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September 11, 2016

Sports Profit System officially kicks off its NFL season today! It's worth remembering that it is a marathon and that not every Sunday will be a profitable one. And yet those that stay the course and see the bigger picture, have enlarged their bankrolls each and every season, including hitting a chart-topping 61% last year!

The opening weekend is often the toughest since there are an above-average number of unknowns. Week 2 and beyond gets easier as certain teams will be in 'bounce-back mode' while others may have lost a key low-profile player whose absence will be crucial going forward, etc. While normally 3 picks can be expected on most Sundays, it is best to proceed with caution in the first week and we are wagering on two teams today.

 

#1: Take San Diego Chargers +7 spread (buy half a point) against KC Chiefs for 3% of the bankroll.

The Chargers are not a bad team, they were simply ravaged by injuries last season. It started in their O-line and then started affecting both sides of the ball as first they lost key players on the defense and then saw one of NFL's top receivers, Keenan Allen get hurt. And yet through all that adversity, this team showed its character and tenacity because while they lost a bunch of games, they were hardly ever blown out! The competitive drive of Phillip Rivers and company kept them in most games right until the final seconds and saw them keep things close. The vast majority of their games were decided by 1-4 points and rarely by more than one possession! Those scorelines would work well for us this afternoon as while we don't necessarily expect them to cause an outright upset, we do believe they'll once again be competitive and stay within this generous spread.

Andy Reid and the Chiefs are a good team but they rarely blow teams out. They tend to slow the pace down and methodically move the chains and eat up a lot of clock. When they have the lead, they usually sit on it and don't look to extend it as much as some other teams do. They rely on solid defense and running the ball and while that is a solid strategy that'll have them come out on top of many games, it rarely leads to large-margin victories. Therefore from a spread perspective, laying 7 points with the Chiefs is dangerous in our opinion. It is much wiser to take the points in this spot with a team that tends to keep things close and has shown great resiliency.

Keep in mind that teams that Andy Reid has managed have won only 5 of 15 home openers! Now he and his squad are being asked to not only walk out winners but to do so comfortably by more than a touchdown! We believe that may be a tall order and just a bit too much to ask. Like many of the games these two AFC rivals have played over the years, this could well be a close games and one in which the points are extremely precious. With the offensive line healthier for the Bolts this season, look for Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon to have more success than they did last season. Meanwhile for Kansas City, Justin Houston will be missed, which may just give Rivers an extra second or so to work with.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Phillip Rivers and his team are 10-2-1 ATS as an underdog in division road games!
  • San Diego Chargers are 5-2 ATS in September games over the last 3 seasons.
  • Mike McCoy's team has covered the spread 11 of 12 times as a road underdog of  more than 4 points!
     

#2: Take Cincinnati Bengals -1 spread (buy half a point) against NY Jets for 3% of the bankroll.

A couple of flags due to late bone-headed plays from the likes of Adam 'Pacman' Jones and Vontaze Burfict cost the Bengals greatly last season! This is a team that was a legitimate contender and on its way to going past division rivals, Steelers but it all turned around very quickly right at the end of that game and that is something that will have been on their minds in the off-season. They were a pretty solid team last season and were even fighting for the #1 seed in AFC until the final few weeks of the season, despite key injuries like Andy Dalton! We believe the bitter ending of last year will greatly motivate them this season and has helped a few players learn to be more disciplined.

Andy Dalton made great strides forward last season and had the best season of his career. He's an improved QB who can now stay in the pocket and throw accurate passes or use his athleticism to extend plays and move the chains with his legs. And while two of his receivers, Marvin Jones and Mohammad Sanu have left for other teams, we believe too much has been made of it. Sanu and Jones were largely inconsistent and left a lot to be desired in some games. The ever-consistent and dangerous AJ Green will still be on the field and don't be surprised if one of the lower profile receivers steps up and fills in admirably. Let's also not forget that Marvin Lewis' side has not only gotten off to fast starts in each of the last few years but they have been excellent on the road. They are 8-0 ATS (against-the-spread) away from home over the last 2 seasons!

The dangerous backfield duo of Hill and Bernard will also pose problems for teams all season and it may start against the Jets this afternoon. That's a great 1-2 punch as Jeremy Hill is a bruising rusher who's hard to bring down and can bulldoze his way through tackles while Giovani Bernard is quick and elusive and has a better chance of finding a hole against this beefy Jets line! There may be a new offensive co-ordinator in Cincinnati but with the team still having weapons on the ground as well as through the air, we believe they'll once again have a balanced and dangerous offense that keeps defenses honest. The fact that opposing teams have to worry about the run as well as the pass will make Cincy unpredictable and allow them to move the chains. If this team can convert in the red zone, they should have no problems putting points on the board.

The Jets are a good team under coach Todd Bowles but the scheduling has not been kind to them. The fact that they have a prime-time game on national TV coming up on Thursday means part of their focus and preparation has gone into that. Unlike the Bengals, they aren't only focused on the season opener and the task at hand. And you can't blame them considering they face former coach Rex Ryan and division rivals, Buffalo Bills on Thursday! The games against Rex Ryan's new crew were heated last year and it is a rivalry that will continue this season. They no doubt have a point to prove and some players might just be looking slightly ahead. They won't be looking past Cincinnati but they also aren't 100% focused on the game on Sunday, knowing they have another, arguably more important game coming up in just a few days!

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Andy Dalton improved his passer rating by 22.7 points last season!
  • Cincinnati Bengals have covered the spread in every September game over the last 3 seasons!
  • Week 1 underdogs who were favored by an average of 1.7 points or more last season are 23-50-1 ATS! (Jets fall in this category)



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