The 2016 NFL season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start on Thursday night, when we all witnessed a barn burner in the Super Bowl rematch between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
That game went down to the wire and saw the Panthers lose thanks to a missed Graham Gano field goal, which naturally has us wondering what else is in store for the NFL as the rest of the initial week of the 2016 season rolls on.
If the remainder of week one is anything like Thursday’s game, we can expect some hard hits, a few big plays and some NFL betting bad beats. That’s right, Thursday’s game was completely brutal across the board, as the game’s total hit dead on the 41 provided by many sportsbooks like Bovada and Carolina (the favorite) ended up losing.
The only winning bet went to anyone betting on the Broncos, who escaped with a 1-point victory, which would have made them a fine straight up pick or had them beating the +3 spread.
It’s time to move on to the rest of week one, however, so before you finish up any week one pro football betting, be sure to touch base with the latest odds and our picks:
This game feels like a trap, as Green Bay figures to be a Super Bowl contender but they’re on the road against a team that seems to be on the rise. Blake Bortles and co. can absolutely keep up with the Packers offensively, and the only issue at all will be how Jacksonville’s defense handles Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy.
Green Bay should still pull out the win, but a 6-point spread feels a little rich for what should be a high-scoring game. Jacksonville’s overall talent and home field edge will keep them in the game and if you’re betting on the Total, go Over.
Pick: Packers 31, Jaguars 27
J.J. Watt is expected to return from back surgery in time to (probably) suffocate Jay Cutler and the Bears at home. Chicago could actually be surprisingly decent in 2016, as they just have a lot of young talent in guys like Jeremy Langford, Zach Miller and Kevin White around Cutler. Their o-line and defense could be improved, too, so this could be an interesting spot.
On paper, however, the Bears are an inferior team on the road. Given that and Cutler’s tendency to turn the ball over, it’s hard not to roll with Houston. The Texans also upgrade across the board offensively, so we could get big games out of both Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller in their team debuts. Ultimately, the Texans should hold serve at home and it shouldn’t be too close. Given Houston’s defense, we’d go with the Under in regards to the Total.
Pick: Texans 26, Bears 17
This might be one of the more difficult NFL picks of week one, seeing as Carson Wentz is a rookie quarterback on one side and the impossible to trust Robert Griffin III is on the other. Experience could win out here across the board, as Wentz will be making his pro debut and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson also will coach his first NFL game.
Picking Cleveland never feels easy (or right), but they do have some explosive pieces on offense and Wentz may crater enough to make their defense look passable for a day. Both defenses stink and Cleveland has some explosive talent, so we oddly like the Over in this one.
Pick: Browns 30, Eagles 22
In what could be the game of week one, Derek Carr leads his high-flying Raiders into New Orleans against Drew Brees and the Saints. Oakland has the offense and defense to give this one a go, but in what amounts to a pick’em game, we’re siding with the home team.
New Orleans doesn’t lose at home much and their offense is still better than Oakland’s on paper. A lot of points should arrive in this game, so shoot for the Over.
Pick: Saints 37, Raiders 34
Kansas City has lost once in their last 13 games, so you could say they enter 2016 on a bit of a hot streak. They could have star running back Jamaal Charles back, too, but even if he’s out or limited they still have a great system and enough talent to score all day on San Diego.
The only scary part here is the Bolts do have some offensive talent and divisional games can truly go either way. That being said, the Chargers were dreadful in both meetings last year and it can’t help that it’s in KC. As for the Total, KC’s offense will do enough and their defense should prevent anything close to a shootout.
Pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 16
This week one game between the Bills and Ravens takes a stroll down narrative street, as both Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor return to their old stomping grounds. A bit of revenge could be on the brain here, while it’s fairly safe to say Buffalo has more talent on paper.
The Ravens are oddly the favorites – largely because they’re at home – but Buffalo has a pretty dynamic offense and this Baltimore defense isn’t what it used to be. We like a close, hard-fought game and the Under, but Buffalo is getting the road upset when it’s all said and done.
Pick: Bills 24, Ravens 20
Minnesota still hasn’t revealed their starting quarterback for week one, so we need to assume that their passing game may be shaky and/or we’re going to see a ton of Adrian Peterson. That could end up being just fine, considering Minnesota’s defense is probably stout enough to keep them in this game.
