USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Darnold
- Sean Koerner uses his NFL power ratings to identify betting value on Weeks 2-17 games.
- Here are the 18 games he thinks bettors should lock in before the 2019 season and why.
I enjoy betting on Weeks 2-17 lines as a fun way to potentially get early value on certain matchups.
To identify the 18 games we’ll highlight below, I compared posted lines to my projected lines and factored in any possible game theory angles to predict likely directions certain teams will be going at certain points in-season, which can help identify hidden value in snagging some of these lines early.
Let’s get started.
New York Jets +11.5 at New England Patriots
One running theme of this post: Invest in the Jets right now.
Their perception is still a bit behind at least how their team looks on paper. They have the second-easiest schedule and, interestingly enough, won’t have to travel outside of the Eastern timezone all season.
Sam Darnold had his ups and downs as a rookie but really flashed his potential at the very end of the season when he began to click with Robby Anderson. Darnold will only improve in 2019 and could breakout in a big way. The Jets also brought in some additional weapons for him with Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder.
The Jets even improved their defense in some big ways. Drafting Quinnen Williams with the third overall pick gives them an impact player right out of the gate. They also brought in C.J. Mosley and have one of the NFL’s best young safety duos with Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams.
With their improved roster and easy schedule, I anticipate public perception catching up to the Jets in-season, which is why I want to invest in some of their Weeks 2-17 spreads now.
Having said that, the Jets are ready to win right now and at a time when the Patriots’ Tom Brady-Bill Belichick dynasty could be nearing a close. The loss of Rob Gronkowski, Trey Flowers and Trent Brown surely hurt the Patriots on paper, but they’ve always been able to overcome such losses, which has everything to do with their superior coaching.
I do think, however, that the loss of Gronkowski will be the first real blow to this dynasty. I’m willing to invest against them on a few lines during the regular season, but come playoff time I think it’s pretty clear that it’s usually a losing proposition.
I have this line being closer to Jets +9 and believe once Week 3 rolls around, that will be the line offered. Take the couple points of value now, while you can.
San Francisco 49ers +2.5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
My initial spread for this matchup actually has the 49ers as a 1-point home favorite. The early season ACL tear by Jimmy Garoppolo effectively ruined the 49ers’ 2018 season, but allowed them to have the second pick in the draft.
Adding Nick Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick and Dee Ford via trade improves their pass rush significantly. With Garoppolo set to be 100% for the start of the season, they will have one of the more improved teams from a year ago.
On the other side of the ball, the Steelers will be without Bell and Antonio Brown. It’s the end of an era in Pittsburgh for sure. But as long as Big Ben is under center, the Steelers won’t take as big of a step back as people think — young talents like JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner have proven more than capable filling their shoes.
I still think this line is a few points off and need to snag it now considering it won’t be this high once we get to Week 3.