Week 1 NFL Odds Released: Get Our Top 3 Picks & Insights

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, April 17, 2016 6:18 PM GMT

Our football analyst previews three 2016 season opening games, and also takes a look at the strength of schedule factor for three specific teams. Check it out for your NFL betting preview.

Early 2016 NFL Betting Forecast
The NFL officially released the upcoming 2016 schedule on Thursday night. It’s certainly a bit early to make predictions regarding the upcoming NFL season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun in doing some initial projections.

I’m going to briefly touch upon some intriguing opening week games from a betting perspective. I’ll also be discussing the strength of schedule for three specific teams, and how that can affect your future NFL picks. So let’s get right to it!

 

Week 1 Intriguing Matchups
Bengals vs. Jets
The current (4/16/2016) NFL betting odds at Bookmaker has the Jets as a 1.0 point home underdog. Although New York melted down during last season’s final stretch, ultimately costing them a playoff spot, they still finished with a very respectable 9-7 record. NFL betting history since 1980 has shown teams that are a home pick or underdog of 2.0 or less in game 1 of the season, and won 9 or more regular season games during the prior year, resulted in those home teams going 12-4 SU&ATS (75%).

I will continue to keep an eye on this matchup during the upcoming months. However, until the Jets clarify their current quarterback dilemma, I’m going to stay patient in this regard.

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Free NFL Pick: Wait till Jets QT is confirmed. 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

 

Patriots vs. Cardinals
NFL betting odds at Bet365 currently has the Cardinals as a 1.0 point home underdog. Even during their leanest of years, Arizona has been a very good home underdog betting value. As a matter of fact, since the start of the 2007 season, Arizona has gone an extremely profitable 19-6 SU&ATS (74%) as a home pick or underdog of 6.5 or less, and that includes 15-3 SU&ATS (83.3%) when playing a non-division opponent.

Let’s keep in mind that Arizona went 13-3 a season ago. Since 1985, any team that won 13 or more regular season games during the previous year, and is playing their season opener at home, resulted in those teams going 22-5 (81.5%) straight up.

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Free NFL Pick: Arizona Cardinals  
Best Line Offered: at William Hill

 

Packers vs. Jaguars
Many of you might be scratching your head as to why I’m considering this to be an intriguing matchup. Well here it is, I’m enamored by this opening line with all being considered. After all, Jacksonville went a dismal 5-11 a season ago, and possesses a horrendous combined record of 12-36 (.250) since 2013.

Then added to that, they’ll be facing a 10-6 playoff team from a season ago, and one which has a cumulative 64-27 (.703) record over its last 91 games played. Reading between the lines, and with no pun intended, NFL odds boards fully expect Jacksonville to be a very improved team. I’ll keep a keen eye on the home underdog in this matchup as September nears.

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Free NFL Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars. 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Strength of Schedule
It’s always a good idea to evaluate a team’s strength of schedule before entering a season, and particularly as it applies to NFL futures bets. Granted this can be an inexact science on many fronts, but it can serve as a somewhat reliable guideline nonetheless. Here’s a look at three teams where strength of schedule in 2016 will significantly enter into play by my personal perspective.

 

Jets ETA Delayed
The Jets will face ten teams this season which won 8 or more games last year. Furthermore, their 2016 upcoming opponents were a very sizable +365 in the point differential category. Considering their previously mentioned uncertainty at quarterback, things aren’t looking rosy for “Ed the Firemen” and the rest of their loyal fan base.

49ers: The Poor Get Poorer
They went 5-11 a season ago, and the prospect for improvement in 2016 appears to be slim. They made a big splash by bringing in Chip Kelly as their new head coach. Why would anyone think Kelly will succeed with a team that has far less talent, compared to the team (Philadelphia) he previously coached, and failed miserably in doing so?

Kelly managed to burn an extremely talented Eagles roster to the ground during his three year tenure, not to mention creating an unpleasant work environment. In addition, the 49ers sixteen opponents this season had a massive +590 point differential in 2015.

 

“Remember The Titans”
At the time of this writing, Tennessee had just traded the #1 overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft, and received a “King’s Ransom” in return. Even better, their upcoming opponents this season had a miserable -412 point differential in 2015.

After going 3-13 a season ago, and with promising 2015 #1 overall pick Marcus Mariota having a year of starting quarterback experience under his belt, I’d fully expect them to display significant improvement.