The NFL kicks off their100th season tomorrow with a thrilling Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears matchup. Most bettors are likely not going to wager on every single game on the Week One slate. It will take a larger sample size to evaluate teams before bettors feel comfortable wagering more games. However, I am revealing my NFL ATS (Against the Spread) picks for every Week One game, with an added twist. The order my picks appear in will be my most confident pick all the way down to my least confident pick. Good luck to all bettors and enjoy the games!
Week One NFL Picks ATS
(Odds courtesy of Fanduel)
Pittsburgh +5.5 at New England
I am buying the narrative of a big year from the Steelers because of addition by subtraction. Gone are Antonio Brown’s antics and the distraction of Le’Veon Bell’s holdout. Now head coach Mike Tomlin can get this group focused on winning football games with no outside noise to disrupt their chemistry. As good as Tom Brady is, there will be an adjustment period without Rob Gronkowski. And if New England is going to employ more of a smash-mouth style this year, that plays right into Pittsburgh’s hands. Take the Steelers and the points on the road.
Indianapolis +6.5 at Los Angeles Chargers
This line is over-inflated after the Andrew Luck retirement news. Jacoby Brissett is not your average backup quarterback. He started all of 2017 for the Colts, and has 17 career starts to his name. Before Luck’s retirement, the Colts were receiving a lot of Super Bowl buzz. The roster is still loaded, and while there will be some dropoff at quarterback, the Colts can absolute keep this game close or steal one in Los Angeles in Week One.
Atlanta +4 at Minnesota
I know the Vikings have to be favored in this game because they are home, but I do not understand the lack of respect for the Falcons. Atlanta endured a disappointing 7-9 season last year, but two of their most important players on defense (Keanu Neal and Deion Jones) missed most of last season with injuries. Atlanta should not be getting more than a field goal in this matchup, and I am happy to take the points.
Denver -1 at Oakland
This may seem like an odd matchup to pick as my fourth most confident game. I think the Raiders are going to be a very popular public team in this one, mainly because of the Hard Knocks effect. There is also uncertainty on the Broncos side with quarterback Joe Flacco making his debut. However, I will fade the public and take the Broncos to win a defensive struggle on the road.
Tennessee +5 at Cleveland
The Titans are another play in which I am going against a public team. The Browns are everyone’s darling because of their big offseason acquisitions. Suddenly, Cleveland has gone from laughing stock to division favorites. Although Tennessee had quarterback issues for much of the preseason, I see them getting back to a ground and pound approach which will keep the game close against the Browns.
Houston +7 at New Orleans
History will tell you the Saints don’t get off to the best starts each season. Just a year ago in Week One, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into the Superdome as big underdogs and won the game outright. The Texans are a lot better football team than those Buccaneers. Deshaun Watson has the potential for the best year of his career with all the weapons that surround him. The Texans will keep the game close in a high-scoring affair.
Seattle -9 vs Cincinnati
I am normally wary of betting big favorites in Week One, but the Bengals appear to be one of the worst teams in the league this year. They have been decimated by injuries on the offensive line, and star receiver A.J. Green will miss most of the first half of the season. CenturyLink Field is one of the toughest places to play, and I think the Seahawks dominate this game from start to finish.
Jacksonville +3.5 vs Kansas City
This pick is a leap of faith that Jacksonville’s defensive issues were a one-year anomaly. The Jaguars still have arguably the best tandem of cornerbacks in the league (Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye). This will negate wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins. These teams met year, and although the Chiefs won convincingly, it was a rare game where Patrick Mahomes did not throw a touchdown pass. I think the Jaguars get back to the style that got them to the playoffs two years ago and frustrate the Chiefs.
Chicago -3 vs Green Bay
The Bears are the right side in this one because there is more continuity on their sidelines. Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur is making his head coaching debut, so I will take the team in Week One that is not getting used to a whole new offensive system.
Carolina +2.5 vs Los Angeles Rams
Here is to hoping that the Rams are still enduring a Super Bowl hangover, while also traveling cross-country. Cam Newton being cleared to play helps my confidence with this pick.
New York Giants +7 at Dallas
Can the Giants catch the Cowboys unfocused for this matchup, given that they have had to answer questions about Ezekiel Elliott’s contract all off-season? The Giants ride their momentum of a solid preseason and keep this opener close.
New York Jets -3 vs Buffalo Bills
This one wouldn’t surprise me at all if the game ended as a push, with New York winning by three. I will ride with the home team in this contest and have faith that Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will make bigger strides than Bills quarterback Josh Allen in their second year’s at the helm.
Washington +10 at Philadelphia
I simply think a double-digit spread in Week One for a division game is too many points. The Eagles will be very good this year but will sleepwalk through this game.
Tampa Bay +1 vs San Francisco
The biggest reason I like the home underdogs in this one is that the 49ers are making a cross-country trip. Couple that with the fact that San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not look sharp in the preseason, and the 49ers are ripe for an upset.
Arizona +2.5 vs Detroit
I hate everything about this game, as there are so many unknowns at play. I’ll bet Kyler Murray plays well in his first regular season game and the Cardinals compete well.
Miami +6.5 vs Baltimore
I will hold my breath in this one that the Dolphins show up and make this a competitive game. Most project the Dolphins to be the worst team in the league this year. I will jump on them and take the points in an early season game before they spiral out of control.
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