With NFL Week 1 officially upon us, I have leafed through all the available games, thumbed through the stats and nosed through the lines from MaximBet, all to present to you this artisanal selection of gluten-free football picks.
And while we experience that NFL Week 1 genesis, this is not the time to sit idly by and do nothing but watch while resting upon our laurels. No. Frankly, our laurels have had enough resting for the next decade or two at this point.
It’s time to not only enjoy the NFL as a fan, but also as a player. Not the kind that plays on the field, but the kind that walks into a casino with a fist full of rings holding a bejeweled eagle-headed cane he doesn’t use for walking.
I’m saying let’s make some money.
Lock of the Week
San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) over Detroit Lions
Considering that predicting the outcome of NFL games a significant part of my job, the mantra of “Any Given Sunday” is true. At least the Detroit Lions better hope it is, because this one could be uglier than a Waffle House men’s room an hour after church lets out.
While the 49ers are being coy with their starting quarterback, all signs point to Jimmy Garoppolo. And Jimmy G is the one waving them, telling reporters it’s “official” Wednesday.
While Garoppolo might not make many people excited as QB1 for the Niners, namely his head coach Kyle Shanahan, the dude is 24-8 as a starter in the NFL and the one season he was healthy in San Francisco, they went to the Super Bowl.
But more than that, Garoppolo has faced off against Lions’ quarterback Jared Goff on three separate occasions. The guy whose name my spellcheck refuses to recognize even after seven years is 3-0 against Goff. And that’s when Goff was with the Rams.
Meanwhile, every word out of Lions camp about Goff’s performances could be summed up by a cringe emoji and one of those videos of a fat guy climbing up a bunch of milk crates.
Take the Niners and lay the points. Easy money.
Worst Games in NFL Week 1
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-4.5)
As excited as we are to see the NFL season upon us, not every one of the 16 contests offered are going to be spectacular. Vikings at Bengals and Jets at Panthers have the kind of stench on them that already has NFL RedZone’s Scott Hanson scripting up his apologies for when our screens are stuck on these scrubs with every other game at commercial. I feel for you, Scott, I really do. Add a few shoulder shrugs while you do it.
But here’s something I say makes them interesting. I think the Bengals will be better than people think, and I think the Panthers are probably the third-worst team in the league. I think that both of these games could be upsets, with Cincy particularly putting a beat down on Minnesota.
I think new Jets head coach Robert Saleh has already forged the gameplan to shut down Sam Darnold because, if the past few years are any indication, how hard could it be? Saleh has all of Darnold’s old game tapes in his library in New York. So…
Take the Bengals at +3 and/or the Jets +4.5 (and we’ll come back to these guys later).
A Shocking Raiders Upset Against the Ravens
Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
For whatever reason, NFL punditry remains high on the Baltimore Ravens while the actual league doesn’t seem that concerned. Lamar Jackson is an elite talent and I would love nothing more than to see what he could do in a real NFL offense.
Unfortunately, Jackson has been tasked with running Greg Roman’s Pop Warner attack. And if you don’t believe me, watch some Ravens highlights then cue up some Pop Warner action. If only we could make some prop bets on Pop Warner.
Most NFL offenses are designed to protect their QB from injury. Roman runs Baltimore’s offense like he’s playing with “QB Eagles” from the old Tecmo Super Bowl video game. Which is also where Roman got his playbook.
Take the Raiders +4.5.
Drop $10 on a Four-Team Parlay
Yes, it’s time to use that ten-dollar founding father sitting in your wallet to make some real money with a sweet little NFL parlay. We’ve got outstanding moneylines to play with, specifically with three games we already like.
So, let’s stick them with another upset for a four-team parlay of the Jets (+180), Bengals (+137), Raiders (+180) and the Miami Dolphins (+135).
Why do I like the Dolphins? Mac Jones is making his first start and Brian Flores is coaching a team that went 10-6 last year and nearly made the playoffs. Bill Belichick, against his former coaches is just .500 (15-15).
So, you have a potential playoff team going against a rookie quarterback who is saddled with Belichick’s troubles against his former players and assistants? Come on.
A $10 four-team parlay win here pays $426.
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Adam Greene is @TheFirstMan on Twitter.