Derek Carr at QB has been up and down – he is a solid pocket passer, without a ton of mobility. He isn’t a “running QB” – but he is a QB who can move around – and pick up needed yards with his feet, if he has to. Carr is pretty solidified in his pocket, nothing more, nothing less. Oakland bringing in 26 year old Marcus Mariota, I think was a slick move – it gives him someone to compete with to get his game back up to what many saw as his potential career going to – back in 2015 and 2016.
I think if their management actually gave him someone to throw the ball to – I think a lot of people’s tunes might change about him. He isn’t the worst passer with his steady completion ability – and he is pretty good moving around back there, as his ability to avoid sacks verifies. His TD% ratio has not been great, and he has struggled to push the ball downfield for several seasons. But, it seems he has become lazy and almost complacent as their QB. So although he has had problems – I think he is just one of the issues that needs tightening up on, but the problems go elsewhere as well.
They are also a very poorly disciplined team almost every year – and that falls directly on Head Coach, Jon Gruden. I thought signing him back in 2018 was a good move, but after 2 years, he is 11-21 since then, which is starting to make me feel maybe he is a bit overrated. He came in with a career 6 above .500 seasons out of 11 seasons coaching – which is solid – but they threw piles of cash at him to come back and be the savior for the organization, I would say 11 wins later, the team hasn’t looked so “saved.” They have looked better than from 2018, but this is the year for him to prove something.
Jon Gruden also doesn’t have the team just as he wants it, yet now in Vegas. Their biggest problem on offense has been their receiving corps – they need better WRs. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow were middling to say it best – with just 1256 YDs and 10 TDs between them, it wasn’t spectacular to watch. Williams can be a great WR2 who should be able to get 800+ yards and 8 TDs on his own – I just think they need that WR1 that is a great pass catcher to bring the best out in him. Oakland has had more than their share of problems stopping the opposition from putting up points, with 26.2 oppg. But, their offense is anemic. They scored 25 or more points in just 3 games in 2019 – a season average of 19.6 /game. They need to concentrate on offense for this team.
With the RB they have in Josh Jacobs – they should be calling 55% percent run to throw – I know Carr wants to chuck the ball, but Jacobs can move the chains on the ground – he is the future for this team. In 2019, the Raiders were 54% throwing the ball to running, which should be flipped. Jacobs should be the offensive leader – they have a 220lb back who can plow through or juke almost everything that comes at him. Jacobs gave them 4.8 YPC, 1150 YDs, and 7 TDs on a team that gave him more than 20 carries in less than half of his games. Imagine if he got 20 or more carries /game in 75% of the games? I think he could be a 12 TD and 1600 YD guy.
Oakland soon to be Las Vegas Raiders has more than their amount of problems to try and clean up for the next season. Gruden needs to keep building, this is a vital year 3. Carr has to push the ball downfield with confidence – and Jacobs must get more carries. I think if Jacobs starts to be the offensive cog and they can get WRs for Carr to move the ball to, this team can potentially be a 10 win team quickly, and at least be in the playoff conversation in their conference.
Week one of the 2019 NFL season will wrap up on Monday night, and will feature a pair of games. Playing two games on Monday Night Football in week one has been the tradition of late, and that won’t change this season. The New Orleans Saints host the Houston Texans in the first game, and the Oakland Raiders are hosting the Denver Broncos in the finale. Game one will feature a pair of playoff teams from a season ago, and the night cap will have a few teams who are looking to improve greatly in 2019. Let’s take a quick look at each of these games, with a betting prediction and pick for each of them.
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints:
The first game of the night should be the best one of the two. Both of these teams reached the playoffs a season ago, and they are both heavily favored to win their division this season. The Saints want to play fast, and score a ton of points, and the Houston Texans have one of the most feared defenses in the NFL. The New Orleans Saints are -7.0 point favorites over the Texans in this game.
The Saints have one of the all-time great quarterbacks in Drew Brees, and a pair of talented weapons in Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Kamara is a terrific dual-threat on offense, and he should have the ball in his hands a ton in this game. Thomas is the top receiving target, and has been putting up eye popping numbers. New Orleans gave up a ton of passing yards a season ago, but their rush defense was one of the best in the league. The Saints will give up some points, but their offense will score as well.
