Last night my girlfriend and I went on a double date with two of our closest friends right here in New York City. We went to a place called The Loopy Doopy Bar on top of the Conrad Hotel. This place was fine, it was your typical New York City bar where you agree to pay $20 a drink, moreso for the view, the ambiance and some sort of gimmick (at Loopy Doopy it was the the ice pops they put in the drinks) then the actual drinks themselves. In any event, there was a couple sitting next to us that I couldn’t help but people watch as they were both pretty loud and obnoxious. It was obvious that this couple was on one of their first dates as the gentleman seemed to continue putting on a full court press on his female counterpart to get himself a little hibbity dibbity (Chris Jericho, how are ya?). This guy was doing everything from hugging the girl mid laugh, after a joke, to going for a smooch several times throughout the night and it was clear that he was growing frustrated by the minute. Eventually, the young lady caved and gave him a little lip service, which he immediately tried to take to the next level, only to fail… This is when we left so I can’t tell you what happened next, maybe the two took things to the next level, but I have my doubts, it honestly isn’t important, the main point here is that my man came on way too strong. If things didn’t go well he only had himself to blame for playing things way too hard and if he ended up scoring, where can he really go from here? He took this lady to one of the nicest places in town on top of one of the nicest hotels in New York City all while the two were still in the feeling out process of their relationship.
The feeling out process is what I consider this week to be for football bettors around the world. All week long I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how Sam Bradford will be the NFL’s comeback player of the year or how Tyrod Taylor will lead the Bills to the playoffs. Both of these may be very true but they also both remind me of a team that everyone fell in love with this time last year…the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even the most respected football guys on the planet, including SI’s Peter King, picked the Bucs to make the playoffs last year and they ended up choosing Jameis Winston with the 1st overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. All I’m saying is that week one in the NFL, there are no sure bets because you don’t really know the teams yet. There is a reason why every betting site on the planet is offering unreal bonuses to sign up this week and that’s because they know that people will likely lose money week one. Thus, don’t blow your wad entirely this week and proceed with caution. It’s fine to make the games a little bit more fun (I mean that is why we’re here) but don’t go for the home run too early or you may be left with nothing to play with for the rest of the season. With that being said, let’s get into this week’s top five best bets of the week. (Caps denotes pick)
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-7) over Chicago Bears
I hate picking touchdown or more favorites on the road and in a rivalry game, no less, also makes me a bit nervous but I think the Packers just have too much for the Bears to keep up with. The Bears defense ranked towards the bottom in the whole NFL last season whereas the Green Bay Packers were the NFL’s best overall offense last year. I expect that John Fox is going to have a positive impact on the Bears but it isn’t going to happen this week. Say what you will about Brandon Marshall, but he’s always been Jay Cutler’s favorite target and they did little in the way of replacing him, sorry Eddie Royal. Packers should win this one running away, they’re a veteran group who’s mostly been together for some time and while the loss of Jordy Nelson will be tough, DaVante Adams looks ready to fill in admirably.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-3) over Tennessee Titans
Battle of the rookie quarterbacks tomorrow is one of the cooler matchups of the day but the main difference is that Jameis Winston has many of the weapons on his team that gave everyone reason to pick this team last year. From all reports Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson are healthy and Mike Evans will be back and is as big of a rising stud at the wide receiver position as anyone. Marcus Mariota on the other hand has,,,,well, Bishop Sanky. Also in a game of two rookie quarterbacks starting in their first ever career games, how do you not take the one starting at home? Only a field goal as well.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (-4) over Washington Redskins
Like I mentioned in my preview on the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins have one of the easiest schedules to start the year and it starts with a trip to Washington. I’m not a huge believer in the Dolphins but the Redskins make my New York Jets look like a functional organization. The Kirk Cousins era officially begins for the skins tomorrow and while he has the weapons around him (Jordan Reed, Desean Jackson, Alfred Morris) he has not shown much consistency at the quarterback position. It almost feels like he’s been named the starter as a way for new head coach Jay Gruden to make a goat out of RG3. If I’m siding with Ryan Tannehill, you know i have no faith whatsoever in Kirk Cousins. (sorry SCJ)
CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3) over Oakland Raiders
In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably point out that one of these three road favorite picks are almost guaranteed to blow up in my face but it’s too tempting not to take the veteran Bengals over the young upstart Raiders by only a field goal. I know that the trio of Derek Carr, Latavis Murray and Amari Cooper look pretty sexy but they are all still pretty young and inexperienced. The Bengals may be boring but they are just better at every phase of the game and this is when they are at their best. In the beginning of every season the Bengals always fool you into thinking that this may be the year their playoff run extends past the first round and this week (opening day) should be no different. You can have faith in Andy Dalton…for now.
LOCK OF THE WEEK- THE NEW YORK JETS (-3) over The Cleveland Browns
This line really has to be a reflection of the oddsmakers lack of respect for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ability to play quarterback. This reads like a sucker bet but it almost seems too easy. While the defenses of both teams may be comparable, the Jets playmakers (Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Chris Ivory) are way better than the players for the Browns (Isaiah Crowell, Dwayne Bowe, Andrew Hawkins). I also really think that that short run by Josh McCown with the Bears in 2013 was more of an aberration and a team playing as hard as possible for anyone not named Cutler then it was a reflection of McCown’s talent. The Jets also play well during their home openers and tomorrow should be no exception. Again, it’s only a field goal and this time it’s for the home team so I’m confident in gang green here.
That’s going to do it for me this week. Be sure to check out my pick for tomorrow night’s Sunday Night Football game tomorrow as well as Monday Night Football Doubleheader on Monday. Until then, what are your best bets for the week? Be sure to let me know it the comment section below, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @TommyOnTheSpot .