NFL Week 1 – Best Bets Against the Spread

NFL Week 1 – Best Bets Against the Spread

The 2014-15 NFL Season kicks off tonight as the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers to kickoff the new season. Our sponsored sportsbook has the current line at Packers +6 (-115) and Seahawks -6 (-105)and the total at 48.

Good luck on tonight’s contest if you’re wagering! I don’t have much of an opinion on the game, but I lean slightly towards Over 48 (-110). Sunday’s plays are listed below.

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Oakland Raiders at New York Jets -5.5 Total: 39.5

The Jets welcome the new-look (again, eh?) Raiders to MetLife Stadium this Sunday in a battle of young quarterbacks trying to make a name for themselves.

Former Houston Texans QB and noted pick-six extraordinaire Matt Schaub was slated to start coming into the season, but has performed terribly in the preseason and lost his starting job. The Raiders have been impressed by rookie quarterback Derek Carr and have given him the starting gig. Second-year Jets’ QB Geno Smith has also gotten rave reviews this preseason after a subpar rookie season at the helm.

The game also has one of the lowest totals this week, due to all the question marks surrounding both teams offensively. Their defenses aren’t much better overall, but I think the Jets have a distinct advantage on both sides of the ball.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan will be eager to scheme-up a plan to rattle Derek Carr in his first NFL start. While the New York’s defensive personnel is lacking a bit this year, Ryan is a brilliant defensive mind with a talented defensive line and a steady pass rush, despite somewhat suspect secondary. Regardless, the Jets will get plenty of pressure on Carr, and that should spell trouble for Oakland’s offense.

Defensively, Oakland is porous. Geno Smith has a new favorite target in Eric Decker and both Chris Johnson, and Chris Ivory have looked strong in the running game this season. This unit looks to be a substantial upgrade an offense that finished as one of the worst in the league last season.

The Jets should have no problem putting up some points offensively and should force Carr into some poor decisions. I like New York to win handily in front of their home fans.

Pick: Jets -5.5 (-110)

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2 Total: 39.5

Tampa Bay welcomes the defending NFC South Champions to Raymond James Stadium as they hope to start with a win in front of their home fans after a disastrous 2013.

The offseason was a productive one for the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers fired head coach Greg Schiano and brought in former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. They also added veteran gunslinger Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson and helped offsite the loss of elite cornerback Darrelle Revis by bringing in Alterraun Verner. Running back Doug Martin, who missed most of last season with an injury, is also fully healthy.

Many analysts have anointed Tampa Bay the most-improved team this offseason and it’s hard to disagree. Some are even calling them a dark horse to win the tough NFC South.

On the flip side, Carolina hasn’t done much to upgrade their squad that saw wide receiver Steve Smith and safety Mike Mitchell leave via free agency. They have a gaping hole at wide receiver, despite rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin impressing in the preseason. Now, Cam Newton may not be able to suit up Sunday due a nagging rib injury.

Carolina’s offense is based around the run regardless, but Newton’s dual threat ability is a big part of their attack. Running backs Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, and Mike Tolbert will shoulder even more of a load if they go with backup quarterback Derek Anderson.

Tampa Bay’s defense was not a strong unit last year, but one of their strengths league-wide was stopping the run. This matchup suits their strengths perfectly.

The Buccaneers are eager to start the Lovie Smith and Josh McCown era off with a bang. With the news that Cam Newton is questionable to play this Sunday, this pick becomes one I like even more. However, I like Tampa Bay in this one regardless of Newton suiting up or not.

Pick: Buccaneers -2 (-115)

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens -1.5 Total: 43

The Ravens welcome the defending AFC North Champion Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday to M&T Bank Stadium to kickoff their year. There’s no love lost between these two divisional foes in a game that projects to be of the ‘smash-mouth’ variety.

Baltimore has improved on both sides of the ball after ending the season at 8-8 following their Super Bowl win in the 2012-13 season. They added Steve Smith to their receiving corps and will finally get tight end Dennis Pitta back and fully healthy. The revamped offensive line should easily be an upgrade over last year’s unit, which allowed quarterback Joe Flacco to be sacked the second most times in the league.

The Ravens also have one of the biggest home-field advantages in the league, winning nearly 80% of their home games under current coach Jim Harbaugh.

Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton has struggled heavily against Baltimore in his career. He completed just 51% of his passes in two games last season, throwing four touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The Ravens’ defense is much the same unit it was last season, and I expect Dalton and the rest of their Bengals’ offense to struggle moving the ball.

Baltimore is in a prime position to get a victory this opening Sunday. There is also a bit of a revenge factor for the Ravens, as the Bengals beat them 34-17 at home to end their season last year.

Pick: Ravens -1.5 (-110)


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