The Good, the Mad and the Ugly: NFL Week 1

Week 1 of the National Football League is upon us! Behold! Mad Max’s week 1 picks.

Packers at Vikings

Open: Min -3

Current: Min -2.5 (lean Vikings)

O/U: 45 (under)

Overview: Division rivals tend to play each other tough. These teams have defenses that should keep the score low. The Packers will try to control the game with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon on the ground. The Vikings will also run the ball with Dalvin Cook and try to replace the offense of Stefon Diggs. The money is coming in on Green Bay. I am going the other way. Hate the 2.5 spreads so only a lean on Minnesota.

 

Bears at Lions

Open: Det -1

Current: Det -2.5 (Lean Bears)

O/U: 42.5 (slight under)

Overview: I seem to be on the opposite sides of what most people think about these two teams. I’m high on the Bears and I’m not buying into the Lions’ hype. The Bears still have an elite defense and adding Robert Quinn will help. They didn’t force a lot of turnovers last year but if they can this year, that’s better field position for the offense. I am not a fan of Trubisky but if he struggles, he’ll be out of there. The Lions’ offense could be very good but their defense is looking bad. Especially the secondary. I think the Bears win this one. I just don’t like that the money is on them and the line is getting better for them. I’ll lean the Bears.

 

Colts at Jaguars

Open: Ind -6.5

Current: Ind -8 (lean Colts)

O/U: 45 (under)

Overview: The Jaguars front office are making all of the moves to tank this year. I feel bad for Mr. Mustache – Gardner Minshew III. The Colts are one of the teams that many are expecting a lot from. I’m not entirely sold on Old Man Rivers there but maybe he won’t need to do too much. The Colts have a solid defense and added DeForesr Buckner. Home underdogs are always interesting. I think it’s a lot to ask Indy to cover. But the Jags’ offense will struggle to score points and the Colts have a chance to score into the mid to late 20s – which should be enough. I’ll lean Indy.

 

Dolphins at Patriots

Open: NE -7

Current: NE-7 (Bet Patriots)

O/U: 41.5 (sligh under)

Overview: Let’s see if the post-Brady era can kick off with a win. Former MVP, Cam Newton, takes the helm in New England and Bill Belichick seems high on him. Or is just trying to make his old girlfriend a bit jealous by talking up his latest fling. The Dolphins may have helped usher in the end for the Brady Era in New England when they beat the Patriots last season to force them to lose home field in the playoffs. The Dolphins have made some improvements on offense – especially their bad offensive line. I still expect them to be eying Tua to get in there sometime this season but for now, in Fitzy they trust. The money seems to be on Miami here but I like the Patriots. I’m betting New England here.

 

Eagles at Washington Football Team

Open: Phi -6

Current: Phi -5.5 (lean Eagles)

O/U: 42.5 (slight under)

Overview: I like Carson Wentz but health has been an issue for him. Not just for him, but for his surrounding offensive unit. Everyone seems to be in good shape to start to season so I am looking for Philly to be a team to compete with Dallas in the East. I love Fletcher Cox on defense and getting Darius Slay is huge for them. Washington, on the other hand, is a team in yet another transition. New coach. Kind of a new team name. Tons of questions at QB. The money is on Washington but I am still liking Philly. Leaning the Eagles.

 

Browns at Ravens

Open: Bal -8.5

Current: Bal -7.5 (lean Browns)

O/U: 48 (slight under)

Overview: Baker Mayfield gets his fourth coach in three seasons. There’s no question that Baker has talent, but there are some questions about his focus and personality. Maybe Kevin Stefanski can control that and put him in offensive schemes that are best suited for him to succeed in. Mayfield definitely has weapons and Browns’ defense isn’t too bad. Getting the defending “MVP” and potential Super Bowl contenders in Week 1 will be tough. That said, there will be some regression on the Ravens that is to be expected and the Browns could be a pain in their side. Show me what you got, both teams. For now, I’ll lean the Browns with those points.

