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NFL Week 1 Picks

by Scott Burgess on Thursday, August 29th, 2013

The 2013 regular season is days away and oddsmakers already have the lines out for betting experts to make their NFL Week 1 Picks against. The Denver Broncos kick off the season as home favorites against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, on Thursday September 5th. 13 games will be played on Sunday Sept 8th and there are two Monday Night Football games on Monday September 9th.  Be sure to check out the Week 1 Football Point Spreads as I make my Week 1 Picks.

ravens-at-broncosThursday, September 5th

Baltimore at Denver (-8.5) (O/U-49.5)
The Ravens earned a 38-35 overtime victory over the Broncos as 9.5-point road underdogs in last season’s AFC divisional round, with QB Joe Flacco throwing for 331 yards and three touchdowns. The Ravens lost a lot in the offseason, but QB Joe Flacco took a jump into elite status with his stunning postseason performance last year. Baltimore also has one of the best coaches in the game in John Harbaugh and will be more than prepared coming into this game. Denver only got better in the offseason too with the acquisition of WR Wes Welker giving Manning yet another top target. Denver’s WR corps could be the best in the league between Welker, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas and Baltimore will have trouble matching up in its first game without the veteran presence of Ed Reed steadying the secondary.

The Ravens went 6-9-1 ATS during the 2012 regular season and 3-4-1 ATS on the road. The Broncos went 10-6 ATS on the season and 5-3 ATS at home. The Ravens have covered the number in their last five season openers.

Sunday, September 08th

New England (-10) at Buffalo (O/U-53)
Jeff Tuel will be called upon to face the defending AFC East champions. Tuel, who joined the team as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Washington State, has been impressive through three preseason games with 299 yards and two touchdowns, but he may be overmatched when the real games start. Tuel said he isn’t used to throwing to the Bills’ top receivers quite yet.

Buffalo went 2-0 ATS against the Patriots in 2012.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh (-7) (O/U-43.5)
The Titans allowed a franchise-record 471 points last year, with the pass and run defense ranking 26th and 24th in the league respectively. The Steelers posted a 6-3 record through its first nine games, but was eliminated from playoff contention in dropping five of its final seven contests. The Steelers did finish first defensively in allowing just 275.8 yards per game, while sitting sixth in surrendering 19.6 points per game.

The Steelers are 3-1 straight-up over their last four games against the Titans.

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Atlanta at New Orleans (-3) (O/U-54)
Falcons QB Matt Ryan has major weapons at his disposal, especially with the return of veteran TE Tony Gonzalez and the addition of longtime St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson.  Atlanta finished behind just six teams in averaging 26.2 points per game a season ago. The Saints managed to rank third in the league in averaging 28.8 points per game, but they allowed 440.1 yards per game on the defensive end. Coach Sean Payton is reunited with star QB Drew Brees, while the defensive will get back to pressuring opposing quarterbacks with the arrival of coordinator Rob Ryan—formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Saints are 8-2 straight-up over their last ten home games against the Falcons, winning by an average of 8.1 points per game.

Tampa Bay (-3) at NY Jets (O/U-41)
The Bucs have one of the more balanced offenses in football, with quarterback Josh Freeman and running back Doug Martin leading the way.  Freeman set team records with 4,065 passing yards and 27 touchdowns a season ago, while Doug Martin entered the league and amassed 1,926 yards of total offense, including 1,454 on the ground. The Jets are in rebuilding mode after missing the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, as it finished with a dismal 6-10 SU and 7-9 ATS record and was outscored by 94 points in 2012. To make things worse the Jets have no starting quarterback.

The Jets will try to snap an 0-4 ATS run at home, which is certainly possible due to grabbing the cash in their last four meetings with the Buccaneers.

Kansas City (-3.5) at Jacksonville (O/U-41)
The Jaguars have been without starting quarterback since he broke his thumb on his throwing hand against the New York Jets in Week 2 of the preseason. Gabbert had missed the remainder of the preseason, but it appears he’s on track to start Week 1 against the Chiefs. Even if Gabbert is ready for Week 1 against the Chiefs he knows he’s going to have to be playing through pain and could struggle gripping the football.

Two new head coaches (Andy Reid in Kansas City, Gus Bradley in Jacksonville) make this one of the more unpredictable Week 1 matchups.

Cincinnati at Chicago (-3) (O/U-45.5)
Chicago finished 28th in the NFL in averaging just 206.1 passing yards per game, especially since wide receiver Brandon Marshall posted franchise records of 118 receptions and 1,508 receiving yards.  Bears quarterbacks targeted Marshall on a league-high 39.9 percent passing plays, with Jay Cutler completing just 58.8 percent of his throws.  Expect the offense to be more balanced with Trestman’s offensive philosophy this season, especially with running back Matt Forte getting involved in the passing game again, as he finished with a career-low 44 catches in 2012.

The Bengals went 6-2 ATS on the road in 2012.

Miami (-1.5) at Cleveland (O/U-42)
Expectations are definitely higher in South Beach, as the Dolphins spent more than $250 million on free agents and rookies during the offseason. The signing of former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace was the big splash, as he’ll serve as a vertical threat for Tannehill and second-year head coach Joe Philbin’s passing attack. the Browns struggled in defending the pass—ranking 25th in allowing 245.2 yards through the air in 2012.  Cleveland finished second in that particular category two seasons ago, but will only improve its position this year if the team’s new 3-4 defensive scheme is able to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

The Dolphins have been posted as a road favorite just twice over their last 20 games away from home (1-1 ATS).

