Sunday Best - Week 1 NFL Bets
by DS WilliamsonThe most important Sunday of the sports calendar is finally here and we have your best Week 1 NFL bets listed right below. Check local listings, know that lines are subject to change and get in on the action. Football is finally here to soak up an entire day of your weekend.
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Cleveland Browns +4.0 over Pittsburgh Steelers (1pm ET) Pittsburgh star running back Le’Veon Bell has yet to report. Unless Bell reports from now until Sunday in great shape, he won’t play. As much hype and support as he's received, it's hard to envision James Connor playing at Bell's level. Pitt has gone from -6.5 to -4 points favorites thanks to Bell's absence. More line movement could happen because the Steelers’ aren’t great at either covering in Week 1, or versus their AFC North rivals in general. Take the Browns at +4 to start your Week 1 NFL bets before the line heads south to +3 or worse. The bigger the cushion the better.
New England Patriots -6.5 over Houston Texans (1pm ET) Although there had been some movement to -6, the line now sits back up where it started. Most every wise guy bettor on the planet believes Houston can beat New England against the spread on Sunday. I’m not one of them because we don't really know what this Houston team really looks like. We got a glimpse when they suddenly morphed in to the "team to beat" midway through last season before being ravaged by injuries. The Texans’ defense shouldn’t be any better this season than last when Tom Terrific bombed Houston with 5 TD passes in last season’s matchup. This is one of those "the line is what it is for a reason" type of Week 1 NFL bets.
San Francisco 49ers +6.5 over Minnesota Vikings (1pm ET) The loss of Jerrick McKinnon stings, but did the newly signed back mean that much to San Francisco’s offense? I don’t think so. McKinnon played as a Viking last season and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo still went 5-0 SU as a starter. Anybody should have success rushing behind SF’s offensive line now that Mike McGlinchey starts at right tackle and Joe Staley remains at left tackle. I’m sticking with San Francisco despite a landslide of action on the other side. Minnesota is a very, very good team - perhaps the best in the NFC - but the oddsmakers are underselling the 49ers in this one.
Baltimore Ravens -7.5 over Buffalo Bills (1pm ET) Buffalo’s biggest issue versus Baltimore is how to deal with the Ravens’ pass rush because they traded last year’s top left tackle, Cordy Glenn. At least some nice trends favor the Bills to cover: 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 versus the AFC, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. To me, the trends are useless because Buffalo’s offense is so much different from what it was last season. I don’t see the Bills getting close to a Baltimore team that’s 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Week 1 games.
Cincinnati Bengals +3 over Indianapolis Colts (1pm ET) Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck returns after not playing at all last season. That might be the only reason the Bengals are underdogs in this matchup. Cincinnati is going to have a more potent offense, with a retooled offensive line, more involvement from running back Joe Mixon, and explosive playmaking provided by receiver John Ross. Trends favor Cincinnati who’s 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 Week 1 games. Indianapolis is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 Week 1 games. Luck played in many of those Week 1 ATS losses, proving that even with Luck, Indy has trouble covering in their first game overall. That's why the Colts, as optimistic as I want to be about them, are a bad take in Week 1 NFL bets.