Hammer Time
Anthony Joseph Volanti https://twitter.com/A_Volanti4390

Quick note from the editor. In the past I’ve found complete transparency to the reader to be the best course of action. Pulling the curtain aside a moment, Anthony reached out and inquired about getting his NFL betting content published and seen! We were happy to oblige here at Cheat Sheet! Thank you Anthony and we look forward to long prosperous NFL season together.

Welcome to the first DFSCheatSheet edition of Hammer Time! Each week, I’ll share my best bets to help give you an edge over the odds makers. Because let’s be honest, the only thing better than watching football is winning money on football. Today, we’ll be looking at some of my favorite season-long bets, including team win totals, team futures, and player props. Before we dive in, let me offer a few pieces of general sports betting advice….

Tip #1: Look for value, not chalk. You’re going to be tempted to bet the house on that BAL or KC over 11.5 wins. Don’t. That doesn’t mean that I don’t expect the Ravens or Chiefs to get to 12 wins. But there’s simply very little value to be found here. The odds makers know everyone loves Patty Mahomes, the new half-billion-dollar face of the NFL, and Lamar “action” Jackson. They’ll use their popularity to lure you into making high risk, low reward bets. Don’t take the bait. God forbid Mahomes catches COVID-19 and is forced to quarantine or Jackson (*knocks on wood*) suffers a torn ACL. Anything can happen—especially in these uncertain times.

Tip #2: There’s no such thing as being injury-prone… but players can be prone to injuries. Medical experts agree there is no evidence to suggest that one player is more likely to get injured than another. Despite this, it seems as though some can’t stay out of the blue medical tent. Translation: be wary of any player with an injury history. Also, stay away from bets on players with specific injury histories (think Todd Gurley’s arthritic knees), as those injuries are more likely to re-occur.

Tip #3: Shop around. Legalized gambling in many states has given rise to several competing sports books. Take advantage of any promotions, odds boosts, and line discrepancies.

Tip #4: Less is more. They say “the house always wins” for a reason. The odds makers setting the lines are experts. Never bet an amount of money that makes you uneasy. A good rule is to bet half of what you’re willing to lose. It’s better to win less than to lose more!

Now with that out of the way, let’s dig in these best bets!

Best Bets: Win Totals

JAC under 5 (-118)

Jacksonville Jaguars

The 2020 Jacksonville Jaguars are a far cry from the 2017 squad that almost won the AFC Championship. You might even say they’ve even supplanted the Miami Dolphins as the textbook definition of “tanking.” The mishandling of contracts and personnel—see the Jalen Ramsey trade, the ugly Twitter exchange between executive Tony Khan and former DL Yannick Ngakoue, and the cutting of Leonard Fournette—reveals just how toxic the culture has become in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the rest of the AFC South has become increasingly competitive: the Houston Texans remain the division favorite despite the departure of DeAndre Hopkins and the Tennessee Titans will remain serious contenders after their deep postseason run last season. In Indianapolis, gunslinger Philip Rivers hopes to find the Fountain of Youth behind the best line in the league. Would it really surprise anyone if the Jags went winless in their own division? The Jaguars also face the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengal’s, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, and Chicago Bears. I’m in on Minshew Mania, but no mullet or mustache—no matter how glorious—can muster 5 wins with this roster and schedule. HAMMER the under.

WAS under 5 (+100)

Washington Football Team

From workplace misconduct scandals to controversy over the club’s former nickname, there has been a lot of ugliness surrounding the Washington franchise this off-season. The club plays the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengal’s, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Carolina Panthers this season. That’s in addition to the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning NFC East division champs, the Dallas Cowboys, a potential Super Bowl sleeper, and the New York Giants, who always seem to have Washington’s number. “Riverboat” Ron Rivera was an excellent hire, but it takes time to right a ship—especially one that’s capsized.

CIN under 6 (-110)

Cincinnati Bengals

It may surprise you to learn that despite having the #1 overall pick this off-season, the Cincinnati Bengal’s are not devoid of talent. Joe Burrow is rookie quarterback but he’s coming off the best statistical season in NCAA history and he has a deep group of receivers plus Joe Mixon, who Bill Belichick believes to be the best running back in the league. Unfortunately, the Bengal’s are also in one of the most competitive division in the NFL, playing the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns twice. Outside the division, they face the Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Washington Football Team, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Houston Texans. That’s a big ask of a rookie quarterback in a challenging off-season. They have a shot against several fellow basement dwellers but good luck finding 6 wins. So, it’s Hammer Time.

