I was so pumped to finally be able to write this piece. I never thought we’d actually see this day, but we finally get a full slate of NFL games this weekend. So many storylines in 2020 that should make for a really exciting gambling year. We’ll only be doing our five most confident games each week, so it’s time to shake off the rust, dig in and start the season a perfect 5-0.
Season Record: 0-0
Indianapolis (-7.5) at Jacksonville
The AFC South favorites start the season against the first overall pick favorites.
The Jaguars have a new offensive coordinator, they’re starting an undrafted rookie running back since they release Leonard Fournette last week, and this is a team who is more than likely tanking. I mean, Doug Marrone has the best odds to be the first coach fired this season. Expect to see the Jags a lot in this article throughout the year.
I’m still not sold on the Colts, but this is one of the safer large spreads this weekend and too easy to pass up. Philip Rivers wants to show us he still has something left to prove. Colts win by 10 or more.
The Pick: IND –7.5
Arizona at San Francisco (-7)
I think the Super Bowl hangover will be real for the 49ers in 2020. Since 2002, teams that are coming off a Super Bowl loss not named the New England Patriots have gone just 4-11 SU (Straight Up) and 2-13 ATS (Against The Spread) in Week 1 of the NFL season. They did add All-Pro LT Trent Williams to an already good offensive line, but there is cause for concern offensively as the Niners depth at wide receiver is depleted due to injuries.
I’m ALL in on the Cardinals in 2020. They made the move of the offseason by trading for DeAndre Hopkins to an already impressive receiving core. The Cardinals lost twice to the 49ers last season, but both games coming down to the wire. The Cardinals will be the team to take the next step this season. I even placed my bet on Kyler Murray to win MVP (+2000). Week 1 is always full of surprises and I think Murray opens with an impressive start. I like the Cardinals and the points.
The Pick: ARI +7
Las Vegas (-3) at Carolina
This game is interesting to me. I almost see both these teams as identical.
As much as they don’t want to say it, they’re both rebuilding. QB’s are good, but not great. Running backs “run” the offense. Receivers are talented, but inconsistent and the defenses’ give up plenty of points.
You just don’t know what to expect in this game, so I think there is value here for Carolina. First game in the Matt Rhule/Teddy Bridgewater era, too? Why not? Give me Carolina to win outright.
The Pick: CAR ML
New York Jets at Buffalo (-6.5)
Bill Clinton was in office the last time the Buffalo Bills won the AFC East. It’s been THAT long. The many years of mediocrity, top picks in the draft and losing to Tom Brady twice a year are over, right? They sure hope so. A lot to be optimistic about for the Bills in 2020 as they have one of the league’s best defenses’, they made a move to get Josh Allen a true No. 1 target in Stefon Diggs AND Tom Brady is out of the division.
These teams faced off in Week 1 last year with Buffalo only winning by a point, but this is a better Bills team than a year ago. I’m not yet sure if the Bills will win the East, but I am sure they cover the spread against the Jets.
The Pick: BUF -6.5
Lock of the Week
Tennessee (-3) at Denver
I promise to not be this biased throughout the season, but this line is too obvious to me for it NOT to be my favorite pick of the week. With the unfortunate injury of Von Miller going down for most of the season and the uncertainty regarding Bradley Chubb and Courtland Sutton’s health, that’s too much to lose for the Broncos to win this game.
On the other hand, the Broncos are very good in home openers. In fact, they are 18-2 in their last 20 (If you are leaning on betting the Broncos, I’d wait until closer to kickoff as the line should move another point or more depending on Denver’s injury concerns).
The Titans are the better team on paper, and Vegas knows that as the line swung almost four points when Jadaveon Clowney signed last weekend. Also, this is a Titans team that turned their entire season around after getting embarrassed in Denver last season. I think they want to get that taste out of their mouths and get a little revenge. Be confident with this bet. Titans win big.
The Pick: TEN –3
How Betting Lines Work
A quick lesson for those who are not familiar with betting lines: “Favorites” are listed next to a negative number, which represents how many points they must win by to “cover the spread.” Titans -2.5, for example, means that Tennessee must beat the Broncos by 3 points or more for bettors to win. Gamblers can also bet on the game’s “total,” betting on whether or not the teams’ combined score in the game is over or under a pre-selected number of points.
“ML” or “moneyline” is not against the spread, just picking the winner of the game. Many people refer to the moneyline as “straight up,” but this can be confusing, because if you’re ever at a betting window in Vegas, a “straight bet” means you are betting on the point spread. Instead of saying “straight up,” you’d want to say “moneyline” when you mean to pick the winner of the game regardless of the point spread to avoid any possible confusion.