The crown jewel of sports betting is back and the SHB train isn’t slowing down anytime soon (finishing easily over 50% on the year each last season and +8.6 units during the Super Bowl combined ain’t too shabby). This NFL offseason has been electric and Vegas has slept on some serious value to start the year, per usual. Prep the man cave, satisfy your superstitions and always remember to bet smarter, not harder.
Q’s Best Bets
Cleveland Browns @ Carolina Panthers – Sunday, 9/11 (1:00 PM EST)
Pick: Panthers Moneyline (-110) (1 unit)
Love me some revenge game drama. Baker Mayfield is that guy you don’t want as your franchise QB (coming from a Panthers’ season ticket holder) but he’s also not the guy you want to deal with Week 1 fresh off of the break up. The Browns are in absolute disarray right now after the league laid down Deshaun Watson’s suspension, they’re playing in Charlotte and Baker is seemingly only good when he has something to prove. People are quick to forget… Even Sam Darnold led this team to a 3-0 start last season and 2022’s schedule is not much different. This Panthers’ defense is young/talented, I don’t think the league understands how good DJ Moore really is yet and last but most certainly not least… CMC is finally back and primed for the bounce back year we’ve all been waiting for ever since he put the league on notice years ago. Oh, and Jaycee Horn is finally healthy. Let’s eat. Score Prediction: Panthers 24 – Browns 20
Baltimore Ravens @ NY Jets/Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks
Pick: 2 Team Parlay: Ravens Moneyline, Broncos Moneyline (-110) (1 unit)
Another revenge game take for Week 1… Russell Wilson will dismantle his former franchise this week. The Seahawks are in all out rebuild mode and the Broncos are on the complete opposite trajectory. Sure, it might take Russ a second to cook in a brand new offense… OR Russ has been suffocated by a dying Seattle scheme for years now and he finally has the weapons to remind us of how dangeRUSS he can truly be. I’m siding with the latter here. Score Prediction: Broncos 24 – Seahawks 10
This Ravens Moneyline pick is a no brainer. This defense is primed for a massive rebound compared to last season and Lamar has a winner’s attitude coming into 2022 (don’t forget, former league MVP and isn’t plotting to sit out due to contract disputes). The Ravens also get back JK Dobbins/picked up veteran Mike Davis, Rashod Bateman is primed for a sophomore breakout after Marquise Brown’s departure and they return the best tight end of 2021 in Mark Andrews. Compare that to the Jets who, although show potential for the future, are still littered with question marks across the board. I’m not sold on Zach Wilson in general yet and he might not even start this weekend. Easy money. Score Prediction: Ravens 27 – Jets 13
Buffalo Bills @ LA Rams/Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: 3 Way Parlay: Bills +10.5, Bengals +10.5, Najee Harris Rushing Yards Over 60.5 (+150) (0.5 units)
Try as I may, this teaser was too good to resist…
2022 should be the Bills’ year and the Rams are going to be dealing with a massive Super Bowl slump (among other issues). Stafford sounds like he’s banged up, they swapped OBJ for Allen Robinson (yuck) and the Rams’ backfield has been a sticky situation for awhile now. Flip side, the Bills probably have the best defense in the league this season (added Rams’ LB Von Miller to the mix this offseason) along with easily one of the best QBs in the NFL loaded with multiple weapons at his disposal. I think the Bills will win this game outright so gifting them 3.5 points feels absurd not to take. Score Prediction: Bills 31 – Rams 27
People are very quick to write off Cincy’s Super Bowl run last year as a fluke… It absolutely was not. Burrow could very well be a generational talent and we finally got that validation on the biggest stages in football at the end of last season. Burrow has the best WR group in football between Ja’Marr Chase/Tee Higgins/Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon is an elite RB and they addressed the concerns on the offensive line extensively this offseason. If last year is what Burrow can produce with a bad O Line, imagine what he’s capable of when he has time to throw the ball… Then let’s shift our focus onto their opponent, the Steelers. Probably the worst offensive line in football, very unclear who will be the QB1 by the end of the year, their WR1 (Diontae Johnson) is banged up heading into the matchup and this is a rivalry that the Bengals have dominated as of late. Oh, and it’s in Cincinnati. Who Dey. Score Prediction: Bengals 24 – Steelers 20
***9/7/22 Update*** As much as I love the Bengals this year, I’ve been racking my brain all night over how teams have fared in home openers after losing the Super Bowl the preceding season (4-18 ATS). The Super Bowl slump can affect either side of a Super Bowl (winners or losers) so I’ve decided to hedge my luck a bit here and transition my 6 point teaser into a 3 leg parlay courtesy of Fanduel. I also love the Bills this season but a general rule in sports betting is once the hype train hits maximum speed (i.e. everyone is talking about it) then you should proceed with caution. So how am I protecting my investment as far as last year’s top two teams to start the season? I’m moving the spread for both the Bills and Bengals to +10.5 (I think both of these teams win outright so I’m very confident that they can keep their games within two scores worst case scenario) and I’m throwing in a Najee Harris rushing yards prop for over 60.5 yards. Najee Harris averaged ~70.6 rushing yards per game last regular season as a rookie and topped 60.5 yards in over 58% of his regular season games thanks to his heavy usage on a porous Steelers offense. It sounds like he’s healthy/the Steelers have just been cautious with him this preseason so I fully expect him to top 60.5 yards on Sunday. This parlay also moves our odds to +150 so I’m able to lessen my risk a bit and only throw half a unit to still win 0.75 units. Again, still bullish on the Bills and Bengals this year… Just proceeding with a little more caution to start their seasons.
