Our weekly look at every NFL game on the schedule for Sunday and Monday and some advice on which match ups to target and what match ups to avoid.
Week 1 of the NFL season is one of the harder weeks to bet on in the NFL as you're largely going off of past performance and projecting how each team's off season moves will impact them on the field before having a few games to draw more concrete conclusions. This year, with the preseason cancelled due to COVID-19, the first week's outcomes could differ wildly. I think this is why we are seeing quite a few games within 3 point spreads in week 1. Our lines are pulled right from FanDuel's Sports book. Let's take a look at Week 1's match ups.
We also have some prop bets we've talked about earlier in the summer, check those out and get some money in before the season starts.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (-2.5) O/U 42.5
I like the Lions this week at -2.5 and I would hit the under this week with points set at 42.5 The Bears won't have a healthy David Montgomery this week and with Mitchell Trubisky starting at QB, the Bears offense doesn't inspire much confidence. The Lions could be without Kenny Golladay this week, but Matthew Stafford and the rest of that offense should be enough to overcome any fight with the Bears defense.
Pick: Lions to cover and the under.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) O/U 47.5
Cleveland will be an improved and more disciplined club this year, but are down both starting corner backs and a starting safety going into the first week of the year. The Ravens added firepower on offense with JK Dobbins and Devin Duvernay along with the return of an elite defense, all adds up to a game that looks to get out of hand early.
Pick: Ravens and the under
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) O/U 44.5
Packers and Vikings are one of the better games on the schedule this week. The Vikings have an excellent defense, but Danielle Hunter looks to be out and that is a big blow in trying to slow down the Green Bay offense. The Vikings offense should be able to move the ball against the Packers defense. I think that leads to a higher scoring game this week with the Packers squeaking out a tough road win.
Pick: Packers to cover and the over
Indianapolis Colts (-8.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars O/U 45.5
Colts get the "tanking" Jaguars to start the year and should have no issue covering their 8.5 points this week. Indianapolis boasts an offense that should be able to take advantage of garbage time this week, which allows me to be comfortable taking the over.
Pick: Colts and the over
Teddy Bridgewater's Panthers have a good shot at upsetting the Raiders at home this week.panthers.com
Las Vegas Raiders (-3) @ Carolina Panthers O/U 47.5
Raiders head across the country for a 1:00 game at the Panthers and are still favored by 3. I think the books are sleeping a bit on the Panthers this year, and with very little tape on the Panthers new-look offense paired with a below average Raiders defense is the perfect recipe for a Week 1 "upset." I think it will be a lower scoring affair as well so the under is more appealing this week.
Pick: Panthers and the under
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (-7) O/U 41.5
Miami heads into New England to start the year in a very intriguing match up. Cam Newton is now the Patriots new starting QB but a lack of talent at WR could hold this offense back. I think this will be a low scoring affair based on a revamped Miami defense and a brand new Patriots offense. I like Miami to cover here and also will take the under.
Pick: Miami to cover and the under
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (-6.5) O/U 39.5
The Jets don't have Jamal Adams or CJ Mosley on defense and the Bills went out and got Stefon Diggs to pair with John Brown and Cole Beasley at WR. I think the Bills easily cover the 6.5 spread this week and I am hammering this over. I think the Bills offense will be better and the Jets will get a couple of garbage touchdowns to push this one past 40 total points.
Pick: Bills and the over
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) @ Washington Football Team O/U 42.5
The Eagles head into this week down three of their five offensive lineman. They'll face off against one of the best defensive lines in the NFC in Washington. It will be tough to move the ball this week for both teams and with rain in the forecast for the game Sunday, this could be a low scoring match up. I like Washington to cover in this one.
Pick: Washington to cover and the under
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ Atlanta Falcons O/U 48.5
The Seahawks get a slight edge here from the book even while making the cross country trip. Atlanta has a lot of firepower on offense which could put pressure on the Seattle defense, but I think this game will just finish under this week with Seattle's defense doing just enough to slow Atlanta down.
