Best Bets of the week

New York Jets +3 at Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football starring the savior, Greg Joseph

Thursday, 20 September 2018 14:06 EST

Jesus loves football and bettingBetting on Thursday Night Football is the worst. It’s not just the “Color Rush” uniforms though, trust NFLbets, it is that as well. It’s running these things at 9pm ET (How much do we drink? And when?), it’s the games broadcasting only on the NFL Network with all that associated pompousness and cheesery, it’s the short week giving insufficient preparation time for both players and NFL bettors…

And in this particular Thursday night game, NFLbets fears that all contributions by the other 105 dudes on offense, defense, special teams and the bench in this game will be made irrelevant. All the hype, the focus, the pre-game analysis will come down to a guy who couldn’t stick with quite possibly a sub-.500 team, who was cut in favor of the competitor he outperformed, who averaged just a 70% success rate in college.

Ladies and gentlemen, our savior: Placekicker Greg Joseph!

See, all jokes, kidding and Hard Knocks references aside, the Cleveland Browns – whose surprisingly decent-looking Color Rush uniform is nearly solid brown, thereby bringing not so much a rush as a mellow buzz – are a pretty attractive favorite versus the New York Jets at home.

But that point spread of Browns -3? If NFLbets were paranoid (Who’s paranoid? We’re not paranoid!), we saw this pure trolling of the bookmakers’ parts. Seriously? You’re gonna send this assuming Florida Atlantic University alum out to the slathering media and tell him all he must do is halt a 2-42-1 “skid” and snap a 19-game winless “streak” is not to choke where so many Browns have so ingloriously, culminating with the two wins ex-Browns PK Zane Gonzalez left on the field in 2018?

Seriously, this should be a slam dunk for the NFL bettor: The Browns’ record ATS over the past three seasons isn’t nearly as bad as it is SU: Going back to 2015, they’re 15-33-1 ATS versus a pathetic 4-44-1 – and you gotta love the easy two wins ATS they’ve strung together this season.

Trends for betting on Thursday Night Football games also favor Cleveland: Going back to 2016, favorites on TNF have gone 20-10-1, over 11% better than average. Plus, the TNF home team has gone 21-10 SU and 22-8-1 ATS – a success rate of over 72.5%. Liking those odds yet…?

For the Jets, the defense seems stout after catching Matthew Stafford on a bad week and facing the low-watt Miami Dolphins and … no, forget it. Look, no matter how awesome one believes Sam Darnold is, this New York Jets team just has too many missing pieces. The number three receiver is Terrelle Pyror, who was cast aside in turn by the Oakland Raiders, Washington and Cleveland, all way too needy to be ditching a worthwhile pass-catcher.

The New York Jets are, in 2018, San Francisco 49ers East. Simply put, the Browns are better right now.

NFLbets therefore is putting all boogeymen, intangibles and superstitious stuff aside – except our currently unerring and eternal faith in Greg Joseph, long may He kick! We’re staying on this horse and advising NFLbettors to take the Cleveland Browns -3 vs the New York Jets. Just remember that this is Thursday Night Football, so please bet responsibly, i.e. less.

With out without Josh Gordon, Patriots -6½ at Detroit looks really good regardless

Thursday, 20 September 2018 11:23 EST

After the Jacksonville Jaguars upset the New England Patriots in week 2, this site is once again taking a crack at predicting a Patriots win ATS in week three. Unlike the extremely close odds of last week (Jaguars +2), this week the Detroit Lions are 6½-point underdogs at home against New England.

New England Patriots Offense Versus Detroit Lions Defense

New England Patriots betting logoOne team’s problem is another team’s solution … or something like that. Prior to their week 3 matchup, the Patriots acquired Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns, who had ended their tumultuous relationship with the receiver. If Gordon starts in week 3, he will add a new dimension that the Patriots’ offensive toolkit lacks. While Phillip Dorsett is one important deep threat that New England has, they were lacking another, as Chris Hogan is better used on the inside. Adding Gordon puts Hogan back to where he can succeed while giving Tom Brady two threats for the price of one acquisition. If Gordon plays, look for the Patriots’ passing game to carry them to victory against the Lions.

