Preseason NFL Picks Of The Day for 8/9

Jason Lake

Saturday, August 9, 2014 3:46 PM UTC

Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 3:46 PM UTC

Like the song says, Saturday night’s all right for football. Our Week 1 preseason NFL betting tour takes us to Motown, where the new Detroit Lions head coach has brought some old ATS baggage with him.

You’ve probably heard that old chestnut about not being results-oriented when it comes to your sports betting decisions. That’s true enough. Logically, you should be decisions-oriented about your decisions, and results-oriented about your results. Duh.

I still rolled my eyes when I saw the results of Thursday’s preseason game between New England and Washington. I was on the Patriots (PK +100), based on Bill Belichick’s 10-3-2 ATS record in Week 1, while treating the other guys as a neutral entity under new head coach Jay Gruden. Washington won 23-6. The result was bad, but even if the Pats had covered, I shouldn’t have been so indifferent about their opponents. They weren’t really that much of a blank slate going into the game. And neither are the visitors in our first National Football League pick for Saturday night.


Cleveland at Detroit (7:30 p.m. ET, NFLN)
Are you ready for some Johnny Football? There’s so much excitement surrounding the Cleveland Browns and QB Johnny Manziel, the NFL Network will be at sold-out Ford Field to show us his debut. Head coach Mike Pettine has already announced that Manziel will work with the second unit, while Brian Hoyer will get the start. However, Pettine wouldn’t divulge how the workload would be split. And let’s not forget about Tyler Thigpen and Connor Shaw competing for the No. 3 QB job.

Pettine will be coaching his first game in the NFL, just like Gruden did on Thursday, and that means he doesn’t have any exhibition ATS numbers for our football betting purposes. But in this case, the other head coach isn’t Bill Belichick. It’s Jim Caldwell, who posted a 2-10 SU and 4-8 ATS preseason record in his three seasons at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts. Will that record carry over into his tenure with Detroit?

Possibly. The Colts had a lot of things already in place when Caldwell was there, at least at the beginning. The Lions are more of a reclamation project after missing the playoffs the last two years. Buzz from the Detroit camp is that we’ll see new offensive co-ordinator Joe Lombardi trotting out his “22 personnel” (two RBs, two TEs) for some extra reps during the preseason. Hmmm… sounds like a Keanu Reeves movie. 22 Personnel. Co-starring Jean Reno and Tilda Swinton. Anyway, Caldwell’s Colts had the OVER at 8-4, and I imagine Manziel will want to show off his arm a bit.
NFL Free Pick: Take OVER 38.5 (–109) at 888sport

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Houston at Arizona (8:30 p.m. ET, NFLN)
Preseason ATS records aren’t going to help you much here. The Texans have a rookie head coach in Bill O’Brien, the 2012 Coach of the Year with Penn State. O’Brien was a defensive end and a linebacker when he played at Brown, but his focus as a coach has been on offense, including four years with the Patriots on Belichick’s crew. Houston’s offense has reportedly looked pretty good in training camp with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick at the controls.

Arizona’s head coach, meanwhile, has a 75-percent preseason ATS success rate: Bruce Arians led the Cardinals to a 3-1 SU and ATS record as a rookie. Arians is no spring chicken, though. He played QB for Virginia Tech back in the early ‘70s and got his first NFL gig in 1989 as RB coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. So are we going to see some fireworks Saturday night? Actually, the UNDER went 3-1 for the Cards last year in exhibition play. Turns out they had the No. 2-ranked defense in the league, according to their efficiency stats during the regular season. So let’s just go with Arians against the spread. His team doesn’t have as much new stuff to sort out as O’Brien’s.
NFL Free Pick: Take the Cardinals –2 (+102) at Matchbook

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