The NFL is back and it’s the best way to spend Friday, Monday and Tuesday mornings.
There were a handful of surprises in week one like the Titans
absolutely curb stomping the “new” Cleveland Browns or the Lions-Cardinals game
finishing in a tie.
Of course there were things that were… less surprising like
the Patriots looking like their annoyingly good selves belting Pittsburgh by
For those of you checking in on this 5 Lessons Learned for
the first time, throughout the NFL season we’ll look at the numbers, trends and
offer up some betting analysis to try and find some winning plays for the
So let’s get into what the opening weekend is telling us and
what we might have to avoid overreacting to.
1 – Thursday Night Red Flags
Speaking of overreacting, let’s go back to last November and
that Rams-Chiefs shootout which finished 54-51.
That game had some of the more… reactionary pundits in NFL
circles claiming defence was dead and the way forward was essentially going to
be like playing Madden.
Then we had the defensively oriented Super Bowl which finished
13-3 and all of a sudden the NFL was ruined again but this time the other way.
Finally on Friday, to kick off the NFL season, it was one
for the purists as both Aaron Rodgers and Mitch/Mitchell Trubisky struggled to
generate a whole lot of anything in a 10-3 slugfest.
But there’s a lesson to learn about overreacting either way,
especially in the early hours of Monday morning when we say plenty of teams
find ways to light up the scoreboard.
Five of the seven 3:00am kickoffs went over the total points
line with eight of Monday’s 12 games having over 50 total points.
So before anyone wonders if we’re going back to the 1920s in
terms of scoring or the early 2000s in terms of defence, just remember, the
game is still geared towards offence but every now & then a good defensive
team will win out.
And with teams on a short rest, these Thursday Night
Football (Friday morning our time) games are going to be pretty tough sledding
2 – The First Bad Beat
If you’ve not up to date on US Sports lingo, there’s a
popular phrase in the NFL called “garbage time” where the winner of the game is
determined and it’s mostly just for padding stats.
It’s also a dangerous time for betting on games because it can
lead to some brutal beats against the spread or on the points total.
Going into the weekend, the Eagles were clear favourites to
win the NFC East and were anywhere from a nine to 10.5 point favourite over the
That was already looking like a rough bet when Washington surged
to a 17-0 lead but the Eagles came back to make it a game.
With three minutes remaining Jake Elliot hit a 22 yard field
goal to give the Eagles a seemingly safe 32-20 lead.
Then came the kick in the guts for anyone backing the Eagles
at the line.
Case Keenum then broke a lot of hearts driving the Redskins
down the field for a touchdown pass with SIX SECONDS LEFT.
You’d be understandably filthy with that score and quite
honestly, we wouldn’t blame you one bit.
3 – Are the Ravens Actually Good?
Plenty of people expected the Ravens to belt the living
daylights out of Miami this past weekend, but the way they did it should still
make people sit up and take notice.
On the back of five passing touchdowns from the quarterback
who allegedly can’t throw to the ball, the Ravens were up 42-3 late in the second
quarter killing the game off as a contest.
While they probably won’t do that to every team, it’s either
a huge boost of optimism for Baltimore or a sign that Miami could be on the way
to completing the franchise double of a perfect and imperfect season.
For this one though, we’ll assume it’s a sign Baltimore might
actually be good and it’s worth keeping an eye on the Ravens when they take on the
Keep an eye on Hollywood Brown in the Touchdown markets as
well, Jackson sure likes throwing to him.
4 – Dallas’s Quadruplets?
Cowboys fans will remind everyone about “The Triplets” that
starred in their glory years of the early 1990s, and they appear to be well set
up for another set of Triplets with Ezekiel Elliot, Dak Prescott and Amari
With Jason Witten out of the broadcast booth (something
everyone should rejoice in) he gives the Cowboys another option on crucial
third downs and it’s pretty clear how much Prescott will rely on the veteran
While his snap counts will be limited throughout the season
to keep him fresh, it’s pretty clear that in the red zone, Witten will be a popular
target for Prescott and worth consideration as a touchdown scorer.
Last time the Cowboys played Washington, Witten’s only catch
was an eight yard touchdown reception and guess who is on Dallas’s schedule
5 – New England is Still (Annoyingly) New England
Everyone knows an obnoxious Patriots fan and if their 30
point win over the Steelers is anything to go by, they’ll be unbearable for
Not only did the Patriots look impressive in all three
phases but they also add in one of the most dangerous receivers in the game in
Antonio Brown for their trip to Miami this week.
As we mentioned before, the Dolphins just gave up 59 to the
Ravens, so the Pats could be a chance of breaking the NFL record of 73 points
in a single game?
Not so fast, for starters, the Patriots, in particular Tom
Brady, kind of suck in Florida, especially early in the season when it’s almost
certainly going to be hot, humid and generally unpleasant.
They have lost on their last three trips to Florida going down
to Miami twice and the Jaguars and while Brady’s numbers have looked alright,
he hasn’t exactly been smooth in those games and that extends to their 19-14
win over Tampa in 2017 either.
Doesn’t this all set up for a Dolphins bounceback then?
Especially when you consider they are coached by an ex
Patriots assistant in Brian Flores who would love to show that he can get his
team back up after a gut wrenching loss.
Think twice about taking the Patriots with what is bound to
be a huge spread on Monday morning.