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NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 1, 2016
NFL Week 1 is he and Sunday morning will feel like Christmas. The Las Vegas casinos are giving those who see the writing on the wall to capitalize on an overzealous public betting popular teams with well known players. NFL Picks Against the Spread will focus on the home dogs in Week 1 and these dogs are hungry. Let’s take a look at five games that you should be taking this week.
Denver Broncos +3 vs Carolina Panthers
This may be my favorite line of Week 1. Everyone assumes the Broncos will fall apart after a tremendous 2015 season that ended with a dominant effort over these very same Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The offense was led by a noodle armed quarterback in Peyton Manning a season ago. Trevor Siemian will be under center to start 2016 but i’m not sure there is much difference. This team will still be a team that relies on its running game and defense. Their secondary is incredible and they still have the vaunted pass rush that wrecked havoc last year. The Panthers should have another really good season that could easily find themselves in the Super Bowl yet again. They lost Josh Norman which is probably a bigger loss in perception than it reality. Their defense should be incredible yet again. Their offense gets a boost from the return of Kelvin Benjamin. Everyone is running to the windows to be the road favorite, but you shouldn’t follow suit. Despite 75% of the money coming in on the Panthers, Vegas won’t move the number off of 3. This tells me they think the Broncos are the better team and are afraid to move the number for fear of getting pounded by the sharps. The Super Bowl loser is 2-13 ATS in the last 15 games. Give me the Broncos plus the field goal. I think they win this game outright.
Pick: Broncos +3
New York Jets + 2.5 vs Cincinnati Bengals
Here we are again with a road favorite taking all the money and an opportunity for to find value betting on the home underdog. The New York Jets have Ryan Fitzpatrick back under center to recreate the Fitzmagic they found a season ago on the offensive side of the ball with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Their defense should be a rock once again especially in the front seven. The Bengals on the other hand have a ton of question marks to answer especially on the offensive side of the ball with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu leaving for new homes during the offseason. Tyler Eifert is still battling an injury that will keep him out a month or more. This will force Andy Dalton to rely on a lot of Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd which is not ideal. Their defense has is welcoming new pieces that will need work in including Karlos Dansby and Michael Johnson. Both of these teams should be in the mix when playoff time comes. For Week 1 however the Jets are absolutely the right side. Most of the public are jumping on the Bengals here causing the line to jump a little bit but it’s still under that all import field goal. If you’re patient you may find Jets +3 closer to Sunday. The Jets are another team that should enjoy the home field advantage and find a W at home.
Pick: Jets +2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars +4.5 vs Green Bay Packers
This game is one that may make little sense at first glance but hang with me. The Jaguars have a passing game that should be complemented better by the addition of Chris Ivory to go with second year back T.J. Yeldon. The defensive side of the ball continues to get better and is one loaded with young talent. The Packers get Jordy Nelson back who is the straw that stirs their drink. They are a team I love this season and one that could easily be the NFC representative come Super Bowl time. However for this game take the Jaguars. The line moved from Jaguars +5.5 to +4.5 despite 80% of the money coming in on the Packers. The smart people are rolling with the Jags and you should too!
Pick: Jaguars +4.5
Washington Redskins +3 vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Last season everything came together when Kirk Cousins seemingly figured it out. A healthy DeSean Jackson and rookie Josh Doctson are on board to help their offense continue to grow. Their defense got better adding Josh Norman to help add stability to the back end of their defense which was an absolute mess in 2015. They face a Steelers team that enters the season without Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, and the recently added Ladarius Green. This team needs figure out a ton on both sides of the ball. Their front seven is coming together but still has holes. Their secondary is so bad they took a gamble on Justin Gilbert who was a major bust with the Browns. I’m not very optimistic about this Steelers team in general this season and Washington should cover the 3 points at home.
Pick: Redskins +3
San Francisco 49ers +3 vs Los Angeles Rams
I took the 49ers a season ago in a matchup with a team that wanted to run the ball and play defense a season ago. I’m going back to that well again this time against the Los Angeles Rams. I think Todd Gurley is a special running back that should have a solid game. However Case Keenum will be the starting quarterback and is awful. His weapons outside of Gurley leave a lot to be desired. I know I can make the very same argument for the 49ers who are going to lean on running back Carlos Hyde. I think Blaine Gabbert does enough in this game to not only cover the field goal but win outright. I think their defense is better than most give credit and should be strong in games where the opposing offense is predictable. Taking the home team in prime-time is one of my gambling pillars and this game is no exception.
Pick: 49ers +3