Welcome back friends, it’s been too long.
It seems like just yesterday, we were singing “Zeke’s got the freaks and that’s a known fact” to the tune of “Regulate” by Warren G featuring the illustrious Nate Dogg while we rolled together in cash. The final record for last year’s ATS picks was 29-15-3, pretty damn good if I say so myself. We rolled with Dallas 7 times last season, whereas we took the Patriots 9 times, the most of any teams.
Week 1 is where we start to pick out those dominant ATS teams for the upcoming season. It also happens to be the toughest week to bet, in my opinion, simply because you just don’t know. The good thing is that Vegas doesn’t know either, which is how we can try to exploit some value plays for this upcoming week.
At first glance, as you will see below, there are only two games with spreads of 10 or more points, with a total of 8 games at 3 points spreads or less. Vegas doesn’t know, aside from Cleveland and the Jets, which is why the spreads are so low.
As you look on, think about your initial gut reaction while thinking about potential bets. Most people tend to shy closer to the underdogs with large spreads because they like receiving a good buffer of points, whereas favorites are usually, well, the favorite, of bettors when spreads are smaller in value.
It’s important to recognize this thought process, but not necessarily to give into it. Cleveland was the underdog by 10 or more 3 times last year, going 0-3 respectively, with a total of 4-12 ATS, the worst of any team. On the opposite end of the spectrum, New England boasted a 13-3 ATS record, the best of any team. New England was favored by 10 or more 3 times. Their record? 3-0 in those games.
Without further delay, let’s get to the spreads!
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns (+8.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins (+2.5) (postponed as of this article)
Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions (+1.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (-5.5)
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans (-2)
Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears (+7)
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins (+1)
NY Jets @ Buffalo Bills (-8)
Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers (-3)
Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers (+5.5)
NY Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-4)
New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)
Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos (-3.5)
Picks of the Week
Cincinnati – 3: As a Baltimore fan, this hurts, but I don’t see any way the Ravens go into Cincinnati and win this game. Baltimore hasn’t won a game in Cincinnati in 5 years.
That combined with Flacco taking as many snaps as I have this preseason makes me think that Baltimore will be relying solely on Justin Tucker, the kicker, to score. Add in A.J. Green constantly decimating the Baltimore secondary and I’ll take the Bengals.
Washington +1: A Home underdog when the team actually isn’t terrible, I’ll take it. Washington has won the last two regular season games at home against the Eagles, so I’ll take a risk on this one. Obviously the one point doesn’t really matter, unless it gives us a push, but I’ll take it anyway. Roll with Captain Kirk.
Oakland +2: I get it. Everyone loves the Titans this year. They get their young QB back, added some weapons on offense, and have a very respectable D.
Let's not forget, however, that Oakland went 12-4 last year and they also...get their young QB back, added some weapons on offense, and have a very respectable D.
The Titans weak point last year was their secondary, giving up 269.2 passing yards per game - third worst in the NFL. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree might have a field day with the Titans DBs, so give me the Raiders in a close one.
Questions, concerns, comments, or criticisms? @FFMilkman on Twitter!