The NFL season could not have gotten off to a sweatier start. If you were live-betting that game, more power to you. I could not figure out which side I liked as the score sea-sawed back and forth.
In the end, the Cowboys got absolutely screwed by a no-call on a clear push-off by Chris Godwin, gifting Brady the comeback win for the Bucs. But it was incredible to watch, even if you had a +340 Cowboys ticket in your pocket (like I did).
NFL Week One Fadable Five
I’ll make these picks short and to the point. Unfortunately, my favorite pick was Washington +1 and that has flipped to -1.5. Granted, going through zero is the least impactful line move you can have. And this was mostly teaser protection for the books. But it’s always nice to have that point in your pocket in what should be a close game.
Here are your NFL week one fadable five. We’ll go my favorite week one bet first, a 3-unit play. And then finish with the most fadable picks, all 1-unit plays.
Washington Football Team -1.5 hosting LA Chargers
Despite the line move, I absolutely love the Washington Football Team this week. I think Washington is 3-points better than the Chargers on a neutral field. And that’s before we factor in home field and other significant factors in Washington’s favor.
Let’s start with the time and location. The Chargers are traveling from LA to DC. The travel factor is overplayed. But the body clock issue is impactful with this game being played at 9 am Pacific. So, right off the bat, the Chargers are playing at a disadvantage.
Let’s now talk about on-the-field issues. In Justin Herbert’s incredible rookie season, he played every road game without fans. Sure, Herbert played in front of plenty of packed stadiums at Oregon. But his production on the road this year is destined to regress from his performance a year ago.
LA Chargers Offense vs. Washington Football Team Defense
So, now we’ve accounted for home-field advantage, body clock issues, and expected regression from Herbert. Let’s talk about the actual game.
The WFT features the best defensive front in football. They will be going up against an O-line with zero continuity, adding rookies and veterans alike. And while the additions include a first-round pick and Bryan Bulaga, it’s hard to trust a brand new O-line in week one.
This could be a long day for Justin Herbert going against the top pressure front four in the NFL.
Washington Football Team Offense vs. LA Chargers Defense
The Chargers’ defense is also very talented. The return of safety Derwin James is the most notable boost to a defense that also features Joey Bosa at OLB and CB Chris Harris Jr. But beyond these stars, the Chargers could struggle to stop Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, and the one and only Ryan Fitzpatrick.
I’ll admit that I believe in Fitzpatrick perhaps more than the average person. But despite your thoughts on Fitzmagic, he is indisputably an upgrade from the quarterbacks Washington has trotted out the past few years.
We’ve already seen what McLaurin and Antonio Gibson could do with mediocre quarterbacks. With an average quarterback, this offense has the potential to sneak into the top 10-12 in the league.
Chargers at Washington Pick
The WFT this year will be determined by their defense. And with the youth they feature across the board, I’m confident they’ll deliver another top-10 season and could challenge their #3 finish in DVOA a year ago. I love WFT this week at anything up to -2.5
The Bet: WFT -1.5 -110 – 3.3 units to win 3u
OK, I said I would make this quick so the next four picks will be lightning bets:
Seattle Seahawks -2.5 at Indianpolis Colts
I’m way down on the Colts this year, and it starts with the injury to top offensive lineman Quentin Nelson. Nelson is unlikely to play on Sunday, and his absence would be a massive blow to the Colts’ offense.
Speaking of the Colts offense, it’s led by a hobbled Carson Wentz. Is full-strength Carson Wentz even an average quarterback? Wentz has played well at times in the past. But more recent history tells us that he’s a bottom-tier QB. Coming off an injury and in a brand new offense, my expectations are extremely low for Wentz in week one.
To make matters worse, the Colts’ #1 CB Xavier Rhodes has missed multiple practices with a hamstring injury. Even if he plays, it will be at less than 100%, so good luck guarding D.K. Metcalf.
Russell Wilson will be ready to roll in week one, and the Seahawks will beat the Colts by more than three points.
Tennessee Titans -3 hosting Arizona Cardinals
This line assumes that the Titans and Cardinals are evenly rated. Which I completely disagree with. The Titans excel in all three phases and added Julio Jones to complement A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry.
Julio’s impact might be overplayed in general. But the Titans are a good team that got better. And they’re playing a team with no corners to speak of who can reasonably defend the Titans passing attack. If Derrick Henry gets going, game over.
New Orleans Saints +4 vs. Green Bay Packers
I am not buying that the Saints, the #1 team in overall DVOA last year with the #2 defense is all of a sudden four points worse than the Packers. That’s it, that’s the handicap. This bet is a pure numbers play, and maybe I’m buying into the Jameis Lasik surgery just a bit. But I believe this will be a close game that comes down to a last-minute field goal, so give me the four points.
Chicao Bears +7.5 at LA Rams
This game is similar to Dallas at Tampa Bay. No, Chicago is not Dallas. But they have a top-10 defense with talent on all levels, young and old. And say what you will about Andy D, he’s an upgrade over what the Bears have been throwing out at QB the past three years.
The Bears have weapons on offense in Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. And a strong interior O-line, somewhat making up for terrible tackles.
This is a homer pick, so feel free to fade. But I truly believe we’ll see a close game, as we’ve become accustomed to with these two teams. The +7 felt like a lot, handing out the hook feels like a mistake.