Pick: Seahawks and the under
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals O/U 41.5
Another west coast team playing on the east coast at 1:00 being favored. The Chargers have Tyrod Taylor as their new starting QB and have lost defensive star Derwin James for the year with a torn meniscus. Joe Burrow has looked very good, and with a less than 100% Chargers defense coming cross country for an early game, the Bengals are in a good position to steal a week 1 victory.
Pick: Bengals to cover and the over
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) O/U 48.5
A potentially high scoring match up on paper, but the 49ers defense returns intact from an excellent 2019 campaign. Continuity is key here, and even though Arizona added improvements on both sides of the ball, the 49ers are just too good right now for this to be less than a one score game.
Pick: 49ers and the under.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5) 47.5
I think this will be one of the highest scoring match ups this week. Even with some injuries affecting the Buccaneers on offense this week, Tom Brady should be in for a duel with Drew Brees. The Chiefs-Texans game hit their over in a very nerve racking fashion on Thursday night, but the weather won't play a factor here like it did in that game. Saints win a close one but I think the Bucs will cover here.
Pick: Buccaneers to cover and the over
Dak Prescott looks to get the Cowboys in the win column in Week 1Getty Images
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) @ Los Angeles Rams O/U 51.5
The Cowboys return an offense almost completely intact from a year ago, and with the addition of CeeDee Lamb and Dak Prescott playing on a one year deal, the Cowboys offense will be scoring points in bundles. The Rams are a bit harder to read, cutting Todd Gurley in the off season and regressed in 2019. I think 51.5 total points is a bit generous, especially in Week 1.
Pick: Cowboys and the under
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) @ New York Giants O/U 45.5
This match up seems to be priced just right from a total points perspective, but I think the Steelers win this by at least 7 points this week. The Giants will stay in the game and I think will get a touchdown late at the end to just push this past the 45 points.
Pick: Steelers and the over
Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Denver Broncos O/U 40.5
Denver just lost Von Miller for the year and also will possibly be without Courtland Sutton this week against the visiting Titans. I am hesitant to put a lot of faith in the Titans until I can see Ryan Tannehill pick up where he left off in last year's post season. I think this is going to be a low scoring, defensive battle in the final game of the week.
Pick: Titans and the under.
Parlay me this, Batman!
Each week I'll stick my neck out there and give you a parlay to put together.
My parlay I'm playing this week is this: Bills (-6.5), Steelers (-5.5) and Bengals (+3)
Good luck out there this week and enjoy the NFL finally being back and bringing a sense of normalcy to our lives!
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- NFL Week 1 Lines 2020: Betting Odds At US Sportbook Apps ›
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For many managers, their playoff prospects are dark and hot as hell heading into the final week of the fantasy basketball regular season.
But before you can compete to be grand champ, you need to stop, drop, shut your duds down and open up the waiver wire for your last gasp this regular season. Here are some names you should be looking for to give you that push you need.
Rest in peace, DMX.
Kyle Anderson Forward Memphis Grizzlies
The former UCLA star might have taken the tale of the tortoise and the hare a little too seriously, but the "slow and steady" mantra has given him a successful NBA career and impressive fantasy numbers. For the past week, Slow Mo has averaged 16.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting, seven rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 made threes, two steals and one turnover a game.
Ja and Kyle Anderson having too much fun out there 😳 Off-the-glass oop 🔥 https://t.co/lbCrd3edzz— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1617847190.0
Anderson has been a consistent contributor throughout the season and it's tough to see his numbers take a hit even when Jaren Jackson Jr. returns at the end of the month. If you haven't rostered him yet, it would be a huge mistake.
Jalen McDaniels Forward/Center Charlotte Hornets
Staying on the court has been a problem for McDaniels this season, but the absence of Gordon Hayward has forced the Hornets to look for other options on the court and the second-year player has been one of the beneficiaries. In the last three games, the San Diego State product averaged 16.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting, two made threes, five rebounds and 3.3 assists. He even threw in 1.3 steals and one block per game.
JALEN MCDANIELS. THROW IT DOWN. (via @hornets) https://t.co/j6vTaidh4w— SLAM (@SLAM)1618022175.0
Hayward is expected to be out for at least three more weeks. Until he's back, expect McDaniels to continue his more proactive approach on this team.
