– Tuesday, September 9th, 2014.
According to the World Series Of Handicappers, sports bettors scoring above .500 on this year’s opening banger were a vast minority.
There were many unexpected hardships due to key injuries as well as other shockers; and therefore, a few people that have never guessed on the outcome of sports games did very well, while some of the more experienced gamblers had a particularly difficult time triangulating winners.
This is going to be expected.
There were zero 2014 regular season NFL sports betting stats available to handicappers and as such it was a crap-shoot for most people trying to understand which teams would cover spreads.
There are some hints that pro bettors can go on for next week to help beat the odds, such as the St. Louis Rams. St. Louis QB Sam Bradford suffered a knee injury in the preseason and it’s been determined that his ACL was re-torn and he will be out for the 2014 season. Case specifics instances like these might hold the keys on how to win and show profit. ATS Stats might hold some interesting position considerations regarding home/away favorites/underdogs and how they relate coming off of W/L in week 1.
So it’s no mystery that the Rams were the lowest scoring team on the board this Sunday’s opener. A fresh QB and a discombobulated offense makes for minimal possession. In turn, this produces a tired defense, so it’s also no wonder that Minnesota was able to run roughshod on the Rams, particularly in the 2nd half, marking the 2nd highest score of the 28 teams that were played on Thursday+Sunday.
So moving forward, there are 2 things to learn from Week 1 MIN@STL:
1. St. Louis will be given points With The Spread until they can sort out some kind of offense with 2nd stringer Shaun Hill. With this said, once the Rams finally learn to score +20 points against a solid defensive team…once their offense begins to click…at that point, expect an edge in the STL spread because Vegas won’t be quick to readjust given what will undoubtedly be a dismal record to that point. Also a lack of confidence in the Rams by the betting public should also keep the STL line substantially with the spread. But until that point, St. Louis should be faded even as far up to -9.5 point spreads against good teams.
2. Minnesota’s scoring vs. the Rams was incredibly inflated. When you’re facing an offense that can’t keep possession of the football, and a 3rd string QB, you end up grinding a team’s defense down in the 1st half and then you can roll right over them in the second. Minnesota scored 13 points in the first half and they scored 21 in the second.
What does this mean in terms of what we should expect looking forward?
So in Week 2, the St. Louis Rams should expect more of the same difficulties vs. the Buccaneers, who were 1-3 in the preseason with a terrible offense but a very good defense. The Bucs defense should be the key in exploiting St. Louis’ weak spot (a 2nd or 3rd string QB with an unorganized offense). The Bucs pick stands on it’s own not only for this reason, but in terms of value as well. They lost 20-14 in a nail-biter vs Carolina on Sunday. Carolina has a very good defense as does Tampa, and as such, Bucs were only able to mark 14 points. Given the low score and the loss, we expect the books to undervalue Tampa by marking them as only a 3 to 4 point favorite. While we think this game will certainly be a contender for a low scoring ‘under the total’, we also think that the Bucs at anything less than a 7 point chalk would be a gift. It’s tough to know how hard the public will pound Tampa Bay given the obvious woes of the Rams, and this could take value away from the Bucs, but anything between -3 to -5 should be a solid bet.
The Vikings draw the Patriots in week 2, and in terms of PF/PA, the Patriots are above average in the league. The Patriots lost 20-33 vs the Dolphins (who were 3-1 in the preseason) but they showed up strong. In the preseason, the Patriots proved above average scoring and a reliable mid-fare defense. So given that they lost to the Dolphins by 13 points, and given that Minnesota won by 28 points vs. an exhausted defense, we would expect the books to rank these teams somewhere near PK; however, it turns out Vegas has responded and set the lines at NEP -3. So this proves that Vegas, likewise, understands the threat that the New England Patriots pose, but because we had this at PK, those -3 points should make us take some pause and perhaps we should consider this as a lower unit play.
So based on the Week 1 narrative, a few picks that we like are:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover the spread. 7 unit play.
2. Rams/Bucs UNDER the total. 6 unit play.
3. We’d prefer it at PK, but Patriots to cover the -3 spread. 2 unit play.
-With Logan Martin on the OL as questionable, we like the Rams/Bucs to go under.
-Shaun Hill is still questionable for Sunday as well, we love the Rams/Bucs to go Under.