Analysis

Mac’s Machinations

The NFL is back and so begins our foray into the real 2020 gambling season. Whether it’s via the spread, parlay, or teaser, I’ve got you covered. This column is for entertainment purposes only. *wink*

Welcome to the first edition of Mac’s Machinations. In this column, I will be providing intellectually stimulating insight into the wondrous world of NFL gambling. I am assuming that the reader will have a basic knowledge of gambling nomenclature such as spread, parlay, teaser, futures, lines, over/under, etc.

Week 1 of the NFL season is always challenging to handicap as it contains our first true look at real action, as a wise investor would not put too much stock into preseason games. However, the outbreak of COVID, the complete removal of preseason games, and the limitation of offseason activities have provided an even more enigmatic start to the NFL season.

That being said, I do feel that there are several strong plays in Week 1. I will provide my opinion on each contest as to the winner ATS (against the spread) but that does not necessarily mean I will bet on each game. I will give my best bets at the bottom of the column. All lines are via the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Let’s begin.

Thursday, Sept. 10 8:20 pm ET

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Line: Chiefs -9.5 O/U 54

In normal circumstances Arrowhead would be rocking at full capacity as the Kingdom celebrates the dropping of the Super Bowl banner. Despite only being at 22% capacity, the Chiefs easily mop the field with the Bill O’Brien led Texans. O’Brien’s offseason management makes Matt Millen shake his head. Expect Mahomes and Co. to keep the party going. Also have a sneaky suspicion that new addition CEH makes an immediate impact.

Kansas City 28, Houston 10

Sunday, Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots Line: Patriots -6.5 O/U 43

This is an intriguing game for a plethora of reasons. You have the first game of the post-Brady era in NE, the shadow of Tua looming in Miami, a new era in the AFC East, the Cam show debut in NE, and evil sith lord Belichick working sans Brady. Miami seems to be on the way up. Forgot about in last season’s tank for Tua campaign was the fact that the Fins actually played competitive football after week 4 and won 3 of their last 5 games.

Brian Flores seems to be establishing a great foundation in Miami and it is only a matter of time before we see Tua. However, I think that this will be the most motivated Bill Belichick has been in a long time. He will be on a mission from God to show that the Pats dynasty was his baby with Brady just along for the ride. The mission begins with a W. I would also bet the under here.

New England 24, Miami 7

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens Line: Ravens -8 O/U 48.5

Lamar Jackson shows off his MVP skills as he shreds the Browns defense. I expect the Browns to be a better team as the season progresses under new coach Kevin Stefanski but with no preseason to fine tune under the new regime I’m putting my faith in Harbaugh and Lamar to work as a well-oiled machine.

Baltimore 27, Cleveland 13

Sunday Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills Line: Bills -6.5 O/U 39.5

The Stefon Diggs era begins in Buffalo as the Bills look to become a top threat in the AFC East. The Jets are a mess. Adam Gase makes Rich Kotite look like Vince Lombardi. Poor Le’ Veon Bell.

Buffalo 21, New York Jets 10

Sunday Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders at Carolina Panthers Line: Raiders -3 O/U 47.5

This game smells of an under bet. I don’t trust the Panthers offense even with C-Mac. He will still get his numbers but with a new regime in place that looks to be heavily invested in defense rather than offense I don’t think the Panthers score a lot of points here. The Raiders are on the rise and I expect Henry Ruggs III will be a big star before the season is over. Expect Chuckie and Co. to start the Vegas era off with a bang.

Las Vegas 24, Carolina 14

Sunday Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons Line: Seahawks -1.5 O/U 49

Could this be the beginning of the end of the Pete Carroll era? As a man who looks to run first in an ever-developing pass-happy league, Carroll has yet to fully and consistently utilize the talents of Russell Wilson. As for the Falcons, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are a consistent tandem that ranks among the best in the NFL. Give me the underdog Falcons at home against the west-coast based Seahawks. Sorry Mina Kimes.

Atlanta 24, Seattle 21

Sunday Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team Line: Eagles -6 O/U 43

This line is baffling to me. The Eagles are head and shoulders above the traveling circus that is Washington. While I believe that Riverboat Ron will bring stability to this mess, I don’t believe that they can stay within a touchdown of Philly. Jump on this while it is still under 7.

