NFL Week 1 Early Odds Analysis and Free Picks

Posted by Joe Solari on Tuesday,May 17, 2016 5:47, EST in

The much-anticipated Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season is set to kick off on Thursday, September 8th, featuring a Super Bowl 50 rematch between finalists, the Carolina Panthers, and the defending champs, the Denver Broncos. This will be followed by a 13-game treat on Sunday (10th September), leaving two games for fans of Monday Night Football. With the rosters in the league starting to settle after an action-packed free agency and draft period, it’s about time we take an early look at the Week 1 NFL free picks.

NFL Week 1 Early Odds Analysis and Free Picks

 

 

Who: Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos

When: Thursday, September 8, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 PM ET
Where: Denver, CO
Stadium: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Spread: PK
Game Total: 43
Watch: NBC
Stream: NBC Sports Live
Listen: Carolina vs. Denver

Analysis: Denver’s defense will be the real deal as usual, but no way will Mark Sanchez best an angry Cam Newton that is looking to wipe out the memories of his disappointing show at Super Bowl 50.

NFL Pick: Carolina

Who: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Atlanta, GA
Stadium: Georgia Dome
Spread: Falcons -3
Game Total: 48
Watch: FOX Sports
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta

Analysis: The Falcons will be better in the defense, thanks to rejuvenating offseason and the combo of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will be tough to handle here. Still, QB Jameis Winston won two games against Atlanta last season, and that was when the Bucs weren’t at their best. With Tampa Bay also coming to this season improved, I expect the Bucs to keep this game very close to cover the spread, if not deliver an outright win.

NFL Pick: Tampa Bay (+3)

Who: Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Nashville, TN
Stadium: Nissan Stadium
Spread: Vikings -3
Game Total: 43
Watch: FOX Sports
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Minnesota vs. Tennessee

Analysis: Marcus Mariota showed signs that he could be a big-time QB in the league and the Titans are solidly 3-0 SU in their last three Week 1 games, giving Tennessee a chance to upset the NFL odds here. But you’d be a fool to trust any team going against the mighty Adrian Peterson, who will be working alongside a surging QB in Teddy Bridgewater and a trusty Minnesota defense.

NFL Pick: Minnesota (-3)

Who: Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Philadelphia, PA
Stadium: Lincoln Financial Field
Spread: Eagles -7
Game Total: 45
Watch: CBS
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: Cleveland vs. Philadelphia

Analysis: This is a case of two dysfunctional teams trying to find a source of direction, so the game could go either way. Playing at home will give the Eagles a slight edge, but Robert Griffin III is talented enough to keep this game close. Cleveland should, at the very least, be able to keep this one close.

NFL Pick: Cleveland (+7)

Who: Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: East Rutherford, NJ
Stadium: MetLife Stadium
Spread: Bengals -1
Game Total: 43
Watch: CBS
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: Cincinnati vs. NY Jets

Analysis: The Jets are usually tough to beat at home and I’d be willing to go with them if Ryan Fitzpatrick is confirmed as QB. But as things stand, the QB situation in NY is still up in the air, giving Andy Dalton (NFL’s king of 1 p.m. games) a chance to shine here for the win.

NFL Pick: Cincinnati (-1)

Who: Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: New Orleans, LA
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Spread: Saints -1.5
Game Total: 51
Watch: FOX Sports
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Oakland vs. New Orleans

Analysis: This is a really tricky game because, on one hand, Drew Brees is among the best QBs in the league and he will be getting more pieces to support his cause in both the O and D lines. On the other hand, QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper and the Raiders look to be on the rise, especially with a beefed up defense shoring up things at the back. I wouldn’t be surprised if New Orleans wins this game, but for now, I am willing to trust Oakland’s offseason investments to start paying dividends right from Week 1, with the game most likely delivering a high-scoring thriller.

NFL Picks: Oakland (+1.5), OVER 51

Who: San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Kansas City, MO
Stadium: Arrowhead Stadium
Spread: Chiefs -7.5
Game Total: 43
Watch: CBS
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: San Diego vs. Kansas City

Analysis: QB Philip Rivers is just about the only thing working in favor of San Diego and that won’t be enough against a Kansas City team that showed massive improvements on both sides of the ball last season. Oh, and Kansas City finished the regular-season riding on a 10-game winning streak. Add that to the fact that the Chiefs have swept the Chargers for the last two straight seasons, I expect Kansas City to get the job done once again here.

NFL Pick: Kansas City for SU.

