Tom Brolley's Best Bets: Week 1

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Tom Brolley's Best Bets: Week 1

Welcome to Tom Brolley’s Best Bets. This will be the main hub for my favorite NFL bets throughout the season. I will give my favorite spread, player prop, and total bets every week during the season through the Super Bowl. Starting Monday mornings, be sure to check back regularly before kickoff to see what wagers I have lined up for the week ahead.

GAME PICKS

2020 Best Bets ATS Record: 50-48-3 (51.0%, -3.33 units); Week 1: 2-3 (40%, -1.14 units)

2020 Overall ATS Record: 143-121-5 (54.2%); Week 1: 9-6-1 (60%)

2020 Totals Record: 5-7 (41.7%, -2.2 units); Week 1: 1-1 (50%, -.09 units)

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-3, CAESARS) AT CINCINNATI BENGALS

This is a tough first spot for Joe Burrow to return off of his catastrophic knee injury from last November against a Mike Zimmer defense that got absolutely embarrassed last season. The Vikings have revamped their entire secondary, headlined by the addition of Patrick Peterson, and their defensive line is in much better shape with Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Michael Pierce in the mix. Minnesota’s defense could return to being a top-10 unit this season, and their offense should do whatever they want against Cincinnati’s porous defense. The Bengals lost top CB William Jackson this off-season and Trae Waynes (hamstring) won’t play this week, and their run defense allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game (125.1) to RBs. That’s bad news going against Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook. This looks like a mismatch on paper to me and I could see Minnesota being favored by six points if this matchup was held a couple of weeks from now. Risk one unit at -105 to win .95 units. (Posted 9/11)

TENNESSEE TITANS (-2.5, DRAFTKINGS) VS. ARIZONA CARDINALS

I listed the Titans as a “Watch List” team and a -2.5 (-120) showed up DraftKings on Friday afternoon. I have the Titans power rated more in the four-to-five point favorite range in this contest. Tennessee has been slow starters in season openers in recent years, but Arizona’s secondary looks ripe for the picking for Ryan Tannehill, Julio Jones, and A.J. Brown. Risk one unit at -120 to win .83 units. (Posted 9/10)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (+3.5, BETMGM) AT ATLANTA FALCONS

The Eagles come into the season healthy — especially in the trenches — after ranking in the bottom 12 of Football Outsiders’ adjusted games the last three seasons. The Falcons have an advantage at quarterback with veteran Matt Ryan but he’ll be adjusting to life without Julio Jones for the first time. The Eagles have a better overall roster and Philly’s new starting QB Jalen Hurts shouldn’t be overwhelmed by one of the league’s worst defenses. This line has ping-ponged between +3 and +3.5 all summer long so make sure to grab the hook if you can. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units. (Posted 9/9)

CHICAGO BEARS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (UNDER 47.5, BETMGM)

I wouldn’t be surprised if both the Bears and Rams get off to slow starts in the season opener as they break in their new quarterbacks, Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford. These teams are also quite familiar with each other as they’ve played in each of the last three seasons under their current coaching staffs. Those three contests have easily flown under the total by an averaged of 18.7 points as the teams have combined to score just 26.3 points per game. The Rams had the NFL’s best defense last season and they played under the total a league-high 12 times last regular season, and Dalton’s struggles in primetime games is well-documented — he’s 0-6 outright and 1-5 ATS on Sunday Night Football. The NFL does a lot of things right when it comes to scheduling, but they picked a potential snoozer for the season-opening SNF game. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units. (Posted 9/9)

DENVER BRONCOS (-2.5, FANDUEL) AT NEW YORK GIANTS

I’m grabbing the Broncos -2.5 before this line moves to -3 or higher closer to kickoff — some -3s have started to pop up. The Broncos and Giants are two teams heading in the opposite direction in the preseason. Vic Fangio’s job is on the line this season — he has the shortest odds to be fired first — and he made the right decision to go with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. Teddy gives him the best chance to stick around for the entire season and he gives the Broncos the best chance to be competitive on a weekly basis. Bridgewater has covered the spread at an incredible 73.5% rate in his career with a 36-13 ATS record. The Broncos will also have key players Von Miller (ankle) and Courtland Sutton (ACL) ready to go for the season opener. The same can’t be definitively said about New York’s key players Saquon Barkley (ACL), Kenny Golladay (hamstring), and Evan Engram (calf). Multiple reports out of training camp have indicated that the Giants’ offensive line has really struggled, specifically second-year tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart. Daniel Jones could have his hands full against one of the league’s best defenses with an offense that’s at less than 100%. Risk one unit at -108 to win .93 units. (Posted 9/1)

MIAMI DOLPHINS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (UNDER 44.5, FANDUEL)

The Patriots made rookie Mac Jones their starting quarterback after they released Cam Newton on cutdown day. The Dolphins will also be going with their young starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has just nine starts under his belt but none have come with his new co-offensive coordinators George Godsey and Eric Studesville. Miami’s offensive coaching situation will be interesting to watch play out in the first game and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some hiccups in their first real game. Both the Dolphins and Patriots could play it a little close to the vest in the first game of the season as they break in fresh-faced quarterbacks against two of the best defenses in the league — we have the Dolphins second and the Patriots seventh in our D/ST projections. The Patriots will be down top CB Stephon Gilmore (quad, PUP) for the first six games of the season but the Dolphins will also be down one of their top receivers with Will Fuller sitting out the final game of his suspension. These teams played under the total in both of their contests last season by a combined 16 points, and they’re 4-2 toward unders since Brian Flores took over in Miami. I’m expecting this one to go down to the wire — the Pats are 2.5-point favorites — in a pivotal, low-scoring AFC East affair. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units. (Posted 9/1)

