It’s finally here.
It sure feels as though if it’s been a lot longer than 7 months ago that the Broncos finished off their 24-10 thumping of the Panthers in last year’s Super Bowl.
It’s not that we haven’t had football to watch. The CFL has had our attention for three months now, and NCAA football kicked off last weekend.
But there’s just something about NFL football – its concussion and domestic violence and other legal issues be damned.
There’s just something about betting on NFL football as well.
We’d already made our feelings known about the Thursday night Super Bowl rematch between Carolina and Denver, though we didn’t post an official pick for that game. Sometimes it’s good to take a wait-and-see approach, and we wanted to see Trevor Siemian play one regular season game before getting involved with the Broncos.
(He looked pretty damn good.)
But there are a few other games on the Week 1 NFL lines that we’re ready to take a swing at.
First, we’ll list our favourite Week 1 NFL betting picks. Then, at the bottom we’ve listed Week 1 NFL Proline odds and sportsbook odds.
WEEK 1 NFL BETTING PICKS
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) September 8, 2016
We’re high on this Buccaneers team this year, even taking them as a darkhorse pick to win the NFC South at +700 odds.
A lot would have to go right for Tampa to achieve that, but this team is certainly capable of a .500 season, and that starts with taking care of business against an Atlanta squad the Bucs beat twice last season.
Jameis Winston is now in his second season and hopefully can cut down on his biggest weakness as a rookie: turnovers (though that was also his biggest problem at Florida State – on the field, at least.)
He’s supported by an improved running game, and Tampa’s also made some upgrades on defence.
Atlanta is pretty much a one-trick pony on offence with WR Julio Jones, who is banged up (ankle) and has been limited in practice.
The Falcons defence will probably challenge New Orleans for being the worst in the division, and the Bucs have the big-play potential to capitalize.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 9, 2016
We’ll use a teaser here to move the Browns from +3.5 to +10 and the Raiders from +1 to +7.5. Now, both teams can lose by one touchdown (the Browns could even lose by a TD and a field goal) and we won’t lose our bet.
Cleveland is playing an Eagles team starting a rookie QB (Carson Wentz). We saw in the Denver game how even if a new quarterback plays well, they’re still prone to costly mistakes (Siemian threw two interceptions), and it’s difficult for their team to win comfortably. It’ll be even tougher for the Eagles to pull away in this one, since their defence isn’t nearly what the Broncos’ is.
— Today’s Pigskin (@TodaysPigskin) September 7, 2016
Oakland has improved a lot over the past couple of seasons and looks like a legitimate playoff contender. The Saints are no longer what they used to be, especially at home where they were once virtually unbeatable. Again, we’ll challenge the home team to win by more than a TD.
Jaguars GM Caldwell: “We can match up with virtually almost anybody.” https://t.co/tuK83cHWNB
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) September 8, 2016
Taking advantage of an inflated line at Bodog, which lists the Jags at +6 while almost all other sportsbook has them at +4.5.
That’s the Packers effect, where a public darling lays more points than it should, especially against an unpopular team like the Jaguars.
Like Oakland, Jacksonville has been improving the past couple of years, but under the radar because they’ve never really been in the playoff hunt. Now they have QB Blake Bortles going into this third season and an improved defence.
As good as the Packers are, they’re just 17-15 on the road in their last 4 seasons. This is hardly an invincible team away from Lambeau Field, and laying 6 points here is too much.
Week 1 NFL Proline Odds (PlayNow.com)