Pickin on the NFL: Week 1 Odds/Lines


This is some kind of torture, isn’t it?  It’s been 259 days since the Philadelphia Eagles last took the field in a meaningful game.  Yet, cruelly, we wait one more day.  We wait and watch.  We will watch on CBS, on Fox, on the NFL network.   We will watch the Cowboys, the Giants, & the Redskins.  We will watch almost every franchise in the NFL kickoff the 2015 season tomorrow except our beloved hometown Eagles.  For that we wait…we pace…we pine.  For just one more day.

So…how do we pass the time?  Where do the unoccupied minds of the Philadelphia faithful go wandering?  To Vegas, obviously.  Below is the full slate of NFL games this week (except, obviously, the Steelers-Patriots game) with a prediction for each.  NOTE: Odds/Lines courtesy of Bovada.com.


  • Green Bay (-7) at Chicago: Brandon Marshall’s exit

—couple with a season-ending injury to Kevin White & a less-than-100% Alshon Jeffrey—means a heavy workload for Matt Forte.  The Bears just don’t have enough to keep up with the Packers.  Lay the 7 & ride Rodgers, et al.

  • Seattle (-4.5) at St. Louis:  Seattle will be without some of the pieces that made the 2013-2014 defense so imposing.  More importantly, their offensive line is nothing but question marks.  St Louis, on the other hand, has no viable running back & a suspect QB in Nick Foles (oh, you know that guy?).  While the game could go either way against the spread, it is pretty clear that the above concerns mean you take the under (40.5 pts) and feel good about it.
  • Indianapolis (-3) at Buffalo:  Guys…for the love of God, Tyrod Taylor is starting for the Bills.  The other guys have Andrew Luck.  Buffalo’s defense is underrated but they don’t make a habit of covering the spread—even at home—and shouldn’t be expected to do so against a Super Bowl-hyped team.
  • Miami (-4) at Washington:  This game opened with Miami laying just 1.5 to the home-dog Redskins.  Kinda wish I’d gotten in on that ground level.  Now, with Kirk Cousins at the helm, this is a much harder game to call.  The Redskins should have a more balanced attack.  Compound this with a reworked secondary (new additions in Goldson, Culliver, Johnson).  Listen, we all know the Redskins will be a bad football team this year.  They’ll likely have a top-5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft.  But, until we know more about them, this is a risky play either way.  If you’re really desperate to bet this game, consider this: Miami (+1200) currently has the ninth best odds to win Super Bowl 50…Washington (+12500) has the third worst.
  • Kansas City (-1) at Houston:  Both defenses are good.  Andy Reid will find a way to use new-addition Jeremy Maclin & come away with a win against a team that is starting Brian Hoyer under center.
  • Carolina (-3) at Jacksonville:  There is just not enough to fear in Carolina’s offense without Kelvin Benjamin healthy.  Blake Bortles & defensive-minded head coach Gus Bradley aren’t rookies anymore.  Jacksonville has lost nine straight September games: covering the spread in precisely none of those losses.  That changes tomorrow & the Jags cover at home.
  • Cleveland (+3) at New York Jets:  This could be a historically bad Browns offense.  The Jets defense—under Todd Bowles—will be better than it was under Rex Ryan.  Jets win & cover…take the under.
  • Detroit (+3) at San Diego:  The Lions have one of the most underrated offenses in the NFL.  Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, & Joique Bell will lead the squad but the big story may be pre-season MVP Ameer Abdullah.  The rookie RB out of Nebraska is going to be very good, very soon.  These teams are evenly matched: so take the points & roll with Motor City.
  • New Orleans (+2.5) at Arizona:  Outside of Philadelphia, it’s possible that no team underwent more turnover than New Orleans.  The focus was to fortify a defense that, in 2014, was quite simply pathetic.  They will be more balanced, but not off the bat.  Arizona will win & cover but the under (48.5 pts) is very enticing.
  • Baltimore (+5) at Denver:  We saw the Ravens in preseason.  Aside from Steve Smith (who I would never say this about), they looked soft in their starting units.  Peyton Manning is going to slow down this season…but not at home in Week 1.
  • Cincinnati (-3) at Oakland:  How is this line not larger for the Bengals?  Vegas sees something in Oakland that the rest of us—looking at 12 years without a playoff appearance—do not.  Oakland to cover.
  • Tennessee (+3) at Tampa Bay:  Neither team is good…hence the first two picks in the 2015 draft.  Tampa has a better defense that will give the rookie QB fits.  Tampa to cover.
  • New York Giants (+6) at Dallas:  Dallas’ defense—even without DeMarco Murray—will still move the ball and get in the end zone.  The Giants asked Rudy Giuliani to play defensive back because he was their best option.  Prime time…at JerryWorld…Cowboys cover.
  • Minnesota (-3) at San Francisco:  With all the turnover, this line should be higher for the Vikings.  Take it as a gift & ride the Norsemen.
  • Eagles (-3) at Atlanta:  Matt Ryan may get sacked 5+ times in this game.  That offensive line is abysmal.  Eagles on a fast track against a suspect defense?  Feels an awful lot like a 7-10 point win for the Birds at least.