Well, I won my fantasy games this weekend. So that’s kinda cool.
Ok, so this weekend was not the start I expected to the 2012 gambling season. We started 0-2 and they weren’t even close. I know the Eagles pulled out a 4th quarter shocker and beat the Browns on a last minute drive but they were laying 9.5. So it wasn’t even close to sniffing a cover in the 4th quarter. And the penalties?! Oh lord, the penalties. Hopefully they review the rulebook in practice this week, I’m not sure if our guys know what they can and can’t do.
On the bright side, the Juan Castillo defense really put the screws to Brandon Weeden. But I think if we were playing against a half-decent QB (Colt McCoy?) we probably would have lost that one. But you know what, a win is a win and in Week 13 when we are fighting for the division lead we won’t remember how bad we looked yesterday. Looking forward to week 2 and it doesn’t get any easier, Baldymoore is coming to town. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin. If we play sloppy like yesterday then those guys will beat us. It’s gonna be a tough one. No line yet, but it should be close to a pick ’em depending on how Baltimore looks on Monday Night.
And speaking of Monday night, we have a doubleheader tonight, Bengals at Ravens and Chargers at Raiders. But only one game looks like a value, the Chargers at Raiders, so let’s get into that one…
Bet #1: (a.k.a the “10pm start? I’ll be asleep by halftime” bet): Oakland Raiders -1 over San Diego Chargers
I actually like the Raiders to make some noise this year. In my Saturday column I had them picked to win the AFC West. I think that the AFC West could be a battle. All 4 teams are pretty good, but no team stands out from the rest (although Denver looked pretty good last night).
The Chargers lost Vincent Jackson to free agency, and will probably not have Ryan Matthews tonight. So it will be Phillip Rivers looking to Antonio Gates for his offense tonight. Last season, the Raiders lost in Week 17 to the Chargers at home, and that loss knocked them out of the playoffs race. I think they will remember that. The Raiders have a new GM, and a new Head Coach and are looking to (new and improved!) Carson Palmer to continue where he left off last season, in that Week 17 loss he threw for 417 yards.
The Raiders also get Darren McFadden back, he has been banged up his whole career and missed half the season last year with a foot injury. The Raiders should be able to move the ball with Palmer and McFadden. But their defense is another story.
The Raiders defense was not good last season, to put it kindly. 27th in defensive efficiency at Football Outsiders. But I think they use the home field advantage (one of the best in the NFL) and the arm of Carson Palmer version 2.0 and get a big opening win against a division rival. Could be high scoring, but I’ll stay away from the total and just take the Raiders.
How about Oakland starts fresh with a 30-20 win at home.
And oh yeah, I can’t forget that Phillip Rivers cost me money last year. It was Halloween Night, Chargers were lining up for a FG to win (and push -3) and he muffs the hold? I haven’t forgotten about that, Phil. Go Raiders!
The Line: Oakland Raiders -1, O/U 47
The Pick: Raiders -1
Game trends (via Covers.com): Oakland is 5-1 ATS last 6 vs. Chargers; OVER is 5-0 last 5 in Oakland in this series.
Let’s get a winner! (I really need one)
Season Record: 0-2 (booooo!)
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