Detroit does not have the defense I suggested they did when I predicted the Lions to rout the New York Jets. In fact, the Jets routed the Lions, 48-10 ATS – on paper and on field are two different things, who knew? Even though they have good numbers (they currently out-sack the Patriots 8 to 3), the Lions don’t get those key stops. Watching them play, it becomes evident that they lack the big-time playmakers required to end drives and create turnovers.

While Detroit has a solid defense, if they cannot tighten up and make those crucial stops, they will start the season 0-3. Some players to look for that could potentially make impacts include S Tavon Wilson, who currently leads Detroit in total tackles with 12. With him is CB Quandre Diggs, who leads the CB group with 1 interception and 9 total tackles. Diggs will match up with either Gordon or Dorsett and try to shut them down.

Detroit Lions Offense Versus New England Patriots Defense

Detroit Lions retro alternate logoMatthew Stafford improved in week 2, slightly. After getting blown out 48-17 to start the season, you can only go up, right? Stafford completed 27 of 46 passes for a 58% completion percentage and threw a ghastly 4 interceptions to start out the season. In week 2, he threw no interceptions and completed 34 of 53 passes for a 64% completion percentage. While not stellar by any means, any improvement at all is huge for the Lions, as they live and die by the successes and failures of Stafford.

In a surprising twist, one of the Lions’ best weapons in week 2 was second-ear player Kenny Golloday, making 6 catches for 89 yards and scoring one touchdown in the process. This continues his breakout season from week 1, when he was one of few bright spots in catching 7 passes for 114 yards. This kid is good, and he will be a big factor in a Detroit Lions win.

The Patriots defense is boring. Not because they’re bad, they’re just a machine. They choke out offenses because the system they have in place works so well. A very good point of proof of this is Dont’a Hightower, who is not doing well at all this season, with zero sacks and only 6 total tackles. Yet even with one of their highest-paid defensive players having a bad start to the season, the Patriots are still 1-1. Even though they did lose to the Jaguars, it wasn’t primarily the defense’s fault. The offense only put up 20 points, which is not a way to win NFL games. If the Patriots’ defense can continue to use their system effectively and Stephon Gilmore continues to be sensational at CB, they should pull out a win against the Lions.

New England -6½ at Detroit, over/under 52 points: The picks

This one’s pretty cut-and-dried: Take the New England Patriots -6½ at Detroit. New England just has a better roster up and down the lineup than Detroit does. Barring any major collapse, they should easily be able to outscore the Lions by a touchdown or more. As for the over/under, the Patriots defense did not do well last week, and Stafford can do damage deep if they falter. We suggest taking the over on an O/U of 52 points.

Best bets, week 2: You just gotta take advantage of beatdogs, insane Pittsburgh Steelers fans

Sunday, 16 September 2018 11:42 EST

For week 2, NFLbets has already tipped NFL bettors off to backing the New England Patriots at Jacksonville and the Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but here’s a handful bets to make on Sunday’s games.

Pittsburgh Steelers suck jokeKansas City Chiefs +4 (down from +5) at Pittsburgh Steelers. Thank you, Pittsburgh Steelers fans for driving this line down! Also, are you insane? Undying loyalty to your team is cute and all that, but you must’ve snuck a peak at the week 1 box scores not involving your non-Browns beating team. You must’ve heard the way NFL talking heads are tell you your guys are now 12-18-1 without Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown all in the game?

And if you’d put down that copy of the 1977 NFL Almanac for a second, you might look up “2018 Kansas City Chiefs offense,” quite possibly destined to be the NFL’s highest-scoring team in the league. While y’all are all titillated by replacing Bell with James Connor – and you’ll certainly marvel to a nice stat line from him this week against a pretty weak Chiefs run D – Kansas City’s bringing real gamebreakers like Tyreke Hill and Kareem Hunt. Which of your guys are going to stop them? And you’re throwing money at this team right now?

None of the last eight teams to start an NFL season with two away games has gone 2-0. NFLbets says that happens this week. We’d take the Kansas City Chiefs to win SU at Pittsburgh at +170 and definitely take the Chiefs +4.


