What a year for the sin of gambling! The gates on sports betting have been battered down, and now if you want to put down figures on a sleazy Thursday night football game, you don’t need to go to Nevada—a land of fading music acts smelling vaguely of minty beef stew. Instead, you can go to Atlantic City! Just what we the doctor ordered.
We’re going to check the lines all year long and give you exactly what you need to make a considerable amount of money. No guarantees, no promises, and if you don’t hold me to it I won’t hold you to this baseball bat neither. Now let’s make some picks.
Season record: 0-0. All beginnings are endings, all endings are also endings.
ATL +1.5 @ PHI
There’s something reassuring, cosmic even, that even a team like the Philadelphia Eagles can win a Super Bowl and immediately fall to injuries and doubt. Somehow I don’t think the Nick Foles cycle continues much longer here, but just enough to give them a taste. Good things just don’t get to happen to teams in the NFC.
The past three kickoff games have failed to see the defending champions cover the spread, and you shouldn’t expect too much different this week. Movement on this line is watching bettors run away from Philadelphia.
PIT -4 @ CLE
Are you worried about Le’Veon Bell’s holdout hamstringing the Steelers offense? Well you shouldn’t be! Asides from the fact that it’s not proper for any working soul to begrudge a man demanding proper compensation for his labor, the Steelers were without Bell in 2015 and did just fine. In 10 matches without him, Pittsburgh averaged 31.9 points per game.
MIN vs. SF under 46
In time betting the under will vanish from this fair earth, all manner of disagreements resolved, the winter of our discontent and things of that nature. But in this case, I’m happy to think highly of Minnesota’s defense and San Francisco’s struggle to get the offense running will translate into a low-scoring affair.
MIA +1.5 vs. TEN
Home dogs are nice early on in the year, or so I like to believe.
CAR -3 vs. DAL
Call this one a gut play. I see a lot of numbers sites and wise guys liking Carolina and I can’t explain why. I’ll take the Panthers.
DEN -3 vs. SEA
You should read this piece by Justis Mosqueda about how Denver is a death trap early in the season. 85 percent winning in the first two weeks is insane, and it’s not a trend limited to just years where they were juggernauts.
This Broncos team may not be a title contender, but trends that stretch through 2001 or 1970 do not exclusively include title-contending teams. Remember, we saw this scenario play out last season, too. After beating the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football game during the opening week, the Broncos, off a short rest, hosted the Dallas Cowboys. The result? A 42-17 blowout to get Denver to 2-0. The team would eventually finish the year on a 3-11 stretch.
NYJ +6.5 @ DET
I don’t see the value of spotting short of a touchdown to the Lions, but this line has held steady through the week. That’s in spite of all the news that has come for both teams. It’s properly curious for a primetime game. I smell a trap, but this is the first round of picks and I’d be a fool not to include Detroit in here.
All the rest
I just said I hate betting the under, right? It’s a terrible thing, rooting for football to be constrained in numerical functionality. But given the new helmet rules and some particularly curious matchups paired with high totals, there’s a good trend here to take the snake and call it short. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.
IND -3 vs. CIN
OAK vs. LAR under 49.5
KC +3.5 @ LAC
BAL vs. BUF over 40.5
ARI -1 vs. WAS
NE -6.5 vs. HOU
GB vs. CHI under 47.5
NO vs. TB under 49.5
NYG +3 vs. JAX