It’s not easy to introduce yourself to a new blog audience. You have zero credibility going in and nobody knows who you are. So, I’m going to open with some sage gambling advice that an old friend of mine once told me after he housed a few Cobra’s.
“Gambling is easy. You just have to press the right buttons,” he said to me, Cobra in hand.
All of you should write that down.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Josh North. I consider myself at least a slightly above average consumer of news and I waste my time looking at random statistics when I could be productive and/or social. The BarnBurner brought me in to help show you how to be an expert degenerate. It’s a privilege to be among this group.
Since some of you might not know me, all I can say is I have had a modest level of success picking against the spread since puberty, including a 63 percent win rate during the 2017 regular season, when I publishing my picks weekly online for the Neutral Zone Infraction (gone, but not forgotten). I’m going to publish my weekly picks this NFL season on this platform, hoping to help you learn how to “press the right buttons.”
For our first post, we’re going to list off my picks for the NFL regular season win totals. I’m going to list off which teams to bet on and why, as I will every week, or until I get fired for picking <30% through Week 6. The list will start with my best bets and the rest will follow accordingly. For those who are novice gamblers, this site does a pretty good job explaining the numbers. For any further questions, follow us on twitter @TheBarnBurner.
1. Denver Broncos: Under (+140)
The number: 7
What it should be: 6
I’m starting this off hot, as the Broncos are my favorite team and have been since I learned how to wipe my own ass.
I’m not complaining. I’ve seen three Super Bowl runs and a good number of competitive teams (albeit with some sadness thrown in). These Broncos have some blue-chippers and I thought Bradley Chubb was the best player in the draft.
That being said, the weaknesses on this team (offensive line, depth at skill positions, run defense) are too pronounced for me to consider the Broncos as a team that should be sniffing .500. They could get my hopes up with a 2-0 start, but things get a little nasty for the ponies starting November 18. I do not feel confident that my boys will rebound and I LOVE getting +140 on an under for a bad football team. The public seems to be all over the Broncos, so there is some value in taking the under.
2. Kansas City Chiefs: Over (-105)
The number: 8.5
What it should be: 9.5
Winners of 10 games and the AFC West Division last season, the Chiefs are getting a little disrespect from the sportsbook. These odds (-105) for a reigning division champion to finish over .500 are exactly the type of shenanigans to look for every season. The Los Angeles Chargers, by comparison, are sitting at 9.5 as favorites for the division in the eyes of the sportsbook.
The Chiefs are loaded on the offensive end. Bettors seem to be focused on the quarterback change and some of the losses on defense. However, it might be easy to forget that the Chiefs will arguably be getting their best defensive player back in Eric Berry. Although he is battling a sore heal and coming off a devastating Achilles injury, I believe the Chiefs can be patient and allow their start safety to return to form.
If I were to guess why Kansas City has such a low number, it would be their first-half schedule. They start the season four of their first six games on the road, facing three division winners, the conference champion and two division rivals on the road. If Kansas City is able to get out of the stretch with a 3-3 or 4-2 record, the over should be a lock from there.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: Over (-165)
The number: 6.5
What it should be: 7
The odds aren’t great with this one, but I see some value here in a team that won seven games last season is coming back healthy, deeper and mostly intact. I like teams with a veteran core that retains some youth through good draft picks. I will concede that the Bengals have had their ups and downs in the Marvin Lewis era, but their schedule breaths a little bit of life in me. Also, just look at how Andy Dalton is received in road games.
It’s unlikely that he’ll ever get rattled from a tough crowd. In all seriousness, the Bengals should start the season 3-2 given health, and their schedule only gets easier in the second half. I feel good about this team reaching seven wins again and this may be one of the safer bets among this group.
4. Oakland Raiders: Under (-125)
The number: 8
What it should be: 6.5
It might be good of me to note that there is no AFC West bias here at the Barn Burner…..since when is a team that’s semi-publicly taking offers for its best player poised to make a playoff run? I can’t think of any (@JCNorth_ if I’m missing something).
The Raiders were overhyped last season and everyone nailed the under 10.5 wins. When I say everyone, I mean every but me, as I stayed away running into the closet with my tail between my legs.
