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STORYLINES, NEWS and Big Questions
Underdogs barked in Week 1 It was an unprecedented week 1 for NFL underdogs, as 12 dogs covered and 9 won outright. Reminder: If you’re going to play a dog, don’t forget to sprinkle the moneyline.
Overreaction Week - Week 2 is the ultimate overreaction week in the NFL. Beware of putting too much input into one data point from Week 1. There are a number of historical stats that prove this out, including: since 2014, teams that lose by double digits in Week 1 cover in Week 2 60.4% of the time and win outright 46.9% andsince 2003, home dogs in week 2 off-a-loss cover 56.5% of the time.
Rookie QB’s go 0-3 ATS and outright. Good reminder that no matter how high we are on rookie QB’s heading into a season the NFL is a different beast and they are more than likely going to struggle, especially early on.
The West is Best - As predicted, the NFC West is clearly the best division in football. They went 4-0 in week 1 and all teams impressed, especially Arizona and Seattle with big road wins. Not to be outdone though, the AFC West also went 4-0 on the week with some big-time underdog wins from the Chargers and Raiders.
The NFC North and AFC South Stink - If you read the preview, I was down on these divisions in the pre-season, and they come out and went 1-7 in week 1; that only win coming from the Texans over the Jags. I had GB being the cream of the crop in the North and they still may be, but these are two very messy divisions where anything can happen.
Injuries - Staying on top of the injury reports and depth charts is really important to placing smart wagers. I have added one of the tools I use to the resource section below to help you stay on top of injury issues.
Tools and Resources
Their proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team's performance to a context-specific league baseline to determine value over average.
NFL Power Rankings
NFL.com Power Rankings (updated for week 2)
Steve Fezzik NFL Power Rankings (updated for week 2)
Jord’s NFL Power Rankings (See below, updated for week 2)
QB Rankings (The most important position in Sports)
I think Chris Simms is the best QB evaluator in the media and it’s not close, especially when evaluating QB prospects where he is not afraid to go against consensus. His record speaks for itself.
A League wide poll of the best QB’s by 50 NFL executives
NFL QBR (updated after week 1)
The best QB metric.
PFF O-line Rankings (need to pay for the week-to-week updates)
O-line is the second most important position group in football to me. Having a sense of O-line groups when making wagers can give you an edge.
Don’t forget to shop for the best numbers!
This is a great tool to help understand who the public teams are and who the pro teams are. For example: Team A in a given matchup has 70% of the tickets bet on them but only 35% of the money; public is on Team A, sharps (big money) is on Team B (Pros vs Joes).
A great resource that sweeps the internet for injury news and will notify you as the news is released.
Podcast Picks Report
Below is a breakdown of my favorite football podcasts that make picks ATS. I think you can separate these into 3 different categories: the pro betters/analysts, the tape evaluators (scouts/ former players), and the media opinion-givers. I will track all the picks and adjust this list as we move through the season. Note: Longshot Money line picks will not be counted in pick records.
In my opinion this is the best and sharpest sports betting podcast. Steve Fezzik is the only 2-time Westgate Super contest winner. He is great with derivatives, calculations behind line moves/juice and identifying bet and fade spots in the schedule. RJ Bell keeps Fez in check and is very sharp himself, a contrarian thinker on the NFL and always finding unique angles, AJ is a college expert and improving on NFL.
Super Contest picks - All three guys pick 5 games weighted 5 star* Best Bet (BB) down to 1 star. Then they come up with a consensus top 5 picks for the contest (These 5 can change by Saturday when they make the picks depending on line moves, injuries etc.) Disagreements are automatic crossfire bets.
Contest picks 1-3-1 Week 1
RJ 5* BB - Bears -2.5 (Fezz agreement 3*)
Fezz 5* BB - Steelers -5.5
AJ 5* BB - Chargers -3
Fezz 4* - GB -11 (Crossfire AJ 2*)
AJ 4* - Tampa -12.5
RJ 4* - Philly +3.5
AJ 3* - Pats -6
Fezz 3* - Bears -2.5
RJ 3* - Miami +3.5
RJ 2* - KC -3.5
Fezz 2* - Miami +3.5
AJ 2* - Lions +11
Fezz 1* - Broncos -6
AJ 1* - KC -3.5
RJ* - Pats -6
Warren is super sharp and especially good with the models on game totals. You have to pay for most of his picks, but you can pick up his leans from listening to his pods. Some of the other guys, especially Mark Derosa another pro, are sharp as well.
