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WEEK 1 ATS CONFIDENCE RANKS
Each week of the NFL season I will assign confidence ranks to all Sunday and Monday games against the spread. When there are 15 games, I will rank each game from 1 to 15. 1 represents my most confident spread selection while 15 represents my least confident. The confidence ranks do not necessarily represent how I am distributing my bets.
Note: These are only partial handicaps so keep an eye out on twitter and discord to see all my takes. Some of these selections were made earlier in the week and the line posted may no longer be available. Make sure to sign-up for the Bet Karma NFL Premium package to get exclusive access to our market-beating picks, props, and daily fantasy plays delivered in real-time and posted in our premium Discord channel! And as always, find me on twitter @PICKSwCLARS24 for all the fun and profit!
Disclaimer: My Week 1 handicaps will be significantly different and generally weaker than my handicaps as the season goes on. I tend to lean to technical handicapping and I see more success as the season progresses and more data and statistical trends become available. Week 1 is better bet prioritizing fundamental handicapping in my opinion.
- San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
- I don’t see how San Francisco gets margin in this game. This will be Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury second year together so I expect some positive strides offensively, especially with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins. Even last year they moved the ball and scored 25 and 26 points vs the Niners.
- On the 49ers side of the ball, Garoppolo will most likely be without 2 of his 3 main targets from last season. Sanders went elsewhere and Samuel is injured and isn’t practicing. In addition, rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk isn’t practicing with a hamstring injury. Kyler Murray’s elusiveness and mobility will help neutralize San Francisco’s biggest strength, their defensive line.
- Arizona had the 10th and 11th ranked DVOA offensive performances last year out of the entire 512 game regular season vs the Niners. How the Cardinals run their offense schematically works very well vs San Francisco.
- A lack of a preseason and a bizarre offseason could show its teeth in the second half of games early on. I think offenses will see more success than usual due to defensive fatigue and a lack of crowd noise. I really like getting Arizona plus a touchdown in a divisional showdown. Even if Arizona struggles to keep it close, I really like the possibility of a backdoor cover.
- #1 ATS PICK: Arizona Cardinals +7 (-110)
- Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers
- The Vikings arguably come into this season with zero positional group improvements. They’re weaker on the defensive line after losing starters Griffin and Joseph. They replaced Joseph with Pierce but he ended out deciding to sit out the season due to COVID. Additionally, they’ve had to place Danielle Hunter on the IR and they’re without all 3 of their starting corners from last season. This cornerback group is young and inexperienced. Pair that with a weaker defensive line and that’s not ideal when you’re facing Aaron Rodgers.
- Offensively the Vikings lost their OC Kevin Stefanski as well as WR Stefon Diggs. They don’t necessarily have a strong replacement so I think this offense could look like a shell of it’s previous self.
- With the lessened effects of home field advantage I don’t see how the Packers are catching a field goal in this game. Green Bay returns most of their roster from last year as well as their entire coaching staff. I think they might win this game outright.
- #2 ATS PICK: Green Bay Packers +3 (-115)
- New York Giants vs Pittsburgh Steelers
- How good do we think Big Ben is? Six points on the road week 1 for a quarterback who hasn’t played competitive football in almost a year? Again, I think the lack of a preseason and the lack of competitive snaps for Big Ben may take a couple weeks for him to knock the rust off. We have to remember that he’s 38 years old.
- This line opened around 2.5 and is all the way to 6 now. What has changed over that time? Yes, this line was probably off a point or two but I think the market is overreacting. We have to remember that Pittsburgh had the 32nd ranked offense last season. Big Ben will help improve that but how much in Week 1?
- The Giants revamped secondary is going largely unnoticed. This was by far their biggest weakness last year and I think we will see significant strides this season.
- I leaned to the Giants at +3.5 but at +6 I think you have to give it strong consideration. I realize Daniel Jones is a turnover machine and the Steelers have a stifling defense but that’s a lot of points on the road for Roethlisberger’s return. We also didn’t ever see the Giants offense at full strength last season like we will this week. Who knows, wait it out and you may get a +7 come kickoff.
- #3 ATS PICK: New York Giants +6 (-110)
- Washington Football Team vs Philadelphia Eagles
- The Eagles are already starting off the season with injuries. Starters Hargrave and Barnett are banged up on the defensive line. Offensive starters Reagor, Jeffery, and Sanders are all also injured in addition to Lane Johnson on the line.
- I believe Haskins is better than most people think. He was thrown into a fire last year and was not set up for success. Down the stretch he looked better and I think that may bleed into this season. They are committed to him now. This offense will still look rough but it did manage to keep both games close to Philadelphia last year.
- For how bad Washington is perceived they actually have a strong defense. I make this game closer to Philadelphia -4 but with a banged up Philadelphia offense and a strong Washington defense the +6 becomes but that much more appealing. I think Washington will be a consistent bet on team when they’re catching close to a touchdown with totals in the low 40’s.
