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NFL Week 1 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Posted by in NFL Picks on September 8th, 2010 | 9 Comments
NFL Week 1 Picks Against the Spread

THE PASS RUSH: It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

The NFL season is finally here! We started off the college football season in week 1 with a bang. We opened Thursday night going 2-0. Some picks didn’t pan out out on Saturday, but like I mentioned throughout the week, there weren’t any games that I really loved so I played the week rather lightly. I did end up hitting a 4-team teaser though at 2:1 odds, which helped build up the bank roll going into Monday Night’s big game between the Virginia Tech and Boise State. By taking advantage of the line movement, I nailed my teaser of Boise State and the over as my biggest play of the week with plenty of ammo ready for week 1 of the NFL.  Onto this week’s picks against the spread — a.k.a. your NFL Cliff Notes.  Don’t forget to sign up for the pick ’em league (winner gets a free NFL Shop custom t-shirt)!  League sign in info is on the right.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -4.5

Great game to open the season on Thursday. Last year in the playoffs I called that the Saints would win by exactly 3 points and that the Vikings would cover the 3.5 points that they were getting. Guess what happened? Precisely that. That was my moment of glory. What will happen this season on opening day? Given that the Vikings are without Sydney Rice, I’m more confident in the Saints covering this time around. Plus, add in the homecoming from their Super Bowl, which should have their entire team and fans amped up, and the Saints should cruise to a victory with ease. However, I don’t expect the Saints to extend their lead past 11 points in this game, which means that the Vikings will always be within one possession of covering. I think the Saints win this one by a TD, but with the Vikings always being within a possession of covering, it’s not necessarily a sure bet.

Prediction: Saints 30 – Vikings 23

Pick Against the Spread: Saints -4.5 (Confidence: 3/5)


DENVER BRONCOS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS -3

Two teams that I absolutely hate betting on or even against for that matter, but the Jaguars are the clear play. I have a lot of respect for Denver’s coach, but I’ll take the Jaguars at home. The loss of LB Elvis Dumerville will be a huge blow for Denver’s D. MJD should have a big day and that usually means a Jaguar’s W. I just don’t like betting on a team that has no passing game, but Denver doesn’t have much of one either and both of Denver’s backs are banged up.

Prediction: Jaguars 23 – Broncos 17

Pick Against the Spread: Jaguars -3 (Confidence: 2.5/5)


OAKLAND RAIDERS @ TENNESSEE TITANS -6.5

I loved betting against the Raiders last season until they began covering more often is the second half of the season. However, I think the Raiders have a shot at being a 7-9 football team this season with Jason Campbell leading the offense. The Raiders defense often showed flashes of being a top 10 defense in the league.  One injury to note, RB Michael Bush is questionable week 1. I’ll give the nod to to the Titans to win by 7, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Raiders covered in this one.

Prediction: Titans 24 – Raiders 17

Pick Against the Spread: Titans -6.5 (Confidence: 1/5)


CAROLINA PANTHERS @ NEW YORK GIANTS -6.5

Eli usually starts the season strong before starting his decline once the weather starts getting cold.  The Giants D should keep the Panthers running game under control (or not). The last time the Panthers played the Giants, which was just last December, the Panthers absolutely embarrassed the Giants, winning by a score of 41-9. However, you can chalk that one up to injuries or too much Christmas partying. This is a revenge game for the Giants. Look for them to come out firing early on the Panthers. Panthers QB Matt Moore was solid last season, but he’s been shaky thus far in the preseason. Panthers 8th ranked D may keep this one very close with the high spread though.

Prediction: Giants 24 – Panthers 17

Pick Against the Spread: Giants -6.5 (Confidence: 2.5/5)


CINCINNATI BENGALS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -4

New England has been dominant at home, but my gut is saying that the Bengals can pull off the upset, or at a minimum cover in this game. These teams defenses were ranked 5th and 6th in the league last year, both giving up about 18 points so don’t be surprised if you see a tight battle going into the 4th. The Bengals have plenty off offensive weapons to keep up with Tom Brady and company. Become familiar with TE Jermaine Gresham and WR Jordan Shipley — they may be the Bengals best kept secrets. The Patriots lost to the Ravens at home in the playoffs last year, so they’re not invincible at home. I’m expecting a tight, low-scoring game due to two superb defenses. There are a lot of excellent linebackers on both teams that will be roaming the field. I say the Patriots come out of this by by 3.

