NFL Picks: Week 1 Value Picks

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:48 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 6:48 PM UTC

You hear it all the time from sharps and handicappers alike: “Find the value for your bets.” How well do you follow this sage piece of betting advice?

The NFL Season is upon us. Check out our Week 1 Opening Odds Report!

While many sports bettors realistically do not really understand the concept of value (except you sharp SBRForum readers, you), each week there are numbers to be found which should place you in a good position to win.

Read the Chicago Bears/Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 Odds analysis for more info on this battle!

My first value play is not really about the right number, it is about betting the right team. The Chicago Bears closed last year with two victories to finish 10-6, which was not enough for Lovie Smith to remain as head coach. Chicago management has felt Jay Cutler is a franchise quarterback since they acquired him and they have only been to the playoffs once with him at the controls.

In comes Marc Trestman, a renowned quarterback coach who enjoyed a great deal of success in the CFL. New coaches mean change and adjusting to a different philosophy. For every Jim Harbaugh in the NFL, there are 20 Mike Mularkey’s who struggle.

Cincinnati has turned a corner with consecutive playoff appearances and is one growth spurt from QB Andy Dalton from possibly making the AFC title game. The Bengals were 6-3 SU and ATS on the road last year and every set of power ratings I have calls for a Cincinnati triumph.

Steelers in decline?

To learn more about this game, read the Titans vs. Steelers Week 1 NFL preview!

As I’ve stated, the NFL exhibition season offers few clues other than extremes. Pittsburgh lost all four of their preseason games and failed to cover one of them. While this does not mean the Steelers are headed for a 4-12 campaign, they have questions at running back, they are not all together settled at wide receiver and the defense is one year older and injury-prone.

Tennessee is not among the elite in the AFC, but receiving seven points in the opener against a squad with more questions than answers offers value in my opinion.

Check those totals

The beginning of last season saw totals go 10-6 'Over' even after NFL odds makers adjusted for a shortened preseason. This preseason saw totals at unprecedented highs, as teams have reduced hitting and tackling with the collective bargain agreement, changing the early season focus to offensive execution.

NFL betting line makers released nearly half the Week 1 schedule (seven games) at 49 points or higher. The wagering public is of the opinion this is an overreaction and lowered several of them.

I would focus on totals sitting at 43 or lower and think about playing 'Over' the number. Virtually everyone agrees the tackling will be shoddy the first few weeks, which can lead to big plays and scoring, no matter the teams.

Last season the 'Over' was 6-3 in Week 1, in contests that closed at 43 points or lower. With my sports picks, I am betting the value will be theirs once again.

Join the discussion on NFL Opening week at SBRForum's football message boards! 

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