DPJ’S Best Bets
San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears – Sunday, 9/11 (1:00 PM EST)
Pick: 49ers -6 (-120) (1 unit)
The San Francisco 49ers finished the 2021-22 season with a solid 10-7 record and nearly made the Super Bowl after a tough loss to the Rams in the NFC championship game. They did all of that with an incredibly limited Jimmy G at the helm, and I imagine Kyle Shanahan is still having nightmares. Plug in Trey Lance, who will certainly have some growing pains, but he’s a guy that can simply do so much more for this 49ers offense. I still expect them to run the ball as well as anyone in the league. Deebo is back on a new extension, Kittle is healthy, and the defense is as good as ever. I see no reason why the 49ers can’t go into Soldier Field and beat the crap out of the Bears. I expect the defense to give the Chicago O-Line and Justin Fields all sorts of issues and SF should control the game from start to finish. We may see a Trey Lance INT or two, but I think he gets enough done with his legs and his arm to get his first W of 2022 and his first win against the spread. Feels like a 31-17 Niners victory in my book. Score Prediction: 49ers 27 – Bears 14
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Washington Commanders – Sunday, 9/11 (1:00 PM EST)
Pick: Commanders -3 (-110) (1 unit)
This season can’t possibly be any worse than 2021 for Jacksonville, right? I generally agree with that, and I think they take some steps forward in 2022 as an organization, but I don’t think they will get a positive result in the standings in week 1. The Commanders start the season at home with a new set of jerseys, a new team name, unfortunately not a new owner, but most importantly a new QB. Carson Wentz certainly has his drawbacks but I can’t stress enough how much of an upgrade he should be over Taylor Heinicke and the other cast of characters WAS rolled out at QB over the years. I’d argue that RiverBoat Ron Rivera should be on the hot seat if the Commanders stink again this year so he should come into ‘22/’23 coaching his ass off. It will be especially delightful to see Terry Mclaurin catching passes from a competent QB, I’d expect a big game from him. And on a sentimental level, rookie RB Brian Robinson Jr. was shot in DC over the weekend so what better way to honor a teammate than going in and getting a big week 1 W. Score Prediction: Commanders 27 – Jaguars 21
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans/Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks
Pick: 6 Point Teaser: Colts -1.5, Broncos -0.5 (-110) (1 unit)
I simply cannot resist a juicy teaser…and here we are in week 1 lining up two teams with a lot of buzz this off season.
Starting with Indy, they are my favorite to win the AFC South, a sneaky AFC Championship pick and SB pick as well. I just wrote some kind words about Carson Wentz in the above pick but I think Matt Ryan can be the exact ingredient this team needs for success in this new season. Wentz lacked locker room leadership and consistency, and that’s precisely what Matt Ryan brings to the table. Surround him with a great coach, RB, offensive line and a solid defense and this team should be cooking in 2022. Plus, Matt Ryan is boys with Matthew Stafford, and I’d bet seeing Stafford drunk and happy at a SB parade should provide Matt Ryan with some mojo and goals for 2022. Indy is on the road at Houston and while the Texans should take some steps forward this year I don’t see this being any sort of hurdle for the Colts. Score Prediction: Colts 31 – Texans 24
Moving on to Denver who made some personal changes of their own this year, trading for Russell Wilson and dumping Vic Fangio for Nathanial Hackett. I really do like both of those moves although I’m not sure if it’s enough for Denver to win the AFC West. I do however love the Broncos going into Seattle and beating Russ’s former team handedly. The Seahawks should be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year, and who doesn’t love betting against Geno Smith? Russ is healthy, fired up, and most importantly he seems to always play exceptionally well at the beginning of the season. I don’t see this being much of a hurdle for the new-look Broncos either. I like this teaser in a parlay format as well if you are looking for a plus-money play. Broncos Country, Let’s Ride. Score Prediction: Broncos 27 – Seahawks 17
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