Your Expert NFL Tips for the 2018 Season

The Expert team at Champion Bets will be providing their best NFL Tips for the entire season, including the playoffs. For all of the prime time Games, Champion Bets will have full in depth previews for each match, regardless of the Conference or Division.

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tuesday September 25, 10:15am AEST Raymond James Stadium

The Steelers fell behind 21-0 before they knew what hit them, came back to tie it 21-21 but couldn’t hold on in a 42-37 loss to the Chiefs in Pittsburgh. KC out gained the Steelers 8.3yppl to 6.4yppl, out rushed them 5.1ypr to 2.5ypr and out passed Pitt 11.1yps to 7.2yps. KC scored 60% of their potential points to 45% for Pittsburgh.

TB connected on a 75 yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage and never looked back in their 27-21 victory over Philadelphia. TB out gained Philly 7.5yppl to 5.5yppl and out passed Philly 11.2yps to 6.4yps. Philly did out rush TB 3.8ypr to 1.9ypr. Philly scored just 23% of their points while allowing TB to score 33% of their potential points.

Pittsburgh has been average on offense and slightly above average on defense by playing poor rush defense but very good pass defense.

TB is lighting it up on offense gaining 8.0 yards per play against teams allowing 6.5 yards per play. But, they also allow 6.6 yards per play against teams averaging 5.4 yards per play.

I don’t have any situations on this game. My numbers favor TB by 3.5 points and project about 63.5 points.

Since 2015 Pittsburgh is 22-7 (23-6 with a favorable week one number against Cleveland) to the under on the road, including 15-4 (16-3 under if you got a favorable number in week one at Cleveland) to the under as a road favorite. We rode this trend many times last year.

Since the beginning of 2014 Pittsburgh has allowed more than 24 points on the road as a favorite just twice. Pittsburgh is also 10-1-1 SU as a road favorite in their last 12 games. TB is now 9-3 to the under in their last 12 home games. They have not allowed more than 24 points in their last 13 home games. That includes two games against the Saints, one game against New England and one game against Atlanta. Dirk Koetter is 5-1 ats as a home dog in his last six games.

The numbers scream to play the over in this game but I am going to respect the fact Pittsburgh plays these road games different than their home games and TB has played good defense at home the last two years. TB should also be getting some defensive players back this week in DL Vita Vea and CB Brent Grimes that may help them to improve their defense.

On the other side Pittsburgh could be down a couple of offensive lineman, which isn’t a good thing against a pretty stout TB defensive front. I’ll lean over but the better play here may be on the home dog and they might just be the better team as well.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Tampa Bay +1

New England Patriots vs Detroit Lions

Monday September 24, 10:20am AEST Ford Field

The Pats were blown out at Jacksonville from start to finish in their 31-20 loss. They were out gained 7.0yppl to 5.0yppl, out rushed 4.3ypr to 3.4ypr and out passed 8.4yps to 5.9yps. The Jags scored 44% of their potential points and held NE to 28% of their potential points.

Detroit fell behind 30-13 before making it a game in the end but finally falling 30-27. Both teams averaged 5.8yppl while SF out rushed Detroit 6.8ypr to 5.4ypr but they were out passed 6.0yps to 4.9yps.

New England is basically average on both sides of the ball in the early going.

Detroit is averaging 5.5 yards play against teams allowing 5.1 yards per play while the defense has been about average. But, they have been down badly in both games and accumulated some garbage stats at the end of the game that may be skewing what their offense actually looks like.

The Pats list S Patrick Chung and DE Trey Flowers as doubtful. They also list TE Jacob Hollister as out. As usual they also list many other players as questionable.

The Lions list many starters as questionable such as CB Darius Slay, G T.J. Lang, WR Marvin Jones and DE Ezekiel Ansah.

I don’t have any situations on this game. My numbers favor NE by 4.5 points and project about 53 points.

As home dogs the Lions have allowed at least 23 points in 12 of their last 15 games. It’s more likely they will allow something in the 30’s to these Patriots who have been brilliant off a loss in the Tom Brady era. Since Brady arrived the Pats are 24-2 ats on the road as a favorite of less than seven points or a dog (0-1 as a 7 pt favorite) with an average score of 31-17. Last week we uncovered the perfect situation to go against the Pats when they are on the road against a very good defense. Not so this week. In fact when NE is coming off a loss, on the road and facing a defense who is allowing at least 23 points a game at the time they play them (Detroit allowing 39 points a game), the Pats have scored 30 or more points in seven of those eight games and won seven of those eight games by at least nine points. Stafford has scored at least 23 points in six of his last eight games as a home dog. It would seem to reason that NE will get into the 30’s in this game and that Detroit can get into the 20’s in this game.

