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Expert NFL Week 1 Picks Against The Spread

I’m back! For those new to The Sports Geek, my name’s Jim (better known online as prop). I’ve been a professional sports bettor for well over a decade. During the 2010 NFL season I was showing off giving my bets on a gambling industry forum and mounted a 64-38 (62.7%) posted record against the spread. Soon later, Kevin persuaded me to share my NFL picks here at the Sports Geek as a weekly write up series. Last season my posted picks went 46-30-4 (60.5%). This here is my first post of the 2012 season where I have three recommended NFL Week 1 bets.

September 5, 2012 – Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

My first week 1 pick comes on the opening game of the season. This is an important division match between the Dallas Cowboys and the defending Super Bowl champs the New York Giants. I have both teams calculated as outside contenders this season. I have the Giants ranked #10 favorite and the Cowboys #12 favorite, thus the reason this is an important division game.

The critics are mostly predicting this game will be a shootout. However the Giants defense is great at rushing the pass, and could lead the Cowboys to stay on the ground a bit more than usual if the game stays close. The Giants deep passing threat is a big factor due to their weak rushing game. However, if the game calls for it, Manning is content to throw under the coverage if that’s what the Cowboys are giving them. I see very small edge in taking the first half under using an alternate line. My first pick is to use the drop down menu at www.5dimes.eu and take u24 -130 on the first half total, risk 1.3 units to win 1 unit.

September 9, 2012 – New England Patriots @ Tennessee Titans

I handicapped this game a couple weeks ago as Patriots having a 50.7% chance of covering -6.5. This game is quite interesting due to the betting action so far. The line opened at Patriots -6, was bet to -7, and since has fallen back and is now -5 -110 at 5Dimes. This is a situation where I’d normally want to pass as I can spot sharp bettors are taking the Patriots.

The reaction is in part however related to a poor preseason. Perhaps not even worth a mention, there were some lightly leaked rumors about locker room issue. While not the primary source, there’s been some discussion regarding Tom Brady’s closest friends having been cut from the team. This is all nonsense imo. The Patriots are not the type of team to take the NFL season preseason for any purpose other than development. Likewise, this is a team strongly motivated to win, that isn’t likely to let petty issues get in the way.

The Titans are without Kenny Britt who is suspended for this game and without Marc Mariani, their return man, who has a broken leg. They have a strong run game, but on the passing side are relying on second year man Jake Locker at QB who only completed just over half his passes last season. The big question in my opinion is the Patriots defense, which did struggle last season. There have been a number of changes and the defense is young. This includes two first round draft picks starting, namely Chandler Jones from Syracuse at right defensive end Dont’a Hightower from Alabama at left linebacker. Overall I rate the Patriots a similar and likely slightly improved team over last season. During that season they won 6 of 8 road games by more points than the point-spread is for this match.

With some hesitancy due to the market moves, my pick is taking Patriots -5 -110 @ 5Dimes.eu for ½ unit: Risk 0.55 to win 0.50.

2012 NFL Week 1 – Best Teaser Bet

Those who have followed my picks in years past will know I’m a big fan of +EV teaser betting. This year however things have gotten a lot tougher. Bookmaker has changed their odds on 2-team 6-point teasers to -120 and slashed all the other prices. To get the same teaser odds 5Dimes offered last season you’d need to elect the one-time option to change your rewards package to option #5, which means losing reduced juice (not a good idea). Bovada has cut their former industry leading 3-team 6-point +180 teasers to +165. There have been changes at all sportsbooks due to how bad we’ve beaten the bookies in recent years. The good news is there is still a +EV teaser bet at www.bovada.lv this week.

The play is 3-team 7-point teaser at +140 odds. The selections are Chicago Bears -2.5, Saints -0.5 and Eagles -2.0. To explain quickly why this is +EV, at +140 we need to win 41.67% of the time to break even. Considering this a multiple wager that contains 3 teams, my next move is to calculate the cubed root of 0.4167. This is 0.747 which tells me each individual team need to cover the tease 74.7% of the time for us to average the 41.6% break even win rate. What I did from here was remove vig from the moneylines of 5Dimes. The reason I chose 5Dimes is they have lower juice and more savvy clients which makes them a more accurate choice.

Chicago Bears game has a money line of -550 / +425 which without vig is a market probability that the Bears win 81.6% of the time. However we have the Bears -2.5. Note the favored team wins by one about 2.5% of the time, and by two about 2.0% of the time. If we deduced 4.5% from 81.6% we have 77.1% which is over the 74.7% required break even rate and therefore a +EV selection.

The Saints game has a moneyline of -350 / +290 which without vig is a market probability that they’ll win 75.2% of the time. No adjustment is needed here because ties are super rare in NFL and we have them -0.5. So the 75.2% here is again higher than our 74.7% required break even rate.

Finally, the Eagles game has a moneyline of -440 / +350 which has them winning 78.6% of the time. We have them -2, so we need to deduct the 2.5% for a loss on -1, and half of the 2% for -2 (half because they push, not lose, on that #) which gives us a 75.1% chance of covering the tease. This is again higher than the 74.7% win rate needed.

Obviously three +EV teaser selections added together makes this a +EV teaser bet. You can make this one at www.bovada.lv. The odds are +140 and my pick is to stake 1 unit; risk 1u to win 1.4u.

That’s three picks for 2012 NFL Week 1. I wish you the best of luck and will be here next week with my 2012 NFL Week 2 picks and predictions.