The 2016 NFL point spreads were released a few weeks ago. And even though we are still months away from the NFL football season, bettors will nevertheless begin to obsess over lines and try to get an early edge on the upcoming season. Many spreads, particularly late in the year, could offer loads of value as the oddsmakers cannot predict how any team might perform during a random Week 10-injuries, momentum, and chemistry play a huge part in a team's season, and those factors are difficult to account for. Since the spreads are out, let's take a closer look at a few of the most intriguing divisional matchup lines with predictions and analysis.
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Week 2 : New England Patriots -6.5 vs. Miami Dolphins: This matchup is intriguing not because of the game itself, but because of the large 6.5-point spread. New England quarterback Tom Brady is still in the thick of the "Deflategate" mess (Roger Goodell just won't give up) as his four-game suspension was re-instated by an appeals court, and the most likely outcome is that the four-time Super champion will in fact miss those games. If Brady is out, would anyone back Jimmy Garoppolo at -6.5 versus the Dolphins? Who knows, the Patriots could still cover this matchup, but in tough division game without Brady, taking the points looks enticing. This game opened at 9.5 at Sportsbook.ag before the Brady ruling.
Week 4 : Carolina Panthers -4.5 at Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta always plays Carolina tough and ended up stopping the Panthers' quest for a perfect season last year. Cam Newton and company will have a huge task heading into 2016 after coming off a disappointing Super Bowl performance, and a road matchup against the Falcons will be one of their first opportunities to prove they are up for the task. A win and cover here would prove that last season wasn't a fluke for Carolina.
Week 7 : Arizona Cardinals pick'em versus Seattle Seahawks: Seattle versus Arizona has been a huge NFC West matchup for quite some time. And with San Francisco self-combusting over the last two seasons, Arizona is the only team standing in the way of Seattle's division reign. The Cardinals tend to be an afterthought until late in the season. However, the team has an excellent defense and could easily produce another 13-3 record. If both teams come into the matchup healthy, Arizona has value as a pick'em.
Week 12 : Denver Broncos -1.5 versus Kansas City Chiefs: Denver's quarterback situation is still up in the air and finding a replacement for Peyton Manning may take more than one season. However, Denver still has the defensive chops to stay in the division race, and this matchup against Kansas City might go a long way in proving just how good Denver will be in 2016. Both teams managed to win over 10 games last season. And with Oakland and San Diego still being Oakland and San Diego, the AFC West will come down to race between these two teams.
Week 15 : Cincinnati Bengals pick'em versus Pittsburgh Steelers: The AFC North is another tight division race with the Bengals finishing last season with a 12-4 record, while the Steelers snuck into the playoffs in the wild card spot. These two teams will play each other in Week 2, but the deciding factor in who wins the division will probably come from this game. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati split the regular-season series last year, with each team winning on the road. However, the Steelers won the most important matchup of the year-a road victory during the wild-card round of the postseason. This spread will almost certainly move once the year progresses, so there seems to be value at a pick'em for the Bengals.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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