Warren 1-2, Derosa 4-1 Week 1
Warren - Phi/SF Over 48
Warren - Dallas/LAC Over 53.5
Warren - Phi +3.5
Derosa - Phi +3.5
Derosa - Ravens +3.5
Derosa - Jags +6
Derosa - Tony Jones Jr. Under 33.5 rush yards
Derosa - Montgomery Over 64.5 rush yards
Kelly, now with Barstool Bets, is very sharp and typically a contrarian better fading public sentiment and money. I think similarly so I like to keep an eye on her picks.
Kelly 5-2 Week 1
Chad Millman, the CTO of the Action network hosts this podcast with very sharp pro better Simon Hunter. Chad also does a picks pod with Colin Cowherd reviewing his takes and giving him sharp agreement or disagreement.
2-3 Week 1 Sides
Week 2 Sides
New podcast for me, just getting to know the hosts, Chris and Stuckey. Action network is a great resource, and the NFL preview shows have been solid with lots of wagers.
Stuckey 2-3, Chris 3-2 Week 1
Stuckey - Panthers +3.5
Stuckey - Colts +4
Stuckey - Jags +6
Stuckey - Raiders/Steelers Under 47
Chris - Vikings +3.5
Chris - Titans +5.5
Chris - Eagles +3.5
Chris - Eagles/SF Under 50
Colin is surprisingly sharp with his blazing 5 and is now getting advice from Chad Milliman from Action on his weekly picks.
Colin 2-3 Week 1
Payne is a pro and offers great insight, data and statistics on the NFL. A lot of his plays you need to pay for but this podcast he will give some free best bets and talk you through his angles.
Payne 1-0 week 1
Geoff is a tape guy, former player and relatively sharp. What I like are his takes from an O-lineman’s perspective.
Geoff 3-2 Week 1
Bill is one of the pioneers of podcasting and an entertaining media personality. He is more of an NBA specialist but does two solid shows on NFL betting: Guess the lines with Cousin Sal every Sunday night and Million Dollar picks with Peter Schrager every Thursday. Bill can be sharp and square but is entertaining, and Schrags offers some relevant inside info.
BS 2-2 Week 1
Pats, Cardinals ML Parlay +116
Pats, Chiefs ML Parlay +113
10-point tease Cowboys, Boys/Lac Over, Pats
Underdog ML Parlay - Panthers, Dolphins
Great QB evaluator and NFL talent evaluator, but relatively square when it comes to making picks ATS. His insight is worth listening to for picking up tidbits on players and teams to implement in your picks, but his picks themselves offer moderate value.
Week 1 Chris 1-2, Florio 2-1
Chris Best Bets
Florio Best Bets
What I’m thinking and Who I’m picking
Quick recap of my plays last week: Broke even on profit in week 1 but was 2-3 on the picks I gave out. The 6-point advantage tease worked out. I had a good read on the Raiders +4 situation on Monday night; Carr is great against the blitz. I had a terrible read on GB and NO; line play and coaching domination by NO vs GB. That GB O-line may be more of an issue than I expected, and maybe Aaron is disconnected. Keep in mind this is still just one game and one data point, can’t overreact. WFT was a tough one – if Fitz doesn’t get hurt do they win? The Gibson fumble was brutal. That said, I could not be more impressed by Herbert and the Chargers O-line. They looked great on the road in a hostile environment and Herbert made so many clutch throws on 3rd down. The Warren over PHI/ATL tail was a miss. He assumed Arthur Smith would help ATL in the redzone, he did not and ATL looked awful.
My Picks Week 2
Carolina +3.5 - Overreaction to New Orleans beat down of GB? I think so. This line moved from -2 to -3.5. I upgraded New Orleans more than any team in my power rankings, but I still can’t get this game to 3.5. Yes, I was down on NO to start the year and I may look bad betting against them twice to start the season but I need to stick to my guns. Love a division home dog getting over a FG. NO got banged up on defense last week and will be missing Lattimore, Davenport and Alexander. Jameis was great in the redzone but only had 148 yards, and Payton coached a gem that he had clearly been preparing for multiple weeks. Now feeling great off a big win, they must travel – without a home-base and missing 6 coaches with covid – to a division rival catching 3 and the hook. Carolina defense is much better than the public thinks and the offense has some of the best weapons in the league. I expect this to be close and wouldn’t be surprised to see Carolina win outright.