Philadelphia 31, Washington 16

Sunday Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Line: Lions -3 O/U 44.5

This line opened at Even and as of Sept. 7 it has fallen to Lions -3. That is interesting. (Trubisky starter announcement?) As much as I love the Chicago defense I just do not trust Mitch Trubisky, especially on the road. This should be a relatively low scoring affair. If you gamble on a site or at a location that offers the ability to buy a couple of points, add it to the O/U to be safe and take the under.

Detroit 21, Chicago 17

Sunday Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars Line: Colts -8.5 O/U 45

Oh, Jacksonville. It seems like ages ago since that AFC Championship game appearance. I would compare this team to the Titanic but that would suggest that this current version of the franchise ever floated. While 8.5 points on the road may seem like a lot, I believe it could be too low. The impact of COVID won’t make a difference as the crowd wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The only intrigue for me is the O/U on Philip Rivers interceptions.

Indianapolis 34, Jacksonville 14

Sunday Sept. 13 1:00 pm ET

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Line: Vikings -2.5 O/U 46

Minnesota is a sleeper pick for some this season as a potential NFC championship contender. Many people have also written off Green Bay for their lack of providing Aaron Rodgers sufficient weapons on offense. I still am a believer in Rodgers and his ability to make use of the tools provided. I think Davante Adams and Allen Lazard will perform admirably as wideouts. The defense led by Jaire Alexander will limit a Vikings offense that will miss Stefon Diggs this season.

Green Bay 28, Minnesota 17

Sunday Sept. 13 4:05 pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals Line: Chargers -3.5 O/U 43

This is another game that I think will surprise some people with the outcome. First of all, I love that the Bengals are home underdogs. I also am on the Joe Burrow bandwagon. Will he be perfect out of the gate? No. However, I trust him at home with a returning AJ Green at WR and Joe Mixon in the backfield. Tyrod Taylor on the road? I’m not sold. I think Cincy wins this one going away.

Cincinnati 27, Los Angeles Chargers 10

Sunday Sept. 13 4:25 ET

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Line: 49ers -7 O/U 47

Honest show of hands… who would take Jimmy G over Kyler Murray as their starting QB? I’m taking Kyler everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. However, that 49er defense is stout. Can they stop the emerging Cardinal offensive juggernaut? I think that on this day they will. However, if the game becomes a shootout I think the Cardinals will win. Despite having the 2nd best TE in football (Kelce is king), I don’t think the 49er offense is built to play catchup.

San Francisco 23, Arizona 13

Sunday Sept. 13 4:25 ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Line: Saints -3.5 O/U 49.5

In full disclosure, I liked the Bucs going into this season BEFORE they got Tom Brady and Gronk. Bruce Arians is a great coach, the Bucs have a great core of young talent around Brady, and the defense drastically improved last year under Todd Bowles in finishing in the top 5 in DVOA.

The Tampa defense forced opposing teams off the field without a first down or touchdown 30% of the time in 2019. The downside to that is that they were on the field way too much as the offense was very inconsistent with Captain Turnover Jameis Winston at the helm. That will change with Brady in charge.

The receiving corps is young and among the best in the league. I had Tampa as a sleeper to win the NFC before Brady and now I have them as a top contender. The problem with this game, however, is that it is the first game of the Drew Brees farewell tour and it is also in New Orleans. I think this will come down to whoever has it last. Game of the week.

New Orleans 31, Tampa 28

Quick Hits

Sunday Night: Dallas Cowboys 24, LA Rams 13 The descent of Goff continues. The question of whether Sean McVay is a one hit wonder will continue in 2020.

Monday Night: Pittsburgh Steelers 31, NY Giants 17 The Giants are still rebuilding and Big Ben will return to form. Mike Tomlin did a remarkable job with a terrible hand last year and now he gets a full deck to play with.

Monday Night: Denver Broncos 20, Tennessee Titans 17 This will be a close, low scoring affair with the Broncos pulling it out late. Is Drew Lock for real? This game will be an indicator for things to come.

Teaser of the week:

+ 6 points Ravens, Raiders, Falcons, Packers

Lock of the week:

Eagles -6

Upset special:

Bengals +3.5

From the Tangiers Casino, Sportsbook, and Resort: Thanks for reading and now go make some (hypothetical) money!

Mac

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