On Thursday night the Atlanta Falcons will travel to Philadelphia to take on the reigning Super Bowl champions marking the official start of the 2018 NFL season.
Simply put, football is back. And with it, comes our ability to gamble on football.
Every Thursday, I’ll be picking every game against the spread, doing my best to offer easy insight on the week’s slate of games and bulk up our bankroll. On Fridays, I’ll follow up with our best bets of the weekend, with a bit of extra analysis and reasoning.
Last season, we went an impressive 129-118-9 against the spread while picking every game on the schedule, and this year we’ll look to build on that solid result.
I can’t say that my picks won’t sometimes be swayed by personal biases, but I promise always to be honest and upfront about them and to do my best to keep our wallets relatively intact along the way. With that said, it’s beautiful to have football back in our lives. Let’s get to picking.
All lines courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Atlanta Falcons (+1) at Philadelphia Eagles (Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
The pick: Eagles -1
The logic: I’m from Philadelphia.The Eagles brought me so much joy last year. So, there’s no way I’m going against them to start 2018, even if the team is injured all over the roster and the Falcons will be looking for revenge. Fly Eagles fly.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) at Cleveland Browns (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Steelers -3.5
The logic: I thought this was the year that I would finally get to profit off the Browns, but now they’re one of the most popular bets in Las Vegas. The Steelers may be missing Le’Veon Bell and may not have the talent they used to on defence, but they’re still the Steelers, and the Browns are still the Browns.
Ben Roethlisberger is the winningest quarterback in the history of Cleveland. Don’t overthink it.
Cincinnati Bengals (+3) at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Colts -3
The logic: Andrew Luck is back in Indianapolis, and Marvin Lewis is still in Cincinnati.
Tennessee Titans (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Dolphins +1.5
The logic: Home dogs in Week 1 against a Titans team that doesn’t seem all that impressive. Not much more to it than that.
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: 49ers +6.5
The logic: Jimmy Garoppolo still hasn’t lost as a starter in the NFL. This Vikings team is still stacked across the roster, and there’s little doubt that Minneapolis will be raucous for the debut of Kirk Cousins. But I think the Niners do enough to keep it close.
Houston Texans (+6.5) at New England Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Texans +6.5
The logic: The Patriots don’t have two wide receivers you can name. Meanwhile, the Texans are bringing back two Pro Bowlers from injury. It’s tough to make money betting against the Patriots, but New England started the year flat last year as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+9.5) at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Saints -9.5
The logic: It never feels great laying the biggest spread on the board in Week 1, but the Saints aren’t losing their home opener to the Buccaneers.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at New York Giants (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Giants +3
The logic: The Jaguars and Blake Bortles as a road favourite against a rejuvenated Giants team. I don’t fault people for backing the Jags, but give me Odell Beckham Jr. at home to put on a show in his first game back.
Buffalo Bills (+7.5) at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bills +7.5
The logic: God forgive me. The last time Nathan Peterman took the field as a starter he threw five interceptions and almost played the Bills out of the playoffs. But every bettor I’ve come across is on the Ravens here, and it feels like too many points. When the gambling world zigs, we zag.
Kansas City Chiefs (+3) at Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
The pick: Chiefs +3
The logic: I don’t hate the Chargers this year, but they have lost four of their past five season openers and proved last season that they have no home-field advantage to speak of. Patrick Mahomes is surrounded with talent in his first year starting with the Chiefs and should have a good game plan to work with from Andy Reid.
Seattle Seahawks (+3) at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Broncos -3
The logic: The Seahawks have a paper-thin offensive line, and the Broncos have Von Miller. Russell Wilson will be the best player on the field on Sunday, but I expect him to spend most of the game running for his life.
Washington Redskins (+1) at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Cardinals -1
The logic: Coin flip – take the home team.
Dallas Cowboys (+3) at Carolina Panthers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Panthers -3
The logic: I think the Cowboys have the potential for a disastrous year, and that Cam Newton has the potential to win MVP. This game might be my favourite bet on the board.
Chicago Bears (+7.5) at Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bears +7.5
The logic:The Bears have gone all-in on 2018 in a similar fashion to the Eagles and Rams, taking advantage of a quarterback on a cheap contract to sign a boatload of talent in the offseason. They might not yet be ready to upset the Packers on the road, but they certainly have enough to keep things close.
New York Jets (+6.5) at Detroit Lions (Monday, 7:10 p.m. ET)
The pick: Jets +6.5
The logic: Let the Sam Darnold era begin!
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Oakland Raiders (Monday, 10:15 p.m. ET)
The pick: Raiders +4
The logic: The Rams have had the greatest offseason in recent memory, while the Raiders just traded away one of the best defensive players in the NFL so Jon Gruden could more fully pursue his “Smashmouth Football” renaissance. Still, this is the Monday night late game when every gambler will be chasing the money they lost earlier in the day, slamming Los Angeles.
I am closing my eyes and taking the home dogs.
Now check out our best season long bets before the 2018 football year begins
How to bet every NFL team before the seasons starts – and the best bet on the board in every division
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