NFL nut Kyle Robins (@AhhYeahKyleYeah) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Monday Night Football.
Detroit Lions @ New York Jets | Tuesday 11th September 2018, 00:10 | Sky Sports Detroit
Now whilst it’s a hard-enough task to predict the outcome of any NFL game, making picks for Week 1 going in practically blind is near on impossible, but hey… here I am.
With the Rams @ Raiders providing the bulk of my preview this week, I’ll keep this short, but putting it simply, this isn’t an appealing game and certainly not one I’ll be staying up for.
The most exciting aspect about it will undoubtedly be the debut of quarterback Sam Darnold, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a betting angle to be found.
Rightly so, the bookmakers make the Lions 1/3 favourites having home field advantage, with the Jets coming in at 12/5. Now, whilst Detroit clearly has a more powerful and proven offense, both teams were almost as incompetent as each other on the defensive side of the ball last season, and neither of them made much of a splash this offseason in an attempt to fix it.
The Jets ranked a lowly 25th in yards allowed per-game last year, whilst Detroit sat just behind them in 27th, both allowing close to an average of 355 total yards against them per-game… that’s certainly not championship winning defence.
In hindsight, the Lions finishing with a winning record was some accomplishment for Matt Stafford, especially given Detroit’s running game, or should I say, lack of. The Lions averaged a league worse 76 rushing yards per-game, leading to them taking a centre and running back with their first two picks in this year’s draft. Problems aren’t fixed that easily, however.
Now it’s hard to predict what sort of performance Sam Darnold will deliver Monday night, and until he gets a few games in, it’s difficult to make a judgment off his college career and a few pre-season snaps. Stafford meanwhile, has been consistently delivering for Detroit since 2011, and he’ll provide the betting angle I’ll be leaning towards.
Given Detroit’s inability to run the football (*Que Detroit to rush for 250 total yards), coupled with the Jets allowing an average of 234 passing yards per-game last year (21st), Stafford over 265.5 passing yards at 10/11 with SkyBet is definitely an angle of attack.
I do also fancy the Lions to cover the spread, purely given the Jets atrocious road record last year, and the hostile atmosphere facing rookie Sam Darnold.
Take the Lions -6.5 at 10/11 with William Hill.
Los Angles Rams @ Oakland Raiders | Tuesday 11th September 2018, 03:20 | Sky Sports
Now on paper, this game looks much more appealing, both in terms of betting angles and watch ability.
Whilst the Raiders struggled last year on the both sides of the ball, the Rams excelled under first year head coach Sean McVay. Now after splashing out and loading up on playmakers, LA will look to take that next step towards the Superbowl stardom.
With the Rams appearing to be heading in a positive direction, the Raiders seem to be in somewhat of a downward spiral. After handing out a staggering 10-year, $100million dollar contract to new head coach John Gruden (money they could have used on keeping Khalil Mack around), and with the ever-looming move of the franchise to Las Vegas, this off-season has been a rollercoaster ride in itself for the people of Oakland.
Gruden, a man who hasn’t coached in the league in 10 years, talks an awfully good game whilst in the broadcasting booth. The case for Oakland, is if he can transition that into wins.
Simply put, the Raiders were pretty mediocre in all areas last season, ranking 16th in passing yards per-game (226), a lowly 25th in rushing yards per-game (97), and putting up just 18.8 points per-game (23rd).
Compare that to their southern neighbours, the Rams fired on pretty much all cylinders last year. Boasting the highest scoring offence in the league, averaging a league high 29,9 points per-game, they sat inside the top 10 in each of the following statistics:
- Rushing yards per-game (122)
- Passing yards per-game (239)
- Total yards per-game (361)
Led by breakout second year quarterback Jared Goff, and star-studded running back Todd Gurley, who put up 2,093 total yards (rushing and receiving) to go along with 19 touchdowns. It’s safe to say, the Rams are in seemingly pretty good hands for the next few years.
The only real soft point for LA last year was their defence. More specifically, their rushing defence, ranking a modest 28th against the run last year, allowing just over 122 yards per-game.
Rather than just let the issue resolve itself however, they went out and acted, adding all pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to partner inside with Aaron Donald to form one of the most feared defensive tackle partnerships in recent memory.
Add to that the additions of elite corners Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib, there’s real hope for this Rams team this season. It will just take one hell of a coaching job from Sean McVay to such strong personalities together.
Going off last season’s statistics, the Rams shouldn’t have much to fear about the Raiders rushing game come Monday night, given they averaged just 97 yards per-game on the ground last year. They could however benefit from the change in system, so whilst I’m not looking to be hedging in that market, I’ll be intrigued to see what Marshawn Lynch’s line is set at, and might be inclined to take the under.
The few angles I’ll be taking will certainly be the Rams -6.5 at 5/4 with Ladbrokes. On paper, the Rams look stronger in almost every position on the field (QB being the only debatable positon), but that’s still not enough to draw me away from them.
Given to, the Khalil Mack-less Raiders clear lack of playmakers on defence, I fancy this Rams team to start the season explosively on offense, and the 9/4 for them to score over 32.5 points looks enticing with Sky Bet, as is the 6/4 (SkyBet) on Brandin Cooks to score a touchdown.
Detroit Lions @ New York Jets – Matt Stafford over 265.5 passing yards (10/11 SkyBet)
Detroit Lions @ New York Jets – Detroit Lions -6.5 (10/11 William Hill)
Los Angles Rams @ Oakland Raiders – Los Angeles Rams – 6.5 (5/4 Ladbrokes)
Los Angles Rams @ Oakland Raiders – Los Angeles Rams over 32.5 points (5/2 SkyBet)
Los Angles Rams @ Oakland Raiders – Brandin Cooks anytime touchdown scorer (6/4 SkyBet)