For those new to the blog or if you just recently started following it, it’s no question football (be it NFL or college) is an absolute monster – especially for my viewership and ratings. For the past 3 NFL /college football seasons, I’ve been looking to make you, the reader, a winner in the hopes of establishing and solidifying my credentials as your go to sports guy! I release my Top 5 best bets (mostly NFL games) that perhaps many wouldn’t think to either bet on or that I believe The Las Vegas Sports Consulting Firm has absolutely whiffed on telling you how to bet – making it an instant winner! To date, I’ve nailed the spread 58% of the time, thus putting cash into your hands more times than not. So without further to do, here’s my top 5 pick for Week #1 of the 2012 NFL season.
Eagles (-9) vs. Browns
These two teams met in the pre-season, the Eagles crushed the Browns in Cleveland and that’s without them playing Michael Vick and they rarely played their star running back. So in the end, LaSean McCoy and Michael Vick didn’t play in Cleveland and they still clobbered the Browns. I just don’t see Cleveland having the kind of offense and personnel to keep up in this game. I think at quarterback, running back, receiver and coach – major advantages for Philadelphia against Cleveland. The Browns are hoping that a rookie in Trent Richardson, who’s a little banged up, is going to lead the way and Brandon Weeden – a rookie quarterback going up against that pass rush of Philadelphia, who by the way led the league last year with 50 sacks. Cleveland has got some potential, it’s not this year though and not in this game. I think you swallow the points – Cleveland allowed almost 150 yards in rushing last year, this is the fastest team (Phily) in my opinion in the league. Eagles take this one 28-13.
Saints (-7) vs. Redskins
You’re talking about a team in New Orleans now that has some veterans: Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston. We also know that the Redskins’ secondary, Laron Landry, is gone as he’s now a Jet. So I get a knock down on their secondary and I get a New Orleans team that feels like the world is picking on them. Also, this is the best home team in the league. In covering the spread in their last 13 games at home, the Saints are 12-1 against the spread in the Superdome. Now the Redskins are going to have to play close to their best anyways and Mike Shanahan is conservative to begin with, but you’ve got RG3 – a quarterback, and right now I’m not sure how much of the playbook their going to unveil in Week #1 . The Saints can be vulnerable in the middle of their deep zone; their safeties are not premier guys. However, I don’t think that RG3 or the weapons he has will make that a real issue. I’m going to swallow the points again – I hate taking these big favourites, Saints 27-13 win and to cover the spread.
49ers (+5) vs. Packers
Here is what I know, the 49ers have a strong ground game – certainly better than Green Bay’s and they have a far superior defense. San Francisco has an excellent coach; some think Jim Harbough is right in line with Belicheck and Coughlin. Just look at what he did at Stanford and San Francisco! In both cases, they were done very quickly. Look for Harbough to slow the game down. Frank Gore has lost a step but he can still pick up yards. They’ll keep it between the tackles, they’ll eat the clock. This is a team that does not commit penalties and does not turn the ball over. San Francisco has got, in my opinion, one of the great linebacking core and explosive edge rushers in football. Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis. Green Bay’s offensive linemen have not been great at getting bodies on aggressive ends and linebackers, that was one of their flaws last year as their protection broke down. Last year the 49ers were the 2nd best team in the NFL in turnover margin. I’m sorry, 5 points is just too many to give a brilliantly coached, rarely penalized, almost “never turns it over” football team. I’ll give Green Bay the win 23-21 but I am always going to take the points with San Francisco if you give me 5.
Steelers (+1.5) vs. Denver
Everybody loves Denver!! Remember, John Fox is conservative and if you watched Peyton Manning in the pre-season, don’t be shocked if they don’t throw it as they threw it in Indianapolis. Now remember this, the Broncos are favoured here – and this is a Pittsburgh team that got 400 yards against Denver last year. We also know that the best run-stopping linebacker, D.J Williams for Denver, is suspended. One of their bigs up front Justin Bannan dealt with nagging calf injury all camp. We also know that they still have issues at corner, Andre Goodman is out Tracy Porter is in but Porter is not elite either. Even though they get a lot of sacks, Denver was only 27th in the chart people call –distinct pass pressure, meaning that they get the sacks and can be spectacular but their constant pressure is actually below average. I think in this instance, right now…today, with Peyton Manning still learning and growing with this team. Pittsburgh is a better team, I’m going to take the points and I think they win the football game, a mild upset, 24-20.
Jets (+3) vs. Bills
I save this one for last because it’s the one I’ve had most trouble with. You don’t like to take the Jets when you have to give up points – this is not exactly an offensive juggerknot. I’d make an argument that offensively, USC has got more skill on Saturday than the Jets do on Sunday. But here is my problem with Buffalo – and I do like them this year. Ftizpatrick was atrocious at the end of last season; he couldn’t get above a 79 quarterback rating. Now, I like their tight ends, I like their receivers, I think their running backs – they’ve got 2 (Jackson and Spiller) I think they are very good. But this is a quarterback league, to me this feels like the game is much more important for Sanchez, Rex Ryan and the Jets. It feels like a playoff game and I believe that Sanchez is a better quarterback. So defensively we know the better team (Jets), quarterback (Jets) urgency? I absolutely believe it’s the Jets. Just because you didn’t see any of that wildcat in the pre-season, you know the Jets are going to unveil – there is a reason they wouldn’t give anything up in the pre-season .They’ve got several packages that they will unveil for the first time with Tebow. Remember, Fitzpatrick is a better quarterback out of play action – he needs a running game. Jets’ run defense is excellent! I’m going to swallow the points; Jets win their opener in what feels like a playoff game, 26-20.