NFL Season: 2-2 (-0.2 Units)
NFL Week 1: 2-2 (-0.2 Units)
Browns (+6.5): The Browns looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL in Week 1, and chances are they’ll end the year something like 3-13 or 4-12. Make no mistake about it, this is easily a bottom 5 team in the NFL. The silver lining however is their starting QB got hurt last week and now they move to the backup. On the surface that sounds weird, but when you go from Robert Griffin to anyone else at QB, you’ve made an improvement. RG3 is one of the worst QB’s in the league, and I don’t mean one of the worst starting QB’s, I mean one of the worst QB’s period. Moving to Josh McCown should help this team on and off the field. Not only is Griffin a terrible QB, but he’s a cancer in the locker room. Him being out is addition by subtraction. This line now sitting at 6.5 is a result of some pretty serious week 1 over-reaction. Yes the Browns are bad, but I don’t think the Ravens are good enough to be laying 6.5 on the road against anyone. I think we see a very inspired effort from McCown and the Browns and this game comes down to the final minutes.
Rams (+6.5): In the NFL I absolutely love buy low spots, and right now you can’t get much lower than the LA Rams. On Monday night the Rams played one of the worst football games I’ve seen from an NFL team in quite a while. Their offense was flat out putrid, and their defense was much better as they got beaten down by the 49ers 28-0. Now the Rams return home for their first game in LA in two decades as the Seahawks come to town. For as bad as things looked on Monday for the Rams there is one HUGE advantage they have in this game. Their defense line should be able to destroy the Seahawks offensive line. In week 1 the Seahawks were lucky to escape with a 12-10 win over the Dolphins, and in that game the Dolphins D-Line was in the Seattle backfield all day long. Much like the Dolphins, the strength of this Rams team is one the D-Line and they have to be licking their chops after seeing what Miami did last week. I’m fully expecting a max effort, max energy type of game from the Rams where they keep it close throughout.
Colts (+6.5): I’ve gotta admit I don’t fully understand this line. Last week Carolina went into Denver as a 3 or 3.5 point favorite depending on your book. Now this week the Colts go into Denver as a 6.5 point dog? I know the Panthers are better than the Colts, but are they 10 points better? These lines are basically saying that the Panthers would be a 10 point favorite on a neutral field against the Colts? I certainly don’t buy that at all. I’ll be the first to admit the Colts defense isn’t very good, but Andrew Luck is still one of the best QB’s in the league, and that offense is very solid. The Broncos are going to very good again this year, but I don’t feel they are the kind of team built to cover big spreads like this. They’ll play good defense, run the ball a lot, and throw quick short passes. They are built to win low scoring grind it out games, not to blow people out. I know winning by 7 for example isn’t exactly a blow out, but in todays NFL getting 6.5 is a lot. I’ll take my chances that Luck and company can do enough to hang within that number.
Vikings (+2.5): For the second straight week it looks like the Packers will be one of the most popular plays on the board, and for the second straight week I’ll go against them. Last week I was lucky enough to get in early on Jacksonville and cash with them as a 5 point dog. This week I’ll take the Vikings as a short home dog. This is the Sunday night primetime game and in gambling circles it’s known as the “last chance to get out of trouble before paying my bookie” game. The game where everyone who is down on the day/week chases and fires on the night game. Generally such bettors rush to take the favorite, the better team, the better QB, the team with more star power, etc, etc. That team is obviously Green Bay. By now you guys all know how contrarian I am with the NFL, so the clear play for me is to go the other way with the Vikings. As of my writing this they haven’t even decided on a QB. It could be Shaun Hill, it could be Sam Bradford, for my purposes I honestly don’t even care which one it is. It’s basically the same guy as far as I’m concerned. The Vikings will be fired up for this one as it’s easily the biggest game on their schedule. The Packers are a solid team but winning back to back weeks on the road in the NFL is very hard to do, and I’m going to challenge them to do just that.