NFL Week 1 - Pick Recap
The team at ProMathletics put together a hell of a week one slate for our subscribers. A very nice 6-1 start that translated to 25.15 Units being stacked is about as good as you can get. Had we hit Carolina and the parlay, we would have been up a ridiculous 50.75 Units. Oh so close. Let's get it this week!
Below is a grid of our performance YTD. You will see we do in fact track each game based on how our system picks each spread. However, WE ONLY BET AND RECOMMEND THE GREENZONE games for actual wagers.
Below is the exact email our subscribers received last week. We put serious time into our picks and process to provide the best bankroll and pick management in the industry.
NFL WEEK 1
Let’s get it going…let’s get it STARTED! For all of those rejoining us for another season, great to have you along for the ride again. For those of you new to the party, you just made the best decision of your football wagering careers!
We have 17+ weeks to get chatty, so let’s dive right into the mechanics of what we are doing here. Anything in the GreenZone will have a suggested bet unit size that is a percentage based upon, essentially, what your tolerance for losing would be over the course of a season. If $1,000 is your “I’m calling it a year” limit, our base suggested wager would be risking $66 to win $60. We score all of our bets, win %, and unit returns based on the line as posted by the Westgate for the Las Vegas SuperContest. Yes, we know, the lines move and vary from book to book. We are good at finding positive expected value plays, we aren’t fucking magicians that can lock in all of our customers’ bets at the same time. For that, we apologize. What we do provide to help you navigate those situations are the ranges of spreads where we ourselves are betting, the unit sizes at those levels, and the number at which it is no longer a play for us. There are times when we get better or worse lines vs. that Wednesday night Westgate line…it is what it is.
Additionally, as introduced last year, we will be suggesting one parlay and one teaser each week. Check our blogs or send us a note for the full research and rationale, but it’s pretty simple. We put 0.5 Units on one parlay and teaser each week. For Week 1, the 5 teams for both a parlay and 6-point teaser are CAR, TEN, HOU, CIN, and WAS. Put 0.5 Units on each. We only need to hit 1 5-team parlay at that size for the entire year for it to be profitable…we’ve averaged over two, 5-0s the last three seasons. Feel free to DM or email us with any questions. It’s a long year, but let’s start fast and finish strong!
[6.6 Units] Carolina Panthers (+2.5) home with Rams - LOSS
6.6 Units – CAR +1.5 or more
3.3 Units – CAR +1 or pick ‘em
No Action – CAR -1 or more
A Week 1 East Coast home dog with a West Coast team coming in for a 1pm start…. yes please. Actually, that has a very minimal impact on our projections, but it isn’t a bad story line to help yourself get comfortable when you realize you’re going up against the defending NFC Champs for the first bet of the year! Jokes aside, we have these two teams finishing about one game apart in the final win total, which is leading to this game essentially being a pick ‘em to slight outright line winner for Carolina. When we get the free points at home, we take them. Cam Newton appears to be all systems go and the Panthers defense should be up to the task now that they are healthy and added a motivated Gerald McCoy at the 3-technique. The Panthers got out to a 6-2 start last year before everything went to hell in a handbasket, so we expect them to be regrouped and back to the team that started the season in 2018. The Rams are still our NFC West winners, but this is a very hard game to start the season and we have to trust our models on one that has very clean data.
[6.6 Units] Tennessee Titans (+5) at Cleveland Browns - WIN
6.6 Units – TEN +3.5 or more
3.3 Units – TEN +3
No Action – TEN +2.5 or less
The Browns have more tickets on them to win the Super Bowl than any other team (across various books). That isn’t to say it's the most value (read: a lot of public tickets), but it does say there are a lot of people rooting for this organization to get over the hump and win a SB out of the blue. Their performance down the stretch last year proved they are a legitimate contender for the playoffs and are no longer the laughingstock of the league after a couple tough seasons under the guidance of the infamous Hue Jackson. Their 5-2 finish, impact of Shake n’ Bake, and impact of Freddie Kitchens was captured in our modeling. Do we have them much better than we did at the beginning of last year…no doubt. In fact, we have them winning this game outright, but as a 2.5-point favorite. The difference between 2.5 and 5-points in a game like this is a mile. The Titans, on the other hand, do not receive much public fanfare. They are amongst the three least popular teams for futures tickets and generally fly under the radar. We made a lot on the Titans the last two years for this exact reason. We know what we are going to get…a physical run game and sound defense without a ton of flash on either side of the ball. The Browns get out to a 1-0 start, but the Titans will get to 1-0 against the spread, which is really all we care about.