NE is likely without two of their best defensive players in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung, which should only aid Detroit getting into the 20’s. The values lies in Detroit’s favor but the situation is clearly screaming NE. I’ll lean NE but I think the better play here potentially could be on the over. CB Darius Slay will likely miss this game as well. Oh by the way Belichick has never been known to take it easy on his assistant coaches.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 54 Points

NY Jets vs Cleveland Browns

Friday September 21, 10:20am AEST First Energy Stadium

The Jets outgained Miami 5.7yppl to 4.4yppl but only managed to rush the ball for 2.2ypr while allowing Miami 4.4ypr. They did out pass the Dolphins 7.3yps to 4.5yps and threw the ball about 17 more times to skew the overall yards per play numbers. They scored just 15% of their potential points while allowing Miami to score 27% of their potential points.

The Browns have to be disappointed for the second week in a row, this time not because they tied but because they lost at the end, 21-18 at New Orleans. They outgained NO 5.5yppl to 4.5yppl, out rushed them 3.4ypr to 2.7ypr and out passed NO 7.1yps to 5.6yps. Both teams scored 26% of their potential points.

My numbers make this game a pick ‘em and project about 37.5 points. Cleveland qualifies in a negative early season situation, which is 140-70-8 and plays against them here. This game also qualifies in an over situation, which is 168-107-3.

These two have met each of the last two years in Cleveland with the Jets winning both games by three points, 17-14 and 31-28. Cleveland dominated the game here last year but turned the ball over in different ways, including four straight miscues of some kind inside the Jets 34 yard line.

They punted only twice but still could not walk away with the win. The Jets are only 5-9-1 ats the last two plus years as road underdogs. Cleveland is just 4-9 ATS as a home favorite the last five years. They are just 6-17-1 ats at home the last 24 games. They are also 15-4 under in their last 19 home games. I don’t have much of an opinion on this game.

This is a very tough road start for a rookie quarterback on such short notice to prepare for this game. But, at the same time, for a team who has won only one game in their last 34 games it’s tough to take them as a favorite.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 39.5


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Seattle Seahawks vs Chicago Bears

Tuesday September 18, 10:15am AEST Soldier Field

Denver was very impressive in their 27-24 victory over Seattle. They outgained the Seahawks 6.5yppl to 5.6yppl, out rushed them 4.6ypr to 4.0ypr and out passed them 8.1yps to 6.2yps. Denver scored about 28% of their potential points to just 18% for Seattle.

GB outgained the Bears 6.3yppl to 4.5yppl and 7.3yps to 4.0yps. Chicago did out rush GB 5.1ypr to 3.8yps. Chicago cashed in on about 25% of their points and GB about 34% of their points.

The Seahawks are hurting. They are without WR Doug Baldwin, LB K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. They are also likely without G D.J. Fluker and CB Tre Flowers who are doubtful and CB Shaquill Griffin who is questionable.

Chicago qualifies in a negative early season situation, which is 140-70-8, and plays against them in this game. That situation plays early in the season and isn’t quite as good in week two as it is in weeks three and four.  This game qualifies in an under situation, which is 91-51-5. My numbers favor Seattle by one point and project about 40 points.

Since losing in the SB to NE, the Seahawks have won 10, 10 and 9 games. That may not sound bad but they had won 11, 13 and 12 games the three years previous and this year they may well win less than eight games. Since that time in 2015 they have been a road underdog 12 times. They have lost eight of those games by at least three points (six by at least six points).

This team is a shell of what it used to be. But, how good is Chicago? That remains to be seen. Their offense did not look very good last week. Chicago is 4-11-1 ats as a home favorite since 2013. You’ll have to go all the way back to 2013 to find the last time they have scored more than 21 points at home as a home favorite.

I would normally think about Seattle in this spot but they are really hurting with the injuries and missing some of their most important people on both sides of the ball.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 43

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys

Monday September 17, 10:20am AEST AT&T Stadium

The Giants played well last week at home in a 20-15 loss to Jacksonville. A pick six did them in but they outgained Jacksonville 5.2yppl to 4.9yppl. Both teams scored on roughly 17% of their potential points in the game.

