Las Vegas, Nevada can be the bully more often than not, especially when it comes to gambling on the National Football League. The city and its mastermind bookmakers take advantage of your ego and what you think you know and trick you in to wagering money and dignity on the wrong side.
You’d think Week 1 of the NFL would be the toughest to handicap. Who’s good? Who has regressed from the previous year? The annual theory is that there are too many unknowns the first week.
But one thing we do know is that after Week 1 we stand at 10-6 ATS (against the spread) and looking to build on that momentum as the season grows.
All NFL lines courtesy of Bovada
Detroit Lions @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
The public will be all over the Lions in this one. Fantasy football stars scatter the offense of Detroit and Matthew Stafford picked apart New York in Week 1 at home. That game seemed to be more about how bad the Giants are as they allowed Calvin Johnson to rip them apart. Carolina will bring the heat as they have one of the league’s best defensive lines and until Greg Hardy is told he can’t play, then he and Charles Johnson will be pressuring Stafford all game. Detroit has always been a different team outside of their dome and Carolina will look to win this game in the trenches. Cam Newton has been itching to play after missing Week 1 and the home crowd will welcome him back with deafening cheers.
THE PICK: Panthers -3
Miami Dolphins (-1) @ Buffalo Bills
Pretty much a pick ‘em game here for the Bills home opener. They found out they have a new owner and will firmly remain in Buffalo and their greatest quarterback ever, Jim Kelly, will be in attendance to receive a resounding ovation for overcoming a tumultuous battle with cancer. That’s a lot of momentum to aid one side. It helps Buffalo that Ryan Tannehill is inconsistent on the road (6-10 in his career) and has never won in Buffalo in two career trips. It’s a toss-up game in Vegas’ eyes, so it’s never bad to play the home team.
THE PICK: Buffalo Bills +1
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Washington Football Team (-6)
Both teams aren’t very good. Jacksonville looked great for a half at Philadelphia last week before reverting back to the team we thought they’d be. But they showed promise. Washington just looked downright pitiful. Houston may have a good defense, but to not even threaten the end zone in the NFL that has rules set to aid the offense is embarrassing. Robert Griffin still looks rusty as he gets used to a new knee, new system and new receivers. Jacksonville appears to be playing hard for Gus Bradley and they’ll come in to this game with confidence. Jacksonville keeps this one close.
THE PICK: Jacksonville +6
Dallas Cowboys @ Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
This as strongly as we’ll feel about a line all week. The Cowboys simply don’t have a home field advantage anymore in Jerry’s World. Half the stadium is the opposition’s fans and there are a lot of boos when the Cowboys underachieve. The best medicine for them is to get away from Dallas and play a overhyped Titans team who beat up a sorry Kansas City team that was never as good as their 2013 record. Tony Romo may still be hurt, but he’ll clean up the messy turnovers the 49ers forced him in to last week. Even if the Cowboys lose this game, which they usually find a way to do, they’ll keep it close.
THE PICK: Cowboys +3.5
Arizona Cardinals (-3) @ New York Giants
Again, another spot the public will be all over the team who looked good in Week 1. But we know the NFL is fickle and consistency is rare week to week. The Cardinals, on a short week, across country for a 1 pm Eastern Time game, makes for fatigued legs. Throw in the recent news that Carson palmer hasn’t done much throwing this week in practice and is dealing with a “nerve thing” as head coach Bruce Arians put it and the possibility of Drew Stanton having to play in this ball game and you’ll be happy to back the home underdog.
THE PICK: New York Football Giants +3
New England Patriots (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings
This game/line has actually been taken off the board by Bovada and most sports books with the recent news of Adrian Peterson being deactivated for the game Sunday due to an off-field arrest. If you can get the Patriots minus a touchdown or less you have to take it. Peterson is worth at least 3 points to his team and with less than 48 hours to alter the game plan, my money is on Bill Belichick to shut down Cordarrelle Patterson and the Vikings offense that torched a lame duck St. Louis Rams team in Week 1.
