Scully's Five Teams to Fade in the NFL Week 1 Betting
By James ScullyHandicapper James Scully has a beat on five games to fade in NFL Week 1 betting! Check out our sports betting guides while you're here!
*ATS (Against the Spread) / SU (Straight Up) *PK indicates a pick ‘em *HOME TEAM in caps
Fade PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -2.5 vs Atlanta Falcons (Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET) Eagles were 11-2 SU before leading MVP candidate Carson Wentz went down in Week 14 and rallied behind back-up Nick Foles to win Super Bowl in similar fashion to 1990 Super Bowl champs New York Giants (who lost Phil Simms late in season). Philly tough up front defensively & well-coached under Doug Pederson, but Foles struggled in the preseason and back-up QB won’t have a key weapon in WR Alshon Jeffery. Atlanta (+2.5) underwent a tough stretch midway through last year when losing four of five games but the manner in which they concluded 2017 season, allowing only a combined 38 points in final three games (10-13-15) against playoff teams Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia, underscores how defense has become a real strength for the team. Falcons’ defense will continue to distinguish themselves under Dan Quinn in 2018 and I love the offensive firepower they’ve added in rookie WR Calvin Ridley to go with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. Falcons 7-1 ATS in last eight Thursday games and 4-1 ATS in last five September games.
NFL Week 1 Betting Pick - Bet Atlanta +2.5 over Philadelphia!
Fade BUFFALO BILLS vs Baltimore RAVENS -7.0 (Sunday 1:00 p.m. ET) Buffalo has serious issues on their offensive line and opens on the road against an opponent capable of exploiting a soft front, with Baltimore (-7) forcing five turnovers in 20-0 season-opening shutout at Cincinnati last year. Bills offense generated only 300 yards per game last year and decreased production appears likely early this season; management simply could not afford to start rookie QB Josh Allen and risk getting him killed. That’s what happened to A.J. McCarron (out for year) in the preseason and Buffalo's now forced to start Nate Peterman for Week 1 NFL betting. Uh oh. Baltimore 7-3 ATS in season-openers under John Harbaugh and motivated after narrowly missing playoffs last year. QB Joe Flacco has extra incentive in last year of guaranteed contract and Ravens poised to start fast in a competitive division.
NFL Week 1 Betting Pick -Bet Baltimore -7.0 over Buffalo
Fade SAN FRANCISCO 49ers vs Minnesota Vikings +6.0 (Sunday 1:00 p.m. ET) Niners went 5-0 SU once Jimmy Garoppolo took over reins but defensive coordinators can now game-plan against second-year starter. San Fran sustained a major setback when losing a key offensive cog, RB Jerick McKinnon who signed $30 million deal in off-season, to knee injury in preseason and a shaky offensive line from last year remains a key area of concern entering 2018. Minnesota (-6) will win this game by double digits. They have one of the best defenses and $84 million acquisition of QB Kirk Cousins will pay dividends in games like this (not a must-win). Vikings possess tremendous home-field advantage in NFL Week 1 betting (24-8 ATS at home under Mike Zimmer) and didn’t allow a team to score 20 points in eight regular-season home games last year, with four opponents being held to 10 or less points. RB Dalvin Cook back in the fold and Purple People Eaters ready to come out hungry!
NFL Week 1 Betting Pick -Bet Minnesota -6.0 over San Francisco
Fade KANSAS CITY CHIEFS vs L.A. Chargers -3.0 (Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET) Chiefs have skill players and Andy Reid capable of getting offense firing on all cylinders with enough time. But with the third offensive coordinator in three years and a questionable offensive line, Patrick Mahomes will experience growing pains. Mahones readily tossed interceptions in preseason and while KC wants to run the ball to take pressure off their new QB, they will have little luxury against San Diego (-3), who had the No. 1 defense last year (allowed only 17 points a game). KC could be missing the entire starting secondary from last year and will give up yards and points to high-powered Chargers attack. San Diego has lost a couple of players in secondary but defensive ends Bosa and Ingram are difference makers who will put pressure on Mahomes. Kicking woes literally cost the Chargers multiple games early last year and they finished 9-3 SU once they got special teams issues fixed. New K Caleb Sturgis eligible to provide a steadying influence and Phillip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates et al are focused upon starting fast this season.
NFL Week 1 Betting Pick - Bet L.A. Chargers -3.0 over Kansas City
Fade DENVER BRONCOS -3.0 vs Seattle Seahawks (Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET) Denver finished last year 2-10 ATS with bad QB play and not laying points in opener with Case Keenum, a journeyman who found right situation last year in Minnesota with a stout defense and talented skill players. Broncos lack ground game (rookie Royce Freeman named starting RB) and will struggle at times with inexperienced WRs Sutton and Hamilton in rotation. And while Denver’s front seven is fearsome, secondary had issues containing quality WRs last year and will have hands full versus Russel Wilson and his weapons. Seattle (+3) won nine games SU last year despite being the most injury-ravaged NFL team and the last time Pete Carroll missed the playoffs, Seahawks went 13-5 ATS in 2012. Seattle revamped their offensive line and should be much-improved offensively with Brian Schottenheimer taking over as coordinator. Wilson is the most dynamic QB in league and Seattle is finally healthy. Seahawks signed pair of key defensive linemen and will feature good LB play. Seattle 4-0 ATS in first of back-to-back road games and have a significant edge offensively over woeful Denver attack.
NFL Week 1 Betting Pick - Bet Seattle +3.0 over Denver
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