Now that we have the explanation out of the way, let’s talk Week 1 picks.
Jacob’s Ed. Note: Note that due to some compulsive gambling this weekend, we didn’t get the Week 1 picks up before the games. If you didn’t notice, congratulations — you rock. Starting Week 2, picks should be up prior to the weekend’s festivities. Now, on with the show…
Enter the Chadam
Hi. My name is Chadam, and I’ll be half of the two-headed team that will be leading you through the crazy world of picking NFL spreads.
Make no mistake; I am hardly what you would call an “expert.” My resume consists of a gambling addiction formed in my high school years, the borderline drinking problem that graces plagues most males in their twenties and the unlawful possession of irrational reasons for loving or hating certain teams and players.
In other words, I’m might be just like you and a large majority of the fantasy football community.
I’m a diehard Texans fan and will never bet against them under any circumstances, so take my analysis of their games with a grain of salt.
Elisha Manning is my sworn enemy and his older brother is a close second, which won’t affect my picks but will almost certainly rear its head in my commentary.
Finally, I’ll be bringing a few stats to the table. I won’t bore you with numbers, but merely alert you to some statistical trends that everybody can utilize, whether you’re in a friendly office pick ‘em pool or a regular weekend gambler.
My goals this year are to correctly pick 54 percent of the spreads, which is my rough estimate of the percentage that will guarantee you a profit against Vegas after taking into account the vigorish on bets, and to finish with a better record than Nick, the other guy.
It’s more than likely that my record will hover around .400, which allows you to insure a profit by choosing the opposite of whatever I do.
Enjoy our lighthearted analysis on the spreads, may your fantasy teams stay healthy this year and all of your sleepers pan out.
Pick Nick (Ed. Note: Get it?)
My name is Nick, and I’m the other guy making picks along with Chadam.
Chadam claims we are not experts, but I disagree. Do we not place our own hard-earned money on the line every week making bets? Did we not go to Vegas last year for the NFL Wild Card playoffs and steal some loot back from Caesar’s Palace?
We put our own money on the line, so I think that makes us experts. That being said, we aren’t experts that you should trust blindly, but we’ll do our best to point out what we think are the best bets each weekend and, hopefully, drop a little gambling knowledge on a few of you sports book virgins.
Consider this week’s picks my first step towards dominating Chadam this year. Enjoy!
A Fool and His Money…
Today, we’ll start with our predictions on the NFL opener Thursday between the Redskins and Giants and the rest of opening weekend.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants
Chadam Takes: GIANTS (-4) over Redskins
Talk about a lack of respect for the defending champs. I am in the camp that believes in the year-after curse for Super Bowl champs (The Steelers in 2006 are a good example) unless they prove otherwise.
That defense is a shadow of last year’s squad, and I can see Plax not trying as hard to stay on the field for all 16 games this year. That being said, Jason Campbell looked awful this preseason, and I think he’s another year from breaking out.
The Giants’ offensive cogs haven’t played enough games yet to be injured (I’m looking at you, Brandon Jacobs), so I think they’ll put enough points on the board to stay comfortably ahead the entire game.
Nick Takes: Redskins (+4) over GIANTS
I like the Redskins with points in the game tonight. I’ve been pretty high on Jason Campbell lately and expect him to have a breakout year despite his shoddy preseason performance. The Giants won’t have anything close to the pass rush they had last year, and I think that’s just what the doctor ordered for Campbell.
He does have one of my many personal sworn enemies on his team, Keenan McCardell, but hopefully, nobody will be counting on anything from him for the rest of his life. That guy cost me a playoff spot in one of my fantasy leagues a few years ago, and I will never forgive him for it. Ever.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Chadam Takes: Bengals (-1.5) over RAVENS
I think the record of rookie QBs in their first game has to be like 0-23968, right? With McGahee questionable, I don’t see where the Ravens’ offensive assault is going to come from in this one — unless, of course, Ray Lewis stabs somebody again.
Nick Takes: Bengals (-1.5) over RAVENS
I don’t like trusting the Bengals defense, but they are going up against an injured running back and a Division II QB who has never played a game in the NFL.
Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons
Chadam Takes: Lions (-3) over FALCONS
Did I mention that I hate rookie QBs? You know the Lions are putting up at least 24 points. Do you really believe the Falcons will score 20?
Turner could run for 230 yards in this one though.
Nick Takes: Lions (-3) over FALCONS
I think both teams will do better than they did last year, but the Falcons have too many new faces to mesh together right away.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Chadam Takes: Jets (-3) over DOLPHINS
Poor Pennington. Everywhere he goes people seem to knock him for his girlish arm strength. What a crappy stigma to have.
Can anyone think of a worse fault to have (that’s NFL scouting report related)? Help me out in the comments if you have any ideas.
Nick Takes: DOLPHINS (+3) over Jets
Chad Pennington is going to be mad. The Big Tuna is always mad. Dolphins’ head coach Tony Sparano always looks mad, and Ricky…well, he’s at peace with himself and everybody around him.
I think the Jets need a little more time before Favre is comfortable, and I’m guessing Bill Parcells has no moral problem with asking Pennington about the Jets’ offense. I pick Miami in an upset.
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Chadam Takes: Texans (+6.5) over STEELERS
This pick is more of a homer pick. I think the Steelers have a legit chance of blowing this game wide open. Sadly, since Houston is such a popular sleeper this year, they’re being overhyped in the spreads. Nick might be benefiting this year from my automatic Texans picks.
Nick Takes: STEELERS (-6.5) over Texans
I feel like I know what I’m going to get from the Steelers. I like that.
I don’t feel like I know what I’m going to get from the Texans. I’m going to predict they put just enough points on the board in garbage time to make me nervous but still lose by seven.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Chadam Takes: Jaguars (-3) over TITANS
The most ridiculous line of the day. I love the Jags this year, and hopefully, after creating their fifth turnover of the day, people might respect their defense a little more. Besides, you know the whole team will be JACKED UP to play if Matt Jones is back in the locker room.
Nick Takes: Jaguars (-3) over TITANS
Vince Young is my hero, especially after I saw him down on Sixth Street (in Austin) the other night and because of that whole National Championship thing, too, but I do learn from my mistakes. I’m not betting again on a QB who had a horrible preseason with a new offensive coordinator.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Chadam Takes: SAINTS (-3.5) over Buccaneers
I almost chose the Bucs in this one, but I love the Saints’ offense this year. So does Nick apparently — he drafted four Saints in the fantasy football league Jacob and I share with him.
It’s a win-win. I either get a correct pick, or I watch Nick’s fantasy team suck it up and start 0-1.
Nick Takes: Buccaneers (+3.5) over SAINTS
I like the Saints this year, but they are going to be playing in a relatively empty stadium against a very underrated defense. I like the Bucs with the points in this one.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Chadam Takes: Cardinals (-2.5) over 49ERS (NINERS)
Every year, the Cardinals are a sleeper, and this year is no exception. I don’t think they’ll come close to the playoffs, but for this game, I’m being suckered in by the Cardinals.
Arizona’s passing game is going to make Martz wonder why he picked such a terrible team for his system (No QB, WRs or offensive line).
Nick Takes: Cardinals (-2.5) over 49ERS (NINERS)
I like this bet a lot. I’m not convinced Mike Martz can fix the 49ers’ sorry offense, and even if he could, it still couldn’t compete with the weapons they are packing in Arizona.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Chadam Takes: NO ONE
Jacob Ed. Note: Chadam, being the smart guy that he is, failed to turn in a pick in this contest. Apparently, he figured it was such a lock for the Patriots that he blocked it out of his mind when he turned in picks this week. Clever, but for the sanctity of his pick record, mark this one up as a miss for Chadam.
Nick Takes: PATRIOTS (-15.5) over Kansas City
I absolutely hate giving anybody 15.5 points, but it’s tough not to like the Patriots in a slaughter over the Chiefs.
Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills
Chadam Takes: BILLS (-1) over Seahawks
I kinda feel bad for Holmgren; his offense will be Bears-esque this year.
