Week 1 docket.
Here’s A Closer Look At The Best Early 2017 NFL Week 1 Value Bets
Chiefs at PatriotsWhen: Thursday, September 1 at 7:30 PM ET Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA TV: NBC NFL Odds: New England -7
Analysis: I know the Patriots went 14-2 SU and an amazing 13-3 ATS last season en route to another Super Bowl title, but I’m going to urge you to back the Kansas City in this regular season opener mostly because the Chiefs won 12 games and are pretty damned elite themselves.
Kansas City went 9-7 last season and has a defense that features four Pro Bowl-caliber stars. Kansas City finished the 2016 season ranked a stellar seventh in points allowed (19.4 ppg) while putting up a respectable 24.3 points per game to rank 13th in scoring.
I know Tom Brady and the Patriots ranked third in scoring last season (27.6 ppg) and first in points allowed defensively (15.6 ppg), but I think the spread in this matchup is a few points too high for New England to cover. Simply put, I say go against the vast majority of bettors that like the Pats to win and cover.
Pick: Kansas City +7 Points
Atlanta Falcons at Chicago BearsWhen: Sunday, September 10 at 1:00 PM ET Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill TV: FOX NFL Odds: Atlanta -6.5 / Total: 50.5
I have no idea why reports say that sportsbooks are taking money on the Bears to cover, but I’m here to say, forget about Atlanta’s Super Bowl hangover for at least this opener. The Bears won a paltry three games last season and showed just how clueless of a franchise they are by giving up an arm and a leg all to move up one spot to draft an inexperienced signal-caller in Mitchell Trubisky and I suspect they’ll struggle all season in what will likely be head coach John Fox’s last season in the Windy City.
Chicago ranked a dismal 28th in scoring last season (17.4 ppg) and 24th in points allowed (24.9 ppg) and have far too many questions to answer at myriad positions for Trubisky or scheduled starter Mike Glennon, to answer. Hell, Joe Montana or Dan Marino couldn’t help this team if they were in their primes. Despite losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, I’m fully expecting Matt Ryan and the Falcons to remain one of the most explosive teams in the league in 2017.
Pick: Atlanta -6.5 Points
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ersWhen: Sunday, September 10 at 4:00 PM ET Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA TV: FOX NFL Odds: Carolina -4.5 / Total: 48
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers took a huge step backwards last season after reaching Super Bowl 50 the year before, but I think it’s more likely than not that Carolina gets back to being a double-digit winner in 2017. I love Carolina’s addition of gifted hybrid running back/wide receiver Christian McCaffery and I genuinely believe he alone will help transform Newton and the Panthers’ wildly inconsistent offense into a far more efficient one this coming season after they put up a modest 23.1 points per game to rank 15th in scoring a year ago.
San Francisco (2-14) may have robbed the Chicago Bears blind in the NFL Draft and they made some really nice additions. However, the Niners still have a far way to go to get back to being a respectable team and it certainly won’t happen in their opener against Carolina. I love the value that Carolina is offering as a manageable road fave in this opener.
Pick: Carolina -4.5 Points