12 Sep Betting Blind: Week 1
Each week of the 2020 NFL season, Dominick Petrillo (@EnvisionFF) will provide his three best plays of the week. These may be a line, a point spread, or any of a variety of other options. The only thing guaranteed is they will not be parlays. Stay tuned for the Betting Blind picks each and every Friday of the NFL season.
All lines are current as of the time of writing this article. Make sure to check your book at time of placing wagers for any movement.
All lines from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Three Star Play
Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams- Rams + 2.5
The Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team, at least this is what Jerry Jones says. This offseason they certainly were America’s most hyped team. CeeDee Lamb fell to them in the draft and they pounced.
Amari Cooper is a top 10 wide receiver. When he is on the field, he makes all those around him better. This included Michael Gallup who is far better as a number two receiver than the number one. Cooper is currently nursing a hamstring injury and is questionable to play. Although he should play, he could be limited in the amount of plays he is out there. With a long season ahead, it would behoove Dallas to rest him a bit.
If this happens, the offense will take a step back. Even if he is on the field he will be matched against Jalen Ramsey. If he is not the best cornerback in the game, he is right there. He will be shadowing Cooper all over the field and with Cooper already being hindered, do not expect an explosive game.
The front line of the Rams defense is extremely good. Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL and Michael Brockers is also an elite pass rusher. They will try to overwhelm the Cowboys offensive line. Once great, the offensive line is now just average. With Travis Frederick retiring, the mainstay on the line is now Zack Martin. He cannot do it alone and it could be a difficult first week for Ezekiel Elliott.
Dak Prescott is going to have a remarkable season. He wants to get paid and he saw the contracts given to Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson and told his agent it is time to get them checks. Going against Ramsey as well as Troy Hill, this is not the best week to expect a monster game from him. This means it will be on the defense to stop the Rams offense. Easier said than done.
The Rams offense, including Jared Goff had a down season in 2019. Despite this the team still managed a record of 9-7. This tells you the skill they have if everything is clicking. With no one of significance listed on the injured list to start the season, there is no better time than now to start the season.
Todd Gurley is gone, jettisoned to Atlanta despite the huge money remaining on his contract. With a committee approach of Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson, and Cam Akers, the team is better off this season in the run game. Instead of relying on one back who may or may not be healthy, they have a roster of complimentary backs who can step in.
Cooper Kupp got his money and will be around for three more seasons. This week though it will be a different receiver who makes things happen. The Cowboys linebackers of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have the ability to slow Kupp in the slot. The loss of Byron Jones at cornerback is a different matter. This leaves Dallas extremely thin at the position.
Trying to stop Robert Woods on the outside is not as easy without depth in the secondary. The forgotten man in the offense, Woods will find a connection with Goff in this game. It will allow the Rams to move the chains and keep the potentially potent Dallas offense on the sidelines.
Rookie Van Jefferson had a memorable training camp. He not only made the team, he caught the eye of Jalen Ramsey who hopes to make him even better. This means the Rams could be back to their three-WR ways which worked so well in their Super Bowl season of 2018.
If Tyler Higbee continues his tear from the end of last season, the offense in Los Angeles could be one of the best in the NFL. Going against an average defense in Dallas, the chances are good they show out in Week 1.
At last check, 67% of the tickets but only 37% of the money is coming in on Dallas. This means someone knows something and the big wagers are on Los Angeles. I am going to trust those who are in the know and roll with them. Take the Rams +2.5
Two Star Play
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings- Packers +2.5
Aaron Rodgers is mad. The Packers not only drafted his heir apparent they traded up to do so. Someone like Rodgers who is easily offended will want to show what he has left in the tank. With Aaron Jones and Davante Adams backing him, Rodgers is going to show out this season.
With the defense of the Vikings taking a severe hit just this week with the addition of Danielle Hunter to injured reserve, an already weakened defense has gotten worse. The secondary in Minnesota, after the release of Xavier Rhodes will be counting on rookies Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler to improve what was a below average group last season. This will be a difficult task against Aaron Rodgers, QB known for preying on weak secondaries.
For Minnesota on offense, the challenge will be real. Re-signing Dalvin Cook for five years is great but it does not help find a top-flight receiver to replace Stefon Diggs. Rookie Justin Jefferson was set to replace Diggs in the offense. His training camp was not memorable and we wait to see how long it will take him to crack into the lineup.
Kirk Cousins is an above average starting QB. For the Vikings to succeed against a good Green Bay defense led by the Smith duo, he will need to be great. The home field advantage normally had by Minnesota will also be non-existent because no fans will be allowed to attend.
For this reason you have to go with the better team. Green Bay has the better defense, QB, and WRs. Dalvin Cook may or may not be better than Aaron Jones on a weekly basis, so I’ll call it a wash. Take Green Bay at +2.5.
One Star Play
Las Vegas Raiders @ Carolina Panthers O 47.5-
The Panthers defense is bad. The new Matt Rhule regime spent all of their draft picks in 2020 on the defensive side of the ball to infuse youth and talent. With the retirement of Luke Kuechly and the departure of James Bradberry the defense is bereft of any veteran play-makers. Enter the new Raiders offense.
With Derek Carr behind center it is tough to think many good things are in store for Las Vegas. This week will be one of the few bright spots. Rookies Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards will line up on the outside and Hunter Renfrow manning the slot, making the Raiders are good enough to score on the Panthers.
Josh Jacobs could become more involved in the pass game. Even if this does not occur, he is set for a banner week against a weak front seven led by rookie Derrick Brown. With the Raiders having one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, they will be able to open up holes for Jacobs to exploit.
Let us not forget about last season’s revelation Darren Waller. The big tight end will swallow up the inexperienced linebacker group of Carolina’s and is another member of the team set for a stellar start to the season.
On the other side of the ball we have the Panthers offense led by the best player in the NFL Christian McCaffrey. Mr. Do-Everything is the consensus number one draft pick for fantasy drafts in 2020. He is well worth the draft capital and will show why in this one. He could easily gain over 100 yards in the run game and pass game against a porous Las Vegas defense which is lacking play-makers in its own right.
Much like the Panthers, the Raiders come into the season severely lacking on defense. It will show against McCaffrey and stud receiver D.J. Moore as the Panthers use the duo to march up and down the field alongside new QB Teddy Bridgewater.
The last time an offseason was shortened in 2011, offenses came out much quicker than defenses. In the first week that season, 11 of the 16 games hit for the over. With two defenses in this game already being at the bottom of the league, do not expect anything less than an offensive game.
This may not be a game people are looking at for scoring a big win, but you should be. Bet the over 47.5.
Dominick is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area. Playing fantasy football for more than 20 years and writing for more than five, he has a vast knowledge of both the NFL and fantasy football. Despite his being blind, Dominick is a consistent ranker amongst FantasyPros experts, and always strives to be better than last season. Follow him on Twitter @EnvisionFF and read his weekly Best Bets articles during the season.