We are finally at the start of the NFL regular season, and the NFL Odds for Week 1 have been out now for several months. Even though they have been available for betting for some time now, the lines are finally starting to take shape.
The largest spread for Week 1 is the Patriots on the road in Buffalo to play the Bills. This spread was smaller, but after the injuries to Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel, it has grown a few points since it opened. Tom Brady may not have his full arsenal available to him, but the Bills at home without their first and second string QBs warrant such a large spread.
The next highest spread is the Colts hosting the Raiders from Indianapolis. Even though the spread is far from settling, the Colts come in as -10 favorites in some instances, from sportsbooks like Matchbook and BetOnline. Others have it around -9, and the lowest spread for this game is Heritage, who has the Colts as -8 ½ favorites. If you like Indy, that would be the book I would take a look at for your NFL picks.
The next highest spread is the opening night game between the Ravens and Broncos from Denver. The Broncos are -9 favorites, and after fluctuating anywhere from -8 ½ to -10, the line seems to be finally settling around nine points for Thursday’s action.
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There are only two totals north of 50 points in Week 1, and that’s the Falcons on the road in New Orleans, and the Eagles in Washington to play the Redskins. The game between the Falcons and Saints is 54 points, however there are a few sportsbooks that have the number at 53 ½. If both teams score three touchdowns and kick two field goals, that number would go north, and I think that may be the bet. Both of these defenses are sub-par, and their offenses are always throwing points up on one another. The over has cashed in all five of the last five matchups between these two from New Orleans.
The Eagles heading into Washington should also be a higher scoring game, but 51 points is a ton for a new offense for Philly, and Robert Griffin III playing in his first action since tearing his ACL last season. My first inclination for this one is to go with the under, just because the chances of things being rocky to start are high, and the Washington defense is much better this season.
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Open doors of value
As I mentioned previously the two big totals may be very valuable in Week 1. The Saints and Falcons looks like a game that could reach 60 points, while the Redskins and Eagles could not reach the 40s. The ‘Under’ has cashed in nine of the last 12 times the Eagles have played in Washington.
Some other totals I have my eye on that might be a bit too low are the Bears and Bengals, along with the Dolphins vs. Browns. Both totals are at 41 points, and with all four offenses probably much improved this season, I could easily see higher scoring games. The Browns and Dolphins have both gotten much better on offense it seems, and the Bears with their new system might be better on offense, and worse on defense.
Lastly, a spread that caught my eye is the Cardinals playing the Rams on the road. The NFL Odds for this game opened at -6 in favor of the Rams, but has quickly been bet down to -4 ½. The Cardinals have covered three of their last five meetings with the Rams in St. Louis, and they look like the better team this preseason.
Make sure you check out all of my other Sports Picks for Week 1, as well as the return of my NFL Line movement blog series, only at SBRForum.