Who: Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Baltimore, MD
Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium
Spread: Ravens -3
Game Total: 44
Watch: CBS
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: Buffalo vs. Baltimore

Analysis: I don’t expect the Ravens to be as bad as they were in 2015; Baltimore will play much better football. All I expect is for head coach Rex Ryan and his Buffalo team to start the season in a more prepared way than Baltimore, earning the Bills the win in this season-opener.

NFL Pick: Buffalo (+3)

Who: Chicago Bears at Houston Texans

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Houston, TX
Stadium: NRG Stadium
Spread: Texans -5.5
Game Total: 44.5
Watch: FOX Sports
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Chicago vs. Houston

Analysis: I am not high on Brock Osweiler in this game, mainly because Jay Cutler has proven the ability to hang about with nearly anyone on a good day. With that, I am not sure who will win this game. All I know is that this game will most likely be a low-scoring affair, as Chicago improved defense—under the leadership of John Fox—wrestles with Houston’s defense that ranked third-best in the league in a gutsy showdown.

NFL Pick: UNDER 44.5

Who: Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Jacksonville, FL
Stadium: EverBank Field
Spread: Packers -4.5
Game Total: 47.5
Watch: FOX Sports
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Green Bay vs. Jacksonville

Analysis: With or without home advantage, I’d expect Green Bay to win this game by at least one touchdown. So, although the return of DE Dante Fowler Jr. and the additions of CB Price Amukamara and DE Malik Jackson will keep the Jags in this game, Green Bay’s class—heralded by the mercurial Aaron Rodgers and a healthy receiving corps—will show class to eventually win this game rather comfortably.

NFL Pick: Green Bay (-4.5)

Who: Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 4:05 PM ET
Where: Seattle, WA
Stadium: CenturyLink Field
Spread: Seahawks -7.5
Game Total: 44
Watch: CBS
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: Miami vs. Seattle

Analysis: Too many mismatches on both sides of the ball for Miami to stand a chance in this game; give me Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom (that brought back CB Brandon Browner) to dismember the Fish for a big win.

NFL Pick: Seattle -7.5

Who: Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 4:25 PM ET
Where: Indianapolis, IN
Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium
Spread: Colts -6
Game Total: 49.5
Watch: FOX Sports
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Detroit vs. Indianapolis

Analysis: Megatron is no longer in Detroit and Indy will have to Andrew Luck back in the line-up after last year’s season-ending injury. Do I even have to explain this further?

NFL Pick: Indianapolis (-6)

Who: NY Giants at Dallas Cowboys

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 4:25 PM ET
Where: Arlington, TX
Stadium: AT&T Stadium
Spread: Cowboys -4
Game Total: 49
Watch: FOX Sports
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: NY Giants vs. Dallas

Analysis: Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Tony Romo and Dez Bryant can only mean one thing; this game will be a potentially high-scoring affair, with both teams scoring 20-plus points. That being said, the Cowboys have owned the Giants, winning 6 of their last 7 against the New Yorkers, so Dallas should be the trendy pick here.

NFL Pick: Dallas (-4)

Who: New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 PM ET
Where: Glendale, AZ
Stadium: U of Phoenix Stadium
Spread: PK
Game Total: 51
Watch: NBC
Stream: NBC Sports Live
Listen: New England vs. Arizona

Analysis: This one is all down to the issue of Tom Brady’s suspension. If Brady is available, take the Pats. If Brady is unavailable, take the Cardinals.

NFL Pick: New England/Arizona

 

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Who: Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins

When: Monday, September 12, 2016
Start Time: 7:10 PM ET
Where: Landover, MD
Stadium: FedEx Field
Spread: Steelers -3.5
Game Total: 51.5
Watch: ESPN
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Pittsburgh vs. Washington

Analysis: Obviously, the Steelers will be the hot pick here, and rightfully so, but I have a feeling that Kirk Cousins could surprise people in this game. Cousins and the Redskins tend to play very well at home and that could show as early as Week 1 against Pittsburgh in this MNF encounter.

NFL Pick: Washington (+3.5)

Who: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

When: Monday, September 12, 2016
Start Time: 10:20 PM ET
Where: Santa Clara, CA
Stadium: Levi’s Stadium
Spread: Rams -2
Game Total: 44.5
Watch: ESPN
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Los Angeles vs. San Francisco

Analysis: It’s hard to say exactly how the Rams offense will figure out this year, but I’d easily take Jared Goff or Carson Wentz over that washed-up Nick Foles from last season. For San Fran, there are too many questions that new head coach Chip Kelly will need to answer if the team is to start the season on a good note. On paper, the Rams are a bit advanced in their rebuilding agenda than the 49ers, but then again, home advantage could motivate San Francisco for a winning performance.

NFL Pick: Los Angeles (-2).