An Early Look at Week 1 NFL Odds in the NFC East
by Dave Schwab - 5/21/2014
Last NFL season I did a brief weekly preview of all the games in the NFC East along with my "NFC East Pick of the Week" using Doc's Sports Unit Betting System. My goal before the season started was to return a profit of $1,000 on my picks, but I blew that number away with a record of 13-4 that provided a profit of $3,470 on a $100 wager.
Cantor Gaming in Las Vegas has recently released its opening betting odds for every game in the NFL this upcoming season, so I decided to take an early look at Week 1 in the NFC East as well as make a pick on one of the games.
Washington Redskins at Houston Texans (Sunday, Sept. 7, 1 p.m.)
The Redskins followed up an unexpected run to the NFC East title in 2012 behind rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III with a dismal 3-13 campaign in 2013 behind second-year quarterback RGIII. Washington fans are hoping that the third year will be the charm for their talented-but-inconsistent signal caller. What they really have to hope for is an improvement of a defense that was ranked 31st in the NFL in points allowed.
The fall from grace was even swifter and deeper for the Texans in 2013. After being a perennial playoff contender for the past few seasons, they closed out last year's regular season with 14 straight losses to finish 2-14 on the year. Speaking of defense, the biggest storyline in Houston for this game will be the debut of former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft.
Washington has been opened as a 2.5-point road underdog against the Texans, with the total listed at 46.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Sept. 7, 1 p.m.)
Jacksonville followed up a 2-14 record in 2012 with a 4-12 mark in 2013, so needless to say it has been able to add some talent to its roster through early picks in the draft. This year the Jaguars selected Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick. It's too early to tell if he will be making his NFL debut as the team's new starter, but I would definitely lean that way at this time.
The Eagles won the NFC East last season at 10-6, and most of the futures odds out there have them listed as slight favorites to repeat. They lost one of their primary weapons on offense with the outright release of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, but all eyes in Philly will be on third-year quarterback Nick Foles, who is firmly in place as the team's starter in head coach Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense.
Philadelphia is listed as an 11-point favorite at home in this inter-conference clash, and the total has been set at 52.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, Sept. 7, 4:25 p.m.)
San Francisco has been to three straight NFC title games, and it made one trip to the Super Bowl in the last three seasons, so there is a genuine sense of urgency that its window of opportunity may close if it comes up just short again this season. Most of the pieces from this impressive run remain intact, but the pressure will be dialed up on Colin Kaepernick to prove he belongs among the elite quarterbacks in the league.
If you want to find a pressure situation in the NFL for the 2014 season, just head to Big D. This franchise has been the poster child for mediocrity over the past three years with 8-8 marks in all three seasons. Questions are bound to surround quarterback Tony Romo after coming off back surgery, and there are some major question marks with a defense that was ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every major category in 2013.
Dallas will open the season as a 3.5-point home underdog in the house that Jerry Jones built, and the total for this game has been set at 48.
NFC East Week 1 Pick
New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions (Monday, Sept. 8, 7:10 p.m.)
The Giants shot themselves in the foot last season with a 0-6 start that was littered with turnovers and mistakes. They righted the ship with a 7-3 mark down the stretch, but it was a case of too little too late. You know that head coach Tom Coughlin will be preaching the virtues of a fast start right from the team's first mini-camp this month all the way up to the opening kickoff of this game.
The Lions' bandwagon is starting to take on some extra weight with some of the football experts out there as the team to beat in the NFC North this season. Detroit did a good job of addressing some key team needs through both free agency and the draft, but I am not convinced that it can even win this season opener at home let alone be the class of the division after last season's collapse down the stretch.
Look for the Giants to successfully reverse things with a fast start by winning this game straight up on the road as four-point underdogs. I also like the total to go "over" the 46-point opening line.
I will be back before Week 1 of the regular season with my official picks for NFC East games.
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