Welcome to the first edition of the inaugural Pats Pulpit Pick Six column! Each week we’ll be coming to you with breakdowns of the week’s games against the spread, and any other betting insights we may have. Each week, we’ll PICK SIX (ha...ha) bets that we think are your best bets for the week in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5), O/U 45
In a game featuring two offenses with talented running backs, in Green Bay’s Aaron Jones and Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook, expect this game to move at a slower pace than most. With Davante Adams and Adam Thielen being the only legitimate play-making threats in the passing game, expect both offenses to move methodically in this one.
Giving Aaron Rodgers 2.5 points against a Vikings defense that will be without star pass rusher Danielle Hunter is too much to pass up. Take the road dog here.
The Picks: Packers +2.5 / Under 45
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-6.5), O/U 42
The new-look Patriots offense will be unveiled on Sunday afternoon against Brian Flores’ Dolphins, who also have some new faces themselves. Kyle Van Noy came over from New England to help boster the Miami front seven, while Byron Byron Jones was signed to a five-year, $82.5 million contract to add another shutdown corner to the Miami secondary alongside Xavien Howard.
But the Dolphins come into this game completely unaware of what the New England offense will look like with Cam Newton under center now. With the lack of prep time, home field advantage for New England, and a revenge factor for the hosts after Miami beat New England in Week 17 last season, take New England laying 6.5 points to a Miami team with Ryan Fitzpatrick as its starter.
The Picks: Patriots -6.5 / Over 42
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-3), O/U 42.5
Mitchell Trubisky heads into 2020 clinging onto the starting job at quarterback after beating out Nick Foles in training camp. Working in the Bears’ favor is Trubisky boasting passer ratings of 148.6, 131.0, and 118.1 vs. the Lions under Matt Nagy.
With a motivated Trubisky and with David Montgomery practicing fully on Thursday, give me the Bears +3 on the road.
The Picks: Bears +3 / U 42.5
Indianapolis Colts (-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars, O/U 45
The Colts may be this year’s sleeper team in the AFC. With arguably the top offensive line in football protecting new Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers (boy, that sounds weird), Rivers should enjoy a Colts offense that has an underrated level of talent on it, with T.Y. Hilton, second-year receiver Parris Campbell, and rookie Michael Pittman Jr. forming a talented receiving corps.
Conversely, the Jaguars should be in contention for the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, and their top two options to replace Leonard Fournette at running back, Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo, will be out with injury.
The Picks: Colts -8 / Under 45
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) at Washington Football Team, O/U 42.5
Ron Rivera makes his Washington Football Team debut with Dwayne Haskins as starting quarterback against Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles. Expect Haskins and the young Redskins offense to have some growing pains in Week 1 against Jim Schwartz’s Philadelphia defense. After all, Philly has swept Washington in each of the last three years.
The Picks: Eagles -5.5 / Under 42.5
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5), O/U 48
After a massively disappointing 2019, can the Browns get 2020 off to a rosier start? Against one of the AFC’s top contenders, I wouldn’t bet against it.
The Picks: Ravens -7.5 / Under 48
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-6.5), O/U 39.5
This year’s trendy pick to win the AFC East, the Bills will look to kick off their 2020 with a win against the lowly Jets. With Stefon Diggs now a Buffalo Bill, expect Josh Allen to take his new toy for a spin on Sunday. Take the Bills by a touchdown.
The Picks: Bills -6.5 / Under 39.5
Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at Carolina Panthers, O/U 47.5
Hope springs eternal for Jon Gruden and the Raiders as they begin life as the Las Vegas Raiders. Both teams underwent facelifts this offseason, as the Panthers installed Matt Rhule as head coach, and replaced Cam Newton with Teddy Bridgewater at QB. The Raiders boast a young and exciting wide receiver corps headlined by rookies Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards.
With Carolina incorporating a new QB with a shoddy receiving corps of Robby Anderson, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel, expect the Panthers offense to struggle on Sunday, and for this to go under 47.5 points.
The Picks: Raiders -3 / Under 47.5
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Atlanta Falcons, O/U 49
Last year’s Seahawks-Falcons game was a fast-paced 27-20 win for the Seahawks, and with a revamped Falcons offense, and Russell Wilson still being Russell Wilson, expect much of the same this year. After all, the over has hit in seven of the last nine matchups between the Seahawks and Falcons.