Houston also has a talented offense led by quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Texans suffered a tough blow in the preseason when running back Lamar Miller went down with a knee injury. The Texans still have a great defense led by JJ Watt, but they will need to put up plenty of points in this one. Bet the Saints -7.0 over the Texans in the series opener. When betting the Saints; check out our favorite pay per head bookie site at https://www.a1pph.com/.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders:
The second game of the doubleheader is likely to be a lot sloppier in the first, but it should be every bit as competitive. Neither of these teams is expected to make the playoffs this season, but crazier things have happened in the National Football League. The Oakland Raiders are slim -1.0 point favorites over the Denver Broncos in this game.
Denver has had all kinds of trouble finding a quarterback in the last few seasons, and so they changed their strategy. The Broncos brought in veteran Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens, and he should have an impact on the offensive side of the ball. The Broncos will also have a new head coach in Vic Fangio, and he is known as being a great defensive mind. Denver has the talent and personnel to really put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and Derek Carr better keep his head on a swivel in this game.
The Oakland Raiders were a mess on both sides of the ball a season ago, and weren’t even able to manage one sack per game. Oakland let Khalil Mack go before the start of the 2018 season, and it killed their chances of being a solid team. The Raiders also struggled mightily on offense, averaging just 18.1 points per game. Bringing in Antonio Brown should help out a ton, but they still have several roster spots that are question marks. Oakland playing at home will make all the difference in the world in this game, and betting the Raiders -1.0 over the Broncos is the smart play here.
Bet the Raiders -1 over the Broncos at our favorite pay per head bookie site at https://www.a1pph.com/.
More Pay Per Head tips:
This season, Mahomes has gone beyond nuclear putting up 41 TDs, and a whopping 327 YDs per game. And the 23 year old QB has also not been afraid to push the ball with a 9.3 YPA. The Mahomes-led Chiefs are in strong position right now looking at the playoffs, at 10-2, and tops in the AFC West division. Last year, they fought through the season and ended up with a 10-6 record. The cannon armed slinger has gripped the reigns and led the Chiefs to a top spot at this point in the season, making them a potential favorite in the AFC. Their team has been ravaged by off the field issues and they have below average production from their defense, as they have had almost no positive contribution from their D – yet here they are, still fully in charge. And that is on Mahomes’ shoulders.
The consistent brilliance of Drew Brees sticks out like a sore thumb. His passing performances this 2018 season have been nothing but spectacular to watch play out. The competition for the MVP award includes fellow QB, Patrick Mahomes, of Kansas City, who is by far the most outstanding QB under 24, so far this season. And he too, easily, belongs in the MVP discussion, in the constant, age old battle of young vs old, past vs present.
The talent and high ceiling for Gurley have never been in question. The arguments for Gurley includes his athletic skills and also how incredibly valuable he’s been to the Rams with his ability to slice open an opponent pretty much anywhere from the field. And the Rams feel comfortable putting him anywhere on the field for them, behind the QB, split him out, toss him in the slot. He is a devastating weapon for HC Sean McVay.
Betting the NFL Preseason in 2018
by Jeff Hochman (JH-Sportsline)
The Hall of Fame Game is the first NFL preseason game of the year, which closes the annual Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities. On August 2nd, 2018, the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will kick-off the preseason at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The game starts at 8:00 PM E and can be viewed on NBC. The Ravens will be making their first Hall of Fame game appearance ever, while the Chicago Bears have played in this game five times. Chicago is a perfect 4-0 SU in their previous four Hall of Fame game appearances.
You will hear people say “Don’t bet on NFL Preseason Football”. Big Mistake! It’s actually easier than capping the regular season. In most cases you can read ahead of time the exact game plan for each team. I feel the NFL preseason is a great opportunity to start and build a nice bankroll for the upcoming regular season. Many handicappers have the opinion that the preseason games should be left alone and not bet on. I feel just the opposite. If you do your homework–the preseason offers sharps and squares a tremendous chance to make a lot of money. Here are my personal keys, stats, systems, angles, reasons, and teams to consider when betting NFL Preseason football in 2018. I started in 1998. This is my 14th edition of this annual NFL article. WOW! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. Enjoy!