Prediction: Patriots 20 – Bengals 17

Pick Against the Spread: Bengals +4 (Confidence: 1/5)


CLEVELAND BROWNS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS -3

Two terrible teams. Both complete jokes. I loved betting against both of them last year. If I’m forced to pick between these two, I’ll go with the Bucs at home and move on. However, the Browns defense will improve upon their 31st ranking this season, so don’t get too excited just yet. If the Browns running game is clicking with Jerome Harrison, mixed in with some Joshua Cribbs wild cat, don’t be surprised if the Browns pull off the upset.

Prediction: Buccaneers 20 – Browns 16

Pick Against the Spread: Bucs -3 (Confidence: 1.5/5)


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS -2 @ HOUSTON TEXANS

The Texans are one of those teams on the verge of entering the playoffs, but they’re stuck in an incredibly hard division. They also always competitive when playing the Colts. Although the Colts are 6-0 against the Texans in the last 3 years, Houston is 3-3 ATS. The last time the Colts met the Texans in Houston as 3-point dogs, the Colts won 35-27. I’m expecting a similar outcome, but in slightly lower-scoring affair. I’m loving this Colts defense that gave up just an average of 19.2 PPG last season and now they have Bob Sanders back and added another pass rusher to their arsenal in TCU’s Jerry Hughes with their 1st-round draft pick this year. Although the Texans are improving, I don’t think they’re ready to top the Colts just yet.

Prediction: Colts 27 – Texans 20

Pick Against the Spread: Colts -2 (Confidence: 3/5)


MIAMI DOLPHINS -3 @ BUFFALO BILLS

I’m all over the Dolphins in this one. With the addition of Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins finally have a legitimate receiving threat for the improving Chad Henne to go along with their superior running game. Henne threw for over 300 yards in 3 of his last 5 games. Their defense had some ups and downs, but there’s no doubt that it’s an improving unit. Miami beat up on Buffalo in week 3 of the season last year 38-10, but dropped the game in Buffalo 31-14. Fred Jackson got them best of the Dolphins that game, and he’s questionable this game. T.O. also contributed 95 yards with 5 receptions and a TD, and we all know where he is now. The Dolphins were also without Ronnie Brown in that one and Henne had 3 INTs. If Henne plays more like he did during the final stretch of the season, I don’t see how the Dolphins don’t come out on top in this one. With no receiving threat opposite Lee Evans, I don’t see how the Bills offense does well when Miami just stacks the box to stop the Bills rushing attack (rookie C.J. Spiller). With the Bills 30th ranked rushing defense, the Dolphins should run wild in this one like they did early in the season last year. Although 69% of the consensus is with the Dolphins, 7/10 experts are taking the Bills which is puzzling.

Prediction: Dolphins 27 – Bills 13

Pick Against the Spread: Dolphins -3 (Confidence: 3.5/5)


DETROIT LIONS @ CHICAGO BEARS -7

I’m one of the people that is expecting the Lions to finally show some signs of improvement. With Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Pettigew, Scheffler, Kevin Smith, and Jahvid Best, they have all the offensive weapons they need to be competitive this year. I don’t think a 6-10 season is out of the question. They’ve also used draft picks to bulk up those offensive and defensive lines. The secondary has always been a concern so the Lions added a talented CB in Chris Houston. Don’t forget that DE Kyle Vanden Bosh is also on that Lions line with Ndamukong Suh. I’m seeing a lot of good things in the Lions, so I think they have a real shot at covering in this game.

The Bears D is always tough. With a Brian Urlacher back in the mix with Lance Briggs and now Julius Peppers, the Bears D will be tough to score points on. I’m just not sold on their offense and offensive coordinator Mike Martz will be ready to change that view with Cutler’s cannon for an army and speedy receiving corp. If you want to look into preseason games, the Bears have been atrocious while the Lions have been able to put up points. I’m sticking with my gut and going with the Lions to cover, but if that Bears D clamps down, don’t be surprised if the Lions get embarrassed in their opener. The Bears demolished the Lions twice last year, 48-24 at home and then 37-23 on the road. I think the Bears win, but the Lions keep it closer than a lot of people think with their revamped defense and suddenly respectable, but young offense.

