In this space I'll be giving you my top plays each week across NFL and college football. The landscape of sports betting is much different now than as little as three years ago, with now 18 states plus Washington D.C. having legalized wagering. Gone are the days of calling Fat Tony from Staten Island and giving him your secret word to place your bets. That said, in the climate of having such easy access and multiple platforms, I have two rules you should always live by.
Determine your bankroll for the year and set your "unit" of play at about 2-3% of that, meaning if you budget $1000 for sports wagering for the NFL season, you should be wagering about $25 per play. That way you won't rip your hair out when the crazy variance that is the game of football comes knocking with the infamous back door loss.
Shop for the best number. Have multiple apps with a few units deposited, as sometimes a mere half point can be the difference between a loss and a push or a push and a cashed ticket. Also a few pennies of juice on a moneyline can really add up over the course of the season. Many of the books online have special promos weekly so use that to help build your bankroll. I will often keep you updated on where I see the best line here in New Jersey, but keep in mind markets are fluid and lines can change on a moments notice.
I generally thrive in two different facets of sports betting: following trends and live/in-game betting. Last year I built nearly half my bankroll live betting Chiefs in-game. This Thursdsay was no exception as I hit on the Chiefs Q2, Q3, and Texans Q4 in addition to pre-flop bets on the over and CEH yardage props. Always keep an eye on me on Twitter @Jtrela20 as I will tweet out my in game plays as I am making them, as well as update or add any plays I may have alean on going into Sunday. Let's dive right in, here are my top picks going into week 1, including two futures picks.
Jonathan Taylor, Rushing Yard total 700.5 -117 This number is available on Draftkings Sportsbook. There is some concern out there for usage with the presence of Marlon Mack, but let's face it...700.5 yards is only 44 yards per game in a healthy season, which should only require about 10 carries per game. The Colts have an elite offensive line, and Taylor's skillset is even better than that. Taylor can be an absolute disappointment and still cash this prop. Obviously the fear with betting an over is in the event of injury or Covid-19, you lose. I think at this number Taylor can afford to miss a game or two and still cash comfortably. The only thing holding it back from being a bet-the-mortgage smash is the uncertainty of the 2020 season, and the fact that I don't like to tie up several units of bankroll in even money or worse futures. PLAY: OVER, 4 units
Cooper Kupp, REC TD Over 6 -120 Kupp is the model of consistency. The only receiver in the league with 90 rec, 1000 yards, and 10 TD last season. He has averaged more than half a TD per game through his career which has grown to All Pro level. One of the more cerebral receivers in the league, he works hard to improve his craft and I see another step forward from the 10 TD performance last year. The NFC West does boast some of the best secondaries in the league, but the out of division schedule is relatively soft with the Eagles, Giants and Dolphins on tap PLAY: OVER, 4 units
Packers (+2.5, 44.5) @ Vikings Important trend: Divisional Dogs in week 1 games with a total of 47 or less are 17-2-1 since 2014. This week 6 teams qualify: Jets, Cardinals, Jaguars, Bears, Dolphins and Packers. The Packers are the play that jumps off the board here, especially if you see a +3 pop up on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers is elite in divisional games and the Vikings defense is not going to live up to its reputation this year(by a long margin), especially in an empty U.S. Bank Stadium . If you can't find the +3, the play might be on the Moneyline around +125 or putting it in a tease to get through the key numbers of 3 and 7, but let's shop for it before placing a wager. PLAY: Packers +3, 1 unit
Steelers (-6, 46) @ Giants Important and telling trend: the Steelers are 38-11-1 last FIFTY games on the road to the under. Yes, Big Ben is making his triumphant return and the Giants defense is steaming hot trash, but I think the pace of the game stays down as these are two teams that like to rely on the running game, and I'll always beat the vig by playing a trend that cashes 77% of the time. These are two public teams and the public loves points, so wait until closer to game time and hope to catch the key number of 47 or even 48. PLAY: Under 46, 1 unit. MONDAY UPDATE: Seems like I misread the perception of the game, as the strong action is with us on the under. I'm still waiting until close to game time hoping the public steams the over, but I'm comfortable as long as it doesn't drop below 45 which is 7 scores. Additionally, we saw yesterday that in this uncertain season where we had no preseason, the GOOD/tenured coaches have their team well prepared. Harbaugh, Carroll, Bellicheck, Reid all rolled...and I think Tomlin is on the fringe of this group. The Steelers win the game outright. This line opened 3.5 and has since steamed to 6, so I'd much rather take action on a tease to make it pick, U51.
Cowboys (-2.5, 51.5) @ Rams Quite simple, the Cowboys are such a heavy public team, this line is going to cross over the key number 3. The Rams have won and covered week 1 for three straight seasons and are breaking in a new staium, albeit empty. This is simply a fade on the public and a play on a live home dog with a talented roster. Bonus: If you have access to Fanduel Sportsbook, they are doing their "Spread the Love" promtion on this game where they increase the spread 1 point toward the Rams for every 5000 customers, and I estimate it will go over 3 TD, maybe 4 TD by game time so take the free $50. There is some concern about air quality in the Los Angeles area, so this game may actually be in jeopardy of being moved or PPD. Think we've had enough already, 2020. PLAY: Rams +3, 1 unit
BONUS addition!!! Being two of my plays are prime time games(coincidence, not forced) I figured I'll give you another afternoon play to keep you in the game. George Kittle over 67.5 yards on DK is free money. Take it and run.
Best of luck this week and remember to keep an eye on Twitter @Jtrela20 for any updates or additions to this week's play book. I'll see you at the ticket window!