Picking the key games in Week 1 of the NFL regular season
Packers at Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks are 17-1 straight up and 13-5 against the spread in their last 18 games at home, overcoming some hefty point spreads along the way. The defending champions open the season at home Thursday night as six-point favorites against the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay is just 1-5 straight up and against the spread in its last six games as a road underdog, and Seattle would be an awfully tough place to turn those fortunes around. Aaron Rodgers is on a short list of quarterbacks capable of putting up some points against this tough Seattle defense, but will the Packers be able to do enough?
Going up against a Seattle team that is 4-0 straight up and against the spread in its last four home openers, it seems like a risky bet. Super Bowl winners almost always start their title defense with a victory the following season (18-2 straight up according to the OddsShark.com NFL database). We like Seattle (-6).
Computer Prediction: 33-21 Seahawks
Saints at Falcons
The Saints are a much better team at home than they are on the road, but at only -3 they look like the pick in this game going up against a Falcons team that is 1-7 straight up in its last eight games as a home underdog.
"This is a game we like, and we are using it as one of our SuperContest picks in Week 1," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.
Computer Prediction: 27-17 Saints
Patriots at Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins could be dangerous this Sunday as a five-point home underdog hosting the New England Patriots. While the Patriots are 5-2 straight up in their last seven games as a road favorite, they are just 1-5-1 against the spread.
Miami meanwhile is 5-1-1 against the spread over its last seven games as a home underdog with four outright upsets in those seven games. Four of the last five games in this AFC East rivalry have been decided by 10 points or less, and Miami should be able to keep this one close and cover at home, even if the computer doesn’t think so.
Computer Prediction: 27-20 Patriots
Chargers at Cardinals
On Monday night, San Diego looks like a solid upset pick as a three-point road underdog visiting Arizona. The Chargers are 6-3 straight up and 7-1-1 against the spread over their last nine games as a road underdog.
Arizona is just 2-10 straight up in its last 12 games against AFC West opponents and 1-6-1 against the spread in its last eight Monday night games. The Chargers surged late last season and could be primed to continue that momentum into 2014.
Computer prediction: 26-24 Arizona