Sexy Chargers fanLos Angeles Chargers -7½ at Buffalo Bills. Here’s a simple question: Where are the Bills points going to come from? Philip Rivers’s Chargers were good for over 22 points per game last season and though early on, that feels like a decent benchmark for the 2018 team. So say the Chargers score three touchdowns. The Bills can thus count on a few points from … Josh Allen, rushed into his first game as a starting QB in the NFL? Um…

Look, until something changes, any bet against the Buffalo Bills for the remainder of 2018 is in play. The 7½ points the Chargers are giving up must be considered child’s play for the clever NFL bettor, who’s obviously going to take the Los Angeles Chargers -7½ at Buffalo. Hell, the only thing keeping us from figuring on a 30-6 game and taking the under on an O/U of 42½ (down from 44½) is the very realistic possibility of another awesome 47-3 Bills game.


Gurley watching: Two awesome player props to bet as Rams RB eats Cardinals’ lunch. It’s a tough week for the NFL’s beatdogs, but a potentially lucrative one for NFL bettor. (Not to mention for the Los Angeles Rams, who drew two of the NFL’s worst three teams to start the season.)

Even though we reckon the Rams should take this game by two touchdowns going away, 12½ points is a lot to cover. Instead, we’re looking at a pair of player props involving Todd Gurley. The over/under in the “Todd Gurley rushing yards” prop is just 94½, with the over paying at -110 and the under somehow going for -130. Gurley is also the odds-on favorite in the “To score first TD” prop at +250.

The thinking here must be that either Gurley will be catching more passes than average (and thus increasing his total, but not rushing, yards) against a Cardinals defense pitiful on the second level: Last week, past-prime Adrian Peterson with Chris Thompson combined for 151 yards and one TD on the ground, but 133 and a TD in the air. Additionally, many are apparently betting Gurley will sit much of the game after the Rams turn it into a laugher.

NFLbets says that, limited time or not, Gurley should break 100 yards by the end of the first half; after leading the league in runs from scrimmage of more than 20 yards, how many big gainers will he have to whip off before putting his backers over the top of 95? A.P. went for 96 yards rushing last week and his long was 17.

Take Todd Gurley to rush for over 94¼ yards and to score the game’s first touchdown at 5/2.

New England Patriots are a “pick ’em” at Jacksonville. OK, we’ll pick ’em! [UPDATED]

Saturday, 15 September 2018 13:36 EST

[UPDATE/Editor's note: Since posting, the line has this game has moved to New England Patriots -1. But we're not changing our pick. We got in earlier enough, but we're still advising to take the New England Patriots -1 at Jacksonville.]

[UPDATE #2: On the morning of gameday, that line is now Patriots -1½ points. We're still saying take the Patriots -1½ at Jacksonville. By the way, does Jalen Ramsey know about this...?]

As far as excitement goes, this may be the game to watch in week 2: A rematch of last year’s AFC title game when the Jacksonville Jaguars nearly dethroned the New England Patriots in a close match. Will this game end with Jacksonville getting their revenge, or will New England prove they still are a Super Bowl contender? Even the oddsmakers don’t know, as the point spread has been reduced to “pick ’em”. The over/under is currently at 44½ points, which in my opinion is much too low.

Jacksonville Jaguars offense vs New England Patriots defense

Jacksonville Jaguars betting logoThe Jaguars have offensive talent and loads of it. Unfortunately, if the captain of your ship is bad at his job, no amount of first mates will right that ship. Yes, I’m talking Blake Bortles, the enigma of the NFL.

Is Bortles a starting NFL QB? No. Will he once again be the starter for Jacksonville this season even though there were a plethora of better options available via trade and free agency? Unsurprisingly, yes.

In week 1, Bortles completed 18 of 33 passes for only 54.5% accuracy. Luckily for the Jaguars and Bortles, their strength lies in their running game. Having one of the best young RBs in Leonard Fournette is huge and he is the key to a Jaguars win Sunday.

