Fantasy Football

Tomlin’s Tips: 2019 Week 1 Football Bets


Last May the United State Supreme Court over-ruled the PASPA law that outlawed sports betting across the country. This landmark decision has led to overall sports betters to start to come out of the shadows just like Fantasy Football enthusiasts before. As a devout member of both communities, I am now able to write a weekly betting column about football starting with the 2019 Week 1 Football Bets.

Since that ruling, 11 states have completely legalized sports betting while 24 other states have pending legislation to launch it. Every state (save for Alaska obviously) will either have sports betting legal or border three different states that allow it.

Within a reasonable amount of time, betting on sports will be as popular and synonymous with Fantasy Football. There are already daily shows regarding handicapping sports on both FS1 and ESPN. As sports’ betting becomes more prevalent, we need to learn how to bet smartly.

Profitable Handicapping

The best NFL handicappers in the world only hit between 55-60% of games correctly. There’s a reason they build those towers so high in Las Vegas. If the best in the world are still losing more than a third of the time, the average better is obviously less than 50%.

The easiest profit number to shoot for is staying above 52.5%. Most regular, spread bets have a vig. This vig is usually 10%. So to win $100 on the Packers +3 you have to risk $110. Using the percentages and vig amounts, that puts you at a very slight profit at 52.5% winners. But, you get entertainment throughout.

That’s the key: sports betting should be entertainment. The Week 1 Tomlin’s Tips will not make you rich. Anyone with picks saying they can make you rich is a liar and I would bet against them. Week 1 Tomlin’s Tips will be about having fun wagering on sports while trying to stay even or break a small profit.

So as we get to the actual Week 1 Tomlin’s Tips, I will give you different kinds of bets as well as my favorite ones of the week. All of the information in the Week 1 Tomlin’s Tips is up to date as of September 5th.

2019 Week 1 Football Bets

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Best NFL Bets

Each week I will pick my five best bets for the NFL weekend.  This is similar to the most famous handicapping contest in the world, The Las Vegas Supercontest, where the winner gets around a million bucks.
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Giants +7.5 over COWBOYS

The Giants/Cowboys is usually a super close game with Eli at the helm, no matter the talent disparity. Seven of the last nine and eleven of the last fourteen matchups have been within a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott could be on a low touch count without training camp, making it tougher for the Cowboys to pull away late.

Titans +6 over BROWNS

The Browns are the chic pick to break out this season. I do not deny that they have a ton of talent accrued from the top of the draft. I do think that this line is inflated because of the public backing. People seem to forget that the Titans won nine games last season. Most importantly, Cleveland gave up the fourth most rushing yards in the league last year. Derrick Henry could have a big day.

DOLPHINS +7 over Ravens

There are trends that I follow blindly. Home underdogs by a touchdown or more is one of them. Historically, these teams cover in the NFL at nearly 64%. Remember, our baseline goal is just 52.5%. Take the ugly Dolphins and watch the Ravens win by four.

Colts +7 over CHARGERS

Jacoby Brissett is arguably the best backup quarterback in the league. He has a full season of starting experience where he still looked better than some starters. The Chargers have the Melvin Gordon circus surrounding them and I just feel like this is too many points.

CARDINALS +3 over Lions

Why are the 6-10 Lions with more or less the same team favored by a field goal on the road against anyone? Kliff Kingsbury did not show his cards in the preseason, but they start to get flipped on Sunday.

Other Games Picked

I’ll put my picks in for all of NFL games. Some people are in pools where the pick every game each week. Home teams are in CAPS.

Survivor Pool Plays

One of the most popular games now is survivor pools. You pick one winner, no spread, every week. You can never use the same team twice.
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Philadelphia Eagles

It seems dumb to say but survivor pools are all about one thing: surviving. Trying to save teams for later, especially early in the season will fail. No one really knows which teams are jumping up or falling down the ranks.

The Eagles are the biggest favorite of the weekend. They are a Super Bowl contender playing at home against a team with a journeyman quarterback and terrible offensive line.

