It’s that time of the year once again.
Time for your boy to provide you with the Winning Nuggets you need to start your survivor and gaming season off on the right track.
Last year we were hitting on 87% on our survivor selections and 53% on our against the spread selections. So here’s our first edition of Jab’s Winning Nuggets of the 2014-15 season. Let’s do this!
Week 1 Survivor Selections
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) – No Johnny Football to see here. Instead, that “legend” Brian Hoyer will get the opening snaps for the Cleveland Browns this year in the Steel City. No Josh Gordon (suspended for the season) to be found, but Hoyer will have at least have Towson’s own Terrance West in the backfield. Won’t matter. That’s because the new look Steelers at home in a critical season for head coach Mike Tomlin’s job security can’t and won’t lose to their neighbors to the northwest. Look for Big Ben to make enough plays necessary to score over 20 pts, which will make it almost impossible for the offensively challenged Browns to win.
Nuggets: Browns are 3-7-1 ATS in last ten at Pittsburgh. Browns are 1-8 in their last 9 season openers.
Chicago Bears (-7) – Da’ Bears could be an offensive machine this year IF QB Jay Culter can stay healthy. For at least week 1, that shouldn’t be a problem. Add in the opponent of the Buffalo Bills and you can see why I like the team residing in the Windy City. The Bears have playoff and beyond expectations this year and losing at home to pathetic Bills would send their fan base into a Deep Dish Pizza depression. Look for both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffry to hit paydirt and maybe even RB Matt Forte. This one shouldn’t be close and if you are in a one and done league, then this might be your best spot to take the da’ Bears.
Nuggets: The Bills are 2-8 in their last 10 road games. The Bears have a Opening Day all-time record of 54-35-5 (.580%).
Philadelphia Eagles (-10.5) – If you are a Jab Nuggets “historian”, then you remember the Bet vs. Jacksonville bit last year. And it did pay off early and often as the Jags opened the season losing their first 8 games while going 1-7 ATS during that span. But as the calendar turned to November, those gritty, little Jags were crushing survivor players dreams by winning 4 of the next 5 games. The reason I’m boring you with this Jags talk is to warn you about a potential hiccup here in this spot if you select the Eagles. Yes, the Eagles are much more talented than the Jags. Yes, the Eagles should beat this Jags team led by Chad Henne by 30+ points. And yes, where on the schedule is a better spot than the Eagles home vs. the Jags in their home opener in front of their animal like fans? I get it. Just buyer beware is all I’m saying with this one.
Nuggets: Jacksonville went 0-5 last September. Eagles are 1-8-1 in their last 10 September games.
Week 1 ATS Selections
Atlanta Falcons (+3) – Home dogs are tasty dogs. And although the Falcons became a dumpster fire last year, this team is much too talented on offense especially to have back to back miserable seasons. The New Orleans Saints aren’t exactly the opening day opponent you want to face when coming off a 2 win season, but I really like the Falcons in this spot and here’s why. If the Falcons want to contend in the tough NFC South this year (and I expect them too), then winning not only your opener (but home opener) vs. what many believe is the best team in the division this year is paramount. And the sharp’s in Vegas are giving me a FG to boot? Give me the Falcons here to not only cover but win SU. I also like the over 51. Falcons 35-30
Nuggets: Home team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Falcons went 5-1 ATS in last 5 games of 2013.
Denver Broncos/Indianapolis Colts over 55 – NBC’s Sunday Night game features one of the best QB of all time and one that should be talked about in such terms once his resume is complete. Peyton Manning is coming off an absurd year and has almost the same cast of characters back this year. Andrew Luck is also coming off a great year (not absurd) and has gained some new weapons on the outside that could push him into the QB elite status later this year. It’s supposed to be a perfect night for football (partly cloudy, mid 50’s) in the City of Weed and I expect both teams to “light up” the scoreboard. This total could come down a bit now that Wes Welker has tested positive for Molly. But remember, people love betting overs and especially ones that are at the end of day’s slate of games (chasing), so if you like this one like I do get it now.
Nuggets: The over is 5-1 in the last 6 games for the Colts on the road. The over is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings between these two.
Dallas Cowboys (+5.5) – Chalk this one up to going against the public theory. Yes, I’m well aware that the Cowboys are so bad defensively that they had to sign Michael Sam’s earlier this week. Not that he’s going to play (practice squad) in this one, but it shows you how desperate they really are for LB’s. But last time I checked, the Niners of SF haven’t exactly looked like the Chargers of the mid 80’s on offense. I also like the fact that 70% of the early money is coming in on the Niners which could push this number up to 6, maybe even a TD by kickoff Sunday afternoon. Add in that it’s the National game for FOX at 4pm and you can see where I’m going here. I’m not saying the Cowboys will win this one, but I will wait and take the points in this one.
Nuggets: The ‘Boys are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 game in WK 1. The home team is 3-0-2 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Baltimore Ravens Angle
Not exactly a cherry picked opponent to open the season for the Ravens. Cincinnati won the AFC North last year and many “experts” believe they can do again this year (not me). Andy Dalton is an awful post season QB, but his regular season numbers in 2013 were only behind Peyton and Drew Brees. And A.J. Green is the best receiver outside Calvin Johnson, so the Ravens secondary will be tested. The Bengals were middle of the pack defensively last year and I think the new-look Ravens offense could and should be able to score in the mid 20’s in this contest.
A couple things concern me about the Ravens in this one. 1. The secondary is beat up and if Chykie Brown has to cover any of the Bengals big WR’s it could be trouble. 2. How quickly will QB Joe Flacco be able to feel comfortable in the new Gary Kubiak West Coast system? 3. Can Bernard Pierce stay healthy for an entire game as well as pass protect (which he struggles in)?
So with all that being said, I think this one will be a higher than normal scoring affair. Both teams could find themselves in the mid 20’s come the 4th quarter purely based on matchups, which doesn’t account for any Special Teams scoring or defensive scores. A posted total of 43 seems too low for both of these offenses and the over his hit in the last 4 Bengals openers. The Ravens also have quite a “over” streak going since last year as they went over the posted total in 4 out of their last 5 games to end the season.
Who is going to win this one you ask? Give me the home team who wins in their building 78% of the time. Ravens 31-28.