As we welcome back the NFL for the 2021 season that only means one thing — the return of gambling. As more states legalize gambling across the United States, it will only continue to grow.
Last season, we had a weekly article at GOW handicapping sides, totals and player prop selections. It was a smashing success as Team Degenerate finished with a 71-36-2 record, which was good for 66 percent and a gain of 53 units. It was a special year and that kind of success is not sustainable. A winning rate of 55 percent is always the goal, and not an easily obtainable one whatsoever.
NFL lines are the sharpest and toughest to beat out of any sport. With all the action they receive, sportsbooks will pour the most amount of resources into them to make sure they’re tight. You’re not going to find many that are off. That is why the prop market is oftentimes a lot more beatable.
There are too many props for the books to be able to have all of them correct, which is why sharp players can take advantage. I’m an over player and look for things like potential game script, target share, matchups and injuries to find an edge. The books are usually not going to account for a change in circumstance when setting prop lines since a lot of them are computer generated.
Closing line value is the key to beating the books whether it’s in props or spreads. For spread betting, this is especially crucial in the key numbers (3,7,10,14,17, .etc) For example, laying -3.5 when you could have had -3 available to you earlier in the week is gambling suicide. Besides getting the best number, other things to look for are injuries, matchups, motivation, rest and travel, which often can be overlooked by the books. Overrated teams and underrated teams that are in reality worse or better than what their record states is always a good way to find value.
We don’t normally do Thursday Night Football picks, but for the first game of the year I will give two official picks to kick us off:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8) vs. Dallas Cowboys
If I were to bet the spread, I’d have to lean Tampa Bay. The Zack Martin injury is a brutal blow for Dallas and as Packers fans unfortunately know the Tampa Bay pass rush can be relentless when it smells blood. It’s also hard to see how the Dallas defense has any chance to contain the Tampa offense. However, this is in perfect teasing range as we can use a six-point teaser to get the spread down to -2, which is below the key number of three. We will pair this with the Los Angeles Rams, who are also -8 over the Chicago Bears, and I expect to dominate.
Pick: Bucs, Rams teaser 3 units
CeeDee Lamb over 61.5 yards 1 unit
Lamb went over this total in four of five games with Dak Prescott last season. Dallas will not be able to run on Tampa Bay and will likely be playing from behind, so there should be a lot of pass attempts. I expect Lamb to surpass Amari Cooper as the No. 1 option in Dallas this year as the training camp reports have been glowing.