NFL Week 1 – Best Bets Against the Spread
We’re finally here, it’s Week 1 of the 2017-18 NFL Season! Each week I’ll be posting my favorite picks for the upcoming weekend against the spread. Check back with us all season long for more picks and analysis on Sunday’s games and most prime time slates, such as Thursday, Monday, and Sunday Night Football.
Odds are quoted from Bovada Sportsbook and accurate as of the date published. Always line shop for the best price before placing your bet. These days, moving funds around offshore sportsbooks is easier than ever with Bitcoin.
New York Jets +9 (-115) at Buffalo Bills -9 (-105) Total: 40
This certainly isn’t going to be a heavily watched game for those who have NFL Sunday Ticket, but from a betting perspective – this game is exciting. Both teams are not projected to be at the bottom of the league when it comes to wins, but let’s not forget this is a divisional game and both franchises may look to make a statement in Week 1.
The Bills opened as a -6 favorite. However, the odds jumped to -10 when it was announced Tyrod Taylor would start the game. It quickly was knocked back down to -9, and that is where it stands at Bovada currently.
The Bills being a near double-digit favorite over any team in the league at this point is difficult to justify, even the lowly Jets. Buffalo has jettisoned plenty of talent aside from LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor. Neither of them has looked good, and there are major questions how they will fare under new offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison’s, system.
New York isn’t much better, but the team does still have a capable starter in Josh McCown, who is one of the more underrated quarterbacks over the last few years. Other than a poor 2015 in Tampa Bay, McCown has been productive, when healthy. Yes, he’s 38 years old, but he’s going into Sunday healthy and facing a Bills defense that has been gutted in the offseason and wasn’t good last season.
I don’t have much faith that the Bills will be able to move the ball against the Jets, either. This game seems a lot closer to a touchdown rather than the -9 number that the oddsmakers are giving the Bills. They certainly should be favored, but I will happily grab the +9.
Pick: Jets +9 at Bovada
Carolina Panthers -6 (-105) at San Francisco 49ers +6 (-115) Total: 47.5
Carolina opens their season on the West Coast against the 49ers. San Francisco moved on from Chip Kelly in the offseason and have hired an offensive wizard, in Kyle Shanahan, as their new head coach. Gone is Colin Kaepernick, as well. Brian Hoyer takes over starting quarterback duties in the new offensive system.
Carolina opened as a -4.5 favorite. That moved to -6 and then back to -5 at most sportsbooks. Bovada still has the odds at +6, but with -115 vig on the 49ers. The clear majority of wagers have been placed on the Panthers so far.
This is by far my favorite bet of the weekend. I not only think that San Francisco has an excellent shot at a cover but to win the game outright. They looked fantastic offensively in the preseason under their new offensive system and while the Panthers are strong up front – they’re shaky in the secondary. Hoyer is a good enough quarterback to pick apart this secondary, and he’s probably got the best offensive minded head coach in the league on the sidelines.
Let’s focus on Carolina for a second. They’re road favorites in this spot, and the line hasn’t moved much despite heavy betting from the public. Cam Newton threw two passes in the preseason and has shown to be historically inaccurate. The Panthers always want him to run less this season.
They’re trying to mold him into a pocket passer, which he certainly is not. Furthermore, the Panthers may look to go heavy in the run game in this one, with Stewart and newly drafted, Christian McCaffrey. San Francisco’s secondary is poor, but they did do a lot to upgrade their run defense this offseason.
The line should be much closer than a field goal and dare I say it – it’s possible that SF is the better team outright.
Pick: 49ers +6 at Bovada
Sunday Night Football – New York Giants +4 (-115) at Dallas Cowboys -4 (-105) Total: 47.5
The NFL should be happy the way the first Sunday Night Football game of the season is shaping up. Odell Beckham Jr. is questionable to play this weekend after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason. Ezekiel Elliott will play this week after much drama with the league’s 6-game suspension.
Oh yeah, and these two rivals certainly don’t like each other.
The Giants opened initially as a -5 favorite. The number has moved a bit and was taken off the board for a while with issues surrounding Beckham’s injury. Currently, it’s at -4 on Bovada. Bettors have favored the Giants slightly on the point spread.
Beckham or no Beckham – I like the Giants in this spot. This one should come down to the wire as both teams are closely matched, but I do feel like the New York defense is supremely underrated nationally. They’re an excellent group and one that matches up with the Cowboys well, solid run defense and good outside corners to contain Dez Bryant.
You can help but think that the Cowboys are due for a bit of regression this season. They have a weak secondary (an area where Manning should do fine, with or without Beckham) and defense in general and Dak may be due for some sophomore woes. It has happened to many young quarterbacks that rely on evasiveness in the pocket and moving with their legs.
I’ll take the away team, plus the points.
Pick: Giants +4 at Bovada