Carolina dominated what appears to be a challenged Dallas offense in their 16-8 victory. They outgained the Cowboys 4.8yppl to 4.1yppl and out passed them 5.0yps to 3.9yps. Dallas scored just 10% of their potential points while Carolina cashed in on about 24%.

LB Olivier Vernon is out for the Giants.

For Dallas C Travis Frederick, DT Datone Jones, DE Randy Gregory and S Xavier Woods are out. DE David Irving remains suspended.

Dallas qualifies in a negative early season situation, which is 140-70-8, and plays against them in this game. That situation plays early in the season and isn’t quite as good in week two as it is in weeks three and four.  My numbers favor Dallas by about one point and project about 37 points.

Since the beginning of the 2014 season the Giants are just 5-19 SU as a road underdog, including being just 1-5 SU during their 11-5 2016 season. They are also 9-4 to the under since 2016 as a road underdog. They have scored 19 or less points in 10 of those 13 road games since 2016, while allowing 20 or more in 10 of those 13 games.

Since Dak Prescott became the starting QB for Dallas the Cowboys have scored 26 or more points in 10 of the 12 home games they have been listed as favorites. One of those two they did not score 26 or more was a 19 point effort against these Giants to begin last season. As a matter of fact Dallas and Prescott have played the Giants twice in Dallas with the Cowboys scoring 19 points in both games. The totals for each of those games were 39 and 22 points. Even the two games with Prescott at qb in NY have been low scoring totaling 17 and 40 points.

The Giants have better skill people to go along with a good defense and capable quarterback. Dallas has a capable defense and quarterback as well. They obviously have a very good running back but their receivers are not great and both teams offensive lines are not good either because they aren’t that good (Giants) or they are facing injuries (Cowboys).

This figures to be a low scoring game and the Giants are the better team, in my mind, right now as they play this game. They have the better capability to get some explosive plays on offense. I expect the Giants to win this game.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – NY Giants +3

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinatti Bengals

Friday September 14, 10:20am AEST Paul Brown Stadium

Both teams come off impressive week one victories. The Ravens crushed the Bills 47-3, scored almost 50% of the potential points they could have scored and held Buffalo to less than 5% of their potential points. They out gained Buffalo 5.0yppl to 2.5yppl, including holding Buffalo to 1.8yps. Buffalo was sacked six times.

The Bengals went to Indianapolis and won 34-23. While the game was much closer than the final score thanks to an 83 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown for Cincinnati in the last minute of the game, the Bengals really out played Indianapolis in this game.

Cincinnati scored almost 43% of their potential points on all of their drives while Indianapolis scored only about 33% of their potential points. The Bengals out gained Indianapolis 6.6yppl to 4.9yppl, out rushed them 5.1ypr to 3.4ypr and out passed them 7.6yps to 5.5yps.

While both games were impressive victories the Cincinnati win on the road over a bad Indianapolis team was more impressive than the Ravens victory at home over what may be the worst team in football in 2018.

Cincinnati qualifies in a fundamental rushing situation, which is 143-80-5, assuming they are a dog in this game. Baltimore qualifies in two negative letdown situations, which are 257-181-9 and 68-30-3, and play against the Ravens here based on their dominating home victory in week one.

My numbers make this game a pick ‘em and project about 39 points. I’ll hold off on getting in on the total in this game because both of these offenses may be better than they were last year.

The Ravens will play this game without CB Jimmy Smith again due to suspension and Cincinnati will miss LB Vontaze Burfict due to suspension. Baltimore may be better this year as their offensive weapons at the receiver position look to be vastly improved from previous years. But, Cincinnati, who watched their once strong offensive line fall apart the last few years, has restocked that line somewhat this year and has healthy receivers.

Their offense is much better than it has been the last few years and they always bring a good defense to town. The Ravens also usually have a good defense but I think the jury is still out on their defense. The Ravens defense beat up on some of the worst quarterbacks in the league last year. Week one saw them at it again, beating up on Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen. The Bengals are 8-1-1 ats as a home dog in their last ten games as home dogs. They have the better defense and may have the better offense as well.