Star players are overrated, right? The New England Patriots defense, while stocked with a lot of talented players such as Stephen Gilmore or Dont’a Hightower, does not have any marquee talent. Instead, they have opted for a defense that succeeds based on system and committee. Their defensive stats for week 1 speak for themselves: Three Patriots had 7 or more tackles, and seven players had 5 or more. The key to the Patriots winning is to just keep the ball rolling. If they can keep Bortles pressured, he will throw at least one interception, and probably more like three.

New England Patriots offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars defense

New England Patriots betting logoI don’t understand how the Patriots continue to make decent receivers out of nothing, Brady has a superpower or a cheat code somewhere, as he elevates his teammates’ performances. Phillip Dorsett, who last season had 194 total yards and has so far peaked at 528, is now the Patriots #1 wideout (until Julian Edelman returns). Dorsett kicked that off by catching 7 passes, as many as Rob Gronkowski, and had 66 offensive yards. Gronk came back with a vengeance-netting 123 yards.

At running back, Rex Burkhead and James White once again form a powerful duo. The Patriots offense should hold up well against the Jaguars defense. *Should.*

Myles Jack had himself a game last week, didn’t he? The budding MLB had an astonishing 7 solo tackles and scored himself a pick six. Teamed with Jalen Ramsey, these two are quickly becoming one of the best defensive duos in the NFL. If Jack can continue to dominate in the MLB position and clog the middle, Ramsey will have a much easier time dealing with Dorsett. This could be the key that wins the game for the Jaguars: Stopping the passing game will largely make the Patriots offensive machine extremely ineffective.

New England Patriots at Jacksonville: The pick

In a “pick ‘em” scenario like this, anything goes. The numbers tell me to bet on the Patriots because Bortles will most likely falter against a well-run Patriots defense. On the flip side, however, if Ramsey and Jack, along with the rest of their defense, can force Brady not to pass the football, it will give Jacksonville a huge advantage.

Make the safe bet and take the New England Patriots in a “pick ’em” at Jacksonville; they are the more well-rounded team and betting on a very good defense to hold the Patriots is never a good strategy – just ask the Falcons. [Not to mention all those NFL bettors who covered Atlanta Falcons +3 in that game! –Ed.]

As far as the over/under goes, we’re advising to take the over on an O/U of 44½ points.

CFL betting: Leave some of that bankroll for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, eh

Saturday, 15 September 2018 13:16 EST

NFLbets has been digging on betting CFL games this year, even if currently mired in a ho-hum, treading-water, barely over .500 stretch. With just three games on the schedule, the chances to wager are few and far between. Hell, on the Rouge, White & Blue CFL Podcast this week, Os Davis joined his co-hosts in recommending taking the Montreal Alouettes +3, which coincidentally was almost equal to the total number of yards passing Als QB Antonio Pipkin managed.

One game, however, is ripe for the wagering – and winning. We’re talking Ottawa Redblacks +5 at the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The over/under is 50½, making for yet another stay-away line on CFL betting this week.

But Riders versus RedBlacks? If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed how soul-crushingly destructive the Saskatchewan defense has been lately.

Sure, last week's defensive/special teams output – 32 points, 5 interceptions, 3 sacks – was insane, but ever since the Riders kicked off their current four-game winning streak with a 40-27 demolition of the then-undefeated Calgary Stampeders in week 11, they've been killing it. In these four games, the Riders DST has averaged 22 points, 2 interceptions, 2.5 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. They’re outscoring teams by just over 7 points per game, yet the offense is averaging just 11 points per game in that stretch!

Naturally, NFLbets is aware of regression to the mean, all good things coming to an end, etc.; “merely” but winning these four games have the Riders racked up the 2018 CFL’s second-longest winning streak. Such a torrid pace by the defense and kicker Brett Lautner (he’s 35 of 38 on field goal attempts in 2018, and he’s on a 22-for-23 run) won’t continue forever.

However … if you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed how limp the Redblacks have looked in all three football dimensions. Since taking down the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a decisive 21-15 win in week 7, it’s been all downhill: The Redblacks D managed to blow a two-TD fourth-quarter lead, losing to the Toronto Argonauts despite scoring 41; they took Johnny Canadian Football out of the Alouettes game in week 9 and still barely got by possibly the CFL’s worst team; the last three games have seen the Redblacks lose by an average score of 15 points per to three teams – including those Alouettes – with losing records.

