NFL Spreads Week 1: Best Picks Against the Spread

Ricky Rothstein | Updated Sep 05, 2016

NFL Spreads Week 1

We’re back with NFL Spreads for Week 1! Each week we’ll have opening odds, line moves and picks against the point spread for every game of the season. 

Exactly seven months after the Denver Broncos upset the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, the 2016 NFL season kicks off with those two facing off again. Each week on Monday you can look for best picks against the spread on Sports Interaction NFL odds along with how the lines might change later in the week, whether due to the betting lean or potential injury. Week 1 is the toughest to handicap, though, because it’s simply not clear what teams are yet. All games on Sunday unless noted.

NFL Odds Week 1

Updated odds in italics

Thursday Night Football

Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos

Point Spread: Panthers -3

Total: 41.5 / 41

Think the Cats want some payback for that 24-10 loss at Levi’s Stadium? Carolina was a 4.5-point favorite then but couldn’t do much against that Denver top-ranked defense. No Peyton Manning this time for the Broncos.

Pick ATS: Carolina

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

Point Spread: Ravens -3

Total: 44.5

No team was more unlucky last season than the Ravens in terms of close losses and season-ending injuries. But all those guys, led by quarterback Joe Flacco, are healthy now. Buffalo has the NFL’s longest playoff drought and Coach Rex Ryan has been told he will be fired if the team doesn’t make it.  Ryan may be the first NFL coach fired this season.

Pick ATS: Baltimore

Chicago Bears at Houston Texans

Point Spread: Texans -6 / Texans -6.5 / Texans -6

Total: 44

The Bears’ first-team offense looked absolutely dreadful this preseason and they are very banged up with at least a few defensive starters, led by linebacker Pernell McPhee, to miss at least Week 1. This will be the Houston debut of QB Brock Osweiler, whom the Texans lured from Denver in free agency. The Texans believe three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt will play after missing all of the preseason following back surgery.

Pick ATS: Houston (top choice of week)

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets

Point Spread: Bengals -2.5

Total: 42

Cincinnati looked like a Super Bowl contender last year until quarterback Andy Dalton, who was having his best season, broke his thumb in Week 14 vs. the Steelers and missed the rest of the season. He’s healthy now, but Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert will miss this game. So will Cincy linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who is suspended. First meeting between these teams since a Bengals 49-9 win in 2013.

Pick ATS: Cincinnati

Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles

Point Spread: Eagles -4 / Eagles -3.5

Total: 41

These are going to be two bad teams this year. It’s the Browns debut for head coach Hue Jackson as well as quarterback Robert Griffin III as the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year looks to salvage his career. It’s also the head coaching debut of Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson. The Eagles made a stunning trade over the weekend in sending starting QB Sam Bradford to Minnesota. So No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz will start here if he’s recovered from a fractured rib. If not, it’s Chase Daniel.

Pick ATS: Philadelphia only because it’s at home

Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Point Spread: Packers -4.5 / Packers -5.5 / Packers -5

Total: 48

One of the more intriguing Week 1 matchups. The Packers are the +350 NFC favourites with the return of top receiver Jordy Nelson after he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Not coincidentally, QB Aaron Rodgers is the betting favourite to win a third NFL MVP Award. The Jaguars are considered a team on the rise with as much young talent as any club in the league.

Pick ATS: Jacksonville

Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans

Point Spread: Vikings -2 / Vikings -2.5

Total: 40.5 / 41

No team had a worse preseason than the Vikings, the defending NFC North champions. Many thought they were a Super Bowl-caliber team this season, but then starting quarterback Teddy  Bridgewater suffered serious knee injuries without being touched in practice last week. Then the Vikings acquired Bradford from Philly. He’s not expected to start this game — Shaun Hill will — but will take over eventually.

Pick ATS: Minnesota

Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints

Point Spread: Saints -1

Total: 51

It would be moderately surprising if this isn’t the highest-scoring game of Week 1 and indeed it does have the largest total. The Saints can score with anyone thanks to QB Drew Brees, but their defense was dreadful in 2015 and not likely to be much better in 2016. The Raiders, meanwhile, are a rising team in the AFC and have a good chance to finish with their first winning record since 2002.

Pick ATS: Oakland

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

Point Spread: Chiefs -7 / Chiefs -6.5

Total: 44.5

Kansas City lost star running back Jamaal Charles to a torn ACL early last season and he’s still not 100 percent recovered. He’s not going to start this game and perhaps not play at all. Might not matter as the Chiefs had no trouble sweeping the Chargers last year, holding San Diego to six combined points.

Pick ATS: Kansas City

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Point Spread: Falcons -3 / Falcons -2.5

Total: 47.5

It’s the head coaching debut of Tampa Bay’s Dirk Koetter, who was promoted from offensive coordinator thanks to his work last year with quarterback Jameis Winston, who was second in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. Tampa finished with two fewer losses than Atlanta in 2015 but swept the Falcons in two close games.

Pick ATS: Atlanta

Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks

Point Spread: Seahawks -10.5 / Seahawks -10

Total: 44

Seattle is the biggest favourite on the board, and it  has perhaps the best home-field advantage in the NFL. The Seahawks are my pick to win the NFC title this year — as long as Russell Wilson has an MVP-caliber season. It’s the head coaching debut of Adam Gase for Miami. He was Chicago’s offensive coordinator last year. The Fins are one of those teams stuck in the middle – not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to get a top draft pick.

Pick ATS: Miami — it’s  usually wise to take double-digit dogs in the NFL

Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts

Point Spread:  Colts -4 / Colts -3.5

Total: 50.5

It’s a matchup of former No. 1 overall picks here in Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and his counterpart, the Colts’ Andrew Luck. Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell is a former Colts head coach. Indy’s 2015 season was torpedoed by injuries to Luck as he played in only seven games. He’s healthy now and the highest-paid player in the NFL.

Pick ATS: Indianapolis

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Point Spread: pick’em / Cowboys -1

Total: 46

The Cowboys were 1-11 last season when quarterback Tony Romo was out injured, and he will miss likely the first half of this season after fracturing a vertebra in the team’s third preseason game. So fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott takes over under center and he was fabulous in the preseason. The Cowboys were the NFC East favourites before that injury but now the Giants are.

Pick ATS: New York

Sunday Night Football

New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals

Point Spread: Cardinals -6.5 / Cardinals -6

Total: 47.5

Potential Super Bowl preview? The Patriots are +325 on NFL odds to win the AFC and the Cardinals are +550 third-favourites in the NFC. Look for a full preview on this one later this week as New England begins life without the suspended Tom Brady.

Pick ATS: Arizona

Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins, Monday

Point Spread: Steelers -3

Total: 50

The NFL stages a Monday night doubleheader in Week 1 these days and this is the opener. Both these teams made the playoffs in 2015. Oddsmakers expect the Steelers to make it back in 2016, but not the Redskins. Pittsburgh star running back Le’Veon Bell is suspended for this game (and two more).

Pick ATS: Pittsburgh

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers, Monday

Point Spread: Rams -2.5

Total: 44

This is the late game on Monday night. Colin Kaepernick lost the battle to be San Francisco’s starting QB to Blaine Gabbert, but all eyes no doubt will be on Kaepernick to see if he continues his protest during the U.S. national anthem before the game. It’s also the 49ers head coaching debut of Chip Kelly. The Rams play their first game that matters as back as L.A.’s team. QB Jared Goff was chosen No. 1 overall in this year’s draft by the Rams, but he’s not only not starting this game but is third string. Journeyman Case Keenum starts. These NFC West clubs split last season, each winning at home.

Pick ATS: Los Angeles