Week 1 NFL Picks: ATS & Total Predictions for All 16 Games

Kevin Stott

Friday, September 4, 2015 12:17 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 4, 2015 12:17 PM UTC

After months of Deflategate, Free Agency, Draft and Training Camp news, it’s about time to actually start playing football in games that really matter on the gridiron and with Thursday morning’s news out of New York City that Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension would be dropped, it seems not much happened from February until September except maybe that a bunch of players changed teams and some other very important ones got hurt. Now that the dust is settling and the Regular Season lid lifter is coming on Thursday, let’s look at the numbers now attached to the NFL Week 1 games, note who is injured and can’t be counted on next week and also make a couple of late picks from what we now know.

Live Week 1 NFL Betting Odds

Professional football is back. And just in time to clear our cluttered minds from all we have to do and all we have to know is the reality out of New York City this morning that the Deflategate fiasco seems to finally be over and that New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will not be suspended at all for his alleged part in the air pressure (PSI) levels of footballs his team used in last season’s AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts after Judge Richard Berman nullified the NFL’s proposed 4-game suspension against the defending Super Bowl champions. So after a roller coaster ride, the point spread for the Patriots’ Week 1 and Regular Season opener this coming Thursday (September 10) between Brady and New England and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT) will again return to the near-TD or TD level it opened at (Patriots favored) and offshore sportsbook Pinnacle has already posted a (Patriots) -7, so anyone who added New England to their NFL picks when the line dipped down to -2, -2½ and -3 has to be feeling pretty good right about now—we tabbed that in this space here at Sportsbook Review earlier this Summer—and the potential of a Middle has been created if others follow suit and re-open their NFL odds similarly. But seriously, this one particular football game and this one particular situation has been talked about way too much in our culture which seems to now glom on to something really stupid and really insignificant and then dwell on it for eons. Who has the precious Time for all this BS?

Anyway, we are all free now, although the NFL has said they will appeal the ruling. (Of course they will.) Lets talk about the real games, point spreads and the things that matter in all of the other games with the other 31 teams through the 17 weeks of the coming NFL Regular Season. And sportsbooks directors having to adjust, re-adjust, think about taking down and then re-posting the point spread for the high-profile game can now use their energies for everything else that’s about to come on the gridiron. R.I.P. Deflategate. Now float away.


NFL Week 1 Opening Point Spreads and Totals

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

Site: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, New England

Time: 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT [UK: Friday, September 11—01:30]


Point Spread: Patriots -7 (Pinnacle)

Total: 49 (BetOnline)

The Skinny: So, after all that, Patriots QB Tom Brady will play here in the opener. And expect him to be mad and motivated and on a mission. This seems good for the Over, but for anyone who didn’t grab New England -2, -2½, -3 or maybe even at -3½, taking the Patriots now and laying the 7 (Pinnacle) or 6½ (Station Casinos) will be really hard. One thing not talked about enough here is that the Pittsburgh Steelers will definitely be without three of their key players: RB Le’Veon Bell (Suspension, Marijuana); WR Martavis Bryant (Suspension, Marijuana) and C Maurkice Pouncey (Ankle Injury; requires surgery). Another? Pittsburgh (1-3, 67 PF-99 PA)—which saw DC Dick LeBeau head to the Titans—and its Defense hasn’t looked very good at all in this Preseason, and trying to suddenly wake up in Game 1 at Foxboro against the defending NFL champs could be a rude awakening. At least we all now know Jimmy Garoppolo is an able backup? All of this turmoil can only make New England stronger. The Steelers could possibly get blown out here now.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Site: Soldier Field, Chicago , Illinois

Time: 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—18:00]

TV: FOX, Directv 709

Point Spread: Packers -6 (Pinnacle)

Total: 50 (Pinnacle)

The Skinny: Both teams have serious injury issues at WR with one guy already gone for the season—Jordy Nelson for the Packers and Rookie Kevin White (West Virginia) for the Bears—and another one on the mend and needing to be treated cautiously—Randall Cobb for Green Bay and Alshon Jeffery for Chicago. So does that mean Davante Adams and Eddie Royal will be the main receivers for Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler here in the Windy City? Not so fast. Green Bay has looked sluggish and tentative in the Preseason while the Bears, well, are simply the Bears. Having one of the NFL’s best two players (Rodgers), the situation (Week 1) and the Trends (Packers 8-1 ATS L9, 5-0 ATS L5 at Chicago) should be the difference here but if you want to bet the Cheeseheads, best do it now before it goes to (minus) 7 as the General Public likely won’t want to back the Bears with their money here and this point spread has already risen much from its opening 5. Another potential good Over although no Nelson or White has to affect what each QB can do as both would likely be first-choice WRs here in Chicago.


Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans

Time: 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—18:00]

Site: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

TV: CBS, Directv 706

Point Spread: Texans -1½ (The Greek)

Total: 40 (The Greek)

The Skinny: The injury to Houston Texans RB Arian Foster was a big blow, but at least Head Coach Bill O’Brien (9-6-1 ATS) had some time in Training Camp to do with this reality. This game could be a ground-type game with the Chiefs (Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis) trying to establish that they will again run, run, run the ball but with Free Agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Eagles) now a prime target for Chiefs QB Alex Smith, expect Kansas City to go up top—and maybe score—more while for the host Texans, the debut of new QB Brian Hoyer (Browns) will be the big thing and he too has some nice targets in WE DeAndre Hopkins and Free Agent acquisition Cecil Shorts III (Jaguars) so this one could go either way with the site (Houston) and situation (Week 1) being the biggest things here. The Chiefs are 3-1 ATS L4 vs. the Texans.


Cleveland Browns at New York Jets

Time: 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—18:00]

Site: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

TV: CBS, Directv 707

Point Spread: Jets -3 (Pinnacle)

Total: 40 (Pinnacle)

The Skinny: The New York Jets really did a great job this Offseason and seem to have improved their Roster more than anyone else in the league through effective drafting, trading and cutting so helmets off Jets first-year Head Coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan as New York AFC should be on the upswing, although it could be tough in the AFC East with the defending champs, the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins all thinking the same thing this year. Here, Jets QB Geno Smith is out so new Free Agent Ryan Fitzpatrick will be thrust into the fire in Week 1. Luckily for Fitzpatrick and the J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! they are playing the Cleveland Browns Browns! Browns! at Home at MetLife. With the line and Total so spot on here, this one’s probably best just watched by if the Department of Leans were asking for an official lean it would be a lean toward the Under.


Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills

Time: 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—18:00]

Site: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, New York

TV: CBS, Directv 705

Point Spread: Colts -2½ -120 (Pinnacle)

Total: 46 (Pinnacle)

The Skinny: So new Buffalo Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan has named Tyrod Taylor his starter and with Free Agent pickup Matt Cassel (Vikings) and EJ Manuel, Buffalo has some nice depth at the QB spot. But whether or not former Virginia Tech Hokie Taylor can shine in the Regular Season as he has done this Preseason remains to be seen. Free Agent RB LeSean McCoy (Bills) will miss this game and Buffalo cut veteran RB Fred Jackson earlier this week, so maybe WRs like Free Agent Percy Harvin (Jets), Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods can put some points on the scoreboard for the hosts. But so can Colts QB Andrew Luck—one of the three best players in the NFL—who now has veteran Free Agents RB Frank Gore (49ers) and WR Andre Johnson (Texans) and Round 1 Draft Pick WR Phillip Dorsett (Miami-Florida) to go along with speedy WR TY Hilton and those two dangerous and underrated TEs. With a shaky OL and still many questions on Defense, the Indy Colts ultimate objective this coming season might be to simply try to outscore and wear down opponents with their potent Offense. With the Bills improved, at Home and playing in the opener, it’s hard to take Indianapolis here but in a duel between Andrew Luck and Taylor here it’s obvious who will have the big edge in experience, calmness and confidence.


Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins

Site: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland

Time: 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—18:00]

TV: CBS, Directv 708

Point Spread: Dolphins-3½ (BetOnline)

Total: 43½ (BetOnline)

The Skinny: We could all collectively say, “Poor Robert Griffin III” but we don’t want to bust our stomachs (from laughing) with the new NFL season finally upon us with so many games to bet and so much Cheese to eat over the next six months now do we?. And whether it’s American Football or Soccer, there are only two seasons every year—Football Season and Not-Football Season. Here, RG III is out (Concussion) so Kirk Cousins will get the start for the Redskins and the word on the street (and on my TV) is that the players on Washington like this move and feel they have a better chance of winning with Cousins at the helm. But the Washington Redskins have seemed to regress over the past couple of years while Miami Dolphins have improved some with Ryan Tannehill at QB. But the site here and the effort the Redskins players will want to show under Cousins—along with the 3½-point spread—make this a stay-away in my eyes. It’s probably best to just try to learn a little about both teams here in the (US) nation’s capital.


Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Site: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

Time: 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—18:00]

TV: FOX, Directv 710

Point Spread: Panthers -3 -125 (5Dimes)

Total: 49 (5Dimes)

The Skinny: This is a very important game for the Carolina Panthers for a number of reasons. The Panthers lost WR Kelvin Benjamin to a freaky injury this Preseason, so QB Cam Newton and Head Coach Ron Rivera (36-30-1 ATS) need to get off to a good start confidence-wise and this team plays in a quirky division (NFC South) where all four teams could win it if they have a great season. Look for the visitors to try to pound workhorse RB James Stewart here at Jacksonville who will be without new Free Agent-signee TE Julius Thomas (Broncos; Finger) who is out for 4 weeks and will now be having surgery on his Right Hand. So Jaguars QB Blake Bortles will have to make do with what he has and this seems like a spot where the better team (Carolina) just finds a way to take care of business. Pick: Panthers -3 -125 (5Dimes)


Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams

Site: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

Time: 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m.PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—18:00]

TV: Fox, Directv 711

Point Spread: Seahawks -3½ -115 (The Greek)

Total: 41.5 (BetOnline)

The Skinny: So the defending NFC champion Seahawks haven’t looked that great this Preseason, but then again, outside of the Eagles and Vikings, nobody really has. Here, we’ll all get to see how good (or bad) this Seattle OL is and how ready to go Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch and newly acquired TE Jimmy Graham (Trade with Saints for C Max Unger) are and if QB Russell Wilson is as rusty as it sounds. Hey, Neil Young once said ”Rust never sleeps.” And by the way my back feels today, the Canadian rocker was obviously right. Also of note here some 10 days out, DB Kam Chancellor—one of the members of the Seahawks so-called Legion of Boom—is still holding out and could be missed here although the Rams and new QB Nick Foles—for whom Sam Bradford was traded to the Eagles—probably won’t come out gunning in such an important game for both teams. The Rams do have some nice weapons in RB Tre Mason and WRs Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt but Rookie RB Todd Gurley (Georgia) has had some injury issues (ACL) and may not feature too much here. Expect a low-scoring and conservative affair in which the Under looks like it may be the call with so much nervousness with both Offenses. Week 1 can often be like a First Date. Pick: Under 41.5 (BetOnline)


New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals

Site: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

Time: 4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—21:05]

TV: FOX, Directv 712

Point Spread: Cardinals -2½ -115 (5Dimes)

Total: 47½ (5Dimes)

The Skinny: QB Drew Brees (55-47-4 ATS Away) and the New Orleans Saints are in the land of the Sun to face the Arizona Cardinals in a game which will probably be a tough loss for the eventual losers. The return of Arizona QB Carson Palmer (31-40-2 ATS Home) will be part of the story here next Sunday afternoon, but the Cardinals Defense and the ability for this team to be able to score TDs will be under the microscope. For the Saints, maybe the loss will hurt a little less and the way this team played so sloppily last season on both sides of the football as well as on Special Teams makes them hard to back. Caring seems to matter. And with team heartbeat Jimmy Graham (TE) now up in the Emerald City with Dorothy and Toto, probably best to learn from this must-watch affair from suburban Phoenix, the first of the 4 o’clock (1 o’clock in West) games for the 2015/16 Regular Season.


Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers

Site: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Time: 4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—21:05]

TV: FOX, Directv 713

Point Spread: Chargers -3 (BetOnline)

Total: 45.5 (BetOnline)

The Skinny: One thing to watch here is the ability of Chargers QB Philip Rivers (41-34-1 ATS Home) who banged his hand in a Preseason game throwing a pass. In terms of betting, there surely must be better options than this one with Lions QB Matt Stafford and WRs Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate likely to do some damage on the soft grass of Qualcomm although San Diego is an impressive 4-1 ATS L5 vs. Detroit. Still, this one’s probably best just watched or used with the Lions in a 7-point, tiews-win Teaser (Detroit +10) off the board. Pass.


Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Site: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Time: 4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—21:25]

TV: CBS, Directv 714

Point Spread: Buccaneers -3 (Pinnacle)

Total: 42 (Pinnacle)

The Skinny: Fading the Titans (ATS) from Day One is one big, fat arrow in my NFL quiver this season so let’s come out firing, even if we have to back the Bucs. C’mon, they’re not that bad and Tampa has looked pretty decent at times this Preseason. Have faith in these Bucs. And we’ll see how good Round 1 Pick QB Jameis Winston (Florida State) is in an NFL Regular Season game, and, wouldn’t you know it, the former Heisman Trophy winner is again matched up with Marcus Mariota (Oregon)—also a Heisman Trophy winner, QB and top selection in April’s NFL Draft in Chicagoland. Even though the Titans are 5-1 ATS L6 against the Buccaneers at Tampa, those Tennessee Rosters were much stronger and those teams much prouder. The Titans may be the worst team in the NFL this season. Fade, Part I. Pick: Buccaneers -3 (Pinnacle)


Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders

Site: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California

Time: 4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—21:25]

TV: CBS, Directv 715

Point Spread: Bengals -3½ (BetOnline)

Total: 44 (BetOnline)

The Skinny: All eyes will be on Raiders Rookie (Alabama) WR Amari Cooper, and rightfully so, as this kid could be one of the best receivers to come into the NFL in quite some time. And with a new head Coach (Jack Del Rio), David Carr at QB and iron-legged K Sebastian Janikowski, fading the penalty- and mistake-prone Raiders here in Week 1 at Home just doesn’t feel right. And a (theoretically) big upset of Cincinnati (10-6-1 overall last season) could happen here in the Bay area which may be more than happy to move on from the MLB (Giants, A’s) season anto both the College (Stanford, Cal) and NFL (Raiders, 49ers) seasons although there is a good possibility the area will be talking about the NBA (Warriors) in late October if Oakland and San Francisco play like pundits think they will this coming season. With the Black and Silver a woeful 2-6 ATS L8 against the Bengals but 6-7 ATS L7 here in Oaktown, this seems like another stay-away and just learn some things type of game in Week 1.


Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

Site: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Time: 4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT [UK: Sunday, September 13—21:25]

TV: CBS, Directv 714

Point Spread: Broncos -5 (5Dimes)

Total: 49 (5Dimes)

The Skinny: The first thought here in the Rocky Mountains is to lean toward taking the Total Under (49, 5Dimes; Total opened at 53 )—maybe look for a 50 (or more) closer to kick off next Sunday—with Denver committed to Rushing the ball, the Broncos wanting to preserve 39-year-old QB Peyton Manning as much as possible and this being the first game of the season. Denver went a perfect 8-0 here at Home last season so for the Ravens and QB Joe Flacco to pull off the upset here in the altitude of Week 1 means that they will have to probably play the perfect game, get some breaks and win the TO battle. Easier said than done in a Time Zone (Pacific Time) three hours ahead of the Baltimore players’ Body Clocks (Eastern Time). And the Baltimore Ravens have lost much lately (Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Torrey Smith, Pernell McPhee, Owen Daniel) Roster-wise. Very much. The Broncos on the Moneyline (-200, BetOnline) seems like the safest betting route here from a side perspective. Pick: Under 49 (5Dimes).


New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Site: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Time: 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT [UK: Monday, September 14—01:30]


Point Spread: Cowboys -5 (BetOnline)

Total: 51 (BetOnline)

The Skinny: The Giants have had their share of injury problems this Offseason with DE Jason Pierre-Paul having to have a finger amputated after a Fourth of July fireworks accident and WR Victor Cruz (Doubtful, Torn Patellar Tendon) dealing with his own issues and probably best left out of this game against the NFC East rival Cowboys. Dallas has its own bunch of issues too, after shipping near-2,000-yard rusher DeMarco Murray to the Eagles and struggling mightily this Preseason (0-3, 27 PF-68 PA). Backing a team which lost its best back and has averaged on 9.0 ppg to date sounds about as good as backing a team with an aging QB (Eli Manning) that is very lucky the Washington Redskins also call their division home. Without the 2 Wins versus Washington last season, Big Blue would have been just 4-10. Lean underdog over the favorite and Over over the Under if forced in this Sunday Night Football debut from Jerry World.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons

Site: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Time: 7:10 p.m. ET/4:10 p.m. PT [UK: Tuesday, September 15—00:10]

TV: ESPN, Directv 206

Point Spread: Eagles -2½ -120 (BetOnline)

Total: 55 (BetOnline)

The Skinny: The line has been creeping up on this Monday Night Football season debut from the Peach State and if you plan on taking the Eagles at the betting window, you probably best to do so now brother and find a 2½ while you still you can. Philadelphia, QB Sam Bradford and new Free Agent RB DeMarco Murray(Cowboys) have looked very good this Preseason and the Falcons (1-2, 62 PF-67 PA) seem to have problems on Defense still. No one would be surprised if Head Coach Chip Kelly’s (17-16 ATS) Eagles blasted Atlanta here. Philadelphia is 9-4 ATS L13 vs. the Falcons. Pick: Eagles -2½ -120 (BetOnline).


Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

Site: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

Time: 10:20 p.m. ET/7:20 p.m. PT [UK: Tuesday, September 15—03:20]

TV: ESPN, Directv 206

Point Spread: Vikings -2.5 (BetOnline)

Total: 41½ (BetOnline)

The Skinny: The second Monday Night Football game of the evening and the final game of Week 1 of the NFL Regular Season will come from Santa Clara and the now 1-year-old Levi’s Stadium where the San Francisco 49ers start from scratch again with a new Head Coach (former DL Coach Jim Tomsula) and like half a new Roster. And San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick and his team will be welcoming QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Adrian Peterson and Free Agent-signee WR Mike Wallace (Dolphins) and the improved-looking Minnesota Vikings (4-0, 88 PF-45 PA) to the Bay Area, a team, which like the Eagles, has looked very good this Preseason and the Niners have lost so many players it almost seems like a vast Right Wing conspiracy. What this team has been through Roster-wise (and Coach-wise) since February is unprecedented in the NFL and that can’t be sitting well with diehard 49ers fans....who now may have to travel some 30 miles to see their team play. Woe is thee. Minnesota will want to get off to a good start and keep the positive momentum going and fellow NFC North-mates Green Bay and Detroit may have already won on Sunday. Think purple. Pick: Vikings -2.5 (BetOnline)



Let’s get crazy, let’s get nuts. So, we have one high-profile Thursday night game to kick off the new season, 13 more on Sunday—seven at 1 p.m., five at 4 p.m. and the Sunday Night Football opener—and then the two Monday Night Football openers on the slate. And by next Tuesday, we will have had all 16 Week 1 NFL games in the book and first feels for all 32 of the league’s teams. And either a good start or some more work to do for bettors. Usually the latter in the NFL where the point spreads have become tighter than a frog’s ass through the years because of Computers and the growth of trading in this popular and fun marketplace itself.

Everybody loves the NFL it seems these days. A piece of advice? Scan the board and use your betting bankroll wisely, as it seems some of the best games on the NFL board are latter in the week with two of the best (in my opinion) coming Monday night.

And if you want to try to put a sexy parlay (accumulator) together and need some creative spunk, maybe read the story here at Sportsbook Review of a 5-team NFL Week 1 parlay which is trying to turn $20 into $356, although the odds of the Patriots on the Moneyline have surely changed since this morning’s welcome news. Enjoy NFL’s Week 1 and learn as much as possible from this last weekend of Preseason games.

And remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint and with MLB still going, European Soccer leagues and College Football just starting and the NBA and NHL coming on the horizon, it’s safe to say that this is the busiest time of the year in the sports betting world and it’s very easy to get lost in the haze. Stay within yourself, search for the best line, get your amounts right and try to stick primarily with Straight bets as parlays are fun but frequent abuse may result in having to hire a Psychiatrist to deal with the one-off Losses unless betting recreationally and shooting for those parlay longshots is your style. To each his own. And, no more Deflategate. That wasn’t too omnipresent or irritating.

NFL WEEK 1 NFL BETTER-DO-IT-NOW-BRUH PICKS: Carolina Panthers -3 -125 (5Dimes), Seattle Seahawks-St. Louis Rams Under 42 (BetOnline), Buccaneers -3 (BetOnline), Baltimore Ravens-Denver Broncos Under 49 (5Dimes), Philadelphia Eagles -2½ -120 (Pinnacle), Minnesota Vikings -2.5 (Pinnacle)

Live Week 1 NFL Odds

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