NFL BETTING TIPS:
|Julio Jones – Over 1475.5 Receiving Yards||10/11||888Sport|
|Seattle Seahawks to win NFC West||10/3||William Hill|
|Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl||33/1||BetHard|
NFL Sure Things & Dark Horses
The 2018 NFL season had its fair share of outcomes which are so obvious with the benefit of hindsight that it's hard to know why we didn’t see them coming.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl – their 6th in the Tom Brady era, Julio Jones led the receiving yards chart having been 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 2nd in the previous four years and the teams which should have been bad were very bad – the Jets, Raiders, Cardinals and Buccaneers for example.
However, for all of these sure things, the season certainly came with its bolts from the blue. Most obviously, Patrick Mahomes had a season for ages with 50 passing touchdowns and over 5,000 passing yards in his first year as a starter. The Seahawks went from a fearsome defence in previous years to a middle of the road one which no longer makes opposition as scared.
This time last year, the 49ers were considered dark horses for the Super Bowl, but season ending injuries to dynamic running back Jerick McKinnon and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo stopped that train before it could get rolling.
Let's try sort the studs from the duds.
NFL Sure Thing 2019
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has established himself as one of the best to ever play the position. Jones has gone over 1475.5 receiving yards in three of the past five seasons, and it would have been four were it not for missing two games through injury in 2016.
One of only six active NFL players with over 10,000 receiving yards in his career, everything looks to be in place for him to have another big season.
The Falcons are in the NFC South with the Saints, Panthers and Buccaneers. These games have a tendency to break down into a shootout and with Matt Ryan at quarterback, you can be assured of a healthy number of targets for Jones in the six divisional games.
Including these divisional games in 2019, Jones will be playing in 13 indoor games this season. Despite the games not being as easy as the schedule could have been, with games against the Texans and Colts, the lack of rain or sub zero temperatures will only help Jones and the Falcons.
I considered tipping him to once again lead the league in receiving yards at 6/1, but when it comes to a lock of the season, they don't come much safer than Julio Jones going over 1475.5 receiving yards. It's available at 10/11 with 888Sport.
NFL Sleeper Pick 2019
The LA Rams come into this season off the back of a defeat to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. They're favourites to win the division and rightfully so, but they should not be as far ahead of the Seahawks in the betting.
Todd Gurley posted unsustainable touchdown numbers last season for the Rams and is now dealing with lingering knee trouble. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was setting the world alight in 2018 before picking up a knee injury of his own. There's bound to be some regression for the team this season, but with question marks over two of their best playmakers' health, they're a huge swerve.
On the flip side, the Seahawks went through a period of change. As mentioned earlier, they no longer have an elite defence on which to rely. That became clear over the course of last season and is something they should plan around. What do those plans involve? Put the ball in the hands of quarterback Russell Wilson and let him the games for you.
For years, Wilson has been one of the most efficient players in the NFL, but there's a flashier side to his game we haven't seen recently. An electric runner and one of the best deep ball throwers around, he's often had to take a back seat with the Seahawks' "run first" mentality.
Being forced to put up more points because of their defensive frailties should result in the leash being taken off Russell Wilson. William Hill's 10/3 on them to win an otherwise weak division with the 49ers and Cardinals looks huge value.
NFL Long Shot Tip 2019
The Baltimore Ravens are built on two things – solid defence when you don't have the ball and plenty of rushing when you do have it. Last season, we got a glimpse of what to expect from new quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Despite starting only a handful of games, Jackson led the league in quarterback rushing yards. His passing left a lot to be desired, but that's to be expected of a rookie thrust into a starting role halfway through the season.
His passing can only improve, he's trending towards a huge season on the ground and the addition of veteran running back Mark Ingram will only help. The team has appointed Greg Roman as offensive coordinator – the same position he held for the 49ers in 2013 when guiding the team (and run-happy quarterback Colin Kaepernick) to a narrow defeat in the Super Bowl.
The defence will be as solid as ever and I see this Ravens team being similar to Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos – not very pretty, not exactly orthodox, but unpredictable and hard to stop. In a division including a Browns team which has been overhyped, a Steelers team now without star receiver Antonio Brown and then Bengals who are in for a long season, I can see them making the playoffs at the very least. At that point, the 33/1 on offer from BetHard could look like a shrewd play.