The Titans aren’t very scary in any regard on paper, so they’ll need to earn our betting favor going forward. For week one, we’ll take the Vikings to cover and we’ll go with the Under in what should be a pretty boring game.
Pick: Vikings 20, Titans 17
The Bucs and Falcons are always a betting problem, both because they’re both decent teams and division rivals. Atlanta usually takes care of business at home, though, so we can see why they’re the favorite.
The rise of Jameis Winston does scare me, but there is an argument that the Falcons are still more explosive and may have the better, more complete defense. We might see some points in this one, but not enough to get us going too high. We’ll take the Under and while we like Atlanta straight up, we can see a Push coming.
Pick: Falcons 26, Buccaneers 23
This is another difficult game to gauge, as the Jets and Bengals are extremely balanced with solid running games, good coaching and borderline elite defenses. We’ll make it easy and point out the obvious: Tyler Eifert is out to start the year and Andy Dalton lost two key receivers, as well as his offensive coordinator.
Cincinnati remains a title contender in 2016, but they could struggle on the road against a solid Jets defense. Given how good both defenses are, the Under seems like the way to go here. We like New York at home for the upset in the end.
Pick: Jets 20, Bengals 17
Miami definitely has some talent on both sides of the ball, but they are asking a lot to go into Seattle and steal a win in week one. They might be asking too much to even stay in this game, and Bovada clearly agrees.
A massive 10-point spread is tough to bite on, but the Seahawks are legit as it gets on both sides of the ball and they don’t lose much in front of the 12th Man. We like Seattle to cover and the Total should go Over based on Seattle putting up a good amount of points.
Pick: Seahawks 38, Dolphins 16
Another tough game, seeing as Dallas is without Tony Romo and a slew of suspended defensive players, but this game is in Dallas and the Giants don’t play well there. Oh, and it’s a divisional game.
Dak Prescott seems like a guy that you can get behind, too, while rookie rusher Ezekiel Elliott could put on a show. The Giants don’t have the running game or proven defense to strike much fear into me, either, so I’m narrowly siding with Dallas in what should be a bit of a shootout. Due to that, let’s roll with the Over.
Pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 23
Speaking of shootouts, we’ve got a true one slated for Indy, where the Colts sport one of the most talented passing games and will also be without their top two cornerbacks on defense. With an able-bodied crew joining Matthew Stafford on the other side, we should expect a back and forth battle with a lot of points.
The trick here is Detroit does have the better defense, but Stafford specifically has been awful on the road (at least in terms of winning) throughout his career. It’s tough to buy him changing that in week one, so we can go with Indy sneaking a win and also aim for the Over. While we like Indy to win, we think this game will be close, so the Lions look to beat the spread here.
Pick: Colts 33, Lions 30
No Tom Brady and a banged up Rob Gronkowski put the visiting Pats in a mighty tough spot when they travel to Arizona for Sunday Night Football. The game plan has to be to get Carson Palmer to make mistakes and then grind things out with LeGarrette Blount, but that’s easier said than done. Instead, the Cardinals should cover here in a game that should include points, but not so many that you shouldn’t feel good about attacking the Under.
Pick: Cardinals 27, Patriots 17
Monday Night Football arrives with two games – one being exciting and the other, not so much. This is the exciting one, as the Redskins and Steelers both sport shaky pass defenses and their offenses also know how to put up points.
Josh Norman covering Antonio Brown will be interesting to watch and the Redskins do play well at home, but the Steelers still feel like the more complete team. Kirk Cousins will make one mistake too many as the Steelers narrowly cover. A ton of points should be coming our way in this one, so feel free to go after the Over.
Pick: Steelers 36, Redskins 30
This feels like one of the easiest games to call, as the Rams have a very good defense and an elite running back, while the 49ers have very little offensive talent and the jury is out on their defense. While I normally have very little faith in Case Keenum, it’s not like he’ll be throwing a ton or that anyone should feel far more confident on the other side with Blaine Gabbert.
The Rams feel like the pick here and given the weak offensive talent and strong defensive play, you can probably shoot for the Under here.
Pick: Rams 20, 49ers 16
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