This one is obvious. Jo public gets so worked up about the starters and skill position players on certain teams during the regular season. But they’re the same in the preseason. Teams that can go two-and three-deep (sometimes four-deep) at the skill positions have a decided advantage over a club that has a few stars that will be sitting after the first or second series. A perfect example of a team like that this season, is none other than the Green Bay Packers. They have the best arm talent in the league and future Hall of Famer in Aaron Rodgers. Brett Hundley showed flashes in extending playing time. He’s ahead of schedule. DeShone Kizer fits their offense well and should play a lot this preseason. Tim Boyle is a big kid from Eastern Kentucky who should have success going against third and fourth-string defenses. On the flip side, The New York Giants have Eli Manning who is on the back nine of his career. Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta, and Alex Taney are unproven at this level. While I think the Giants will be improved this season, they could struggle in August with this current QB rotation.
Quarterbacks and continuity are key. NFL Preseason wagers, just like those during the Regular Season, often come down to the last eight minutes of a game. So find teams that have solid depth at QB and/or has some experience or success in the league. They’ll have a tremendous advantage in the closing moments of a game against a third and/or fourth-string defense. The New Orleans Saints have a 4-headed monster under center. Drew Brees is a top 10 all-time QB. Tom Savage is above average as the second guy. J.T. Barrett will be a handful with his arm and legs against young defenders. Taysom Hill completed 14 of his 20 attempts with two passing TD’s and one running TD for the Packers last preseason. All four can run the same offense without restrictions. The system/culture has been in place since 2006. I think the Saints will have a winning preseason in 2018.
I don’t necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, experience can be a detriment. Most older players hate preseason games. And teams that have established players in certain positions or roles will often see those guys mail it in during the preseason because they know the games are “meaningless” and already have their “jobs” locked up.
However, experience is a key factor when it comes to handicapping coaches/systems. Organizations that haven’t experienced much turnaround have a significant advantage over those that are easing in a new brain trust. For example, New England has been running Josh McDaniels system since 2012. The Patriots are going to be much sharper than a team that is going through changes. Take the Indianapolis Colts for example. They are breaking in a new head coach (Frank Reich) and new offensive coordinator in Nick Sirianni. Both guys have never been in their current roles. Keying on clubs that have familiarity & continuity, and finding teams that are much less comfortable with their new system is a big key when wagering on preseason games.
3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)
We have seven for the 2018-19 season in alphabetical order by team. First year head coaches can be tricky, but generally perform very well in their first August home game.They went 6-1 ATS in their first home game three years ago, 5-2 ATS two years ago, and 4-1 ATS last season. That adds up to a a bankrolling 15-4 ATS mark the last three preseasons combined! Lets keep it rolling. A lot of expectations are put on these guys coming in. They all want to show the Owner, General Manager, players, and fans that he is the right man for the job. Setting the tone early means playing to win in the preseason. I would not just blindly play all these teams in their first home game. Pick your spots or sign up for my NFL Preseason package. Here we go!
Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals)
Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears)
Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions)
Frank Reich (Indy Colts)
Pat Shurmer (NY Giants)
Jon Gruden (Oakland Raiders)
Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans)
If you know how head coaches were raised and what their philosophies are than you will have a big advantage this August. I know all the personalities/traits of every single HC in the NFL which helps me beat the books in August. I will give you one HC that preaches competition from his players down to the ball boy. That would be Pete Carroll of the Seahawks. His philosophy at USC was to create competition along with a winning attitude. That has continued since moving to the NFL. Pete Carroll is 34-14 ATS in his career when playing in August, including 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS last season. On the flip side, Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys clearly hates the preseason. He uses August basically to scout his younger guys and it shows. Garrett’s 10-20 ATS record in the NFL preseason is the worst active record in August with at least 20 games played. Keep an eye on the Seahawks‘ spreads as the odds makers might inflate their lines after going 4-0 last preseason.
