Best Bets Column

Noah Cope’s Best Bet: Chargers -3.5

Last year at Louisiana State University, Joe Burrow threw for over 5,000 yards, 60 TDS (A Football Bowl Subdivision record), won every single one of his starts, won the Heisman trophy and was rightfully the number one overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. Yet, I am picking Burrow to lose his first career start and for the Chargers to cover 3.5 points against the Bengals. Unfortunately for Burrow, being a rookie quarterback is not easy and the transition from college to the pros is rarely a smooth one for quarterbacks. In the last 15 years, quarterbacks drafted first overall are a combined 0-9-1 in their first career starts with a point differential of -124. Before Kyler Murray tied the Lions last year in his first start, David Carr was the last quarterback taken first overall to not lose his first start back in 2002. So if you want to consider Murray’s tie against the Lions progress for quarterbacks picked first overall, go ahead, but I like a talented Chargers team in this game. The Chargers boast elite pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram who will force Joe Burrow to make quick decisions, meaning you’re looking at a recipe for disaster for the rookie quarterback. While 3.5 points is a scary number for betters, I still like the Chargers to cover but wouldn’t be against buying a point or using the Chargers as part of a teaser.

Matthew Frankle’s Best Bet: Packers Moneyline +120

While the game is in Minnesota, I am surprised to see Minnesota open up as a 2.5-point favorite against a team that was one win away from the Super Bowl last season. The Packers swept the Vikings a year ago, including a 23-10 win in Minneapolis in Week 16. Before the Vikings’ playoff win against the Saints, Kirk Cousins had a career record of 6-29 against teams with a winning record, which I expect the Packers to have this season. On the other hand, the Packers have not lost a week one game since 2014. Green Bay has one of the best offensive triplets in the NFL with Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams, as well as a strong defense led by Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. If you are confident in the Packers this week, these are favorable odds to bet on.

Simon Gerzsberg’s Best Bet: Clippers Moneyline +185 or Rockets Moneyline +850 to win the NBA Championship

There are only two teams that can win the NBA Finals, and they’re not the original all-season favorites, the Milwaukee Bucks or the Los Angeles Lakers; they are the Los Angeles Clippers or Houston Rockets. Unless the two teams’ respective superstars Kawhi Leonard and James Harden tear both of their ACL’s and shatter every bone in their body, no team in the league stands a chance against them. There’s a better chance that Zach Schiller will become a professional tennis player than a team in the Eastern Conference winning the NBA finals. Thus, it’s going to come down to the Western conference’s elite teams. I predict that the Rockets will beat the Lakers and the Clippers will have no problem dispatching the Denver Nuggets. This leaves the Clippers and Rockets competing for a chance to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. The Clippers are certainly the safer bet at +185 odds to win the championship, but if you’re looking for more of a high-risk high-reward bet, the Rockets currently have +850 odds to win the championship. Barring any improbable occurrences like the Lakers picking up Lou Dort’s twin brother off waivers, no teams are even in the same atmosphere as the Rockets and Clippers.

Cam Cobey’s Best Bet: Daniil Medvedev to win the US Open at +200

Take this bet right now. Novak Djokovic, the clear favorite entering the tournament, was defaulted from his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta after he accidentally hit a lineswoman in the face when he smacked a tennis ball in frustration. With the world number one out of the tournament, the draw is wide open and a new grand slam champion will be crowned for the first time in six years. Any of the young players remaining could break through and win their first major, but I think Medvedev is now the favorite. In fact, I thought he was going to win this tournament regardless. He is coming off a 2019 berth in the final where he lost to Rafael Nadal in a five set thriller and has played some phenomenal tennis in the past year. The gate is wide open for the 24-year-old Russian to win the Open.

Aaron Silverstein’s Best Bet:  Titans Moneyline +105

Last season, the Tennessee Titans shocked the football world. They defeated the then-defending Superbowl Champion New England Patriots in the Wildcard round, shocked the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round and gave the eventual Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs a run for their money in the AFC Championship. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos stumbled to a 7-9 finish a season ago. This fact alone makes me scratch my head to see that the Broncos are favored to win this Week One matchup. Yes, there is a ton of hype, justified or not, surrounding Denver’s young and skilled defense and their young breakout candidate at quarterback, Drew Lock. But the truth is, we’ve seen absolutely nothing yet from this group. Meanwhile, the Titans just added a nightmare for opposing offensive lines in Jadeveon Clowney.  Great coaches always seem to win Week One, and the emerging Mike Vrabel is no exception. Remember the Titans when placing bets this weekend.