Miles Bridges Forward Charlotte Hornets
McDaniels isn't the only one who has taken advantage of Hayward's injury. Bridges has cranked his game up a notch, averaging 21.7 points on 60.5 percent shooting, three made threes, six rebounds and one steal in the last three games. He may have even had the dunk of the year, posterizing Clint Capela on Sunday.
😤 MILES BRIDGES posterizes Capela! 😂 LaMelo’s reaction. https://t.co/y8kAanwhgq— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife.com)1618168845.0
Until Hayward is back, Bridges will get a lot more freedom to operate and that means more fantasy contribution in the coming weeks.
Reggie Jackson Guard Los Angeles Clippers
Depth has not been a problem for the Clippers the last few seasons, but it has been trouble for fantasy managers looking for consistent contributors on that team. Rest and injuries haven't slowed the Clippers' winning ways this week because Reggie Jackson stepped up for them and gives fantasy participants a short-term high performer to lean on for the week.
In a week where Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Paul George missed time, Jackson thrived, averaging 17.3 points on 61 percent shooting, three made threes, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 turnovers in four games.
With Beverley out with a fractured hand and Rondo/George/Kawhi undoubtedly taking games off to save themselves for the playoffs, Jackson may not be a bad desperation option in standard fantasy and worth tracking in daily fantasy formats.
Tim Hardwaway Jr Guard/Forward Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks' recent success has not translated into numbers for all players. Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of them.
The Michigan product averaged 12 points on 37.5 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four games last week. He did make two three-pointers per game in that span, but that is like threading a silver lining on a used rag.
Tim Hardaway Jr. missed the 3, so it won't be a highlight, but Luka just threw a pass to him in the corner from the… https://t.co/5Ncj9MbnYE— Dan Devine (@Dan Devine)1616212345.0
Hardaway is still the third scoring option on the team, so he will get more chances to increase his production, but this week was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fantasy managers.
Derrick Rose Guard New York Knicks
Rose has found a home with the New York Knicks, but his role has not been kind to fantasy managers. We all know the former MVP can still score, but head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn't asked him to do much else.
In the last four games, Rose has averaged 14.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 0.8 made threes, 1.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. That kind of one-dimensional play is a killer of many fantasy teams looking for a more diverse portfolio of contributions.
If you need a boost in scoring, Rose isn't a terrible option to consider, but if you need anything else, you should leave him on the waiver.
Lou Williams Guard Atlanta Hawks
Like Rose, Williams isn't asked to do anything other than score at this point in his career. But even in the past week, he can't even do that at an elite fantasy level. Only averaging 11.8 points per game, 1.8 made threes, 2.8 assists and basically non-existent in every other category in fantasy sports.
Cool moment from first half, as Lou Williams welcomes Isaiah Thomas back to #NBA https://t.co/vv9dImK1fA— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim Eichenhofer)1617756493.0
It's safe to say that Lemon Pepper Lou's effectiveness as a fantasy star is gone.
Jusuf Nurkic Center Portland Trail Blazers
Okay, I know Trail Blazers have been trying to ease Nurkic back into the lineup and giving him restricted minutes. However, with the fantasy managers looking for that final push to the postseason, there might have to be an executive decision on whether Nurkic needs to be played or pitched.
Teams firmly in playoff position can hold out for him to be used properly again, but other managers won't be able to stomach another week of missed games and low-end production.
For college basketball, the madness is over. For the NBA fantasy managers, the madness is just beginning.
We are two weeks away from playoffs, and people are scrambling for solutions to their team's problems. Take a look at these waiver wire picks and see who will give you that final push you need to get into the postseason and avoid the humiliation of whatever fantasy punishment you may face.
Bogdan Bogdanovic Guard/Forward Atlanta Hawks
While one Bogdanovic struggles through a subpar season in Utah, another is thriving in Georgia. Bogdan, the younger of the unrelated pair, missed 25 straight games this season due to a knee injury and had trouble finding consistent minutes on this Hawks team. This past week, he caught fire with John Collins and De'Andre Hunter out with injuries.
The @ATLHawks set a new NBA record for threes made in a quarter without a miss, knocking down 11 of 11 in the 3rd q… https://t.co/Vsemb5lOV6— NBA (@NBA)1617760124.0
He is averaging 37.1 minutes, 21.5 points on 51.6 percent shooting from the field, 4.3 made threes, 4.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 turnovers the last four games. He is only rostered in 74 percent of Yahoo leagues but should be rostered in 100 percent.