Chargers/Cowboys Over 53.5 - Going back to the well with Warren’s over pick. He let me down last week, but I expect him to bounce back. I also like Chargers in this game but missed the opportunity to bet the number at -2.5 or -3. If Dallas takes money Sunday and the line comes back to -3 or lower, I will be on it.
Bucking Sharp Money and Pro Sides on the 3 picks below. Fade if you want.
KC -3.5 - This is a total football mismatch to me. KC has dominated this matchup since Mahommes and Lamar have been in the league winning 4 straight times. (Mahommes averaging 378 yards/game vs Ravens). The biggest reason for this is that Baltimore plays the game one-way and one-way only on defense. They blitz like crazy and play man on the back end; you saw it Monday night. If you blitz Mahommes, he is going to eat you up. Baltimore is great at what they do defensively but against a great QB with elite weapons it just doesn’t work. They are also banged up in the secondary without Peters and Jimmy Smith. Waller and Carr dominated them on Monday, now they get Mahommes and Kelce, Good luck. I am also going to continue to fade Baltimore until I see evidence to stop. They are still incredibly depleted at the skill positions, the O-line really struggled in week 1 and now will be missing Stanley their LT. Lamar continues to struggle when he’s forced to throw. They are also coming off a short week with cross country travel. I realize I am on the square side of the number taking the road team at -3.5, but I’m willing to swallow it with this matchup and expect KC to win by a TD at least.
SF -3 - All the sharps are on Philly, and I get it with the home dog and SF injuries but I can’t get there. There is a huge coaching edge to SF here with Shanahan vs the rookie in Philly who everyone seems to love now. Maybe an overreaction? SF stays East at the Green Brier rather than travelling back across the country, and they historically play very well after staying east (2 straight easy covers). Think of it like a mini-camp team-building week. What is the strength of Philly’s team? O-Line and D-line. What is the strength of SF? The same. If Philly can’t dominate the trenches like they did last week, I am skeptical they can win another way. Additionally, the Philly O ran a lot of RPO’s and designed QB runs with success last week. Who did SF draft in the offseason? Trey Lance – they have been running similar RPO’s and QB runs in practice all summer so I would expect them to be prepared. The DB injuries are an issue in SF but can Hurts really take advantage? It was a stay away at 3.5, but I am going in at -3 and it may even get to -2.5.
Bills -3 - Similar to above, sharp money is all over the home divisional dog +3.5 dolphins, and I get it, but think about the domination the Bills have had against this Miami Defense the last four matchups. Miami plays a lot of man coverage, Diggs and Beasley are two of the toughest man-to-man covers in the league and have historically exploited them. I was not high on Tua coming into the year and was not impressed with him last week even in the win. Miami doesn’t have the defensive edge talent to do what Pitt did last week on defense. I think that embarrassing home loss could be the wakeup call Buffalo needed. I still think Buffalo is one of the best teams in the league with a top 3 QB and I would be very surprised to see this coaching staff, and a team this talented, start 0-2. They know what is at stake.
I will play one more of these games in my contest and likely won’t decide until Sunday morning.
Browns -13 - Browns off a loss at home. Houston still stinks.
Jags +6 - Overreaction line move of 3 points?
Colts +3.5 - Huge line move from the look ahead -1.5 to +3.5
Packers -11 – bounce back beat down at home.
Updated Week 2 Power Rankings
The biggest line movers up are Arizona, New Orleans and Philly down are GB, Minnesota and Atlanta.
1. Tampa 7
2. Kansas City 6.5
3. Buffalo 5
4. San Francisco 4.5
5. LA Rams 4
6. Cleveland 4
7. Seattle 3.5
8. GB 2.5
9. Pittsburgh 2
10. Arizona 2
11. New Orleans 1.5
12. LA Chargers 1.5
13. New England 1.5
14. Baltimore 1
15. Miami 1
16. Denver 1
17. Tennessee 0
18. Dallas 0
19. LV -.5
20. WFT -.5
21. Indy -1
22. Carolina -1
23. Philly -1
24. Minnesota -1
25. NYG -2
26. Cincy -2.5
27. Chicago -3
28. Atlanta -3.5
29. NYJ -4.5
30. Detroit -5.5
31. JAX -6.5
32. Houston -6.5