If you watched the NFL for any number of years you should know that not every Head Coach cares about winning in the NFL Preseason. Different HC’s have different agendas when playing August Football and they all pretty much stick to their beliefs. I gave you two very good examples above that should hold true once again this upcoming season.
Each coach handles the preseason differently. Some put a premium on the second game. For some it’s the third or even the fourth. Some coaches just mess around and tinker with their lineups during the preseason and use it to evaluate their younger guys. But here’s the key – and this is a big difference between the regular season and preseason football – most coaches are forthright about what the game plan will be. All you have to do is a little research from the local beat writers.
The NFL preseason schedule generally isn’t too taxing on the teams and players. But there are quirks. The two teams that play the Hall of Fame Game are a good bet to fade in their next game. If some key players are a bit banged up then you can expect those guys to be watching in street clothes. Keep a close eye on how the players from the Ravens and Bears come out of the Hall of Fame game. Also, NFL teams who play on the West Coast (with little to no humidity), and than travel to play a high humidity East Coast game. It would be wise to fade those West Coast teams, especially if installed as a favorite. This has worked extremely well over the last few years with the new OTA rules in place.
#7) Jeff’s NFL Preseason system to consider
If you are looking for a very solid system/angle in the NFL preseason here is one to consider this year. Teams that begin 0-2 straight up over the last 11 years are 63-41 ATS in their very next game. Head Coaches, GM’s, and owners tend to get very nervous when they get off to a bad start, even in the preseason, and they have their team ready for that third game. Most undefeated teams will take that 0-2 team lightly, thus making those winless teams a smart play by the “Wise Guys”. If two 0-2 teams are playing each other, its a NO PLAY and that’s reflected in the record above.
#8) Jeff’s #1 NFL Preseason Team to “Play On” in 2018
Cleveland Browns. I think this team will play with a “chip” on its shoulder after going 0-16 last year. Look at the QB rotation. It’s got to be one of the most improved groups in the entire league. Tyrod Taylor is a two-way (arm/legs) threat with playoff experience. Drew Stanton is better than average. Baker Mayfield has something to prove and should have success against vanilla defenses. Joel Stave is really good and might be elsewhere as as solid backup when the regular season arrives. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley will bring fire and experience to the offense. And while the Browns might be learning a new offense, there are mitigating factors that suggest the Browns will have success this August. I love them in week two against the Buffalo Bills as a 3-point home favorite. The Browns could be a solid ATS sleeper team this Fall/Winter as well.
Look for more Football articles in the coming weeks. Jeff was ranked No. 3 in the 2017-18 NFL regular season and No. 1 (tied) in the postseason. Jeff was ranked No. 2 in the 2014-15 NFL regular season at The Sports Monitor of OK, cashing just under 70%. Jeff has shown a profit in eight of the past nine years in football, fully documented. Early Bird Football and season packages are now available.
Good Luck this Football Season!
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Win totals on the board at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of Sunday, April 29th 2018:
- Patriots 11
- Steelers 10.5
- Eagles 10.5
- Packers 10
- Vikings 10
- Rams 9.5
- Saints 9.5
- Panthers 9
- Falcons 9
- 49ers 9
- Chargers 9
- Jaguars 9
- Texans 8.5
- Cowboys 8.5
- Chiefs 8.5
- Seahawks 8
- Raiders 8
- Ravens 8
- Titans 8
- Lions 8
- Redskins 7
- Bengals 7
- Broncos 7
- Giants 6.5
- Buccaneers 6.5
- Bills 6.5
- Bears 6.5
- Colts 6.5
- Dolphins 6
- Jets 6
- Browns 5.5
- Cardinals 5.5
It looks like the Arizona Cardinals and the Cleveland Browns are going to be the worst teams in the NFL this season. A couple of early leans we like are the LA Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars OVER the number for season wins. We’ll have much more in the NFL as the season gets closer this summer.
What happened? The Oakland OC Todd Downing – messed up the Raiders offense up in a strange way this year. Cooper can play like a man against boys, at times on the field, with his skills and speed. For fans who don’t like Crabtree – will always find a low end flaw – but honestly they are ignoring his skillset. Solid, it is not even close how steady he has been, and you can’t ignore the 30 year old’s career numbers.