The hardest part for Riders head coach Chris Jones this weekend? Keeping his players out of the night clubs on Saturday night. On the other hand, NFLbets can’t help thinking that even hungover the Riders wouldn’t be laying more than 2½ in this game…NFLbets' pick of the week in CFL betting: Take the Saskatchewan Roughriders -5 vs Ottawa, and enjoy what might be one rapacious feast.

Best bets record to date: 6-4.
Picks-of-the-week record to date: 5-6.
Overall record: 11-10.

Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints: Is NFLbets really going back to that well…?

Friday, 14 September 2018 09:23 EST

With an interesting week 1 of the 2018 NFL season now in the books, let’s look at some matchups in week 2. The Cleveland Browns now have a second opportunity to get that elusive win after a heartbreak finish week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints also look to get one in the win column after an embarrassing loss to the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The point spread unsurprisingly has the Browns as 9-point underdogs. As far as the under/over, it’s currently sitting at 49.5 points.

Cleveland Browns offense vs New Orleans Saints defense

Betting on the Cleveland Browns doggieIn one of the biggest shockers so far of this young season, the Saints defense (a strong suit in 2017) imploded on them, giving up a whopping 48 points. Luckily for the Saints, the Browns’ offensive unit was not great, either. Largely due in part to Tyrod Taylor’s rough outing wherein he completed only 37.5% of his passes. For comparison, Drew Brees completed 82.2% of his passes

One main way that the Saints can properly stop Cleveland is from the defensive line. If Taylor once again struggles to pass and is forced to run, he’ll be very vulnerable. If Taylor is forced to run, it will be up to the Saints defensive line to haul him in – though in week 1, the Saints defense was an absolute turnstile. Pro Bowl DE Cameron Jordan was near invisible after posting an impressive 13 sacks and 48 solo tackles in 2017, managing 3 solo tackles and 3 assists.

The Browns offensive machine did not do well in week 1. This may sound counterintuitive, considering the score against Pittsburgh, but the numbers don’t lie. To go along with Taylor’s bad passing numbers the receivers suffered as well. Luckily for them, the Steelers had Jarvis Landry’s 106 yards because the next best receiver had 38…

Yes, while Landry had 7 receptions, Josh Gordon, Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins had a combined 2. To put it bluntly, if Cleveland can right their passing game they have a good shot at winning. [Hey, here’s a great idea. Why don’t they try out that first-round draft pick that dudes like Tony Romo and Drew Brees dig so much…? –Ed.]

New Orleans Saints offense vs Cleveland Browns defense

New Orleans Saints retro logoThis is a toss-up. Both Cleveland’s defense and New Orleans’s offense were firing on all cylinders in tehir week 1 games. This battle is going to largely dictate who emerges on top in this matchup. Cleveland’s defense led the way for them on week 1 with an impressive 6 turnovers generated from fumbles and interceptions. New Orleans on the other hand put up 40 points in a losing effort against Tampa Bay.

Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas were very impressive in week 1. Kamara earned 112 receiving yards to go along with his 29 rushing yards, he also led the team in touchdowns with 3. Thomas was very impressive in racking up 180 receiving yards and a touchdown. Brees continues to defy age, as he was a model of efficiency in completing 37 of 45 passes and three TDs. If the Saints offense stays this hot, they have a good chance to win.

As for Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward … holy crap, they both had themselves a game in week 1. Ward especially impressed as a rookie going up against Antonio Brown, with not 1 but 2 interceptions. He only really got beat by Brown clean on one touchdown pass. Garrett was a monster; while only having 6 tackles on the day, 2 were sacks, and one led to a fumble recovery by the Browns. The injury to Emmanuel Ogbah will hurt them, but they are still going to be tough for the Saints to crack.

Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints: The bets

This game is all going to come down to how well the Browns can limit the Saints’ high-powered offense. Taking the Cleveland Browns +9 at New Orleans and hoping for a close game seems like the safe bet, especially with Cleveland on a 4-1 run ATS against the Saints. In terms of the over/under, we’re hedging on that Browns offense. Even if Taylor and his offense don’t go off the rails and can’t convert points, not much is going on the scoreboard in this game. Take the under on an O/U of 49½ points.