The situations are in the Bengals favor, getting points at home, on a Thursday night, which makes this travel that much tougher for Baltimore. Cincinnati has won five of the last six played here between these two and seven of the last nine games here between these two. I had Baltimore here in week one last year (Ravens won 20-0) but the situations are in favor of Cincinnati this year.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Cincinatti +1

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles

Friday September 7, 10:20am AEST Lincoln Financial Field

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta brought in a new offensive coordinator last year and for whatever reason their red zone offense took a major step back in 2017. Whether that corrects itself or not time will tell. But, the Falcons have been a lower scoring team on the road for a long time now with Matt Ryan and Philadelphia was lights out at home last year on defence.

Atlanta has gone under in 17 of their last 25 road games as a road dog. Philadelphia has been an under team at home under Doug Pederson having gone 12-6 to the under with Pederson as the head coach. They’ve allowed more than 15 points in just six of those 18 home games. The Eagles are down some defensive players in this game that played major roles for them last year. Those losses are felt across all three lines of the defence with Vinny Curry on the defensive line, Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham at Linebacker and Patrick Robinson at CB.

And, Atlanta has come into Philly riding high before but been stopped dead in their tracks against the Eagles. In 2016 Atlanta came into Philly after scoring 30, 33 and 43 points in their three games previous to arriving in Philly and left with a 24-15 loss. Last year they came in after upsetting the Rams in LA to begin the playoffs and left with a 15-10 loss. In those last two losses at Philly the Falcons have scored only two touchdowns on 21 drives and settled for just four field goals. Atlanta scored only about 18% of the potential points they could have scored on those drives.

Atlanta lost NT Dontari Poe, DE Adrian Clayborn and WR Taylor Gabriel. They have added CB Justin Bethel and G Brandon Fusco. They also added WR Calvin Ridley in the draft.

Philadelphia Eagles

Meanwhile, Philadelphia scored about 29% of the total points they could have scored on their 19 drives in those two games. In 2016 it was Wentz and last year it was Nick Foles, who will get the start in this game. Both games saw about the same efficiency from Philadelphia’s offense. The Eagles defence was much better at home last year than on the road. They allowed just 12 points per game at home. In 2016, they allowed just 15 points per game at home.

Philly lost their offensive coordinator and quarterback coach and Nick Foles did not look great in the preseason. Philadelphia does have the head coaching edge and they should be right there again this year. But, something tells me this is going to be a tough game for them after an off-season of being told how great they were last year. But, Philadelphia has been tough on good teams coming into Philly the last few years.

Just ask the 5-0 Vikings of 2016 who left 21-10 losers and the Vikings last year in the NFC Championship game who left 38-7 losers. Oh, and the Falcons the last two years as well. I can’t see both teams being extremely efficient on offense out of the gates. I won’t go against the situation on Philadelphia but not sure how efficient they will be to start the season.

The Eagles experienced what most Super Bowl winner’s experience – a run on their players during the offseason. Gone are TE Trey Burton, LB Mychal Kendricks (probably headed to jail for insider trading), CB Patrick Robinson, DE Vinny Curry and WR Torrey Smith. They have added WR Mike Wallace, DT Haloti Ngata and DE Michael Bennett. LB Nigel Bradham is suspended for one game and LB Paul Worrilow is out for the year.

WR Alshon Jeffery will likely miss this game for Philadelphia. DL Tim Jernigans is also out for at least the first six weeks.

Verdict

The Falcons qualify in a poor week one road situation that is 10-37-5 and plays against successful teams from the previous year. This game also qualifies in a very good week one under situation, which is 44-16-1.

My numbers favor Philadelphia by 2.5 points and 45 points looks too big.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 45 points.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers

Monday September 10, 10:20am AEST Lambeau Field

The Bears lost G Josh Sitton, WR Kendall Wright, LB Jerrell Freeman and LB Pernell McPhee. They added WR Allen Robinson, TE Trey Burton and WR Taylor Gabriel. TE Zach Miller will miss the season.

The Packers lost CB Sam Shields, WR Jordy Nelson, S Morgan Burnett and CB Damarious Randall. They added CB Tramon Williams, DT Muhammad Wilkerson, TE Jimmy Graham and QB DeShone Kizer. LB Jake Ryan will miss the season. RB Aaron Jones is suspended the first two games.

Chicago is pretty healthy, including having Khalil Mack on a pitch count.

