Football Odds - Dangerous NFL Picks To Play Either Way In Week 1

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, September 11, 2016 2:00 AM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 11, 2016 2:00 AM UTC

Usually here at SBR, I have to make an NFL recommendation against the spread. Not here. Instead, here are three games on Pinnacle NFL odds that I would stay away from entirely. Think of these like the bottom three slots in a Confidence Pool.

Cleveland Browns vs Philadelphia Eagles
This might be the worst Week 1 matchup of the decade, but in one way also perhaps the most interesting of the first Sunday in 2016. True, the preseason means nothing, but the Eagles were one of four 4-0 teams while Cleveland joined the New Orleans Saints as the only winless clubs. This line was once as high as Philadelphia -7 but that was before the preseason. It was still as high as 5.5 a little over a week ago. Then the Eagles punted on the 2016 season when they traded starting quarterback Sam Bradford to Minnesota in a shocker. Instead of trying to be competitive this year and turning the team over to capable backup Chase Daniel, the Eagles are going with rookie No. 2 overall pick  Carson Wentz even though as recently as a few weeks ago they were planning to "redshirt" him in 2016. Wentz only played in one preseason game because he fractured a rib. No way a guy from North Dakota State is ready for the NFL in that scenario. So who knows what the Eagles are? Ditto the Browns as Robert Griffin III looks to salvage his career. Does Cleveland look like the worst team in the NFL? Indeed. But now you have to give the Browns the QB edge in this game. What makes this really interesting: the Browns could have taken Wentz at No. 2 in the draft but didn't much like him. So they got a draft-pick  haul from the Eagles, which also includes next year's first-rounder. So the Browns would benefit from winning because they want the Eagles to be terrible this year. But Cleveland also could lose for winning as it might hinder its chances at the No. 1 overall pick in 2017. 
NFL Pick: Eagles -3.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets 
The Bengals were a 12-win team last year and won the AFC North to reach the playoffs for a fifth straight year -- only to gag in the postseason for a fifth straight year. The Jets were the only 10-win team in 2015 to miss the playoffs, but they have no one else to blame but themselves after losing Week 17 in Buffalo to ex-coach Rex Ryan. Some player absences make this game tough. Cincinnati will be without Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert. He's coming off surgery on his ankle that he injured during the Pro Bowl (please cancel that game, NFL!). Eifert led all tight ends with 13 TD catches last year and had 52 grabs for 615 yards. Also, the Bengals are without top linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the first three games. He was suspended following a completely dirty hit on Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown in last season's wild-card game. Burfict had 74 tackles, two picks and a sack in 2015. The Jets, meanwhile, are without a very good defensive player of their own in lineman Sheldon Richardson. He was limited to 11 games last year, also suspended four games, and had 35 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles. If this line were above a field goal, I'd probably take the Jets with my Week 1 NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Jets +2.5 (-115)
Best Line Offered: at The Greek

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Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts
Here's a game where I'd like the spread to move a half-point in either direction before  making a choice. In my opinion, sportsbooks shouldn't be allowed to set spread right at 3. Which Lions team is this? The one that started last year at 1-7 and nearly got Coach Jim Caldwell fired? Or the one that won six of its final eight games and probably should have won the two it lost? I'm also curious to see how much the Lions will miss the retired Calvin Johnson. Colts QB Andrew Luck was limited to seven games last year to various injuries and now apparently is dealing with a shoulder problem but will play. The Colts are without their best offensive lineman, Jack Mewhort, as well as top cornerback Vontae Davis. Indy has four healthy cornerbacks for Week 1. Of them, only Patrick Robinson was even with the Colts before Week 2 of the preseason. Finally, defensive lineman Arthur Jones is suspended the first four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. I'd hold off here to see if the line moves in either direction and go Lions at +3.5 but Colts at -2.5 or if line hasn't adjust try buying half a point with any top rated sportsbook of your choice.

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