Thursday Night Football: In a not-so-titanic clash of already overrated teams, take the under

Thursday, 13 September 2018 16:18 EST

How’s that for an efficient headline? If only learning the outcome of what is certain to be yet another ugly – and NFLbets isn’t just talking Color Rush – example of why Thursday Night Football shouldn’t really exist.

On the other hand, what better way to make those foolishly overreacting to week 1 results suffer for their folly more quickly? In fact the only thing more fun than watching a fanbase’s delusions crumble after opening night (Raiders, Cowboys and Lions faithful know what we’re referencing here) is hearing about the aweomeness of a “surprise” team that crushes a bottom-fiver on opening day.

And so we have a classic example of overrated versus overarted in week 2: the Baltimore Ravens at the Cincinnati Bengals. Talking heads and hyperbolists are lining up on ESPN, whatever dot com and anywhere a mic virtual or otherwise is provided to tell us how this game could determine the AFC North, because, you know, everyone’s prohibitive forever-favorite merely tied the Cleveland Browns, who just a couple weeks ago were bringing Vegas big money based on freakin’ Hard Knocks.

So you may see two contenders for the NFL’s crappiest division in 2018, but all NFLbets sees is one side that whupped the prospective 0-16 Buffalo Bills against another who needed all 60 minutes to get past a team composed of a QB who hasn’t played in two years plus, um, 21 other guys. What has changed so much that these Vegas-forecasted 8- and 6½-win teams are suddenly double-digit winners? A win against the last-place finisher in the AFC East or AFC South? Come on.

Look, the truth is that the Ravens – with essentially the same offense and coaching staff as in 2017 – scored 19.3 more points last week than they averaged all season last year. The Bengals – still inexplicably coached by Marvin Lewis – scored 15,9 more than their ’17 ppg mark. If you’ve ever heard of “regression to the mean”, this week would be an ideal time to test it, in a game with two defenses well better than the offenses.

Who’s going to win? Who cares! You can still bank cash – if you take the under on an O/U of 43½ points, and recall what you thought of Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton just, likesay, 11 days ago…

New dude chases Browns pick by running with Detroit Lions – This guy’s gotta lotta guts

Monday, 10 September 2018 11:29 EST

For Sunday’s NFL opening games, NFLbets’ new writer Ryan Boonstra guttily predicted a win ATS for the Cleveland Browns over the Pittsburgh Steelers – and, thanks to a tie result SU, those who went with NFLbets cashed in. For the Monday Night Football early game, Ryan’s doubling down on traditional NFL also-rans in picking the New York Jets-Detroit Lions week 1 game. (Though to be fair, siding with either means siding with a traditional NFL also-ran…)

Well, my first article panned out better than expected: Anytime you pick the Browns to not only win ATS but to do so at Pittsburgh, you expect to be made a fool. Lucky for me, though, that game ended in a 21-21 tie SU, which is just peak Cleveland Browns.

However, the main topic of today’s article is about Monday night’s game, the New York Jets at the Detroit lions. This game is much more of a cut-and-dried case than the Cleveland versus PIttsburgh game.

Statistically speaking, Detroit should be able to handedly beat the Jets. The spread line currently has the Jets at +7 which is not enough to properly balance the spread with how the Jets depth chart looks. It’s extremely doubtful the Lions will win by a touchdown or less.

New York Jets: Rough ride ahead

Fasten seat belts, Jets fansThe New York Jets are in for a rough ride this season. They finally have their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, but the rest of their offense leaves a lot to be desired. At receiver they have Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, who make an okay 1-2, but not much else. At running back, the Jets have Isiah Crowell and Bilal Powell who are both good, but neither of them are difference makers. As it stands rookie QB Sam Darnold has a limited number of offensive weapons and no gamebreaking talent. This is a recipe for a bad rookie debut and a poor rookie season.