THE PICK: Patriots -3
New Orleans Saints (-7) @ Cleveland Browns
If the Browns had a chance in this game it went out the door when the Saints gave a divisional game away in Week 1 to Atlanta. An angry Saints team looking to avoid 0-2 on the road and overall means a lot of points. The effort was there from the Browns Week 1, but as we saw Thursday night, that Steelers defense Brian Hoyer torched in the second half of Week 1 is nothing to write home about. The Saints will win this game, let’s just hope we don’t get “back-doored” and hit the cover.
THE PICK: Saints -7
Atlanta Falcons @ Cincinnati Bengals (-5)
Good line by the wiseguys in Vegas here as this is a tough game to choose a side against the spread. Atlanta looked to get their offense back on track last week against the Saints as Matt Ryan threw for 448 yards despite losing a Hall of Fame target like Tony Gonzalez to retirement. But I still question their defense and ability to run the ball against a prolific defense like Cincinnati. Not overly confident in this game, but when you see that the Bengals were perfect (8-0 ATS) at home last season, it makes easier to back them.
THE PICK: Cincinnati Bengals -5
St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6)
The Rams stink. How can you back them getting any amount of points? Jeff Fisher says Shaun Hill is his starter, but how short is the leash? The Bucs looked horrendous in Week 1, especially Josh McCown, but that was against an elite defense like the Carolina Panthers. They’ll bounce back this week against a Rams team not looking to get hurt and get to golf season faster.
THE PICK: Tampa Bay -6
Seattle Seahawks (-6) @ San Diego Chargers
Short week for San Diego plus 10 days off for Seattle, coupled with an injury to Phillip Rivers’ long-time center doesn’t equal much success for the Chargers. If Seattle has to prove anything to the critics, it’s that they can win just as convincingly on the road as they do at home. Richard Sherman is sure to shut down his side of the field and the pass rush of Seattle has to be licking its chops to rush a statue like Rivers. This game is in the Pacific Time zone, which also benefits Seattle. The Hawks prove to be too much.
THE PICK: Seahawks -6
Houston Texans (-3) @ Oakland Raiders
Houston just has more talent than Oakland. Plain and simple. And a distinct advantage on the defensive side of the ball. Fitzpatrick is Houston’s lone crutch, but he’s a heady quarterback who is in a good system with weapons around him. All he has to do is not screw it up. Derek Carr, welcome to the NFL, meet J.J. Watt.
THE PICK: Houston Texans -3
New York Jets @ Green Bay (-8)
Green Bay has had 10 days to get over that butt whooping handed to them opening night in Seattle. Eddie Lacy looks on track to play, but it’s the wide receivers that will have a day against the Jets weak secondary. Geno Smith didn’t play as good as the result showed Week 1 and he could get rattled in Lambeau if things go south quickly. Rodgers shreds the Jets pass defense and the Pack avoid 0-2.
THE PICK: Packers -8
Kansas City @ Denver Broncos (-13)
The Kansas City Chiefs are so beat up on the offensive line, losing yet another lineman for the season this week. They were thrashed last week in the season opener at home to Tennessee and now they have to face Peyton Manning after he scorched them last year. The Broncos will be keen on stopping Jamaal Charles and making Alex Smith beat you. Smith gets Dwayne Bowe back from suspension, but their timing won’t be fully there. I’d be tough pressed to back KC in this spot.
THE PICK: Broncos -13
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers (-7)
Desperation brings out the best in football teams and the Bears do not want to go 0-2. The public will be all over San Francisco after their opening beat down of the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears have more weapons than the Cowboys do believe it or not and there’s always the shot of a backdoor when you take the points on the road.
THE PICK: Bears +7
Philadelphia Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Andrew Luck and the Colts like playing at home. The Eagles showed their defense is very vulnerable as Chad Henne picked them apart in the first half last week. Lucas Oil will be loud and the Colts can’t go 0-2 after losing at Denver Week 1. Luck is clutch too so if this game is close you have to have faith he’ll pull it out. Lay the points and end the week on a great note.
THE PICK: Colts -3
Best of luck!