Robert Williams Center Boston Celtics
The Time Lord continues to impress, proving that Danny Ainge made the right choice at the trade deadline to deal Daniel Theis to the Chicago Bulls. In three games last week, Williams averaged 14.3 points on 82.6 percent shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, 0.7 turnovers, one steal and two blocks.
All eyes might be on Tatum and Brown as fantasy studs, but Williams is establishing himself as a legitimate seven-category contributor in 9-cat formats.
Gary Trent Jr. Guard/Forward Toronto Raptors
Trent might not have walked into a playoff-contending team in Toronto this season, but the opportunity for production has benefitted fantasy managers. After a rocky two games, he hit his stride, averaging 23.3 points on 51 percent shooting, five made threes, and 1.7 steals.
GARY TRENT JR. WINS IT AT THE BUZZER 🔥 https://t.co/L5GiM7SdeU— NBA on TNT (@NBA on TNT)1617672392.0
Despite having a bad season, the Toronto Raptors are still within striking distance of a play-in spot. If they want to make it, they're going to look to Trent's shooting to help them get there.
Kelly Olynyk Forward/Center Houston Rockets
Gonzaga could've used the former Spokane stud in the National Championship Game on Monday. In the last four games, Olynyk is averaging 18.8 points on 57.4 percent shooting, 1.8 made threes, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks.
The Rockets may be playing for the future, but Olynyk has proven to be a dependable fantasy option for the present.
Moses Brown Center Oklahoma City Thunder
After spending last week rebounding like he was Dennis Rodman, he spent this past week looking a bit more human. After averaging 16.8 rebounds last week, Brown dropped down to 10.5 and the rest of his numbers slipped as well. He averaged 9.3 points on 42.3 percent shooting and only shot 60 percent from the foul line.
Moses Brown has been HOOPING recently... and the Thunder have awarded him with a multi-year contract. Love it. https://t.co/z0jFDmcbPR— Legion Hoops (@Legion Hoops)1616970263.0
He is averaging about five fewer minutes a game than he did in the previous week, which could be contributing to his drop in production. With Al Horford completely shut down and Mike Muscala hurt, he will have plenty of chances to increase his numbers
Seth Curry Guard Philadelphia 76ers
Slumping shooters are the most at risk to be on this "bust" list and this week it's the younger Curry brother. He still contributed 2.5 made threes, but he only shot 38.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the free-throw line.
If shooters aren't hitting, they're basically an empty slot in a fantasy lineup. Still, Curry isn't worth dropping because of his potential to get hot, but these are the rough patches managers are going to have to deal with.
Kyle Kuzma Forward Los Angeles Lakers
With LeBron James and Anthony Davis out, now would be the time for Kyle Kuzma to shine. His star is looking more like a lantern fantasy-wise.
He did average 17.3 points last week, but he only shot 44.4 percent and 63.6 percent from the free-throw line. He's also only making 1.7 threes, grabbing 5.3 rebounds and turning the ball over three times in that same time span.
Lebron watching Kyle Kuzma air ball free throws like https://t.co/jy0HzCWdu3— Rich (@Rich)1617567541.0
If Kuzma wanted to prove himself a star, this period of time was not that moment.
R.J. Barrett Guard/Forward New York Knicks
The former Duke player's career season hit a speedbump this past week. In the last four games, Barrett has averaged 13.3 points on 41.7 percent shooting, 1.5 made threes, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. The Knicks have unsurprisingly lost three of those games.
Fantasy managers in a position to make the playoffs can be patient with Barrett, but those who are fighting for a playoff spot may need to look for other options.
Welcome to the Mock Draft lab.
This is where we are running experiments, crunching the numbers, and proving hypotheses, so you can reap the rewards of our hard work. The rules for this exercise were simple: Take the best pitcher in each round without reaching more than 10 spots away in either direction. (This kept us honest and realistic as to who would be available and prevented any major overpays for talent.)
