Sunday Scaries: The NFL Week 1 Bets You Should Avoid

Today, every sports outlet will give you a deluge of betting guides, pick em’s, predictions and an obligatory ULTIMATE LOCK OF THE WEEK.

Don’t fall for this. Unless, of course, you’re following my colleague Matt Zylbert.

The best gamblers nail around 55 percent of their picks. Sure, gambling is about pushing thin edges. But what other “profession” misses the mark 45 percent of the time? If a meteorologist predicts the hourly forecast like a sports gambler predicts a sports game, you would never leave the house without an umbrella.

Gambling gurus will tell you who to pick or cover or fade. What few will do is tell you what games to stay the hell away from.

The Sunday Scaries will give you four bets to avoid every week so you dont waste all your money making picks some wannabe prognosticator told you to make.

You’re welcome.

Let’s dive into Week 1 which is, historically, unpredictable. A smart bettor, if such a person exists, stays away from Week 1 in general. But this opening sunday, in particular, poses an added challenge with teams jumping into the deep end without playing without a preseason.

Oh, and this year there’s the looming threat of a pandemic shutting down a team or the season at any time.

What could go wrong?

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Bears at Lions (-2.5)

Bears at Lions (-2.5)

Illustration for article titled Sunday Scaries: The NFL Week 1 Bets You Should Avoid
Photo: Getty

This line scares the shit out of me. How can you have any confidence in either one of these teams? Mitch Trubisky is still under center for the Bears, which shouldn’t give you any sense of security as a Bears fan or gambler. The Lions don’t look much better either. They’ve finished fourth in the NFC North for the past two seasons. Stafford is back but… for how long? And what will he look like coming off of a back injury? This could very well be a close game between two garbage teams. Even if it is, who would you give the edge to?

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Colts @ Jaguars (+8)

Colts @ Jaguars (+8)

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Photo: AP/Getty

You’re not going to want to watch this game and you’re not going to want to bet it either.

The Jaguars will open their season just like any other Sunday — with 25 percent of fans in attendance. Don’t expect DUVAL to play a factor in the game, but the poor play of Gardner Minshew II and newly minted Colts QB Philip Rivers could certainly have an impact on the outcome. We know the Jaguars are tanking this year. They will be bad. But how much better will this new Colts team be? Giving eight points on the first week of the season better? I don’t know. It may take Indy a few weeks to look like contenders in the AFC South.

This is a big line for a divisional game in September. Yes the Jags suck. But, still, there are better picks out there this weekend. Eight points is scary.

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Jets @ Bills (-6.5)

Jets @ Bills (-6.5)

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Photo: Getty

I know. A lot of points given to an improving Jets team. But what can we legitimately expect from Sam Darnold, head coach Adam Gase, and a depleted Jets defense in week one? The Bills are the early favorites in the AFC East but the division is up for grabs. But these Bills are a proven playoff team with more weapons and skill players than NY. And no, Josh Allen is not a proven pro yet but neither is Darnold.

This is one of those September divisional games that can be really hard to predict. We don’t know enough about these 2020 Jets to see if they are legitimate conference title contenders. My guess is they’re not. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t surprise a few people this afternoon. Still, I’d stay away.

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Prop Bet

Prop Bet

Kyler Murray for MVP +1200

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Photo: Getty

There is always a second-year quarterback who improves tremendously, and this year, odds are it will be Arizona’s Murray. But, according to Oddsshark, Murray has the third-best odds to win the MVP. In a division as stacked as the NFC West, I just don’t see how Murray will be able to lead a Cardinals team to a winning record. I also don’t like the value of this bet. If you’re going to take a long shot, find better odds first.

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If You Can’t Resist...

If You Can’t Resist...

OK. So you got to the end of the article and you’re still searching for picks, degenerate?

Like I said, stay away from these games. But if you can’t help yourself, here are my unprofessional selections.

  • The Lions lost a ton of close games last year. Maybe they’ll get a break week one in the empty dome?
  • Jacksonville to cover… I know. I’m regretting it already.
  • And I’d take the Jets. It may be a close game.
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