Prediction: Bears 27 – Lions 23

Pick Against the Spread: Lions +7 (Confidence: 2.5/5)


ATLANTA FALCONS -2.5 @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Big Ben is out, but the Steelers are still capable of winning with Dennis Dixon. The Steelers rarely, if ever, lose at home thanks to a strong run game and solid defense. Keep in mind that Dennis Dixon made his debut on the road against the Ravens last year and the Ravens barely won. The final score was 20-17 and I believe the Ravens were down 17-13 on the last drive if my memory serves me correct before Ray Rice took over on that drive. Pitt was 8.5-point underdogs in that one and I craftily picked a teaser of the Ravens -0.5 and the over 28.5 — how do you like that call?

I’m expecting big things from the Falcons this year though. They drafted LB Sean Witherspoon and added LB Mike Peterson from the Jaguars to solidify their front 7 led by Johnny Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux. Matt Ryan should also make strides of improvement in his 3rd season after developing a great rapport with TE Tony Gonzalez.

Despite the Steelers home-field advantage, without Big Ben, I think the Falcons are the play to make, but I’m not touching this one since the Steelers are 50-22-3 in their last 75 home games, including a 45-17-1 record in Heinz Field.

Prediction: Falcons 20 – Steelers 17

Pick Against the Spread: Falcons -2.5 (Confidence: 2/5)


GREEN BAY PACKERS -4 @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

I’m an Eagles fan, so I have to abstain from this game. I’m confident in Kevin Kolb and the Eagles offense and the Eagles have a tremendous defense, but I don’t like the fact that Aaron Rodgers is rolling into town opening week. The Eagles have a tough schedule this year, which sucks for me. In order for the Eagles to win this game, they’ll need to produce turnovers which they’ve always shown they can do, but the Packers look to challenge the Saints this year as the NFC’s best team.


ARIZONA CARDINALS -4 @ ST. LOUIS RAMS

St. Louis is another team I love betting against. This game is very enticing to take, but with the loses that Arizona has faced this offseason (Kurt Warner retired, Anquan Boldin to Ravens, Antrel Rolle to Giants, Carlos Dansby to Dolphins), their team will be taking a major step back in the NFC West. However, they’ve added Jerry Porter to make up for the Dansby loss and WRs Early Doucet and Steve Breaston should be plenty for the Cardinals passing attack. I’m also looking for Derek Anderson to bounce back with his cannon for an arm and three great receivers.

Despite the loses, you still have to go with the Cardinals. With the loss of the Rams top receiving threat (Donnie Avery), all 11 players will be locked on Stephen Jackson and the Rams should struggle to find points. Although Sam Bradford may be legit, he’s still a rookie quarterback that the Rams will develop slowly and the Rams give up a ton of sacks. The Rams had the second worst D in the league giving up 27.7 PPG. We’ll see if the defensive-minded Coach Spagnuolo can turn that D around this year. Arizona is 7-0 (5-2 ATS) in their last 7 against the Rams and that’s who I’ll be siding with here.

Prediction: Cardinals 24 – Rams 13

Pick Against the Spread: Cardinals -4 (Confidence: 3.5/5)


SAN FRANSISCO 49ERS -2.5 @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

The AFC West is the 49ers division to claim. With a strong defense (ranked 4th last year) and an finally a solid offense, I can see the 49ers going 10-6 this season. With Alex Smith gelling with Vernon Davis, coupled with Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and an improving offensive line, the 49ers will win a lot of games this season. I’m also expecting the Seahawks to bounce back this season as they were riddled with injuries last season, but I still feel that their an 8-8 team or worse. I think this is one of the top games of the week and wished I grabbed this one when the line opened at -1.5. At Covers.com, 76% of the fans like the 49ers to cover while 6/7 give their stamp of approval to them as well. Everyone thinks that this is the game to take this week and I will agree.