GB is without S Josh Jones. LB Oren Burks is questionable.

My numbers favor Green Bay by nine points and project about 35 points using just Trubisky stats and Rodger stats from last year. But, Chicago’s offense will be more aggressive and better than last year so those numbers aren’t real accurate.  The Bears qualify in a week one situation, which is 81-35-4 but they don’t qualify in the best part of that situation.

Since 2016 the Bears have played 15 road games as underdogs. They’ve scored more than 17 points in just three of those games. Their offense will get much better this year but the question is how quickly will the offense show up? Green Bay is 18-6-2 ats when favored at home by less than ten points since the beginning of 2014 and 11-3 ats if this line were to go under -7. The Packers opened at home last year against another good defensive team in Seattle and walked away with a hard fought win 17-9. Aaron Rodgers and many of the starters didn’t play much in the preseason last year and they were a little sluggish against a good defense in week one. I can easily see a similar story this year as GB walks away with a win and possibly a cover but a grind it out victory will not surprise me.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 47 points.

New York Jets v Detroit Lions

Tuesday September 11, 9:10am AEST Ford Field

The Jets said goodbye to DE Kony Ealy, DT Muhammad Wilkerson, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and LB Demario Davis. They have added C Spencer Long, RB Isaiah Crowell, C Travis Swanson, CB Trumaine Johnson, LB Avery Williamson, WR Terrell Pryor and DT Henry Anderson. They also drafted QB Sam Darnold.

The Lions lost TE Eric Ebron, C Travis Swanson, LB Tahir Whitehead, DT Haloti Ngata and DE Akeem Spence. They have really added no new names.

My numbers favor the Lions by 9.5 points and project about 46 points using only Lion home games as a favorite last year and Jets games with McCown as road dogs. The other Jets quarterbacks were horrible. The Jets qualify in a 77-40-3 week one situation as well as a 45-26-0 over situation.

The Lions are 8-3 ats as home favorites in their last 11 games and have allowed more than 19 points in only three of those games while scoring at least 24 in 7 of those 11 games. Meanwhile the Jets are just 2-9-1 in their last 12 games as a road underdog and have scored more than 19 points in just 4 of those 12 games and they’ve allowed at least 24 points in 9 of those 12 games. This looks like a game where Detroit gets to about 24-27 points and I don’t see the Jets getting to 20 points.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Detroit -6.5


Los Angeles Rams v Oakland Raiders

Tuesday September 11, 12:20pm AEST Oakland Coliseum

The Rams were busy during the offseason. They lost WR Sammy Watkins, CB Trumaine Johnson, CB Kayvon Webster, S Cody Davis, LB Connor Barwin, DE Robert Quinn and LB Alec Ogletree. They added big names in CB Sam Shields, DT Ndamukong Suh, CB Marcus Peters, CB Aquib Talib and WR Brandon Cooks. RT Jamon Brown and CB Sam Shields are both suspended two games.

The Raiders said goodbye to WR Michael Crabtree, CB T.J. Carrie, LB NaVarro Bowman and WR Cordarrelle Patterson. They added LB Tahir Whitehead, WR Jordy Nelson, S Marcus Gilchrist, CB Rashaan Melvin, RB Doug Martin, CB Daryl Worley and WR Martavis Bryant. DT Ahtybn Rubin is out for the season.

My numbers favor the Rams by 3.5 to 5.5 points depending on how I calculate last year’s numbers for the Rams and project about 46.5 points. Oakland qualifies in a week one 77-40-3 situation. This game also qualifies in a week one under situation, which is 44-16-1.

Monday night home dogs are 15-5 ats in week one and Oakland figures to give the Rams everything they can handle on Monday night. If this line goes as high as six, and it might, Oakland may become a required play just based on the number. The Rams have added an all-star lineup to their roster and are on a short list of favorites for the Super Bowl. But, they didn’t play their starters during the preseason and could come out a little sluggish. In addition the Oakland Coliseum should be rocking for Chucky back as the Raiders new head coach. In Derek’s Carr’s career Oakland has allowed at least 20 points in all but two of the sixteen games they have been home dogs.

The Rams were 2-2 ats last year as road favorites winning by 4 as 5.5 point favorites at Tennessee and winning by 2 as 3 point favorites at San Francisco. They scored at least 27 in each of those four games.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – LA Rams -4.0


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