NFL Week 1 Lines Released Early: Expert Betting Predictions
It is way too early to bet on the first week of NFL games. Way too early. The draft hasn't even happened yet, so most teams will have at least a couple of starters who aren't on their team right now. Several teams have quarterback questions. We haven't seen the new coaches handle their teams yet, and some have never coached before. It's crazy to consider betting on these games right now. But the lines are posted, and they are just too interesting to ignore. Here is a look at several of the more interesting lines listed at BetOnline:
Chicago (-4) vs. Green Bay: The Bears captured some magic last year, with strong defense and some surprising offense at times. But it is much easier to do that once than it is to repeat it. But I have no faith in Aaron Rodgers right now - much less than most people seem to - and their new coaching staff will require some adjustment. I like Chicago.
Minnesota (-4.5) vs. Washington: It's really hard to know what to do with Washington right now because we have no real idea what they are doing at QB. But we do know what Minnesota is doing at QB, and that's not really a good thing. I'd take Minnesota, but not happily.
New York Jets (-3.5) vs. Buffalo: Both teams need to be better with a second-year quarterback than they were last year. And they have both made some serious changes. But I still can't take either team seriously. I'll pass.
Jacksonville (+4.5) vs. Kansas City: Kansas City was impressive last year, and their QB certainly didn't have a horrible debut. But it is much easier to have relatively few expectations than it is to have a target on your back and a reigning MVP that everyone wants to humble. Jacksonville has made a lot of changes and should be solidly better, but they have been masters of disappointing me for years now. I am tempted by the home dog here. Probably too tempted.
Cleveland (-5) vs. Tennessee: Everyone loves Cleveland. Really, really loves them. It's weird. And while they are doing so much that is good, I can't shake the feeling that it's all a bit too much. I like Tennessee here, but maybe that's just because I am an old man who doesn't like kids playing on my lawn.
Carolina (+3) vs. L.A. Rams: The Rams have the burden of being the really good team that had a really bad day in the Super Bowl. Bouncing back from that - even when the loss isn't quite so ugly - is a lot for any team. Carolina is very inconsistent and frustrating, but there is still something to like. I like the home dog here again.
Seattle (-8) vs. Cincinnati: The Bengals finally changed their coach - something that was only a decade late. Zac Taylor is an interesting choice, but there is going to be a serious learning curve, and things will be rough at the start. But I don't love where Seattle is at. And though they didn't screw up the Russell Wilson contract situation, there are still more issues than are ideal, and I don't trust Pete Carroll anymore. This is a pass for me at this price.
L.A. Chargers (-3) vs. Indianapolis: This is a really interesting game against teams that have a chance to be pretty good this year. The Colts felt like they were probably a little ahead of schedule last year. But they have a much younger quarterback, and probably a little better one. I'll take the Colts and the points in this one.
Arizona (pick) vs. Detroit: Are we going to get to see Kyler Murray in this one? And will he be enough to make a difference here? I'll take the Cardinals only because it's more fun.
New England (-6) vs. Pittsburgh: The Patriots are the eternal team that will never die. They have faced a bunch of changes this offseason, but that's nothing new. And they own a whole lot of real estate in the heads of the Steelers. I don't know if I really want to bet the Patriots and give up this many points. But I sure don't want to bet on Pittsburgh.
Oakland (-2.5) vs. Denver: Oakland is a total and utter circus. I couldn't have any less faith in Jon Gruden if I tried. He's just ridiculous - like a walking cartoon. There is not a ton I love about Denver, but I'll take Joe Flacco and company over the bizarre mix of oddities that they have in Oakland.
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