If there were Ten Commandments for NFL wagering, coming in at No. 2—right behind Thou Shalt Not Bet on Roger Goodell Speaking the Truth—would be Thou Shalt Not Jump to Conclusions Following Week 1. Then again, I’ve never been the religious type. So … let’s cannonball to seven conclusions following Week 1:
The defending-champion Seahawks, who rolled to a 36-16 victory over the Packers (a Super Bowl darling of many), remain the league’s most complete team. The Jaguars, who flipped a 17-0 halftime lead at Philadelphia into a 34-17 loss, remain the league’s most inept.
If the NFC West (3-1 start) is the Gisele Bündchen of the NFL’s eight divisions, the NFC East is the Rosie O’Donnell. I’m not sure what’s more disturbing: that the Eagles spotted the Jaguars a 17-0 halftime lead, or that the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins lost their three games by the combined tally of 80-37.
The Panthers (20-14 victory at Tampa Bay without Cam Newton) aren’t headed for the kind of precipitous decline many betting experts (and I) predicted. Conversely, the Chiefs (outgained 405-245 in a 26-10 home loss to the Titans, in which two of Kansas City’s defensive starters went down with season-ending injuries) most definitely are headed for the kind of precipitous decline many betting experts (and I) predicted. Perk up, K.C. fans: You’ve got the Royals!
Not only should the Broncos (1-0) be a slight favorite to clinch the AFC West by Halloween, they should be an even-money bet to finish with more victories than the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers (all 0-1) combined.
The Saints and Falcons are who we thought they were: teams with all offense and no defense. The NFC South rivals rolled up 1,040 yards and 71 points in a Week 1 shootout.
The Titans, Bills (23-20 overtime win at Chicago), Vikings (37-6 rout at St. Louis) and Dolphins (33-20 victory over the Patriots, outscoring Bill Belichick’s bunch 23-0 in the second half) have been elevated from also-ran to mighty frisky.
You should never—and I mean ever—wager actual cash-money on my Best Bet. After going 7-13 with my Best Bets last year, I used the Cowboys (+5 vs. San Francisco) as my top play in Week 1. Of course, before Jerry Jones could hit on a cheerleader, Dallas trailed 21-3 and never recovered.
So, with that, let’s get to this week’s Best Bet …
Broncos -13 vs. Chiefs: I know Denver let off the gas after racing out to a 24-0 lead against Indianapolis last week, barely holding on for a 31-24 victory. I know the Broncos’ second-half disappearing act cost me a profitable week (I had Denver -7½ as one of last week’s seven selections). And I know that laying double digits in the NFL is bankroll suicide.
Don’t care. Because I’m certain the way that Colts game ended left more of a sour taste in Peyton Manning’s mouth than if he ate a razor-blade-and-vinegar sandwich. There’s no way Mr. Perfect allows his team to lose focus like that again. Not against a division rival, one whose defense got picked apart by Jake Locker (22-for-33, 266 passing yards, two TDs) and whose best offensive player (RB Jamaal Charles) managed just 34 total rushing and receiving yards. Another not-so-pretty note about the Chiefs: They’re 1-7 in their last eight regular-season, postseason and preseason games, giving up 26, 34, 30, 28, 39 and 45 in the last six.
Also, the Broncos have a four-game winning streak against Kansas City (3-1 against the spread), and since acquiring Manning prior to the start of the 2012 season, Denver has failed to cover in consecutive home games just once (and never in back-to-back weeks).
Now … ignore what you just read, sprint to the window and wager on the Chiefs!
Last week: 3-4 (1-3 NFL; 2-1 college; 0-1 Best Bet).
Matt Jacob appears at 10 a.m. Fridays on “First Preview” on ESPN Radio 1100-AM and 98.9-FM.