[6.6 Units] Houston Texans (+7) at New Orleans Saints - WIN
6.6 Units – HOU +6.5 or more
3.3 Units – HOU +4.5 to +6
No Action – HOU +4 or less
The New Orleans Saints are perennial slow starters. We wrote about this in our Week 1 NFL write-up last year when we had the Buccaneers +9.5 playing in the dome. What was the outcome… Tampa Bay fucked around and ended up just winning the game outright. A lot of people thought it was a fluke, but the Saints take a little while to get their rhythm…it’s not anecdotal at this point. Even without weighting a “time of the season” tendency, our models still like Houston to only lose by 3.5 to 4.5-points. Houston’s main issues the last couple of years are keeping the QB clean and staying healthy on defense. The Texans’ front office-ish has been getting blasted by the media for mortgaging the future success of the organization to protect the QB today, but net net, the roster taking the field this week is better than it was before the trades were made. We aren’t worried about 2-3 years from now…we are only evaluating this Monday. It’s always a little frightening going against the Saints at home, but we have had success at picking our spots and don’t have any reason to override our model results for this one.
[6.6 Units] Cincinnati Bengals (+9.5) at Seattle Seahawks - WIN
6.6 Units – CIN +8.5 or more
3.3 Units – CIN +7 to +7.5
No Action – CIN +6.5 or less
You can go ahead and lump Seattle into the “slow starters” group with the aforementioned Saints. For our models to like a 10-point favorite it has to be close to “best in the league” caliber against “worst in the league” … usually in the top/bottom 3 teams in each respective category. The Seahawks, while in the upper third, are not one of our top squads. They have serious questions at the offensive skill positions (outside of Wilson) and the ‘Legion of Boom’ is officially a thing of the past. Speedy Petey will get that defense into terrifying form, especially given the front-7 savages they have assembled, but it’s going to take some time to round into form. On the flip side, the Bengals, as bad as things were last year, still finished towards the middle 20s of our rankings. We are starting them off in a similar spot and think a healthy Mixon running downhill at this fast Seattle D will keep things close. Our models have the Hawks as just under 7-point favorites and we like the value of needing to lose by double digits for our wager to be bust. Root for a whole lot of ground game and no turnovers by the Bengies and we’ll be just fine.
[6.6 Units] Washington Redskins (+10) at Philadelphia Eagles - WIN
6.6 Units – WAS +9 or more
3.3 Units – WAS +8 or +8.5
No Action – WAS +7.5 or less
Points, points, and more points! This Redskins defense was very good the first half of 2018…like leading the league in points allowed through 9 games, good. Once the offense had a plethora of injuries and started turning it over nonstop, the production faded, but the talent remains. They have a great core of young playmakers and brought in Landon Collins (from NYG) and Montez Sweat (draft) to add a little additional zest to their play-making on the defensive side. Jay Gruden said this week that they are going to lean on their defense and if that means winning games 17-13, that’s what they’ll do. Hell, we will be happy with a 17-10 loss, here. If the Washington offense can run the ball a bit and take care of it, very similar to Cincinnati in the previous game, we will be Gucci. Yes, Trent Williams isn’t playing, but that guy is in and out of the line up every year anyway. They are starting Donald Penn who most recently made Pro Bowls at LT in 2016 and 2017 before falling out of favor with the Raiders. We don’t think that downgrade is enough to not listen to our numbers and trust the Redskins dynamic defense is going to keep us within covering distance.
[3.3 Units] Oakland Raiders (pick) home with Broncos - WIN
3.3 Units – OAK pick ‘em to +any points
No Action – OAK -1 or more
This line was a pick ‘em on Wednesday night when the Westgate released the Las Vegas Super Contest lines for Week 1. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows the line has taken some twist and turns since that point, ostensibly driven by the sideshow circus that is Antonio Brown. Our models have the Raiders as a 3-point favorite without AB and a 3.5-point favorite if he plays at his historically observed levels. There are a lot of “ifs” surrounding his availability and who knows what will happen by Monday. Additionally, the guy hasn’t really practiced in this new system and Gruden’s offense is the upper-tier of complicated. So, with or without, we still have the Raiders with significant system value. Why did we demote it to a partial play, you ask? Well, it is very hard to quantify what impact the distractions of the off-season/camp shenanigans have had. The data is there, but we are dialing back our exposure because of the increased level of uncertainty surrounding where the collective heads and preparation for the entire team are at. Other than the hoopla, we love it!
[3.3 Units] Arizona Cardinals (+3) home with Detroit Lions - WIN
3.3 Units – ARI +3 or more
2.2 Units – ARI +2.5
No Action – ARI +2 or less
Our models have this as more of a pick ‘em to +1 for the Cardinals baseline expectation. Quantitatively, we are pretty confident in our approach to modeling the level of play for rookie 1st round picks, and let’s be honest, it will be very hard for the offense in Arizona to be any worse than it was last year. There is a dual-edged sword type of conundrum with the lack of NFL game experience for the Kingsbury/Kyler battery. On the “pros” side, it is going to be very hard for the Lions defense to prepare for an offense that has never existed at the NFL level and for a QB that doesn’t have any NFL tape. On the “cons” side, Kyler Murray has never seen an NFL blitz and hasn’t played at true NFL game speed. Based on the recent success of comparable young QBs (Mayfield and Mahomes, most notably), we feel good enough about the numbers to push this one across as a play. That being said, limiting our Week 1 volatility is something we feel prudent given the amount of “out of the ordinary” circumstances that come with backing this side.