. The Bills will be paying out some $23.35 million next year on new offensive linemen (Mitch Morse from Kansas City, Spencer Long from the Jets, Ty Nsekhe from Washington, Jon Feliciano from Oakland); $16.25 million combined on WRs Cole Beasley from Dallas and John Brown from Baltimore; and $9.25 million on TEs Tyler Kroft from Cincinnati and Lee Smith from Oakland.

Maybe we’re filing this under “So Crazy It Just Might Work”, but if the Bills can’t manage to improve on their sad-ass 16.8 ppg of 2018, well, their start to gambling in ’19 is well worse than NFLbets’: They’re already down, likesay, $48.85 million.

Which team actually wins this game? NFLbets ain’t nutty enough to pick this outcome for money, but we figure that two teams that scored 51 and 50 in this matchup last year both bringing better offenses this time ’round should smoke that 41-point over/under. Take the over on an O/U of 41 points for Bills-Jets.