The first season wins of the NFL season were released recently at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and a couple bets moved right away.
The Patriots’ total surprisingly opened up as 11 wins OVER -120 and was quickly bet to 11.5. The movement came as no surprise to me as I had 11.5 OVER -130 as my projection, as I think the Patriots have gone all in for one more Super Bowl run as the trade for Saints WR Brandon Cooks (N.E. traded No. 32 overall) shows.
With non-division road games at New Orleans (paging Mr. Cooks), Tampa Bay, Denver, Pittsburgh, only the Buccaneers with all their new weapons seems like a possible shock victory. At the very worst I think the Patriots come out of this slate 6-2 or 5-3 on the road, putting them at 12-4 or 11-5 at worst. However the value is gone as now the Pats sit at 12 OVER -120. So where can we actually make some money?
First one out of the gate let’s start with everyone’s favorite punching bag the Cleveland Browns, after a 1-15 season South Point opened them 4 (OVER-110/UNDER-110). It now sits 4.5 (+105/-125). I am not impressed by the AFC North and I think the Browns make a significant year two improvement under Hue Jackson. While only putting one win on the board, Cleveland impressed me with how hard they played all year. Sure they lacked talent at key positions but plenty of NFL teams quit when the losses pile up and if any franchise has an excuse to quit it’s the Browns. I see a 6-7 win season for Hue’s guys and expect Deshone Kizer to make an impact over the final eight games of the season getting the Browns over the win total. Don’t be stunned if the Browns shock Pittsburgh outright in Cleveland as a +10 home underdog. Cleveland at 300-1 to win the Super Bowl at Westgate is worth a couple dollars just in the hopes of hedging come the playoffs.
Up next the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the total has not moved as South Point has it 8 (-110/-110), I think the Bucs make the playoffs this year and have a great chance to win the NFC South. The Panthers, Saints and Falcons will all be competitive and I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 9-7 team win this division. That said the team will be battle tested and will be a real threat come playoff time. Take a shot on the Bucs if you can find 40-1 or higher right now the highest I see is 30-1, which isn’t quite worth it for a young team like Tampa.
Season Win Under Alert, the New York Jets -- 5.5 wins (-120/EVEN). Seriously? This team screams 3-13. They have no offensive line, they cut all their play makers and who knows the health of Eric Decker. They did draft two safeties in Round 1 and 2, so clearly they’re thinking….I don’t know what the hell they’re thinking. At quarterback, they roll in over the hill and never really good Josh McCown, who is coming off a demolition derby season in Cleveland, where he left the game due to injury multiple times. The backup QB 2nd Round pick gigantic bust Christian Hackenburg, who was so bad in practice the Jets didn’t even bother putting him into the lineup in a lost season. This team is going to win six games? No chance. This is my season total UNDER BET OF THE YEAR.
Season Win Under Alert, the Atlanta Falcons – 10 wins (EVEN/-120). As mentioned above the loss of their OC and the Super Bowl loss a recent memory I find it hard to believe that the Falcons will top 10 wins this season. While a push is very much in the running, I expect an 8-9 win season for Atlanta.
Lastly my early season future pick to actually win the Super Bowl is the Green Bay Packers. Somehow, someway Aaron Rodgers has one more championship in him. Despite the fact that Mike McCarthy is one of, if not the worst, NFL Head Coach with a Super Bowl ring, he has Rodgers and if your QB is God like that’s all you need. He has enough weapons and a decent enough defense to make the run to the Super Bowl and find a way to defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Article by Alan Berg