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (+1.5 DRAFTKINGS) VS. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Originally posted May 12: Wrong favorite alert! Wrong favorite alert! I’m making the Football Team a Best Bet at +1.5 since I think they should be small favorites in this contest. The Chargers have been building plenty of momentum this off-season and it carried over to this Week 1 line. Los Angeles will be debuting an entirely new coaching staff against a Washington roster that’s largely intact from last season outside of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. I’m trusting the veteran Fitzpatrick to be mostly on the same page with his new offense and I’m grabbing the points with a spread that I think should be flipped. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units. (Posted May 12)

PLAYER PROPS

2020 Record: 175-135 (56.5%, +31.2 units)

Week 1: 13-8 (63.2%, +4.23 units)

All one-unit wagers unless otherwise noted.

Tom Brady (TB) over 2.5 passing touchdowns (+145, DraftKings) (W)

  • 3+ TDs in six of final 11 games, Cowboys allowed 2.1 passing TDs per game in 2020

CeeDee Lamb (Dal) over 62.5 receiving yards (-110, BetMGM) (W)

  • Pass-heavy script, huge camp, over 62.5 yards in four of five games with Dak in 2020

Ronald Jones (TB) under 5.5 receiving yards (-115, Caesars) (W)

  • Run-heavy script, Gio added, fell below 5.5 yards in six of last seven

Jalen Hurts (Phi) over 45.5 rushing yards (-110, Caesars) (W)

  • Cosell thinks he’ll run wild and he topped 63+ yards in each of his three contests in 2020.

A.J. Dillon (GB) over 27.5 rushing yards (-110, Caesars) (L)

  • Saints were nasty against the run in 2020 but try to name one of their DTs in Week 1.

Javonte Williams (Den) over 35.5 rushing yards (-110, BetMGM) (W)

  • FP projection: 59 yards, Williams and Gordon totals at books should be flipped

David Montgomery (Chi) over 53.5 rushing yards (-115, Caesars) (W)

  • FP projection: 66 yards, Nagy doesn’t want to feed Dalton to the wolves

Tyrod Taylor (Hou) over 16.5 rushing yards (-110, BetMGM) (W)

  • Could see some designed runs, he’s posted 17+ yards in 36-of-47 career starts (77%)

DeVonta Smith (Phi) over 3.5 receptions (-105, DraftKings) (W)

  • FP projection: 4.5, Smith should have no issues against one of the league’s worst secondaries

T.J. Hockenson (Det) over 4.5 receptions (+110, Caesars) (W)

  • Nice plus price, averaged 4.2 catches/game last season and is now the clear top option

Elijah Moore (NYJ) over 41.5 receiving yards (-115, Caesars) (L)

  • Time for Moore to be unleashed, Crowder and slot CB Pride out

Tyler Boyd (Cin) over 4.5 receptions (-120, DraftKings) (L)

  • Averaged 6.9 catches per game with Burrow last season, easiest matchup inside.

Marquez Callaway (NO) over 47.5 receiving yards (-115, DraftKings) (L)

  • Only show left in town, set to work mostly across from King based on alignment history

Jakobi Meyers (NE) over 3.5 receptions (-130, Caesars) (W)

  • Avoids top CBs on the perimeter, should see 8+ targets.

Emmanuel Sanders (Buf) over 30.5 receiving yards (-120, DraftKings) (W)

  • Expecting Sanders to be an instant favorite for Allen, John Brown feasted in this role when in the lineup

Brandon Aiyuk (SF) over 47.5 receiving yards (-115, BetMGM) (L)

  • FP projection: 67 yards, top downfield threat and Lions allowed 2nd-most yards to WRs in 2020.

Austin Ekeler (LAC) over 24.5 receiving yards (-115, DraftKings) (L)

  • Rolling the dice that Ekeler is healthy. This total is about 8-10 yards off.

Jerry Jeudy (Den) over 49.5 receiving yards (-115, DraftKings) (W)

  • It’s Jeudy time. Expecting bigger Bradberry to cover Sutton and speedier Jackson to watch Jeudy

Sam Darnold (Car) over .5 interception (+100, DraftKings) (L)

  • 39 INTs in 38 career games and 1+ INT in 22 of those contests (58%).

Lamar Jackson (Bal) over 1.5 passing touchdowns (+110, DraftKings) (L)

  • Lamar could play a hand in all Baltimore TDs (passing or running) on MNF with this the backfield in shambles.

Josh Jacobs (LV) under 13.5 receiving yards (-114, FanDuel) (W)

  • Under 13.5 yards in five of his last nine and Drake added to work in the passing game.

DRAFTKINGS PRO FOOTBALL MILLIONAIRE PICK’EM

This weekly contest from DraftKings requires users to pick five games against the spread for each of the first 17 weeks of the season. Every user gets to throw out their worst week and the person with the most correct picks throughout the season wins a top prize of $1,000,000 — the top 135 finishers win prizes.

Full disclosure: I split my entry with a fellow degenerate so these are five picks we agreed upon for the contest. Look for my picks to be posted mid-Sunday morning.

Last Week: 3-2

Overall: 3-2

Week 1

Minnesota (-3.5) at Cincinnati (L)

Philadelphia (+3.5) at Atlanta (W)

Los Angeles Chargers at Washington (+.5) (L)

Denver (-2.5) at New York Giants (W)

Chicago at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) (W)

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.