Pick-up Lines: Week 1

Since January 11, I can’t say 2019 has been too kind to me. Coincidentally, that was the date of my last post here for the Barn Burner, and I think that can only mean one thing:

For my life to stabilize, I need to……. keep gambling!

Seems simple enough, right? That being said, you don’t necessarily care if I gamble. You care that I keep publishing my picks. So here I am, back for another full season of Pick-up Lines, ready to take down the sportsbook by thumbing my nose at the gambling public.

For me, last season was, well, a little on the low-end from a winning percentage standpoint. I picked around 62% for the year, but I was consistently inconsistent, struggling to find consecutive positive weeks to really gain momentum.

Typically, Week 1 is a taking of the pulse. I usually remain conservative, picking only a few games just to see what happens. This year, many of these games were just too juicy to for me to stay away. You’ll see below that this is close to double the amount of games I usually bet on from a week-to-week basis.

Week 1 Picks

2018 Season Record through Week 16: 76-44-3

2018 Season Point Differential through Week 15: +198.5

2018 Gun-to-my-head season record through Week 16: 56-57-3

As always, my picks will be listed most to least confident. For reference, I will have the team I’m picking in bold font next to the point spread. My gun-to-my-head picks show the games I did not bet on (hence the poopy record above) but the pick I would make if there was a…..you get the picture.

Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers (+3)

I bet on this game back in mid-August. You should have seen me the day I found out Cam Newton left the Week 3 preseason game with a foot injury. Long story short, I was throwing stuff. Rest assured, Cam appears to be good to go and everything is right with the world.

I fell in love with this line the minute it came out. Give me the short home dawg against the annual “We lost to the Patriots and now we’re sad” Super Bowl hangover squad in Week 1. Every. Single. Time.

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4)

The Kansas City Chiefs, arguably the best team in the AFC, are laying four points against a team that many believe are finishing last or second-to-last in their division this season.

While this would appear to be a nice spot to bet the Chiefs, it is actually the typical trap the betting public often falls into. The Chiefs are getting over 70% of the bets, but only 46% of the money. These numbers suggest that average joes are betting on the Chiefs to cover and the professional gamblers are betting heavy on the Jaguars to cover as home dawgs. I’ll side with the pros and my old pal Nick Foles.

Indianapolis Colts (+7) at Los Angeles Chargers

Andrew Luck — as great as he was — is not worth a four-point swing in the betting line. Seven is a great number for this game, with the Chargers dealing with a lot of off-the-field nonsense and losing a very key defensive stud in Derwin James for the season. I’ll take the underdog in a spot where many people are betting the Chargers assuming that a) they’ll be the same team they were last season and b) that Andrew Luck was the only reason the Colts were among the Super Bowl favorites pre-retirement.

Tennessee Titans (+5.5) at Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns entered week 3 of the preseason with a 9.5 over/under win total. That’s the same win total as the following teams:

  • Chicago Bears (2018 division winner, more on them later)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (12 wins last season, lost in divisional round)
  • Indianapolis Colts (10 wins last season, obviously this changed after Andrew Luck went home to his mother)
  • Green Bay Packers (more hype….but at least they have Aaron Rodgers)

The Packers having the same win total hurts my point a bit, but the teams Cleveland had a higher projected win total than are as follows: Steelers, Texans, Falcons, Cowboys, Ravens, Seahawks etc.

Point being: the Browns are all hype for me at this point in the season. I’m going to need to show me that they can handle being 5.5 point favorites before I start betting on them.


San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1)

This line has changed since I bet on it earlier in the week, but the Bucs even at -2.5 (it’s at -1 last I looked), would be a nice bet here as the short home favorite.

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings (-4)

The Vikings, a Super Bowl favorite last season, are undervalued here. This game should be closer to a six-point game than a four-point game, and I like the Vikings to cover as the short home-favorite against a good-but-not-great (and aging) Atlanta team coming off another disappointing season.

Green Bay Packers (+3) at Chicago Bears

I placed a heavy wager on Bears under 9.5 wins this offseason. I fully expect heavy regression from this group, and I expect it to start Thursday night. How can you not bet this guy as a short road underdog against Mitch Trubisky?

Aaron Rodgers looks on during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course on February 07, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

In all seriousness, the sharps are all over the Packers. I expect this line to dip down to 2.5 prior to kick-off. If you’re on the side of the Bears (who still don’t have a kicker, by the way), I would wait on this one. 

Houston Texans (+7) at New Orleans Saints

Here is another game I bet in mid-August, expecting this line to go down significantly prior to kick-off. It has not — it’s still sitting at seven as I write this.

The Texans are by no means a shoo-in to win the AFC South as many expect, but I feel the same way about New Orleans. Despite their dominance last season, I like betting on a division-winner when they’re getting seven points regardless of the opponent.

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (+3)

This line surprised me. While Detroit beat the Cardinals in Arizona last season in a 17-3 snooze fest, I’d like to think a new quarterback and the turn of the calendar would turn the odds back into Arizona’s favor.

The public came HARD after Detroit, and this is the exact time buy Arizona as a home dawg.

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins (+7)

Baltimore is the most heavily bet team this week, getting 83% of the action and undoubtedly getting a ton of survivor pick looks. This line opened at 3.5 and the public action doubled the line heading into Wednesday.

Baltimore is good. I fully expect them to compete for the division this year, but there is no reason they should be seven-point favorites on the road against anyone. I’ll gladly take the fattest home underdog this week and hold my nose while I do it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick talks during a post game news conference following an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers defeated the Eagles 27- 21. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio) ORG XMIT: OTK

Denver Broncos (pk) at Oakland Raiders

This line opened at Oakland -3 before the sportsbooks realized they were giving Oakland too much credit for being on Hard Knocks and having a coach who was on national TV for a while. My Broncos should be favored in this game by 2.5 points. I wouldn’t be shocked if they ended up at that spot by game time.

Gun-to-my-head picks

 Buffalo Bills (+3) at New York Jets

Washington Redskins (+10) at Philadelphia Eagles

Cincinnati Bengals (+9.5) at Seattle Seahawks

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-7) Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-5.5

–Josh North

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