2018 NFL Week 1 SU Odds & Picks

Written by on September 4, 2018

Do Nathan Peterman and the Buffalo Bills have any chance of upsetting Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens in their regular season opener? Could the Cleveland Browns pull off an even bigger upset by beating the Super Bowl hopeful Pittsburgh Steelers in their AFC North divisional showdown? Last but certainly not least, is it possible that ‘Jimmy G’  and the San Francisco 49ers could pull off the potential upset over another legitimate Super Bowl contender when they visit the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1? Let’s find out the answer to this question as I offer up a trio of expert, NFL Week 1 straight-up (SU) picks.

2018 NFL Week 1 SU Odds & Picks

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

When: Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 1:00 PM ET Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland NFL Week 1 Odds: Baltimore -7 / Total: 40.5 The Bills went 2-2 in the preseason by beating Cleveland and Chicago in Weeks 1 and 3 and losing to Carolina and Cincinnati in Weeks 2 and 4.  Still, they didn’t look very good in an overall sense, although I do have to say that Nathan Peterman played very well. Having said that, the Bills have problems along the offensive line, at wide receiver and lack quality depth at running back behind starter LeSean McCoy. Baltimore went 5-0 in the preseason while scoring 30 points or more twice and never giving up more than 20 points defensively. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco looked like a guy that has some desire now and that’s because the Ravens found out that RG3 can still play this game. This is a game that 71 percent of public bettors already like the Ravens to cover the chalk in. I see no way Baltimore loses to a Bills team they know they should beat, particularly seeing how one loss kept them out of the playoffs last season. The Ravens ranked an encouraging ninth in scoring (24.7 ppg) and impressive sixth in points allowed (18.9 ppg), not to mention they’ve gone an encouraging 7-3 ATS in their last 10 regular season openers. NFL Week 1 Pick: Baltimore 24 Buffalo 14

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Are the Steelers a safe bet for NFL Week 1? When: Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 1:00 PM ET Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio NFL Odds: Pittsburgh -4 / Total: 45.5 Pittsburgh went 3-1 in the preseason and scored at least 30 points three times.  along the way. While veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only made a brief appearance in game 3 while fellow Killa B’s members, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown never suited up at all, I’m expecting the trio of veterans to play at a high level. Cleveland looked pretty good in going 3-1 in the preseason. The browns took out the Giants in their opener and closed with wins over Philadelphia and Detroit in Weeks 3 and 4 after narrowly falling to Buffalo in Week 2. I love Cleveland’s addition of veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receiver Jarvis Landry among other additions and I believe they’re going to pay immediate dividends as the Browns start to look and play like a competent NFL team. However, I’m not expecting the Browns to pull off the outright upset against a Steelers team that should be locked in and too focused to lose what should be a winnable contest. The spread for this Week 1 affair has dropped steadily over the last couple of weeks and now sits at 3.5 after originally opening around 7 points, which is why I like the Steelers for the SU win, if not necessarily the ATS cover. Pittsburgh has gone an uninspiring 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games against their AFC North division rivals and a discouraging 2-5 ATS in their last 7 regular season openers, but I still like Big Ben and company for the outright win. NFL Week 1 Pick: Pittsburgh 23 Cleveland 20

San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings

When: Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 1:00 PM ET Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota NFL Week 1 Odds: Minnesota -6 / Total: 46 San Francisco didn’t look particularly impressive in going 1-3 in the preseason. The Niners lost their final three scrimmage games after beating lowly Dallas in their opener and they got man-handled in their 16-13 Week 3 preseason loss at Houston. Still, the Niners won their final five games last season with Jimmy Garoppolo under center and they improved their roster more under second-year head coach Kyle Shanahan.  The 49ers averaged a healthy 28.8 points per game over their final five games last season and hung 44 points on a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that finished second in points allowed a year ago. Minnesota looked great on both sides of the ball in posting a 3-1 record this preseason. After falling to Philadelphia in the NFC Championship, the Vikings signed veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency to be their franchise signal-caller for the foreseeable future and I believe that was a good move. The Vikings have some nice talent at the skill positions with wide receivers Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen, tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Dalvin Cook. Minnesota ranked first almost across the board on defense last season and the addition of Cousins and some growth from their skill position players could be just the thing that puts Minnesota over the top in 2018.

Prediction

While I’m expecting the new-look Niners to be competitive this season, I’m thinking both, that everyone’s jumping the gun on Frisco and Jimmy G and that Minnesota has a legitimate chance to reach – and win – Super Bowl 53. For this Week 1 opener, the pick is quite simple to me. The Vikings are playing at home, they have the far better defense and I believe they want to send a message, not only to the Niners, but to all of their NFC counterparts, that all roads to the Super Bowl in the NFC will go through Minnesota. While the 49ers are a robust 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games in Week 1 and impressive 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, the Vikings are a near-perfect 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games in the month of September and an insane 42-19 ATS in their last 61 games overall. I’m expecting Minnesota to use a powerful performance from their defense and some improved offense from kirk Cousins and company to get the win and narrowly cover the chalk with the statement-making performance they’re looking for. NFL Week 1 Pick: Minnesota 29 San Francisco 20