The Seahawks have the running game and the passing game to take advantage of an average Atlanta defense. While the Seattle pass rush could be a weakness for the Seahawks this year, I’ll take a Russell Wilson-quarterbacked team over a Matt Ryan-led Falcons team.
The Picks: Seahawks -2.5 / Over 49
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals, O/U 42
Welcome to the NFL, Joe Burrow! You get to start off by facing one of the best defenses in the NFL. Have fun!
The Picks: Chargers -3 / Under 42
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3.5), O/U 48
One of the best Week 1 matchups, pitting Drew Brees and the Saints against new NFC South opponent Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The points figure to be plentiful on both sides. In the end though, take the team with more continuity and the better defense, the Saints.
The Picks: Saints -3.5 / Over 48
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-7), O/U 48
Another dark horse pick by many, the Cardinals come in with higher expectations in Year 2 of Kyler Murray’s NFL career. With Kenyan Drake healthy, and DeAndre Hopkins now on the team, Kliff Kingsbury has the weapons he needs to run the high-octane offense he had at Texas Tech.
Will it be enough to cover the spread, or even beat, last season’s Super Bowl runner-ups in Week 1? That’s a harder question. But the Cardinals played the Niners tight in both divisional matchups last season, and have a better offense and defense this year. The 49ers may pull out the home win, but this may be a closer game than some might think.
The Picks: Cardinals +7 / Over 48
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Los Angeles Rams, O/U 51.5
Simply put, the Cowboys offense is going to be ridiculous this season. Ezekiel Elliott at running back. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb at wideout. Blake Jarwin at tight end. Dak Prescott has no excuses this year.
On the other hand, the Rams are no slouches either, although an 0-7-1 record in their last eight games as home underdogs isn’t great. Rookie running back Cam Akers is the team’s new starting running back, taking over for Todd Gurley, and should bring some burst and home-run potential back to the Rams offense.
This game could be close, and with Dallas having its first game with a new coach, and figuring how to incorporate all of its weapons, I’ll go with Sean McVay’s Rams as home dogs.
The Picks: Rams +3 / Under 51.5
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at New York Giants, O/U 46
After undergoing season-ending elbow surgery in 2019, Ben Roethlisberger looks to rebound in 2020, starting against the New York Giants on the road at MetLife Stadium.
Is Daniel Jones ready to make a leap in Year 2, and can he start that leap off on the right foot against one of the best defenses in the NFL last season? Look for Big Ben and the Steelers to show that they still belong in the discussion as one of the AFC’s elite teams.
The Picks: Steelers -6 / Under 46
Tennessee Titans (-2.5) at Denver Broncos, O/U 41
After Drew Lock turned some heads in the second half of the 2019 season, the Broncos were thought of as an up-and-coming team in 2020, until the injury bug bit hard in Denver this week. Veteran defensive end Von Miller went down with a season-ending ankle injury, while top wide receiver Courtland Sutton sprained his AC join at practice on Thursday.
The Broncos may have the altitude of Mile High Stadium on their side, but with both the Denver offense and defense limited now heading into their Week 1 matchup against a Titans team that just added Jadeveon Clowney to its defense, you better hurry and take the Titans laying 2.5 points before it gets over three points soon enough, with news of Sutton’s injury sure to lead to more bettors taking the Titans as road favorites.
The Picks: Titans -2.5 / Under 41
And finally, for full transparency, my pick for yesterday’s season opener:
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5), O/U 53.5
The early trend to bet on in the NFL this year will be teams that have less turnover than their opponents. With the lack of preseason games, September NFL games will likely be rough to watch, as players work on their conditioning and teams figure out what works and what doesn’t on the field.
Because of this, take the defending Super Bowl champions in their season opener, at home, with fans in the stands. About 17,000 fans are expected to be in attendance as Arrowhead Stadium operates at 25% capacity to begin the season.
Coupled with the Texans potentially being without Brandin Cooks in this game, as well having a new starting running back to work in, in David Johnson, and it just feels like a hill to steep to climb for the Texans in covering this 9.5-point spread.
The Picks: Chiefs -9.5 / Over 53.5
Week 1 Pick Six Bets
- Chiefs -9.5
- Colts -8
- Chargers/Bengals Under 42
- Packers +2.5
- Cardinals +7
- Browns/Ravens Under 48