It's the first Sunday of the new NFL season and Iron Mike has picked out his best bets from the games...
"I’m not sure the Tyrod Taylor Chargers will be putting up big numbers in a season-opening road game"
It's the 2020 season and with allowance for the changes which the Coronavirus has brought, and will likely continue to bring, it was a moment of real reassurance to watch the Chiefs pick up where they left off last season, taking care of the Texans with some ease. It's a note of the uncertainty that the Chiefs were giving 9.5 points, and that was the biggest spread of the week: not a single double-digit dog on the charts, which is a sign of a certain amount of uncertainty.
The Chiefs would have been my best bet of the week: if you listen to Betfair's NFL...Only Bettor podcast, you would have heard general agreement between me, Kieran O'Connor and John Balfe that this would be the case, and so it proved.
KC has most of their core back, with free agency losses minimal and only guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and starting tailback Damien Williams opting out: by drafting Clyde Edwards-Hilaire with their first-round pick KC got a two-fer: both a replacement runner (and CD-E had an impressive debut) and a replacement hyphenated surname. With Patrick Mahomes looking pretty good for week one, and the Texans' new offense looking pretty much a work in progress, the scoreline may have actually flattered Houston.
But let's move on to this week. And my next best-bet is chosen for much the same reason as my Thursday pick would have been...
Best Bet: Buffalo (-6.5) v NY Jets at 20/23
The Bills were, along with the Chiefs, the team returning the most 'starter snaps' from 2019, that is the players who played in each game, and they added Stefon Diggs to their offense to give Josh Allen a target who's efficient on multiple levels. Allen is not necessarily efficient at multiple levels but Diggs will help.
As rookie runner Zach Moss ought to as well, as a power runner useful when conditions affected by winter weather up north for the only NFL team that actually plays in the state of New York. They were consistently strong defensively last year: meaning if Allen could put 20 on the board they could win any game, and against a Jest (as we call the B team in the Meadowlands) team that already seems in disarray before the season has started, a win by a TD ought to be a sure thing.
There are no bets on the spread or over/under this week that are at evens or better, but I like this somewhat stingy under for two reasons. I'm not sure the Tyrod Taylor Chargers will be putting up big numbers in a season-opening road game, and I am pretty sure that Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram may make heralded rookie Joe Burrow's life difficult in his first NFL start. The Bengals are +3 home dogs at 19/20, but if you think Burrow can begin to lead a rejuvenated Cincy side to a win, you might do better on the moneyline at 29/20.
I'm not sure how 'outside' this call is, but I see the Eagles as a team in transition right now, and Washington Team Football (or WTF) are also, but the ExSkins have a lot of talent up front, a good defensive coach in Ron Rivera, which could challenge Carson Wentz and Co.
But I am not sure whether Dwatne Haskins and the offense will be able to take full advantage of the Eagles' big weakness, the secondary, and I think Philly ought to be a TD better, even on the road. If you're hesitant, I like the under 49.5 on Seattle at Atlanta at 17/20, and a word of warning: if you are a believer in the Brady Equation, and thus like Miami to win at New England or Tampa to win at New Orleans, you might again like the moneyline. Personally, I like the under 42 at Foxboro at 10/11.