Prediction: 49ers 24 – Seahawks 10

Pick Against the Spread: 49ers -2.5 (Confidence: 4/5)


DALLAS COWBOYS -3.5 @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Some are picking the Cowboys to win the NFC this year. I don’t like hearing that as and Eagles fan, but I cannot deny how talented their football team is. Although I’m picking the Cowboys in this one, don’t be surprised with a Redskins cover. The Redskins have had a top 10 defense in five of their last six years and have a veteran QB in Donovan McNabb. The Cowboys defeated the Redskins twice last year 17-10 and 7-6. The year before that Washington upset the Cowboys 26-24 in Dallas and lost 14-10 at home. These teams know each other well, so based on their history, you can anticipate a tight, low-scoring defensive battle. I’ll take the Cowboys, but I’m not going to be overly-confident in the cover based on the way their last 4 games have panned out. They are also dealing with some injuries along their offensive line, which could pose a problem.

Prediction: Cowboys 20 – Redskins 16

Pick Against the Spread: Cowboys -3.5 (Confidence 2.5/5)


BALTIMORE RAVENS @ NEW YORK JETS -2

This is a very tough game to call. Two tough defenses, two solid offenses that added a lot of pieces in the offseason. My initial reaction was the Ravens. The Ravens faced the Jets early last season in September and came out on top 24-23. You also have to keep in mind that the Jets were gifted a playoff birth last season after starting the season 4-9 thanks to 2 W’s in the last two weeks on teams that were resting starters. Although they had the league’s best D, Baltimore had the 3rd best D. When it came to offense, the Ravens were ranked 13th while the Jets were ranked 20th. 60% of the Covers.com fans are siding with the Ravens and they’ve picked up 9/11 experts to side with them. It’s going to be a tight, defensive battle. I’ll side with the Ravens, but with the Jets at home on Monday Night, that’s clearly in their favor. I rarely ever want to bet against a home team on Monday Night.

Prediction: Ravens 16 – Jets 13

Pick Against the Spread: Ravens +2 (Confidence: 2/5)


SAN DIEGO CHARGERS -5.5 @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Chiefs were another team that I loved betting against as they started the season 0-4 ATS before going 7-5 ATS in the last three quarters of the season. Believe me, they burned me a few times in that stretch, but at least I made money off ’em early before those lines got higher and higher every week. The Chiefs were just 1-7 at home last year with their sole win over Pittsburgh as 10.5-point underdogs — go figure — that’s the NFL for you. The Chargers have a history of taking KC to the woodshed with 43-14 and 37-7 wins over them last season.

I’m not overly worried about the loss of Vincent Jackson. It hurts, but the Chargers can still win without him as they have two young talented receivers who I think are ready to step up for Phillip Rivers. The one thing to worry about if you take the Chargers is their run D that was ranked 20th last season. They’ll give up a lot of yards to Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. With Charlie Weis as the Chiefs offensive coordinator, he may help turn that team around, but I still see them as a 6-10 team this season while the Chargers are still the class of the AFC West. The Chargers simply have the Chiefs number and until I see the Chiefs compete against Chargers, I will likely bet against them. One thing to look for this season is an improved Chiefs defense which they boosted this year with FS Eric Berry after adding DE Tyson Jackson and DE Glen Dorsey in past drafts as 1st-round choices to anchor their 3-4 scheme with the talented CB Brandon Flowers (5 INTs last season) at corner. The Chiefs have the defensive pieces, are they ready to step up this season?  I would make this pick a 3.5/5, but the home team on Monday Night factor is keeping me from making that move.

Prediction: Chargers 24 – Chiefs 17

Pick Against the Spread: Chargers -5.5 (Confidence: 3/5)


CONCLUSION

There’s a couple nice games to take a look at. I’ll be giving my consideration to: (1) San Fransisco; (2) Miami; (3) Arizona; (4) San Diego; and (5) Indianapolis. I don’t like when there’s 5 road teams in there, but that’s sometimes the way it works out. If you want a interesting teaser throw into the mix, you can can take San Fransisco +4.5, Miami +4, Arizona +3, and Colts +4, which will pay 2:1 odds. Doesn’t look bad, right? San Fransisco warrants a 4/5 pick followed by Miami and Arizona at 3.5/5.

Best of luck to you this week!

What's your favorite pick this week?

