Week 1 of the NFL season is here -- and so are the betting lines.
Week 1 NFL Betting Odds
|(Odds courtesy of COVERS.COM)|
Jimmy Traina: Saints -3 vs. Falcons. Coach Sean Payton returns to the sidelines after a one-year suspension. Bountygate is a thing of the past. The SuperDome will be rocking. It's hard to believe New Orleans won't come out like gangbusters for this one. Obviously, Atlanta is loaded at wide receiver, but I don't love the acquisition of Steven Jackson, who had two 100-yard games in 2012. Obviously, plenty of points will be scored here, but I think it's more than safe to lay a field-goal with the home team. The teams split last year's series, with each winning in their building. The Saints are 11-3 vs. the Falcons since 2006.
Tom Mantzouranis: Bucs -3.5 at Jets. The Bucs' defense alone might cover a 3.5-point spread against the Jets. In case you've avoided the entirety of football media this month (and Twitter), there's been some trouble in New York. The offense can't get out of its own way, on or off the field, and sudden starter Geno Smith doesn't seem particularly ready to make up for the void everywhere else. This is one of those weird Week 1 lines because Vegas isn't accounting for the fact that the Bucs are much better than last season's 1-5 finish. The Jets did shockingly blow out the Bills in Week 1 last year, 48-28, after another tumultuous August, but don't count on that happening again, even on their home field.
Stay Away From
Traina: Browns PK vs. Dolphins. A home team not giving any points to a team that isn't anything special seems like a tempting play. Plus, a lot of pundits are high on Cleveland this year after a coaching change and big roster turnover. But I still have to see the improvement on the field before I'd risk money on the Browns. Brandon Weeden didn't convince anyone last year that he's the answer at quarterback, and the Dolphins' secondary should be improved thanks to the addition of cornerback Brent Grimes. I'm also high on running back Lamar Miller, who showed much promise in limited action last season, averaging nearly five yards per carry. Having said that, I'd still be leery of picking Miami on the road against a team that is a complete unknown in Week 1.
Mantzouranis: Lions –5 vs. Vikings. I can see the logic here -- Lions were a top-three offense last year, and now they've added Reggie Bush. It's tempting to pick them to outscore almost anyone this side of New England, New Orleans or Green Bay. But a lot of the past fireworks were sort of smoke-and-mirrors, with Calvin Johnson essentially carrying the entire unit. The Vikings' defense isn't great, but it just has to be good enough with the Minnesota O limiting Detroit possessions with a healthy dose of clock-eating Adrian Peterson. In this battle of dominant skill players vs. mediocre defenses, I'll take Peterson and Co. to stay just close enough to beat the spread.
Best Of The Rest
Trania: Week 1 is a crapshoot for the most part. The smart thing would be to go easy and only play a couple of games. But who are we kidding? One thing I noticed with this week's lines is that the totals are extremely high. I'd search around for a few unders to play (Raiders-Colts at 47, Vikings-Lions at 46.5 and Patriots-Bills at 51 jump out at me). Home dogs this week include Carolina, Buffalo, Jacksonville, the Jets and San Diego. The Bills have the Patriots and the Jets are the Jets, so I'd eliminate taking either of those teams. The other three could be worth a flyer, though, especially the Jaguars, who host the Chiefs.
Mantzouranis: Week 1 is always a weird betting week, and a few sure things will surely get busted. So, as Walter White advises, you might want to tread lightly. Still, I love the over (51.5) in the Redskins-Eagles Monday night game -- neither defense should be able to do much of anything there. I'd also take the Texans –3.5 over the Chargers, whose brutal offensive line won't have a prayer against J.J. Watt and Houston's bevy of blitzers.