It feels like a lifetime has passed since Super Bowl LIV, with Patrick Mahomes engineering a comeback to lead the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers. On Thursday evening, however, the NFL returns with a jam-packed Week 1 slate and, as always, we are here to deliver winners against the spread.
The 2019 season was quite successful in this space, headlined by a 5-0 mark in the Super Bowl, but we can never rest on our laurels. As a reminder, our principles include underdogs, Unders, and fading the public whenever possible.
Before digging into a five-pack of selections for Week 1, let’s take stock of where we’ve been in the past.
- 2019 Season: 60-48-1
- 2020 Season: TBD
Come get these winners.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+8) over Indianapolis Colts
This is gross, but it’s a great way to dive into the season if you follow our process. Jacksonville is likely the worst team in the league, while the Colts are seen as a favorite to win the AFC South. Beyond that, the Jaguars engaged in a fire sale just weeks before the season, and no one is going to want to bet on this team. In fact, the world is on Indianapolis, and that just fuels our fire. The Colts should win, but this isn’t the kind of juggernaut that should be laying more than a touchdown on the road in Week 1. I know home-field advantage may be reduced, but hold your nose and take the points.
Cleveland Browns (+7.5) over Baltimore Ravens
I’m back, baby. When the Browns were putrid, we bet them way too often. Now that Cleveland is better… we still bet them too often. To be fair, the Browns are no longer the trendy darlings of the preseason, after a disappointing 2019 took the shine away from Baker Mayfield and company. In this case, though, that helps with the line, as the Browns are getting more than a touchdown and very little respect. Baltimore is very good. Lamar Jackson is very good. I get it. Cleveland is still undervalued here, and the public money being on the Ravens certainly doesn’t scare me away.
Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) over Seattle Seahawks
Atlanta was brutal last year. There is no way around that. The Falcons were decimated by defensive injuries and they just didn’t play at the level that this roster is capable of playing. In 2020, expectations are reduced but, as the opener approaches, this looks like an explosive offense and the defense shouldn’t be quite as bad, at least in Week 1. Seattle is the better team on a neutral field, but I can’t get behind the Seahawks entering as road favorites against a reasonable Falcons team. Take the small number with a home underdog, fading the public in the process.
Arizona Cardinals (+7) over San Francisco 49ers
The Super Bowl hangover can be overblown, but the Niners certainly could face it after what transpired back in February. Even when removing that, the Cardinals are seemingly poised for a bit of a leap behind Kyler Murray, and DeAndre Hopkins gives them a No. 1 weapon on the outside. San Francisco is rightly favored here, but Arizona is a trendy sharp sleeper this season for a reason. Make sure you get the full touchdown, but I like the Cardinals.
Denver Broncos (+2.5) over Tennessee Titans
I was all poised to give out a (very) rare favorite in the Detroit Lions, but it’s tough to do that with the line moving to a full field goal. As such, we pivot to the final game of the weekend. It’s unfortunate that Von Miller is injured for the Broncos, taking a bit of steam out of this pick. Still, Denver actually has a home-field advantage at altitude, even if we don’t know all that much about how travel and fan-less experiences will influence games in 2020. From there, Tennessee is something of a regression candidate offensively, and the Broncos suddenly have a very talented group on the offensive side. Drew Lock is a big X-factor on Denver’s long-term outlook but, even if he doesn’t play all that well, the Broncos can cover as small home underdogs.