Seattle (-3) at Carolina (O/U-45.5)
The biggest weak spot in Carolina for sometime now has been its inconsistent front seven. Marshawn Lynch proved that as he rushed for four yards a carry against them in 2012. That means it would be wise to expect a heavy dose of him and Robert Turbin. Russell Wilson will need to keep his turnover numbers down as he tossed two interceptions against the Panthers. Even though opening up on the road is never an easy task, Seattle is clearly the better football team.

The Seahawks went 2-1 ATS in three east coast road games last season.

Minnesota at Detroit (-4.5) (O/U-47)
The Lions dropped all six of their games versus divisional foes, which played a major part in getting outscored by 65 points total in the regular season. Detroit’s main focus during the offseason and training camp is putting together a capable offensive line—a group that lost three starters to either free agency or retirement. RB Adrian Peterson will continue to face defenses that stack the box with eight to nine players until quarterback Christian Ponder proves he can distribute the football downfield.

The Vikings are 5-1-2 ATS over their last eight games against the Lions.

Oakland at Indianapolis (-9) (O/U-49)
Matt Flynn enters his first season as a starting NFL quarterback and how he reacts to finally taking the reins will play a huge role in the Oakland Raiders‘ ability to threaten the .500 mark or completely bottom out. Defensively, the Raiders have not been able to put any pressure on the quarterback in preseason. If they fail to do so against the Colts this game could turn into a Peyton Manning Colts flashback. With that said this will be a tight contest but unfortunately for Raiders fans they will fall short. Colts QB Andrew Luck has proven himself and the Colts are expecting to go deep into the playoffs.

The Colts went 7-1 ATS at home in 2012, while the Raiders went 3-5 ATS on the road.

Arizona at St. Louis (-4.5) (O/U-41)
The Cardinals are fully aware that the team will only have success if it can put together a capable offensive line—something that has been missing for quite some time.  Their last Pro Bowler came all the way back in 1996. Former Indianapolis Colts interim head coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians takes over on the sidelines, while Carson Palmer takes over the controls on offense. St. Louis has been aggressive in the offseason, with the signing of former Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long, while using its first round pick to select flashy West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin.

The Rams went 2-0 both straight-up and ATS against the Cardinals in 2012.

Green Bay at San Francisco (-4.5) (O/U-50.5)
The 49ers beat the Packers on the ground last season. The Niners gained 186 rushing yards on 5.8 yards per carry Week 1, mostly by running Frank Gore. In the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the 49ers gained 323 rushing yards on 7.5 yards per carry. The Packers lost Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, and are left with three wide receivers – Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Randall Cobb is their best receiver. The Packers are in a bind for their upcoming Week 1 game against the 49ers. Three-wide-receiver groupings suit the Packers’ receivers but not their running backs, while two-wide-receiver groupings suit their running backs but not their wide receivers.

The 49ers went 2-0 both straight-up and ATS against the Packers in 2012.

NY Giants at Dallas (-3) (O/U-49)
The pass rush for the Cowboys could turn out to be stellar this season with new DC Monte Kiffin dialing up blitz packages. The switch back to the 4-3 defense could take some time, but it could cause some confusion for the offensive line of the Giants as well. QB Tony Romo has a ton to prove, and winning this first game of the year will do wonders for him. Romo and the Dallas Cowboys also came out of the blocks last season and won at MetLife Stadium to start the season.

The Giants have won each of their last four games against the Cowboys in Dallas. Those four meetings have featured an average of 66.0 total points scored per game.

Monday, September 09th

Philadelphia at Washington (-3.5) (O/U-51)
The Redskins big question surrounds the health of Robert Griffin III. After suffering a torn ACL in the team’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Griffin has been hard at work rehabbing and the public expectation is that he’ll be ready for Week 1. But nine months is awfully soon to expect a full recovery from that sort of injury, so there will be all sorts of curiosity regarding Griffin’s early season health. Of course, if Griffin isn’t quite 100 percent the Eagles won’t exactly complain, though it should be said that Kirk Cousins looked to be a competent backup in his short stint of playing time last season.

The Redskins went 2-0 both straight-up and ATS against the Eagles in 2012.

Houston (-3.5) at San Diego (O/U-47)
The offense went flat for the Texans over the course of the last several games of the season last year, but there is plenty of reason to believe that the problems are now gone. RB Arian Foster could be set for a rushing title this year, and everything could open up with WR Andre Johnson and WR DeAndre Hopkins on the outside. Houston had a dominating defense at the start of last season before LB Brian Cushing tore his ACL, but this will be his first regular season game back in the fold. If the Chargers really have just been an underachieving team over the course of the last several years under Norv Turner, a lot of games are winnable this season. LB Manti Te’o could spark the revival of a defense that has been suspect at best over the years, and this could be the opportunity to shine on a national stage. QB Philip Rivers has a secondary with some holes in it to face, and that could be the difference as well

The Chargers are 5-11 ATS at home over the last two seasons.

The Bottom Line: The Skins have four quarterbacks who are capable of winning this one. We recommend you signup with Bovada to receive a 10% signup bonus heading into the 2013 NFL Week 4 preseason.

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