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Dave’s Dime: Top 10 Best Bets for Week 1 NFL and College Football

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs

At long last, the 2019 NFL season is finally back in full swing on Sunday. After the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears put on a bit of a snoozefest in Green Bay’s 10-3 win on Thursday night, there should be a whole lot more action to enjoy this weekend.

This is Dave’s Dime, a weekly column in which I will select my top ten favorite college football and NFL best bets of the weekend and share them with you. These picks are listed in order of game times from earliest to latest, and the spreads are up to date at the time of publication. Whether you are just reading for fun or decide to make plays with me or against me, I wish you all the best! Let’s get started.

New Mexico State +55.5, at Alabama Crimson Tide

If the Alabama Crimson Tide wanted to, they could put up 100 points in a game like this. But we have a large sample size of Nick Saban as a massive favorite, and he generally doesn’t run up the score on these lowly opponents. Alabama is 4-14 ATS (against the spread) in its last 18 games as a favorite of 38 or more points and 0-4 ATS when favored by 50 or more. Take the points.

San Diego State +7.5, at UCLA Bruins

The UCLA Bruins have historically dominated this head-to-head series and are 5-0 SU (straight up) and ATS in their last five games against the Aztecs, which could be factoring into this line. But the last meeting between these two teams came all the way back in 2009; these trends are irrelevant. This should be an ugly, low-scoring game in which points are at a premium, which makes getting more than a touchdown too tempting to pass up.

Oregon Ducks -24, vs. Nevada Wolfpack

Justin Herbert handing off to CJ Verdell
Justin Herbert handing off to CJ Verdell | Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Bo Nix and the Auburn Tigers got the last laugh last week in a 27-21 win over Oregon, but the final score doesn’t tell the story of a game that the Ducks largely dominated on both sides of the ball. At home against a much weaker opponent, look for Oregon to bounce back with a blowout win.

Stanford Cardinal +3, at USC Trojans

This game took a strange turn when both Stanford’s starting quarterback K.J. Costello and USC’s starting quarterback JT Daniels were both ruled out. But with both teams starting backup quarterbacks, this game suddenly becomes a chess match between David Shaw, one of the best coaches in the sport, and Clay Helton, who has underachieved with the Trojans. Give me Shaw and the Cardinal.

OVER 77 Points, Oregon State Beavers at Hawaii Warriors

Two absolutely atrocious defenses. Two capable and speedy offenses. This one has shootout written all over it; look for both teams to find their way into the 40s in points.

Kansas City Chiefs -3.5, at Jacksonville Jaguars

There are reasons to pause for concern here as the Chiefs are facing an excellent Jacksonville defense that has had time to prepare, and Kansas City is breaking in a lot of new players on its defense. But when it’s all said and done, I can’t see an offense led by Nick Foles and Leonard Fournette keeping up with this robust Chiefs offense. I’ll take my chances giving up only three points.

New York Jets -2.5, vs. Buffalo Bills

Le'Veon Bell should be poised for a big season
Le’Veon Bell should be poised for a big season | Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

And speaking of taking chances, I’m high on this new Jets offense. Le’Veon Bell should thrive after a season off to rest, and Sam Darnold showed nice signs of improvement last December. Buffalo may have a slightly better team on paper, but at home, this is one the Jets should get.

UNDER 44.5 Points, Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers

Instead of getting a potential Andrew Luck vs. Philip Rivers shootout, we get Jacoby Brissett and what should be a far less explosive Colts offense. Meanwhile, the Chargers will be facing a strong Indianapolis defense and will be doing so with a few new faces as WR Tyrell Williams left to sign with the Oakland Raiders, and RB Melvin Gordon is holding out. Look for some early-season growing pains for both of these offenses in a low-scoring game.

New England Patriots -5.5, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sometimes it’s best not to overthink it. The Steelers are a strong team that should be better than they were in 2018 with fewer distractions. But New England is 16-0 SU and 13-3 ATS in its last 16 home games with five straight wins by double-digits; going to roll with the Pats at home.

Houston Texans +6.5, at New Orleans Saints

For as badly as they bungled the Jadaveon Clowney situation and trade, the Texans also made some nice trades to acquire Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, and Carlos Hyde. And even without Clowney, the Texans still have a great defense led by a loaded front seven. New Orleans is 0-4 ATS over its last four home games; I see the Texans keeping this one close enough to keep that trend going.