Our NFL Handicapper gives his best in class picks for Week 1 of the NFL season, both ATS & Total plays. You know, the picks he will actually wager on himself.
It is Week 1 in the NFL and we don’t have much to go on for our new 53-man rosters. Since that is the case, my top ATS side pick this week is going to visit an old friend, the home underdog. We actually have seven home underdogs this week on the NFL odds board, which gives me quite a selection of games to choose from. But the one that really stands out is the game that didn’t start with a home underdog at all, the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Minnesota Vikings.
Top ATS Pick: Minnesota vs San Francisco +3
Now, it’s been commonly known around these parts that the 49ers had the Worst Offseason Ever. They lost their head coach, Jim Harbaugh, who although was annoying at times proved to be competent enough to be competitive. They lost standouts Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, and Anthony Davis to early retirement. Former Idaho star Mike Iupati will no longer anchor the offensive line. And furthermore, Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald were compromised with legal troubles.
So if that if that is the micro of the offseason, we should probably look at the macro of the last few years. Given 3 points at home, the 49ers would be 11-3-2 over the last two seasons. Compare that to the 9-7 record the Niners would have had ATS if they were giving up 4 points every game, which just happens to be the line this game opened at. Interesting, yes? In this case, the Niners public perception likely can’t get any worse and the value that the Niners have in regards to the spread can’t get any better. The prospect of getting a 50-50 market on bets on either side of this one has been a daunting task and you don’t see swings in lines of seven points in football very often. Let’s just say that the public has a tendency to overshoot either way, just like the on Wall Street.
For this play to work we need that nice even number at +3 so shop around and take the Niners and a field goal at BetUs, or buy the point if you have too were you place your wagers. The Niners should keep it close at home if not win this game outright.
NFL ATS Pick: 49ers +3 (-125) at Bovada
Top Total Pick: Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
There are a few ingredients sprinkled in my top O/U total pick of the week, and luckily for you, they have names so you can grab them at the local grocery store. The first is Andre Johnson, who is the newest weapon made available to Indianapolis Colts MVP candidate, Andrew Luck. It could be said that the Colts haven’t had a big receiver target in more than ten years, as that is really not what you think of the likes of Marvin Harrison, T.Y. Hilton, and Reggie Wayne. I’m talking about wide receivers here of course; tight end talents like Dallas Clark don’t count. Either way, it is going to be interesting to see what a pocket-passing master like Luck does with the matchup nightmare Johnson in the mix.
Not to be outdone, the Bills have trusted their QB duties to fifth year journeyman, Tyrod Taylor. Otherwise known as “T-Mobile”, Taylor brings an excitement to the Bill’s offense that has been missing for some time. And if that wasn’t enough, LeSean McCoy also joins the Buck’s this year (which allowed them to cut Fred Jackson and let him sign with the Seahawks - thank you very much). The Bills will be facing a very young Colts defensive line in the opener so they should be able to give their young QB some time to make a few throws downfield. Talking about defensive line, it is unfortunate for the Bills that standout Marcell Dareus will be absent in this game to put additional pressure on Luck.
I really don’t know why this O/U line has moved to 45 since opening at 47, but I really don’t care at this point. The Indianapolis Colts should be good for 28 in this game, which leaves the Bills responsible for just more than 17 to make the current O/U line a winner. With these two teams I think the offensive squads are further matured than their defensive counterparts, so take Over 45 points at 5Dimes as one of your top Week 1 NFL Picks.