Week 1 Picks 2019

2018 Season: 44-34-1

Thursday Night Football

Game 1: GB +3.5 @ Chi

Bet% GB 55% Chi 45%

Football is back!

aaron rodgers applause GIF by State Farm

Last year the Bears were #1 in takeaways and #1 in defensive DVOA. I am down on Chicago this year and think they are due for regression.

Takeaways we know have high levels of randomness and the Bears are not likely to average 2 per game again this year. The Bears will probably be once again a very good defense but Aaron Schatz has spoken a lot about how defensive DVOA leaders tend to regress year over year and even a small drop makes a significant difference.

I like the Packers more than the Bears this year. A lot has been made of the coaching change and the impact on it will have on the offense, which should be a positive but the offense finished 7th last year so it is already a good unit. This is why the Packers spent a lot of resources on their defense which finished 29th in DVOA last year and that is where I think the big improvement will be. I would take GB on a neutral field this year so getting 3.5 on the road gives enough value to make a play here.

Game 2: Ind +6.5 @ LAC

Bet%:  Ind 40% LAC 60%

This was the first game I bet this week, I think the Colts not only have a great shot to cover but think they will have a good shot to win straight up.

The Andrew Luck retirement moved this game from 3-3.5 to 6.5 a full 3 point move and that is just way too much here. While there is no question that a healthy Luck is a better QB than Brisett in 2019 I think too many people equate this team minus Luck with the 2017 team that went 4-12. The talent and coaching on the 2019 team is much better than 2017 but let’s look specifically at the defense. Last year the Colts had a great draft and the defense jumped to 10th in both offensive and defensive DVOA, in 2017 the defense was 29th.

The Chargers didn’t lose their franchise QB this off season like the Colts but I am not sure any other team had an off season as disastrous as the Chargers. The Melvin Gordon hold out has got all the headlines but they should be fine at RB. The 2 major losses the Chargers suffered were losing Derwin James, maybe their most important defensive player and starting LT Russel Okung, 2 huge losses on both sides of the ball make them vulnerable in this opener.

Game 3: Atl @ Min -3.5

Bet%: Atl 61% Min 39%

This is a matchup between 2 teams I think will end up with very good seasons, I have the Vikings winning their division and the Falcons as a 9 or 10 win team. Last season Atlanta had major issues on their offensive lines and they tried to rectify that with 2 first round picks who are both expected to start. While it’s a reasonable bet by Atlanta that the rookies will pay dividends this season, it is a lot to expect a line with 2 rookies and 3 new starters in total to hold up against one of the best front sevens in the league, on the road, in a dome. Cue Danielle Hunter’s music

I also like this matchup for the Vikings offense, the new Kubiak offense seems like a very good fit for Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook. The Falcons defense last year was one of the league’s worst at 31 in DVOA, they are getting some key players back from injury but did not add any real contributors outside the organisation.

This line has been mostly 4 but on Wed dipped to 3.5, I think it can get back to 3.5 on Sunday but would bet at 4 even if it didn’t.

Game 4: SF @ TB +1

Bet% SF 51% TB%

There is not a lot to this one, I just think it’s a really good spot for the Bucs. I like taking the Florida teams at home in September and the humidity for this game should be high and we get a northern California team flying cross country. The line has been around a pick’em which indicates that SF is 3 points better than Tampa Bay on a neutral but based on last year that’s big value on the 49ers getting Jimmy Garopollo back as it was the Bus who won 1 more game.

We also get game 1 of the Bruce Arians era, the TB offense was actually very good last year but overall I’m not sure anyone could consider Dirk Koetter a good coach, Arians is a clear upgrade and I like being on the side of his debut in this game.

There was a lot of talk in the preseason about Garopollo’s struggles and how good a fit he is with Shanahan. I am not sure there is much to make of those struggles, I don’t put a lot of stock into preseason but I am confident that the Bucs offense will put up points in this game and there is at least some doubt if the 49ers will.

Game 5: 2 Team 6pt Teaser-  LAR @ Car +8 & Cin +15.5 @ Sea

Bet% Game 1 LAR 71% 29% Game 2 Cin 39% @ Sea

Game 1: The Rams travel cross country and play an early game in hot and humid Carolina. I think Panthers will more than likely win this game but they are a perfect team to use in a teaser because we take them through the 3 and 7. Panthers have upgraded their front 7 and should have one of the best front 4’s in the NFL, Gerald MCcoy was one of the most underrated signings of the off season. To me that strength of the Panthers matches up perfectly with the weakness of the Rams offense, the interior of their offensive line. Superbowl losers generally have a hangover in the following September and that plays a part here as well.

Game 2: The Bengals are a team nobody wants any part of and I think that is a reasonable thought but this is 9.5 or 10 points is a lot and in the teaser we take them over 2 TD’s. The Bengals have a new head coach and offense and I think enough weapons with Mixon and Boyd to be able to score. The Seahawks passing game does not have a lot of known weapons, we know about Wilson obviously and Tyler Lockett appears to be on his way to being top end receiver but beyond that there are a lot of unknowns. Last year we saw Seattle really struggle to score early in games, if that happens here, hard to see them scoring enough to win by more than 2 TDs.

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