TEN over 8.5 (-110)

Tennessee Titans

The Titans playoff run (pun intended) only ended because not even Derrick Henry could keep future Hall of Fame quarterback Patrick Mahomes off the field long enough in the AFC Championship game. Their non-division schedule looks like this: Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengal’s, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Green Back Packers. A split with the Colts and Texans and a sweep of the Jaguars would put them at 4-2, just about halfway to their win total. The Bengal’s and Lions should push them to 6, leaving just 3 more wins. I think they get them. I’d also consider betting them to win the division outright depending on the juice.

Best Bets: Win Totals

PIT to Make Playoffs (-134)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger underwent season-ending surgery last year to reattach three torn flexor tendons in his right elbow. Not only is he healthy, but the pain he’s apparently been playing through his entire career has dissipated. Juju Smith-Schuster, James Connor, rising star Diontae Johnson, and the rest of the offense will benefit from his return. The Steelers, led by the tandem of “Duck” Hodges and Mason Rudolph, would have made the playoffs last season under the new format. Let that sink in for a moment… and then head to your preferred sports book app to bet big on Big Ben leading the Steelers back to the playoffs.

SEA to Make the Playoffs (-128)

Seattle Seahawks

Under head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks have had double-digit winning records in 7 of the last 8 years. Last season, they were a yard away from claiming a top seed in the NFC playoffs when they lose a thriller to their rivals and eventual NFC Super Bowl representatives, the San Francisco 49ers. The NFC West is as competitive as any other division in the NFL today, but it’s difficult to ignore that kind of sustained success. With the new payoff format allowing a 7th team into the postseason, it’s easy to imagine that the trend will continue. You might also want to consider sprinkling some money on the Seahawks over 9 wins. Shop around for the best odds.

Best Bets: Player Prop Futures

Miles Sanders over 1,005.5 rushing yards (-110)

Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders got off to a rough start in his rookie campaign last year. He failed to see the holes and was outplayed by Jordan Howard early on. But somewhere along the way, everything clicked. He has the potential to be a top-5 RB this year. Skeptical? Look at his fantasy points in the last 8 games. Head coach Doug Pederson has had a tendency to use the dreaded running back by committee approach, but he has never had a back this talented before. Everyone has been gushing about Sanders been crushing it in camp. I think he also crushes this 1,005.5 rushing yard mark, which is not even 200 yards more than his final numbers last season.

Baker Mayfield over 23.5 passing TDs (-112)

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield

The Cleveland Browns have been under-the-radar this off-season after a disappointing campaign in 2019 under former head coach Freddie Kitchens. But rest assured, this team will be better than it was last year, and I have no doubt that a humbled Baker is eager to prove his arm is better than his acting. Throwing 24 touchdowns really isn’t a lot to ask when you consider the weapons he will be working with: Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, and Austin Hooper. Compound that talent with the addition of new head coach Kevin Stefanski and I think Baker will get at least 2 more than last year (22). Hammer, hammer, hammer.

Sam Darnold over 22.5 passing TDs (-108)

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold

Far be it from me to heap praise on anyone playing for Adam Gase, aka the fantasy dream-killer, but Sam Darnold threw 19 touchdown passes while playing in just 13 games in 2019. This is a make or break year for the former 1st round pick. If he makes even a slight improvement in his development and stays healthy, he should surpass his numbers from last season. Hey, you can’t catch mononucleosis twice, right?

Carson Wentz over 3,899.5 passing yards (-112)

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz

Call me an Eagles homer, but I love Carson Wentz over 3,899.5 passing yards (-112). He threw for over 4,000 yards last season despite not having a single receiver over 400 yards and should have more explosive weapons this year with rookie Jalen Reagor and a healthy DeSean Jackson in his arsenal this year. His desire to get that extra yard on every play puts him at a higher risk of injury, making this a dodgy play but there’s too much upside here. And so we hammer.

Check back throughout the season for more best bets!

Any questions or comments?

Did we miss something? Let’s talk about it!

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