Welcome back to The Degenerates Gambit! Once again, please remember that these articles are for fun, and while I love writing them and gambling on football, if you or someone you know is addicted and needs help, please get help or get help for them. The national helpline number is 1-800-522-4700.
Are you ready for some football? Like, seriously, are you ready for some football? When we last left each other, I ended year 1 of writing gambling lines for this site right around .500. Not great, Bob! So, like all true monsters, I gave up time with friends and family, instead choosing to return to THE LAB and study all offseason, for your benefit!
Look, I’m no martyr, but I’m pretty sure no savior I’ve ever heard of spent months looking at Cleveland Browns’ advanced metrics to help optimize your wallets. When I go .750 this year, I want little statues of me crucified on a betting slip. I took the under for your sins!
Apparently, this week’s theme is “getting canceled before the season can even start.”
San Francisco/Pittsburgh UNDER 41.5
Supposedly this has the chance to be another weather game, a recurring opening day 49ers struggle as God attempts to humble Kyle Shanahan once again for the crime of drafting Trey Lance over Justin Fields. I’m not here to say the 49ers are going to lose this one, because I don’t think they do, but bad weather and strong defenses on both sides make this game potentially unwatchable. Brock Purdy only threw 24 passes last season when his team was trailing, and while I don’t think that signals a loss, I think it says to me when paired with *the elements* and Kenny Pickett on the other side, not a lot of points are going to be scored.
Over at the THfantaC Scouting Department, we think Atlanta is a sleeper pick to take the division. They have one of the best offensive lines in the league, skill position players that can match anyone in the division, Cordarrelle Patterson has gone full Joker (babyeeeee), and I think their defense is a sneaky one in 2023. Remember, this team was a win away from making the playoffs last year with Marcus freakin Mariota out there launching moonballs while literally laying on the ground. Rookie QBs taken first overall haven’t won a game since 2002, when David Carr beat the Cowboys. 8 QBs taken first overall have started week 1 since, and half of them have thrown multiple interceptions in their first start. Take the Falcons with pride.
Tennessee/New Orleans UNDER 41.5
I’m already bored just typing this out. Look, the Titans and Saints are positioned to be in the top two in their respective divisions this season, but this game is going to be slow and we all know it. Both teams have great defenses, both are playing an out-of-division week 1 matchup, and both rely heavily on the run game. Tennessee hasn’t fixed the offensive line enough for me to think they can run consistently enough or give the emaciated corpse of Ryan Tannehill enough time to pass against a strong front seven, and, well, Derek Carr is the QB in New Orleans. This one might be the one I’m least confident in, but I’ve had this circled as a potential under since the schedule was released.
Long Shot Play of the Week: Arizona Cardinals Moneyline
Yeah, I truly do believe that the Cardinals are the worst team in football. However, it’s damn near impossible for a professional football team to lose every single game they play in a year, and what better opportunity for Jonathan Gannon’s incredibly awkward weirdness to translate into a win than week 1 against a team that also truly sucks? If Sam Howell was any good, do you really think this team would’ve waited until week 18 to give him some time playing with the starters last year? Over Taylor Heinecke? Week 1 is weird: we saw it last year when the Bears (the worst team in football) beat San Francisco (a team who made it to the conference championship), and I can see something similar happening here with a worse opponent. Call it Daniel Snyder’s last act of terrorism, but I’m going with the Cardinals to shock the world on opening day, and immediately drop the next 16 games. I’m taking the bus because I have fire in my gut.
[Header Image Source: James Conner on Twitter]