Week 1 DEGEN Picks

After a nice start to the season for DEGEN (hitting both the total and the spread on Thursday), but not for my own picks, here’s the rest of week 1. As usual, my picks in bold at the top, and DEGEN at the bottom, now in italics.

1. Patriots -10.5 @ Bills and the under 51.5.

I think the Patriots offense will have some initial struggles due to the loss of their top 3 pass targets from last year, and a Brady being a year older. On the other hand, while Manuel may be going places in the long term, this is what Belichick gets out of bed in the morning for – to screw with rookie QBs.

DEGEN picks: Patriots and the Under

2. Titans + 6.5 @ Steelers and the under 42. 

I’ve lost money betting on the Titans for something like five years now. This far! And no further! The line has been drawn at 6.5, and I’m taking Big Ben.

DEGEN picks: Titans and the Under.

3. Falcons + 3 @ Saints  and the over 56.5

I keep trying to predict this game won’t be a shootout, but it just isn’t happening for me. In a cointoss game, I tend to take the points, even if the 3 don’t mean as much with a total this big as they would in a low scoring game. 

DEGEN picks: Falcons and the Under

4. Bucs – 4.5 @ Jets and the under 39.5

My rule is when the total is so low that you can’t bear to take it, you’ve got to take it. I think it might be time for the Bucs to draft a new QB too – Josh Freeman might not be happening. Not that Geno Smith is, but they’re decent sized home underdogs and should be able to slow down Doug Martin.

DEGEN picks: Jets and the Over.

5. Chiefs – 4.5 @ Jaguars and the over 42.

This game has a lot in common with the Bucs/Jets game, in that there are two semi-trendy road favorites, and two teams you can’t stand to bet on on the other side. Here’s why I’m taking the home team in both cases – weren’t the Bucs and Chiefs awful last year? I know something something about Andy Reid and his dead sons, but maybe the guy is just washed up. Whatever he’s selling, I’m not buying. Yet. 

DEGEN picks: Jaguars and the Over

6. Bengals + 3 @ Bears and the Under 42.5

This game is sort of why Week 1 of the NFL season is the best. You’re faced with a lot of similar spreads (home team by 3), and are asked to just make a call. Well my call is that I’m done with Cutler and the Bears, while I’m on board with Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Not a lot of heavy hitting analysis here, but the Bears have just not been an especially strong team the last few years relative to the Bengals.

DEGEN picks: Bengals and the Under

7. Dolphins + 2 @ Browns and the Under 41.

This one is tough. These are two pretty similar teams: Mediocre but competent QB paired with some strong line play, and secondaries. I’m taking the Browns here because the Dolphins lost Jake Long, and their RB talent isn’t as strong as Cleveland’s.

DEGEN picks: Dolphins and the Under.

8. Seahawks -3.5 @ Panthers and the Over 45.

I have some strong feelings about the Panthers that I’ll go into in another post, and while I don’t do lock of the week type stuff here, this one is my lock of the week. I’ve got the Panthers winning the NFC South and generally being a strong team all around. Certainly not the stuff of 3.5 point home dogs. Over just because I believe in the read-option revolution.

DEGEN picks: Panthers and the Over

9. Vikings +4 @ Lions and the Under 47.5

Both these teams sort of stink, and I’m getting 4 points with my pick. That’s a strong reason in and of itself. On top of that though, the Vikings have more “breakout” potential due to the possibility that Christian “I’m not a lemon yet” Ponder improves. I don’t understand why this spread isn’t 2.5 honestly. 

DEGEN picks: Vikings and the Under

10. Raiders + 11.5 @ Colts and the Over 46.5

This is another “I believe in the read-option” pick. I watched Pryor do a lot of damage out of a pro-style offense at OSU, and I’m excited optimistic for what his talent will let him do in read-option set. I think the results will be surprisingly strong, assuming they actually stick with it. 

DEGEN picks: Raiders and the Over

11. Cardinals +3.5 @ Rams and the Over 41.

I’m taking a lot of road teams here. I’m not sure how I feel about that. This pick just comes down to a belief in the Cardinals defense, and that adding Carson Palmer will do a shockingly large amount to improve the Cardinals offense, given what they’ve been running out there at QB the last 5 years. Why aren’t they better than the Rams and Sam Bradford again?

DEGEN picks Cardinals and Under

12. Packers +5 @ 49ers and Over 49.5

I think the 49ers defense is going to take a step back (which gives us the Packers and the Over), and the Packers defense will make some progress towards understanding the scrape-exchange and how it can be used to stop the read-option.

DEGEN picks: Packers and the Under

13. Giants +3.5 @ Cowboys and Over 50.5

What can I say? I believe in the numbers that say that while Eli is the Greatest League Average Quarterback of All Time (HT Deadspin), Tony Romo is actually excellent, just perpetually in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a believer in randomness, I have to think that’ll turn around. The Cowboys might be good this year, but their defense still won’t be.

DEGEN picks: Giants and the Under

I’ll do Monday night picks once I get a feel for today’s games.


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