NFL Picks: Top Three Bets Against the Spread in Week 1

Nikki Adams

Saturday, September 12, 2015 1:15 PM GMT

In this column, we look at some of the value NFL picks against the spread currently trading on the NFL odds board across sports betting platforms.

New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals
Opening Spread: -3.0 Cards at home

The Arizona Cardinals led the NFL with an 11-5 ATS regular season record in 2014 and they are 6-1 ATS at home in their last seven games. By contrast, the Saints were abysmal in 2014. Not only did they finish 7-9 SU, which included a 3-5 SU record at home and 4-4 SU record on the road, but also they went just 6-10 ATS overall and 4-4 ATS on the road.  Most importantly, the preseason seemed to raise more questions rather than offer positive answers were the Saints are concerned. They went 0-4 SU with losses to the Ravens, Patriots, Texans and Packers – all of last season’s plus.500 teams and all but one playoff contender. It’s the preseason and the regular season is another ball game, but just like the Steelers’ struggles in the preseason proved illuminating in their Thursday Night Football opener with the New England Patriots, the Saints’ woes could continue in Arizona.

Since opening as the 3-point home favourites, the Cardinals have seen their NFL odds slip by half-a-point at most sportsbooks to 2.5-points (-110). If you agree with us that the Cards are the smart play here for your NFL picks, they are settled on a 1-point spread at 5Dimes but at -125 NFL odds. If you don’t mind the lesser pay out, the 1-point spread might just be the best ATS play here.

NFL Picks: Cardinals -1.0 (-125) at 5Dimes

Detroit Lions vs. San Diego Chargers
Opening Spread: -2.0 Chargers at home

The Detroit Lions went 4-4 ATS as away underdogs last season while the Chargers went 5-5 ATS as home favourites; something is going to have to give when this pair collides in week 1 NFL betting. As it is, the Chargers have the edge on the NFL odds board and increasing in favour after opening on 2-points. Most sportsbooks have gone up to a field-goal line with the Chargers to the good while 5Dimes and BetOnline have moved to 2.5-points. Those looking to back the upset here might fancy the extra point on Lions (+3) with Westgate or Bet365 for instance, but the NFL odds attached are trading at a high of -120 and -116, respectively. Taking the 2.5-point spread with 5Dimes or BetOnline yields attractive +105 NFL odds. It’s less wiggle room to work with but worth the tickle in our opinion.

NFL Picks. Lions +2.5 (+105) BetOnline

NY Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
Opening Spread: -5.0 Cowboys at home

The NY Giants are 4-2 SU in their last six meetings with the Cowboys at the AT&T Stadium. Cowboys are just 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. What’s more, the Cowboys went just 2-5 ATS last season as home favourites. Since opening on a 5-point spread, the Cowboys have steadily crept up to as high as 7-points at some online sportsbooks such as 5Dimes. Most have settled on a 6 or 6.5-point spread. Bet365 is offering a 6-point spread with both sides trading at -111 NFL odds while Westgate has rolled out a 6.5-point spread with both trading at -110 NFL odds. If you’re looking to back the upset in week 1, taking the 6.5 points with Westgate at -110 NFL odds is a sound option. Unless you feel better with the extra point (so +7-points) to manoeuvre with and don’t mind the hefty price tag of -135 at 5Dimes.

NFL Picks: Giants +7 (-135 ) at 5Dimes