Monday night

Pick of the Week: NFLbets despises betting in week 1, but loves the L.A. Rams -4½ at Oakland

Monday, 10 September 2018 12:06 EST

Aaron Donlad football cardWhat do you call a gift given way too early? This week, we’re calling it “Los Angeles Rams -4½ at Oakland Raiders.” Just about the only thing keeping NFLbets from plunking down the entire bankroll on this one is – you guessed it – that it’s week 1, the most gamblingest week of the NFL season aside from the last.

But whoa, is it tough to resist this one…

Come on: You’ve got the prospective NFC Champions, including four or five add-ons who weren’t even around last year, who are acting with the swagger of expectations, the valedictorian of the school of Hard Knocks. On the other side, you’ve got a team deflated by the reality of sudden rebuilding.

On one sideline is Sean McVay, the 2017 NFL Coach of the Year, along with his sidekick (!) defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, also acknowledged as at least a top-3 guy at his job. McVay has both the cajones and confidence enough in his plans and personnel to sit his superstars through the meaningless (for the Rams, anyway) preseason. Across from this, you’ve got Chucky*, a head coach who hasn’t had a winning season since W. was POTUS and who, after years of apparently mindlessly praising Khalil Mack as an absolute force, didn’t even take a meeting with the very popular in-house franchise player.

(*NFLbets has previously noted that this is a dated reference and also that we don’t care. Chucky-era Gruden was awesome…)

The Rams offense features the 2017 Offensive POY/2018 vogue fantasy football pick in Todd Gurley, a more experienced OL and have added WR Brandin Cooks from the New England Patriots. And the defense? Well, you know. DMVP DE Aaron Donald is back after his holdout and what was perhaps the NFL’s most exciting defense in ’17 merely added Ndamokung Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Incidentally, the Rams bring perhaps the greatest punter of the 21st century, Johnny Hekker.

Chucky Gruden pokemon cardAcross from this stands a Davis with his empty pockets turned inside out. Lack of cash flow (NFLbets rule #!: Know your budget and stick to it) is rumored to have precipitated Mack’s departure and could lead to the jettisoning of Cooper soon, too. No major free agents joined the Raiders this offseason despite the “lure” of Gruden taking over a 6-10 team. As in the post-Rich Gannon (and, come to think of it, post-Gruden) days of the mid-2000s Oakland Raiders, these guys already resemble 53 dudes playing out their contracts on a roster as fluid as a Turkish basketball team’s.

Seriously, the 2018 Oakland Raiders – especially after inevitably trading Ameri Cooper – will go down as the league’s second-worst.

(The worst? Let’s just say that NFLbets didn’t need more than a couple of quarters to realize the probability of an 0-16 Buffalo Bills team is very real.)

Those who were prescient enough to take the Rams pre-Mack trade, when the line was a mere -3, are certainly patting themselves on the back and banking on a nice early win. So get in now and bet the Los Angeles Rams -4½ at Oakland. Just don’t bet the house: Remember that this is week 1, and week 1 in the NFL is evil…

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.