Defense is not the Jets’ strong suit either, and the defensive line is the main problem. This team does not have a proven sack generator; the Jets’ best past rusher in 2017, Demario Davis, left over the summer and he led the team with only 5 sacks. The one area of strength on the Jets D is their secondary. In free agency last summer, the Jets went big-game hunting, snagging Trumaine Edwards on a five-year deal. That contract was then followed up by re-signing Morris Claiborne to form a very effective CB combo.

Detroit Lions: Led by the Matts

Detroit Lions bettingMatt Patricia. There, I said it. I have not read a single preview or prediction article that does not prominently declare that Patricia is the best move this team made over the summer, and it’s kind of getting on my nerves.

Anyway, the Detroit Lions enter this season hoping that their new coach (who will from now on be referenced only as new coach) will help them get back into the playoff picture. Offensively they have a good receiving core, headlined by Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. who both had 1000+-yard seasons. At quarterback, Matthew Stafford is still playing at near-elite levels and, with the addition of Corey Blount to the backfield, will have more tools at his disposal this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, Patricia hopes to improve on a thin Detroit Lions defense. Like the Jets, the Lions have a problem with quality players on defense. Outside of Ezekiel Ansah, who was a dominating force for the Lions last season there is not much there. One of the major moves they made to address the issue was to bring in Devon Kennard who, while not a big name, is a solid player. Their secondary is overall disappointing as well, with Glover Quinn and Darius Slay the only difference-makers playing there.

Lions vs Jets, week 1: The picks

No surprises here: Take the Detroit Lions -7 vs the New York Jets. There is little to absolutely no chance that the Jets can beat the Lions. This game is going to come down to which team can convert more against weak defenses. Detroit has a big edge over New York in that regard. I would also suggest taking the under on an O/U of 44, as this game should be a low-scoring affair.

NFLbets hesitantly makes two picks on Sunday games – so please bet responsibly

Saturday, 08 September 2018 16:42 EST

All right, NFLbets did warn you not to bet NFL football in week 1 of this season or any season, but, hey, who can resist the call of the sportsbook on the NFL schedule’s first weekend?

So, all right, we’ve told you why you should take the Cleveland Browns (no kidding) +4½ vs the Pittsburgh Steelers, we’ll give you two more tips for a Sunday game below. And despite NFLbets’ extreme reluctance to put money down in week 1, we’ll have our Pick of the Week before the Monday night games.

Please bet responsibly, as they say, with NFLbets’ week 1 best bets. LIkesay, bet less if you must at all.

Best bet #1: Carolina Panthers -3 vs Dallas

Carolina Panthers cheerleader MykaylaFace it: The Cowboys may have the worst WR corps in the NFL this season, and that alone could make Panthers -3 a worthy bet against Dallas. The Panthers defense ranked 5th against the run and 7th overall in the DVOA metric in 2017, and plugging in free-agent acquisition DT Dontari Poe will only help them at the point of attack; this team could be as well prepared to handle the beastly Ezekiel Elliott as any the Cowboys face in ’18.

In addition, the Panthers may be uniquely qualified to contain the improvisational Dak Prescott, thanks to access to Dak’s prototype himself, Cam Newton, for weeks uninterrupted.

And speaking of Newton, count NFLbets as among those expecting a(nother) big year from Newton, if based solely on the blissful silence emanating from Panthers training camp from between Cam and new Carolina offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Now, Norv may be a crummy head coach, but the harmony with Newton alone says volumes about his expertise as OC.

We haven’t even started on that shaky Dallas secondary. The point: Take the Carolina Panthers -3 vs Dallas.

Best bet #2: Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos, under 42 points

. Tyler Lockett has re-signed and Brandon Marshall is aboard, so yeah. Further, the Seahawks have switched up a running game which was bottom-10 in rushing yardage and second to last in rushing TDs by going back with seventh-round draft pick Chris Carson, who lasted four games last season before going down to injury, and backing him with 2018 first-rounders Rashaad Penny – so nothing like a two-headed monster of X-factors…

But hey, Sebastian Janikowski!

Facing the Seahawks is the Rocky Mountain altitude, what could be the NFL’s best outside pass rush with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb spearheading, and Case Keenum at quarterback. The final scores of the two Seahwaks openers were 17-9 and 12-10. This feels like one of those.Take the under on an O/U of 42.

