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Old 09-04-2018, 06:34 PM   #1
Anthony
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Cool Anthony's Week 1 NFL Pointspread Picks

Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.


THURSDAY NIGHT

PHILADELPHIA
20, Atlanta 13 (+3) - Had Carson Wentz been starting the Eagles would have been favored by closer to a touchdown than a field goal - and last year, teams seeking revenge for a playoff loss from 2016 were 0-7 straight up and 1-6 against the spread in the regular-season rematches, defending Super Bowl champions hosting these "Kickoff Classics" have gone 11-2 straight up and 9-3-1 against the spread since the practice of awarding them these games began in 2004 (the Ravens, who won Super Bowl XLVII, did not get to play at home in the 2013 game due to a scheduling conflict), and the Falcons are 1-8 straight up and 2-7 against the spread in this millennium at Philly, one of the two covers being a half-pointer in the 2006 season finale that became a "Siesta Bowl" for the Eagles when the Cowboys lost earlier in the day.


SUNDAY

N.Y. GIANTS
16 (+3), Jacksonville 14 - The road team in this series has taken an 0-for-6 lifetime collar - and the Jags run defense, which ranked 21st in the league last season (compared with first against the pass), will be sternly tested by Saquon Barkley, the 2018 NFL draft's second overall pick. Stir in Jacksonville's 3-16 straight-up record since 2013 as a visitor on the carpet and you have the recipe for an upset.

NEW ENGLAND 27, Houston 13 (+6) - It's anybody's guess how close to 100% Deshaun Watson is - but it's nobody's guess as to how rotten the Texans have played at Foxborough: 0-6 straight up, 1-5 against the spread, outscored 220-98, even if the lone cover was with a healthy Watson.

Tennessee 23, MIAMI 16 (+1) - The national anthem is getting more respect from these knee-takers than the Titans are getting from these talking heads. Are they forgetting that this team is coming off a season in which they won a playoff game for the first time since 2003? If the Titans are smart, they will use Derrick Henry as Washington once used John Riggins, to take the pressure off of Marcus Mariota.

Pittsburgh 17, CLEVELAND 13 (+5 1/2) - The Browns have lost a league-high 13 consecutive opening-day games (and are even 3-10 against the spread in them), but have covered in their last three vs. the Steelers, who are too cheap to pay Le'Veon Bell what he is clearly worth. The game most likely to produce a winner who does not cover the spread.

INDIANAPOLIS 35, Cincinnati 13 (+3) - As with Watson, how close to 100% Andrew Luck may be is a matter on which we can only speculate - but there is no speculation about the home team's recent domination of this series (five straight wins, 4-1 against the spread), or about how poorly the Bengals have fared at Indianapolis for the longest time: They haven't won there since 1992, losing eight out of eight by a combined 288-103.

BALTIMORE 24, Buffalo 0 (+7) - How can you draft a quarterback with the seventh overall pick and then refuse to play him - especially when the alternative is a total bum? Fantasy players would be well advised to sit LeSean McCoy if they own him - because the Ravens are gonna be shoving eight in the box on every play to stop McCoy and make the bum (Nathan Peterman) beat them. Furthermore, the home team is 6 for 6 in the lifetime series (5-1 against the spread), while Buffalo is 37-74 straight up and 48-61-2 against the line since 1995 as a visitor on the grass.

MINNESOTA 30, San Francisco 14 (+6) - During Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension, Alfred Morris gained 430 yards, an average of 71.7 yards per game. Projected over a full 16-game season, that's 1,147 yards. Pretty impressive, right? Not when it is pointed out that defenses were lining up with five or even six guys in the secondary to stop the pass and make Morris beat them. And the 49ers, for their part, have not won in Minnesota since 1992 (0-5 straight up, 1-4 against the spread, outscored 147-74) and have lost seven straight inside NFL domes (2-5 against the spread, outscored 214-101).

NEW ORLEANS 27, Tampa Bay 7 (+9 1/2) - Jameis Winston may not play good like a quarterback should - but his tobacco is a lot finer than Ryan Fitzpatrick's (Winston is suspended for the first three games), and the Bucs are nursing losing streaks of six straight on rugs (1-4-1 against the line) and seven in a row in domes (1-6). The Saints figure to be prime timber in so-called survivor pools - and justifiably so.

Kansas City 23 (+3), L.A. CHARGERS 13 - The lone late-time-slot game on CBS in deference to the men's finals of the U.S. Open. And how can you not take the Chiefs as underdogs against a team they have beaten eight consecutive times? Game, set, match to KC.

Dallas 28 (+3), CAROLINA 23 - America's Team excels as a visitor on the grass (18-5 straight up, 19-4 against the spread since 2014), as a visitor outdoors (8-2 both ways since 2016) and at Carolina, where they have won their last four. And the newly speeded-up Dallas wide receiving corps will test the weak Panthers secondary early and often.

DENVER 31, Seattle 14 (+3) - I am going to say it the first week, and I am going to stick by it: The Seahawks are in extremely serious trouble!

ARIZONA 27, Washington 17 (P) - A pick 'em line provides the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the home team's six-game winning streak in the series, and The Team That Dares Not Speak Its Name's 4-18 straight up record since 2009 as a visitor in domed stadiums. And the season-aborting injury to Derrius Guice in one of these lovely "preseason" games makes this a loss that Alex Smith won't be able to game-manage his way out of in his first start as a member of TTTDNSIN.

GREEN BAY 30, Chicago 13 (+7 1/2) - The optimistic whispers have begun in Chicago with the trade that has brought Khalil Mack on board - but those whispers will fade quickly after the Bears lose for the 15th time in their last 17 against Green Bay, and non-cover for the 13th time.


MONDAY NIGHT

N.Y. Jets
24 (+6 1/2), DETROIT 21 - Once upon a time, the Lions had a quarterback by the name of Eric Hipple. Now they're nothing but a bunch of hooples - and unlike in many of this week's matchups, it is the road team that has been dominant in this one recently: 5-2 both ways in the last seven. Plus the Jets are 6-2 both ways in domes since 2010. And unlike the Bills, the Jets are doing the right thing: Sam Darnold will start for them at quarterback.

L.A. Rams 27, OAKLAND 20 (+4) - Like the national anthem desecrators, Raider fans doth protest too much: With the oldest roster in the league in terms of median age, they traded Khalil Mack for two first-round picks, giving them a chance to get younger. Rams have covered in the last four meetings.


BEST BETS: INDIANAPOLIS, BALTIMORE, KANSAS CITY
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