The first simulation that I'm offering as a tool going into your fantasy drafts is a breakdown of the best pitcher available in each round left for the taking. This has been achieved by studying the results of numerous mock drafts, cross-referencing those results against average draft positions, and the plain old eye test.
How should something like this be applied? Well, imagine yourself in this situation: You've gone best player available for the first six rounds and realize that starting pitcher is a bigger hole on your team than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Reference this handy-dandy sheet to assuage those concerns. Not to fear, there's plenty of talent to be had in the next round, the round after that, and the round after that.
This is based on a mid-round draft position in a 12 team league. Obviously, higher rated players could fall because there's no accounting for the taste, or lack thereof, of your fellow managers.
|1||Shane Bieber - CLE|
|2||Max Scherzer - WSH|
|3||Luis Castillo - CIN|
|4||Tyler Glasnow - TB|
|5||Lance Lynn - CWS|
|6||Liam Hendriks - CWS|
|7||Kyle Hendricks - CHC|
|8||Ian Anderson - ATL|
|9||Zach Plesac - CLE|
|10||Chris Paddack - SD|
|11||Patrick Corbin - WSH|
|12||Sixto Sanchez - MIA|
|13||Devin Williams - MIL|
|14||James Paxton - SEA|
|15||Alex Colome - MIN|
|16||Mike Soroka - ATL|
|17||Dustin May - LAS|
|18||Jose Urquidy - HOU|
|19||Ryan Yarbrough - TB|
|20||Jameson Taillon - NYY|
|21||Matthew Boyd - DET|
|22||Tony Gonsolin - LAD|
|23||Zach Davies - CHC|
As you can see, there is talent at every level of the draft, both for starters, relievers, and guys who can do both. The highlights:
Beginning at the beginning, I can't tell you how much I like getting Shane Bieber anywhere in the back half of the first round. The reigning Cy Young winner looked transcendent last season, and I've seen just as many fantasy projections that squarely place him in the conversation as the #1 overall pitcher. Getting a guy who led the league in strikeout percentage, strikeouts, ERA, and wins is a no-brainer. It's not his fault that he doesn't pitch in New York.
A couple rounds later, I believe you can still snag a dude that's about to prove he could be an ace on pretty much any staff. His numbers have improved from year to year, specifically cutting his walks and increasing his strikeouts. Without Bauer in the rotation, Castillo will be the Opening Day starter and can use this chance to solidify himself as a premier pitcher.
This Luis Castillo dude seems to be pretty good at throwing baseballs. https://t.co/jVcslXwKDi— Cincinnati Reds (@Cincinnati Reds)1600307193.0
In the middle rounds of the draft, I am all about jumping on Devin Williams. The man has a pitch so mesmerizing that it got a name: "The Airbender." He uses a normal circle change grip, but himself sees it as a reverse slider, or what was one time known as, a screwball. He's been ridiculously valuable as Hader's setup man, piling up holds left and right and center. Look here for the possibility of him assuming the closer role if the trade talk surrounding Hader finally comes to fruition.
Nearing the end and looking to fill out your roster, I think Jameson Taillon provides a ton of upside this season. He's coming off of a second Tommy John surgery, and the Yankees have already said they plan to ease him into the rotation by having Cole take two starts before his first. (This sets him up to face the Baltimore Orioles, by the way, a team who doesn't have a clear second baseman on the team). However, he's completely rebuilt his throwing motion, which should be more sustainable for his elbow.
Of course, exhibition games don't predict future success, but Taillon has looked tremendous in his four outings. He has one earned run and 14 strikeouts over the 8.1 innings, and this could, finally, be the season that he lives up to the lofty expectations of his high draft status.
Jameson Taillon is bringing a new and improved throwing motion to the Bronx for his first season with the New York… https://t.co/w862Pq5NvK— YES Network (@YES Network)1611673320.0
In the final round, I'm a big fan of Zach Davies, who put together a respectable season for the Padres last year, proving to be a valuable waiver wire addition. Once San Diego decided they were going the nuclear route and compiled the best staff in baseball, Davies saw himself dealt to the Cubs, as a part of the Darvish trade. The increased use of his change up resulted in more strikeouts. The change of scenery to a weaker division should provide a boost to his stats across the board.