Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 1
by Dave Schwab - 9/3/2014
A new NFL season gets underway this Thursday night, and after a successful run in 2013 of tracking the NFC East with weekly picks that returned close to $2,500 to $100 bettors, I am back for another year of previews and picks. Philadelphia is favored to repeat as division champs, but BetOnline's futures odds for all four teams suggest a tight race until the bitter end.
Each week of the season I will briefly preview all the games in the NFC East using BetOnline's NFL betting odds and highlight my top play with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System. I will be tracking the results as the season progresses with the goal of returning another solid profit with my picks.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m.)
Jacksonville's prospects for a dramatic turnaround from last season's straight-up 4-12 record do not look so good with a projected win total of just five games. It comes into this matchup as a 10.5-point road underdog with rookie sensation Blake Bortles on the bench and Chad Henne penciled in as the Jaguars starting quarterback. The one thing in their favor is a 12-3 record against the spread in their last 15 season openers.
There is little doubt that the Eagles will be able to put some points on the board against a Jacksonville defense that was ranked 28th last season in points allowed, but the big question mark in this contest is can Philadelphia's defense play up to the same level of its high-powered offense. The total has stayed "under" in seven of the Eagles last nine season openers, and the total for this game is set at 52.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m.)
The 49ers spent most of the offseason as one of the top favorites to win the NFC this year. After multiple off-field issues with player personnel and a less-than-stellar performance in the preseason, some red flags have been raised that this perennial contender is about to take a big step backwards this year. Their 8-2-1 record ATS in their last 11 season openers could be put to the test as 4.5-point road favorites over the Cowboys. The total has been set at 51.
Dallas is another team that has been going in the wrong direction with the betting public in a number of futures odds and prop bet odds. The moneyline on a projected win total of eight games heavily favors the under at -240. The Cowboys' defense suffered a number of key losses through free agency and injuries. The really bad news is that these all came after this unit finished the 2013 season ranked near the bottom of the league in a number of major categories. Dallas is just 1-7 SU in its last eight games as a home underdog.
New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions (Monday, Sept. 9, 7:10 p.m.)
The Giants will be looking to quickly erase the memory of last season's 0-6 SU start with a win right out of the gate. New York did rally to finish 7-9 in 2013, but it comes into Monday's game as a 5.5-point road underdog. The total for this NFC clash has been set at 47. The key to a fast start lies in Eli Manning's hands. His inability to take care of the ball through multiple interceptions led to New York's dismal start, but he still has the ability to win games by making all the right throws when he has to.
Detroit's slide last season to a 7-9 record came at the end of the season after posting a solid 6-2 SU start. New head coach Jim Caldwell has quite a bit of talent to work with on offense, especially in the passing game. The Lions' defense needs to improve at stopping the pass after finishing last season ranked 23rd in the league in yards allowed. The good news is that Detroit is 8-3 ATS in its last eight season openers.
NFC East 'Pick of the Week'
Washington Redskins at Houston Texans (Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m.)
The worst-to-first-to-worst tale of the Redskins over the past three seasons has resulted in yet another coaching change under team owner Dan Snyder. Jay Gruden takes over the helm, and he has been immediately tasked with returning third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III to the form that made him a force his rookie year. Washington added wide receivers' DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts to help the cause, but the main issue remains a defense that was ranked 30th in the NFL in points allowed.
The first-to-worst collapse of Houston from 12-4 SU in 2012 to just two wins last season has been well documented, but with a defense that just added Jadeveon Clowney to one that already had JJ Watt, a quick return to its winning ways is not out of the question. The offense may struggle early to find its form under new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but this Texans' defense should keep them in every game they play.
Washington comes into the new season with a six-game SU losing streak as road underdogs and it is 1-5 ATS. Houston is looking for a fast start to snap a 12-game losing streak, and it gets the job done at home by keeping RG III under wraps to cover the 2.5 points.
3-Unit Play Take Houston (-2.5) over Washington
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