NFL Best Bets Against The Spread – Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Cleveland Browns Total: 43.5
The AFC North battle begins in Week 1 as the Steelers head to Cleveland to take on the Browns. The total in this game has dropped several points since opening at 46 points. The forecast calls for the hurricane-type weather with rain and wind. Of course, that could change by Sunday afternoon. Either way, this is a spot where the Browns are underrated. Sharps have taken this number from Browns +7 to +4 at most sportsbooks. Despite their 0-16 record last season – Cleveland has plenty of talent. They also upgraded at several positions during the offseason, including at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor and receiver, with a trade for ex-Dolphin, Jarvis Landry.
Let’s also not forget that the Browns lost 21-18 to Steelers in Week 1 last season, but now have a better roster and offensive coordinator. Pittsburgh is coming off a 13-3 season, but their schedule last season was much softer. Nearly every team in the division has improved, including Cleveland. Steelers did little to address their offseason issues on defense and will almost certainly be without their Pro Bowl running back, in Le’Veon Bell. I think the Browns have an excellent chance to win this game outright and am happy with anything more than a field goal.
Dallas Cowboys Vs. Carolina Panthers Total: 42
This one may be at -2.5 at some sportsbooks, but you’re going to pay -115 or more to bet those odds right now. Still, I think that is the right move in a spot where I expect the Panthers to beat up on an inferior Cowboys team. Dallas finished 9-7 last season, and I don’t expect the team to improve this year. Their receiving corps is one of the worst in the league. Their coaching staff is inept and unimaginative. And, their run-first offense has a host of injuries coming into Week 1 on their offensive line. They will be without at least three starters.
Ron Rivera and Cam Newton can be frustrating at times, but this is a spot where they’re just facing an inferior roster. The Cowboys will need to get running back, Ezekiel Elliot, going in this one to have a chance and I don’t think that is going to happen with this makeshift offensive line. This is an obvious mismatch, and I would expect this game to move to -3.5 or higher as we get close to the late afternoon kickoff.
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. New York Giants Total: 42.5
The Jaguars opened at -3.5 in this one, but that line has fallen to -3 over the past few days. In my opinion, the market is a little off on this (for now). Jacksonville is one of the more underrated teams in the league right now and could easily be the AFC’s top seed come playoff time. Eli Manning is the league’s worst starting quarterback, aside from perhaps the rookies coming into the league, like Josh Darnold. Yes, he does have his full complement of weapons in this one, including Odell Beckham, which is perhaps the only reason he’s still in the league, but the Jaguars are just too dominant.
They should dominate both sides of the ball in this game and won’t need to put much pressure on Blake Bortles to win this game. Jacksonville’s defensive front is one of the best in the league, and their upgrades to the offensive line in the offseason should provide them with an even more dominant running game. The Giants should improve this year, but it’s not going to start in Week 1.