Somehow, the Jon Gruden tricked the Raiders into believe he was a once in a generation coach after spending the better part of the last decade on television. Jon Gruden hasn’t won more than 10 games since 2005 and he has the second worst haircut in sports, thanks to none other than his employer Mark Davis.
Simply put, I don’t like this team and they could easily finish last in the AFC West, even behind my moribund Broncos.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Over (-120)
The number: 9
What it should be: 9.5
This line is puzzling to me. The Jaguars were a juggernaut last season and were one quarter away from a super bowl appearance. Their defense is ridiculous (number one in yards allowed per play in 2017) and their schedule is favorable early and down the stretch. I love betting the over for a team I could easily see being the best team in the AFC this season. So long as Blake Bortles doesn’t return to being your friendly neighborhood meme factory, the offense should be stable enough.
Their average offensive line (15th per Pro Football Focus) made a splash after signing guard Andrew Norwell (O-H) and will hopefully get some improvement out of former second round pick Cam Robinson at left tackle. If the offensive line improves, they should be able to grind teams to death on that end. On the other end, Jacksonville’s elite defensive front should be able to feast in a division with poor offensive line play and (surprise) all three quarterbacks having severe injury history. I see Jacksonville’s lame skill group, but I like a good meat-and-potatoes roster. Jacksonville fits the bill.
6. Carolina Panthers: Under (-205)
The Number: 9
What it should be: 8.5
I’m a little late to the party here. When I first looked at the book, the under was at -115. Before I ate my breakfast, the public jumped all over it. I’m not sure what they are seeing, but I’m seeing a (understatement coming in 3, 2, 1….) poor offensive line and mediocre skill players around Cam Newton. I also believe they are far and away the third best team in their own division. I don’t see the NFC South bringing three playoff teams to the table again, as the NFC is loaded all around given a lot of talent returning from injury. I see this team finishing at 7-9, with a lot of change coming next season.
7. Tennessee Titans: Under (even)
The Number: 8
What it should be: 7.5
This is difficult for me, because I like several of their pieces, but this team is flawed and beat up. The book might be skewed a tad based off their strong playoff performance against Kansas City. However, the Titans beat up on an easy schedule last season and I’m not convinced they will be able to keep pace against Jacksonville or even Houston, who everyone loves. I see the Titans regressing this season, and I feel strong about the potential for a push here in case things don’t go to plan.
8. Philadelphia Eagles: Over (-120)
The number: 10
What it should be: 11
I believe in the Eagles. This looks to me like a team that could go on a nice run of super bowl contention for several years. There’s not much more to this than that, despite the early injury report. The NFC East division is one of the more mediocre groups in the league, and I feel safe even with a possible push.
Gun to my head over/under picks:
I feel like these are self-explanatory, but these are the picks I would only make if I had to or if, say, someone had a gun to my head. I may take a second look at some of these games should the lines change some more, but for now, these are all of the picks I will be staying away from.
Arizona Cardinals Over 5.5 (-200)
Atlanta Falcons Over 9 (-160)
Baltimore Ravens Under 8 (+135)
Buffalo Bills Over 6 (+145)
Chicago Bears Under 6.5 (+110)
Cleveland Browns Under 5.5 (+115)
Dallas Cowboys Under 8.5 (-135)
Detroit Lions Over 7.5 (-115)
Green Bay Packers Over 10 (-125)
Houston Texans Over 8.5 (-145)
Indianapolis Colts Under 6.5 (-140)
LA Chargers Under 9.5 (-115)
LA Rams Under 10 (+105)
Miami Dolphins Under 6.5 (+105)
Minnesota Vikings Under 10 (+105)
New England Patriots Under 11 (+110)
New Orleans Saints Over 9.5 (-140)
New York Giants Under 7 (+120)
New York Jets Under 6 (-120)
Pittsburgh Steelers Under 10.5 (-125)
SF 49ers Under 8.5 (-170)
Seattle Seahawks Over 8 (+150)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Over 6.5 (+130)
Washington Redskins Over 7 (-110)
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