Our new contributor has stones enough to pick the Cleveland Browns versus Pittsubrgh in his first NFLbets piece

Saturday, 08 September 2018 09:48 EST

NFLbets welcomes a new staff writer coming aboard just in time to give some outrageous advice to bettors for the 2018 NFL season. Readers, meet Ryan Boonstra, who fearlessly starts his ternue with this website by arguing the case of none other than the Cleveland Browns against those world-beating Pittsburgh Steelers...

First off, no, I'm not crazy. But I believe that you absolutely should take the Cleveland Browns +4½ vs the Pittsburgh Steelers. I know the Browns have a long long long history of not winning opening week: They are a staggering 1-18 SU since returning to Cleveland in 1999. However, I firmly believe that this Browns team is the sleeper team to watch this season, and it starts in week 1.

Steelers: Lots of receiving, but who’s running?

Sad Pittsburgh Steelers fansPittsburgh's offense has been nothing short of brilliant on the field for the past couple of campaigns. Ben Roethlisberger headlines an offense consisting of Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and new draftee James Washington. That receiving duo must be among the best since Welker and Moss were catching bombs from Brady. Adding Washington to that mix gives the Steelers some dynamic options at receiver. This is key because it will be the biggest way they can pull out a big win against the Dog Pound.

At running back, Pittsburgh has a big problem, Le’Veon Bell once again has entered a contract dispute with the Steelers, resulting in him holding out week 1. This is a huge blow to their offense because it eliminates some of their mismatch capabilities against a young Browns defense. If they can exploit that defense in the air, they have a good chance of winning. Be that as it may, the Steelers’ lack of running game might prove the Achilles heel that prevents a victory.

On defense, some lingering questions and concerns remain. The loss of Ryan Shazier to a devastating neck injury was a big blow, and Pittsburgh made a stop-gap acquisition of Jon Bostic but will that band-aid hold? The Steelers defense is very youthful, with a staggering seven of 12 starters under the age of 25. While that sets them up well for the future, it raises questions about how well they'll be able to produce over a season and right out of the gate.

Cleveland Browns: Changing for the better

The much-maligned Cleveland Browns enter a new season after coming off another embarrassing 2017 in which they went winless. Big changes were necessary and for the first time they actually went ahead and made drastic changes over the summer that should make an immediate and noticeable difference on the field and in the future.

On offense the Browns added veterans Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor and Carlos Hyde to a group of young offensive talent and draftees that includes Antonio Callaway, Josh Gordon, David Njoko, Nick Chubb, Rashard Higgins, and Baker Mayfield. This represents an actual NFL team's starting offense. If Tyrod gets in a groove, he can be very dangerous,and this team has the weapons in its arsenal to do some damage. Look for the Browns to test the inexperienced Steelers secondary early and do some damage with their passing game.

Defensively the Browns, much like the Steelers, have questions. They have talent oozing out of their defensive line and secondary with players like Denzel Ward, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, Damarious Randall, and Emmanuel Ogbah, but it's young talent – extremely young. In spite of the youth, though, the coaching staff seems to believe they can get the job done, as most outside additions have been for depth purposes. These young players are all slated to be starters in 2018 and it will be interesting to see if that youth will be their strength or fault.

Al Villanueva: He can see Myles

At least one Steelers player appears worried about the Browns defense going into week 1:

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns: The bet

Statistically speaking while the Browns have a terrible week 1 winning percentage SU, the numbers for the Steelers aren’t great either. in 2017, the Steelers did not do well on the road, going 4-4 ATS (3-4 as a favorite) which to me suggests that may be susceptible to a possible Cleveland upset. they also have not had a good betting record as of late against Cleveland.

date Spread Result (w/spread)
Jan. 1, 2017 PIT -3 Cleveland 27, Pittsburgh 27
Sep. 10, 2017 PIT -10 Cleveland 18, Pittsburgh 11
Dec. 31, 2017 PIT -5 Cleveland 24, Pittsburgh 23

The uncertainty of the Steelers roster combined with their record against the Browns this past season suggests, believe it or not, to take the Browns plus the points in week 1.