Pigskins and Ponies: NFL Opening Week


If you like betting both football and horse racing, you've come to the right place!

Each week in Pigskins and Ponies you'll find analysis and key football bets from Payne Insider and Todd Fuhrman plus racing picks from Jose Contreras.

Professional bettor Payne Insider and former oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman are founders of Bet the Board, a cutting edge sports betting company focused on written and digital content. You can listen to Bet The Board podcast every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday during football season on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Handicapper Jose Contreras is an analyst for horse racing network TVG and a regular contributor to America's Best Racing.

Get this week's picks below, and be sure to check back for new selections each week. Happy betting!


Buffalo @ Baltimore -7; Over/Under 40.5

Quarterback Nathan Peterman gets the nod under center for Buffalo, and while it might be the right move for the franchise long term, it’s difficult to envision success for him against this physical and aggressive Ravens defense. The Bills’ offensive line appears to be the worst in football, as the guys at Bet The Board Podcast have noted all offseason.  If Shady McCoy can’t get going, it will be a long day for Bills Mafia. On the other side of the ball, Baltimore should have success with running back Alex Collins on the ground, and we project improvement for Joe Flacco this season now that his knee and back are fully healed. This feels like a game where six weeks from now we’ll wonder how Baltimore only opened -3.5. Now that the line has moved significantly, using the Ravens as one leg in teaser to get below the key numbers of seven and three could be wise.

Tennessee @ Miami +1.5; Over/Under 45

The Titans opened 2.5-point favorites, and since we’ve seen money trickle in on the home underdog Dolphins. Tennessee and Miami face similar questions when analyzing their quarterbacks and overall offensive production this season. Mariota and Tannehill need to perform, and perform well for either team to sniff the playoffs. Miami’s offense should hit the ground running, while the Titans appear as though they need to work out kinks in new coordinator Matt LaFleur’s (former Rams OC) offensive system.  Don’t be surprised if Miami closes a small favorite, and as long as the Dolphins remain a ‘dog in the range of +1.5 to +2.5, they too are a good leg for a teaser getting above the key numbers of three and seven.

Seattle @ Denver -2.5 (-115); Over/Under 43

Breaking down these teams for 2018, we’re “bearish” on Seattle, and “bullish” on Denver. There is a sense of excitement and rejuvenation in Denver, with a competent quarterback and a slew of talented young players in Bradley Chubb, Royce Freeman, and Courtland Sutton. On the opposing sideline, Seattle lost many leaders on their defense and could be in for a “rebuild” year (professional bettors pounced on their win total, betting it down from 8.5 to 7.5 at BetOnline.AG). Denver isn’t the easiest place to play early in the season; lack of conditioning compounded with altitude hasn’t been a recipe for success for visiting opponents. In fact, the Denver Broncos are 30-3-1 their last 34 home games played in the first two weeks of the season - and thus we’ve seen this game move from Denver -1.5 to the current number.

Rice @ Hawaii -17.5; Over/Under 71.5

Is there a team hotter in college football right now than Hawaii?  Back-to-back offensive explosions against Colorado State and Navy have the Rainbow Warriors 2-0 to start the season. Winning both games outright as double-digit underdogs has drawn the attention of bookmakers and bettors alike. Rice was competitive against Houston as a 24-point underdog, averaging 7.1 yards per pass and leading at halftime. Bottom line, this number is inflated and recreational bettors will look to “ride the wave” in the late bailout game. Rice should have success on offense behind their two backs (Esukpa and Walter), as they look to keep Hawaii’s potent offense on the sidelines. If this game were played two weeks ago, Hawaii would’ve been laying single digits. 

Best Bet of the Week:  [457] Cincinnati Bengals +3


Saturday, Sept. 8

Los Alamitos Race Course, Race 8

#7 Steph Being Steph dueled  three wide through the first opening quarter in her last start before settling behind the two leaders, making a wide move around the turn and battling the entire stretch to just miss by a nose. A repeat effort makes her a top contender and I like that she has a win over this track.

Sunday, Sept. 9

Belmont Park, Race 3

#3 Fullness of Time had a productive educational debut at Saratoga in early August when finishing second behind a runaway winner. He broke well and settled midpack on the backstretch but didn't appear all that comfortable along the inside. He then found an extra gear when angling out coming down the stretch to pass a few rivals for second. 

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