- #4 ATS PICK: Washington Football Team +6 (-115)
- Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets
- From a pure power ratings standpoint, I make this game closer to Bills -8.
- The Bills return 88% of their snaps from last season along with their entire coaching staff. Whereas the Jets return only 6 offensive starters and 8 defensive starters. Additionally, they’ll be without their two best defenders from a year ago, Adams and Mosley.
- What I’ve been hearing out of the Jets training camp and practices has not been positive. Both the offense and defense sound like they still lack playmaking.
- This Bills roster is elite. Outside of Allen, it’s easily probably top 5 in the NFL. If he made any offseason improvements and this offense starts clicking then Buffalo could be lethal. Even without Allen potentially improving, I don’t think the Jets offense will look good at all vs this defense. They have a make shift offensive line right now and their best WR is Jamison Crowder. The Bills may only need 20 or so points to cover this game.
- #5 ATS PICK: Buffalo Bills -6.5 (-110)
- Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans
- This spread was Denver -1 before Von Miller went down. Now we’re all the way to +2.5 after the news. Now I do realize Chubb may also be limited and those two are probably their best two defenders but I still think this is an overreaction. After all of this news, I have Tennessee 3 points better than Denver on a neutral field. It’s important to acknowledge that power ratings do not take into effect individual matchups.
- I’m going to sound like a broken record but with a lack of preseason reps and proper offseason conditioning for some players I think Denver’s altitude will play an even larger role early on in the season. And not to mention, this game will be played at 9:20pm CT time for the Titans. Can they stay awake?
- I know both Chubb and Miller may be out but it’s important to realize these two edge rushers are not super important when it comes to stopping the run, the Titans biggest strength.
- I am not buying into the hype of Drew Lock but I do believe this offense can do enough to keep this close. The over under on this game is at 41. If you told me this game will be played in the upper teens I’ll grab the home team and the points all day. We saw an ugly 16-0 win for the Broncos vs the Titans in week 6 last year and I expect another low scoring affair this year. **Make sure to check Sutton and Chubb’s injury statuses before betting this game.**
- #6 ATS PICK: Denver Broncos +3 (-125)
- New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins
- The Patriots did not look good at all the second half of last season. I realize Belichick is a genius but I’m having my doubts about them this season. They’ve had numerous players opt out of the season and they still lack weapons for Newton. A reporter was quoted saying “During camp in a limited scheme environment, Newton completed less than 60 percent of his passes, threw five picks, and took several would-be sacks waiting for someone to get open outside of Julian Edelman.” I don’t read into reports too much but this validates my strongest concern. Do I trust Cam Newton in his first game back with limited weapons to get margin? No I don’t.
- My power ratings have this game closer to New England -5. Compared to the market, I’m lower on the Patriots than most. We can’t forget this is Belichick in Week 1 though.
- Miami has spent a ton of money this offseason in free agency and I honestly believe it was money well spent. This defense will look completely different. In a year where continuity will be important I'd generally be more concerned but almost any change from this 2019 Miami defense is a good one. I see this game being jam packed with turnovers both ways so I’ll take Miami and the points.
- #7 ATS PICK: Miami Dolphins +7 (-115)
- New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- The more I look at Tampa’s roster, the more I like it. They have an extremely strong run defense and a slightly above average pass defense. On the offensive side of the ball, they have Brady, a solid offensive line, and probably the best weapons in the NFL. I also like their coaching staff. Will they be clicking Week 1? Now that’s the question.
- Sean Payton’s Saints are known to struggle in Week 1. I don’t have the ATS trends in front of me but they are far from glamorous. Last season they lost to the Bucs at home to open the season 48-40, the year before they lost to the Vikings 29-19, and in 2017 they lost to the Raiders 35-34. The Saints are actually 1-11 ATS and 2-10 SU in Weeks 1-2 the last 6 years. Could we see another slow start?
- My instincts tell me that Tom Brady is coming in extremely focused on this game. He finally has weapons around him and I think Tampa Bay truly feels like this is their season. Will Brees be distracted or anxious from all the offseason anthem talk? I’ll take the field goal and a hook on a game I could see going either way. **Make sure to check Mike Evan’s status before betting this game. He is probably worth around 1 point to the spread.**
- #8 ATS PICK: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5 (-105)
- Los Angeles Rams vs Dallas Cowboys
- #9 ATS PICK: Los Angeles Rams +3 (-110)
- Carolina Panthers vs Oakland Raiders
- #10 ATS PICK: Carolina Panthers +3 (+100)
- Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears
- #11 ATS PICK: Chicago Bears +3 (-120)
- Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts
- #12 ATS PICK: Indianapolis Colts -8 (-110)
- Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks
- #13 ATS PICK: Atlanta Falcons +2 (+100)
- Cincinnati Bengals vs Los Angeles Chargers
- #14 ATS PICK: Los Angeles Chargers -3 (-120)
- Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns
- #15 ATS PICK: Cleveland Browns +8 (-110)
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