Week 1 NFL Preseason Odds and Picks
The 2015 NFL preseason finally starts on August 9th, when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings slap each other around for the Hall of Fame game.
It’s not the regular season, but pro football is back and we get to see big plays, big hits and a ton of young players battle it out. And we even can bet on it.
Preseason NFL betting is a bit of a farce, but it’s still loads of fun and if you take the right angle it can even be profitable. If you’re the type of NFL betting fiend that will be digging into your pockets this week, then you’re why we write sports gambling articles.
Without further haste, here’s a look at the week one preseason odds (and our picks):
Note: For week one of the preseason, every home team is the favorite with the spread. It’s preseason, so whatever.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5 spread)
The first game of the new NFL season should see very little of the main starters. If we’re going off of depth talent (and it’s preseason, so we have to), the Vikings look like the pick. Their quarterback situation is shaky beyond Teddy Bridgewater, but they have a nice stable of running backs, a ton of explosive wide receivers and solid depth on defense. They’re also at home, so they’re a fairly safe pick to get the ball rolling.
Pick: Vikings 27, Steelers 24
New York Jets @ Detroit Lions (-3)
Geno Smith hits the field trying to keep a strong camp going and he’ll do so against a Lions defense that lost some serious power up front. Detroit should go into this one with running back Joique Bell still on the shelf, while they have a lot to figure out defensively despite being elite in that area a year ago. The Jets have a ton of defensive depth and could be a nice test for the Lions right away in week one. New York has the defensive edge and with a solid backup quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, their offense should win the battle here, too.
Pick: Jets 30, Lions 14
New Orleans Saints @ Baltimore Ravens (-3)
New Orleans debuts their new offense, as they’ve made a ton of changes and seem set to have a more balanced attack. I’m not sure Drew Brees and co. find a ton of success against a tough Ravens front line, though, and their backups aren’t imposing enough to have me scared of them to get the preseason going. Baltimore has solid depth on both sided of the ball, with rookie rusher Buck Allen possibly dictating this matchup.
Pick: Ravens 26, Saints 20
Green Bay Packers @ New England Patriots (-3)
A potential Super Bowl preview? Maybe, but the story here will be Pats backup passer, Jimmy Garoppolo. Green Bay’s offense will look to get off to a hot start and just might do it again a depleted Patriots defense. Garoppolo should play a good deal and New England’s superior depth across the board might win out at home.
Pick: Patriots 23, Packers 16
Washington Redskins @ Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel highlight this showdown and I’m actually liking the impact Manziel could bring to the table against Washington’s shaky backups. The real story will be Cleveland’s run defense, which struggled in 2014 and will now have to contest with the likes of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones. I see both having their way all day in a Redskins win.
Pick: Redskins 17, Browns 10
Miami Dolphins @ Chicago Bears (-1)
Ryan Tannehill and Jay Cutler shouldn’t play long in this one, but for how long they do I like Tannehill’s first team offense a lot better. Miami has some interesting talent to monitor on offense and going up against Chicago’s weak defensive depth, it could turn into a living nightmare for Bears fans. Chicago is the same way, but Miami’s defensive depth is a whole lot better.
Pick: Dolphins 38, Bears 24
Dallas Cowboys @ San Diego Chargers (-2.5)
We get to start to see what the ‘Boys will do at running back, at their trial run comes against a shaky Bolts defense. San Diego debuts rookie rusher Melvin Gordon, though, and both sides could find some success running the ball. Neither team has competent hurlers at backup quarterback, though, so once the first team units exit we’re looking at an ugly dog fight.
Pick: Cowboys 13, Chargers 10
Tennessee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Marcus Mariota makes his debut against a still fairly soft Falcons defense, but it will be interesting to see this Atlanta team transform under defensive head coach, Dan Quinn. Neither defense is imposing here, but with the Titans having less experience on offense, I’ll give ATL the nod.
Pick: Falcons 23, Titans 13
Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills (-3)
Cam Newton leads his offense into Buffalo, where a nasty Rex Ryan Bills defense awaits. I’m not expecting much out of the Panthers’ first team, but backup running back Cameron Artis-Payne is a name to watch. Buffalos’ quarterback battle begins officially, but none of them can play and Carolina’s defense is deep enough to stifle them, throughout.
Pick: Panthers 10, Bills 7
New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
Odell Beckham Jr. could suit up in this one, but it won’t be long enough to get the G-Men a win. Once Eli Manning leaves the Giants better run the ball effectively with Andre Williams, because Ryan Nassib won’t be able to do much. Cincy has the running game depth to mash Big Blue all game, too.
Pick: Bengals 17, Giants 14
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (even)
Not sure why this game is even, since the Steelers have far more talent than Jacksonville. I’ll take the Steelers’ explosive offense all day, as they still have several speedy receivers all along their depth chart. Jax could make some noise in this one with a lot of new offensive talent, but they still won’t be able to handle the Steelers from top to bottom.
Pick: Steelers 26, Jaguars 13
St. Louis Rams @ Oakland Raiders (-1)
Nick Foles makes his Rams debut, while rookie rusher Todd Gurley will sit out this game (and all of the preseason). That means a lack of rushing depth beyond Tre Mason here, which is good news for the Raiders. Neither team has much depth at quarterback beyond the starters, but I favor the Rams ever so slightly.
Pick: Rams 20, Raiders 10
Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks (-6)
Peyton Manning and the first team offense will make a short debut against an elite Seattle defense, so I’m not expecting much. I oddly like Brock Osweiler against the second team ‘Hawks defense, though, so I think the Broncos do enough to get the win. Cody Latimer could be big against that second Seattle unit.
Pick: Broncos 21, Seahawks 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings (even)
Jameis Winston makes his debut and the Vikings hit our list for the second time in one week. Minnesota should have a lot to throw at Winston early on, so I don’t love his chances to light it up on the road in his first ever pro game. Minnesota’s depth wins out in the win, too.
Pick: Vikings 24, Bucs 14
San Francisco 49ers @ Houston Texans (-3)
The Niners are majorly depleted on defense but the Texans are down Arian Foster and don’t really have a quarterback. I expect San Francisco to look a little bit better than people are projecting.
Pick: 49ers 16, Texans 13
Kansas City Chiefs @ Arzona Cardinals (-2.5)
Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs starters won’t be around for long, but I’m not sure how much success they’ll be having against a still gritty first team Arizona defense. I like KC’s chances against the Cards’ backups, though, especially since Arizona’s backups on offense are absolutely awful.
Pick: Chiefs 27, Cardinals 9
Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)
The final game of week one could be a fun, explosive affair. I doubt Andrew Luck and the Colts’ first team O hangs around for long, but I’d be shocked if they don’t score on a fairly weak Philly defense. The same goes for the Eagles, who just have a fantastic system. I actually prefer the Eagles depth on both sides of the ball here, and it will be tons of fun to see what guys like Tim Tebow, Ryan Mathews and Josh Huff can bring to the table.
Pick: Eagles 28, Colts 21
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