  • San Fransisco (48%, 44 Votes)
  • Miami (24%, 22 Votes)
  • San Diego (18%, 16 Votes)
  • Indianapolis (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Arizona (3%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 91

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Symphony of Destruction



9 Responses to NFL Week 1 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread:

  1. livinitup

    Date: Sep 08, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Sup vegas, good to hear from you again. love your niners pick. Forsett is really the hawks only major offensive weapon. Hasselbeck is OK but he has noone to throw to. against that run D of the niners I just don’t see how the hawks are going to score. 10 points like you had said at the most. which means the niners only have to get 14. Not sure how it’s going to effect the game but weather right now is calling for showers all day in Seattle on Sunday. I know you said 8-8 but I have a feeling the hawks may be this years TB, Raiders, Detroit (teams to bet against from last year)

  2. livinitup

    Date: Sep 08, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    BTW sportsbetting.com is offering -2.5 for the game.

  3. Vegas Martin

    Date: Sep 08, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Good to see that you’re back and posting some feedback for me to check out. Can’t beat giving up less than a FG in this game. Seahawks will be hard pressed to score and 49ers offense should be much improved. Good luck brother!

  4. Brandon Phillips

    Date: Sep 09, 2010 at 7:56 am

    If you have read our blog before you know that I usually leave most of the NFL plays to Vegas Martin, as (1) I don’t care for the NFL, and (2) I have rarely had much success in betting NFL games. That being said, I have noted a couple things coming into the NFL season that I think will be true throughout most of the NFL season.

    (1) Bet against Minnesota: For every action there is a reaction. The Vikings played about as well as they could have played in almost every game last year. Everything fell into place and they had a dream year. I just don’t believe they can repeat the effort they gave last year. Favre is another year older and I really believe he doesn’t have much left in the tank. Yes there will be moments that he will WOW us, but overall you are asking a lot out of him to perform like he did last year, statistically his best season ever. His core set of receivers is questionable this year due to health and injury reasons, Peterson, while great, has serious fumble issues and is always an injury risk. Plus their schedule is tougher this year and the teams that they were able to beat last year have improved. Bottom Line the Vikings will be challenged in most games this year and by the mid-season don’t be surprised if this team is .500 or worse. Honestly, I don’t even think Favre finishes the season, especially after the fall out of playoff contention.

    (2) Ravens OVER. Over the past, what, 10 years or so, you rarely looked to play the Ravens over the posted total as their offense has been weak at best and their defense has consistently been one of the top three defensives in football. However, I think you will see a shift in the guard this year. Flaco leads a very balanced offensive attack that will be able to score through the air and on the ground. On the other side of the ball, their defense, while probably still one of the top defenses in football, is another year older and starting to show some signs of weakness. I predict they give up a few more points than normal this year and if you get on it early you may find a few spots where you get a low total based primarily on past performance of their offense and defense.

    and (3) Play against da Bears. Until Cutler can show that he can complete a pass or not throw 3 or 4 INTs on a weekly basis I will gladly take the points that they will be laying in most of their games.

    The Play: Saints (-5)

  5. Brian

    Date: Sep 12, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Do you have any changes to your picks now on game day, due to weather injuries?

    Do you mind listing best to worst
    Thanks

  6. Mike

    Date: Sep 12, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I normally wouldn’t pick over/unders but that Miami/Buffalo over is looking awfully tempting at 39 points. You got to figure Miami will put up points but it comes down to Buffalo scoring and I think they will.

    I am a Dolphins fan and they made quite a few pickups/changes on defense and I am not sure if they will shut them down week 1.

  7. Mike

    Date: Sep 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Thank god I just limited myself to the spread of that game, so far that would have been a bad choice :)

    Took a $25 Bet on the Lions with the spread and another straight up and thats look great as well too.

  8. Vegas Martin

    Date: Sep 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Well played Mike. I’m only playing two games today. I won Miami -3 and now have San Fran -3. Good luck.

  9. Dan

    Date: Sep 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Wow…..49’rs…..Wow. What a choke!

    Good thing the Lions and the Steelers (thankfully with an OT win/cover) came through.

    I thought San Fran would be the ‘easy’ pick.

    Lets go Ravens

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