Furthermore, I am always taking a home team in survivor pools. The Eagles have really tough home games against Chicago, New England, Seattle and Dallas. There’s maybe only once or twice I would want to use them again.

Other Options: Seattle, super risky but Baltimore

NFL 10-Point Teaser of the Week

My brother and I’s favorite bet: you take 10 points extra either off or on the spread. You combine three different teams with the 10 extra points each and all have to hit to win.

Giants +17.5, Cardinals +13 and Redskins +20

When you play a 10-point teaser, there are usually three types of teams you are wanting. The most common is the sizable underdog that you think is going to make it a close game. All three of my picks this week fit this exactly.

Another teaser option is the close spread (2 or less) on a team that you are confident will win. You then get over a touchdown leeway. Lastly, you go both ways in the same game. Think back to the streak of 3-point finishes between Pittsburgh and Baltimore a few years back. The spread would be around 2.5, so you tease the game both ways and you end up a winner on two-thirds of your bet.

I already talked about the close finishes between Dallas and New York. I think Arizona is being undervalued because of a new coach/quarterback and underwhelming preseason. Either way, getting almost two touchdowns on a home team is a solid value.

In the other NFC East matchup, there has only been a single final score with a difference of 20 since 2012. That was at the end of last season when Washington was on its sixth quarterback or something. Once again, take the big dogs in Week 1 and run.

Game Total of the Week

UNDER 39.5 Baltimore vs. Miami

Yes, I know, that is an awfully low total. It is the lowest of the weekend by a bit. However, which of these two teams are you confident in scoring 20 points? Ryan Fitzpatrick with Devante Parker vs. Lamar Jackson and whichever Ravens’ rookie leads in receiving. There will be 100 rushing attempts in this game with little scoring.

College Best Bets

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Clemson Tigers -17 vs. Texas A&M Aggies

Since 1990 Top-12 teams getting at least 17 points are 7-14 against the spread with the last win in 2001. People are over-rating the game last year in College Station. Trevor Lawrence did not start that game. A&M has one of the best home-field advantages in the nation… still worse than Death Valley for Clemson. I would say the home field exchange between these two is probably worth almost 10 points, let alone the upgrade from Kelly Bryant to sophomore-Trevor Lawrence.

Missouri Tigers -10.5 vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

The Tigers are 9-4 against the spread in their last 13 games as a favorite. They also had a misleading final score with some bad luck on a couple of plays last week. West Virginia struggled against FCS James Madison and looks to be lost without Dana Holgerson.

Washington Huskies -13 vs. California Bears

There is value with a team that lost its all-time leading passer. Washington inserted a 5-star recruit from Georgia, who opened with 349 yards and four touchdowns last week. The Huskies also beat one of the best FCS teams in the country, Eastern Washington, by 33 points. Meanwhile, Cal was tied to another FCS squad (UC Davis) late into the second half.
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Michigan Wolverines -23 over Army Black Knights

Everyone is comparing this game to last season’s Army/Oklahoma meeting. The biggest difference: Michigan’s defense is MUCH better than Oklahoma’s was last season. Army won’t be able to maintain long drives Saturday.

Maryland Terrapins -2 over Syracuse Orange

This line has moved a full six points in less than a week. That means that someone knows something. I still think there is value at this number. Ranked teams like Syracuse as an underdog versus an unranked team are 4-19 straight up, including 1-5 last season.


Nebraska Cornhuskers -4 over Colorado Buffaloes

Nebraska was out-gained, had a lower time of possession, had fewer first downs, turned the ball over three times and needed two non-offensive touchdowns to beat South Alabama at home. Colorado scored 52 points and beat their rival by three touchdowns. This smells like the sucker line of the week.

That’s it for the Week 1 Tomlin’s Tips! For more Fantasy Football coverage, check out our staff’s weekly rankings!

About Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog,, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.

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  1. Bridget

    September 7, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Awesome article Michael! But I expect a mention next time, too.

  2. Pingback: Tomlin’s Tips: 2019 Week 2 Football Bets - Fantasy Six Pack

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