Jameis Winston is already off to a rough start in Tampa Bay. But the New Orleans Saints couldn't beat the NFL odds in Week 1, either. Who will prevail in Week 2?
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept.15: 4-3 ATS; 2-2 Total
It's already happening, isn't it? Jameis Winston made his NFL debut for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and his first NFL pass was a pick-six. There were some flashes of promise along the way, but Winston and the Bucs lost 42-14 to the Tennessee Titans, dropping the cash as 3-point home favorites. The crowd at Raymond James Stadium was none too pleased.
Winston's second game as a pro will be on the road this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) against the New Orleans Saints, who also made a hash of their 2015 season opener. The Saints fell 31-19 to the Arizona Cardinals (–2 at home), although there's no shame in losing an away game to the Cards. Losing at home to Tampa Bay? That would be enough to bring back the paper bags. The Saints are 10-point faves on the NFL odds board at press time, with a total of 47.5.
Year of The Snake
In theory, anytime we see a double-digit fave, we should consider going into fade mode with our NFL picks. According to our expanded consensus reports, Tampa Bay is drawing over 55 percent support at this big price, with over 76 percent of the money in early betting – including two $1000+ bets, with no big bets coming in on New Orleans. That's with the line at Bucs +11.5 (–135), which is only a small premium in juice when compared to +10 at the standard –110.
So how willing are you to bet on Winston and the Bucs? He's been a serious drain on finances ever since winning the Heisman Trophy, and on Sunday, Winston had the second-worst performance of any Week 1 quarterback in terms of efficiency, finishing with –156 Total DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Average) at Football Outsiders. Among rookie QBs since 1989 who ended up as regular starters that year, only Brandon Weeden and Jake Plummer had worse debuts. Yikes.
How Low Can You Go?
On the other side of the Superdome, you have the Saints, who did manage to keep Arizona close before giving up the final touchdown with under two minutes to play. It was a nondescript performance for Drew Brees (+37 DYAR, No. 15 overall) and the New Orleans offense, who only got into the end zone once despite racking up 408 yards. The Saints defense didn't look any better than last year's No. 31-ranked crew, either.
In years past, we would have run screaming from this point spread and into the arms of the total, but not anymore. We're going to bite the bullet and recommend the Bucs for a very small bet. The signposts are there: early action (including some big money), a giant point spread, a public team in the Saints, and an opportunity to buy low on Winston after an awful debut. Things can only get better from here, right? Anyone?
NFL Pick: Take the Buccaneers +10 at Heritage