Let’s see. He’s lost four of his top-five WRs from last year (Deion Branch, D.J. Hackett, Bobby Engram and Ben Obomanu), replaced the inept Shaun Alexander with the equally-inept Julius Jones, lost two offensive lineman in camp and now Matt Hasselbeck has back problems?
Holmgren’s probably counting down the days until retirement.
Nick Takes: Seahawks (+1) over BILLS
I would have expected to see Seattle favored in this game. Normally, that would make me excited, but for some reason, I’m nervous.
Oh well, you gotta have nerves to be a gambler.
St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles
Chadam Takes: Rams (+7.5) over EAGLES
Which QB will be injured first? I actually think the Eagles will be great this year, but a healthy Rams team is no pushover either. I say Philly wins by three.
Nick Takes: EAGLES (-7.5) over Rams
I like the Eagles this year and think they could do some damage in the NFC. The Rams are going to have to prove to me that they are capable of staying close with opponents before I even think about betting on them.
Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers
Chadam Takes: Panthers (+9) over CHARGERS
How many passing attempts will there be in this game from both teams combined? 20? 25?
With Smith out and Gates not likely to make a significant impact, I’ll go with the underdog and hope I’m right.
Nick Takes: Panthers (+9) over CHARGERS
Not too much to say here. I like San Diego to win, but I don’t feel comfortable giving up nine points.
Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns
Chadam Takes: Cowboys (-5.5) over BROWNS
What a bad matchup for the Browns. Anderson, Edwards and Lewis are all banged up while Dallas is completely healthy with a motivated Pacman (Ed. Note: Now, Chadam, he goes by Adam) Jones?
Money in the bank. God, I hope Nick chose the Browns.
Nick Takes: Cowboys (-5.5) over BROWNS
I hate any team that has anything to do with the flamer that is Brady Quinn, but I don’t need to make this bet out of spite.
Cleveland finished horribly last year, and all their studs are coming of injuries. I’m laying down quite a few bucks on this game and in anticipation of a blowout.
Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts
Chadam Takes: COLTS (-9.5) over Bears
I hate to say it, but I think Manning’s knee problems are overblown. Harrison’s problems, however, are not, and my constant drafting of Anthony Gonzalez backs up my assertion. I think this will be a really low-scoring game — like 17-7. And yes, the only points for Chicago come from a Devin Hester punt return.
Nick Takes: Bears (+9.5) over COLTS
To be honest, I don’t like this bet at all. I’m not really sure what to expect in this game.
The Colts will be pumped up in the new stadium but will be missing Jeff Saturday. The Bears have a good defense, special teams and running game, but they have no passing game whatsoever.
When in doubt, I like to take the points.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Chadam Takes: PACKERS (-2.5) over Vikings
My dark horse NFC champion against the terribly overhyped Vikings? Only three points?
I’m betting my rent money on this one.
Nick Takes: PACKERS (-2.5) over Vikings
Good luck, Aaron Rodgers. You’re going to need it. The Vikings are going to be coming after you hard, but I predict Rodgers will calm down after a miserable first half and bring the Packers back to win it by a field goal.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Chadam Takes: RAIDERS (+3) over Broncos
Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback (CB) for the Raiders (Ed. Note: FYI, Chadam didn’t sneeze), should be a household name. He is so filthy-good I think he was created in a lab with DNA from Champ Bailey.
Anyways, Brandon Marshall should be glad Asomugha is not schooling him Monday night…and Shanahan will torture my soul by starting Selvin Young but letting Andre Hall get 30 carries.
Nick Takes: Broncos (-3) over RAIDERS
I like Oakland’s young nucleus and head coach, but I still think it will take them awhile to learn how to win games. Look for Selvin Young to save the day in this one.
UPDATE: Friday Morning Trash Talkin’
Chadam: This Season: 1-0-0. Games Ahead of Nick: 1.
Nick: So I started off on the wrong foot by picking the Redskins on Thursday night’s opening game. No problem.
I’ll let Chadam brag because it will be the only time this whole season that he will be ahead in the picks.
So congratulations, Chadam. Maybe you and your mom, who you still live with, can go out and celebrate. I’m just going to concentrate on making more money this weekend.