 

Jets at Bills

Open: Buf -6

Current: Buf -6.5 (Bet Bills)

O/U: 39.5 (slight over)

Overview: The Jets went 6-2 over their final 8 games to save Adam Gase’s job. We all know which coach should get the credit for that. Now, emboldened by those wins, Gase will be even more insufferable and try to do things he can’t. Like coaching well. I am not a fan of this Jets team but I am a fan of the Bills. Adding Stefon Diggs could be a critical piece for them to compete for the AFC East. The Bills’ defense has been a top six defense the past 2 seasons and I don’t expect much different from them this season. This line is a bit higher than I’d like, but I am still going to take a nibble. Betting the Bills.

 

Raiders at Panthers

Open: LVR -1.5

Current: LVR -3 (Bet Panthers)

O/U: 47.5 (under)

Overview: I’m not a fan of Carolina this year but not sure you can trust Chucky Gruden as a road favorite here. Josh Jacobs is great but I worry about what Gruden will do with Carr this year. He turned into a game manager last season under Gruden and doesn’t seem to be loved by the Chuckster. He gets a chance to shred a porous Panthers’ defense in week 1. Carolina’s offense could be a problem for the Vegas defense. Christian McCaffrey should get his and under Matt Rhule, maybe Bridgewater can continue to improve. I don’t think the Panthers get a ton of wins this season. But this could be one of them. The money is all over the Raiders but I am fading the money and betting Carolina with the points.

 

Seahawks at Falcons

Open: Sea -1

Current: Sea -2.5 (lean Seahawks)

O/U: 49 (under)

Overview: The Falcons are much like the Jets. Started very poorly and then finished 6-2 – behind a solid defense. Last season, the Seahawks didn’t have as stout of a defense as they usually do, but they made some changes and are looking to get back to their roots. Offensively, Seattle will rise and fall behind Russell Wilson – but they have a pair of running backs that should take some pressure off. The Seattle offensive line was a huge issue last season and could be a problem this year too. But not as bad as Atlanta’s o-line – which is something Seattle should exploit. I hate this line. I will lean Seattle here.

 

Chargers at Bengals

Open: LAC -3

Current: LAC -3 (Lean Chargers)

O/U: 42 (slight under)

Overview: The Bengals will throw Joe Burrow into the fire in week 1. Thankfully for him, he’s facing a Chargers team that is going through a transitional year. No longer with Phillip Rivers, San Diego or LA, will start Tyrod Taylor at QB this week. But they have an heir apparent who could be out there this season too in Justin Herbert. I expect both teams to lean on the running game and on defense. The Chargers should have more talent to win this one, but I can’t trust them. Leaning the Chargers.

 

Bucs at Saints

Open: NO -4

Current: NO -3.5 (Bet Saints)

O/U: 47.5 (slight under)

Overview: If the Superdome isn’t jam packed, does it make a sound? Teams like the Saints and Seahawks who use the crowd to their advantage will have some adjustments this year. Tom Brady will make his first start for Tampa and my expectations are tempered. The money is all over Tampa on this one but I think a lot of that happened when the line was higher. What I like about the Saints this season is stability and continuity. This team will got the ground running without the need for preseason or tune ups. I’ll bet the Saints here.

 

Cardinals at Niners

Open: SF -7

Current: SF -7 (Bet Cardinals)

O/U: 48.5 (under)

Overview: Air quality could be an issue as California deals with fires and landscapes that look like Bladerunner 2049. The Cardinals are a team on the rise. They improved offensively last season and added a great wide receiver with DeAndre Hopkins. But the team still lacks on defense and can be beaten on the ground and air. The Niners have nowhere to go but down. They lost Emanuel Sanders and replaced him with a rookie who is injured. They lost on defense and now Bosa will face double teams. And they won a lot of close games last year that they could lose this year. The Niners will still be a team to beat but historically, Super Bowl losers drop a turd in week 1’s ATS. I’ll bet the Cardinals here.

 

Cowboys at Rams

Open: Dal -2.5

Current: Dal -2 (Bet LA)

O/U: 51 (slight under)

Overview: The Cowboys have huge expectations and the Rams not so much. I am on record as saying that I am not a believer in the Cowboys. It’s hard to argue that the Dallas offense isn’t full of talent. But I am in love with the Rams defense and Dallas as a road favorite in week 1 here seems suspect to me. I’ll be a homer here and bet the Rams.