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Old 09-06-2005, 05:04 AM   #9
Anthony
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Cool Week 1 Picks

8

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

THURSDAY NIGHT

NEW ENGLAND 34, Oakland 13 (+7) - Isn't this number a bit low considering that what we have here is the defending Super Bowl champion hosting a last-place team? Plus the Raiders could be looking ahead to next Sunday night's far more winnable game at home against ancient rival Kansas City.

SUNDAY

N.Y. Jets 30 (+3 1/2), KANSAS CITY 23 - The Jets were a 10-6 Elite Eight team a year ago while the Chiefs were 7-9 - so why is KC favored by more than a field goal? It couldn't possibly be due to the way the Jets have been playing on grass, upon which they went 5-1 straight up and 5-0-1 against the spread in 2004.

N.Y. GIANTS 28, Arizona 14 (+1) - Any revenge motive Kurt Warner may have is utterly dwarfed by the facts that the Cardinals have lost 12 consecutive games on artificial turf with their average margin of defeat therein being just under 14 points, and their record in their last 13 season openers: One 1-point win (in 1999) and 12 losses; best bet.

WASHINGTON 16, Chicago 0 (+4) - Patrick Ramsey inspires so little confidence that the Redskins made a weird trade that gave them a second first-round draft pick, which they then used on QB Jason Campbell; even so, compared with Kyle Orton, Ramsey might as well be Johnny Unitas.

BUFFALO 23, Houston 13 (+4) - Maybe they should be known as the Houston Inchworms, as they continue their painfully slow climb up the NFL ladder; but if they hope to be competitive here more than incremental improvement on artificial turf will be needed: Last year the Texans went 0-3 both ways on the stuff and were outscored 106-37.

PITTSBURGH 27, Tennessee 14 (+7) - Gotta believe that the Steelers are steamed at being snubbed from the opening-week national airwaves after going 15-1 last season, and the Titans have been a steaming pile of garbage on rugs recently: 3-10-1 against the line in their last 14.

CAROLINA 20, New Orleans 7 (+5) - Or should it be Carolina 20, San Antonio 7? Or Carolina 20, Baton Rouge 7? You get the idea.

MIAMI 16 (+3 1/2), Denver 14 - One of the basic principles of wagering on anything is that you don't bet on somebody as a favorite to do something they've never done before - and the Broncos have never won in Miami (0-6 straight up in their history); upset.

CLEVELAND 21 (+3), Cincinnati 20 - Last year the Browns scorched the Ravens 20-3 in their opener for their first Week 1 win in their present incarnation, and not convinced the Bengals are quite there yet, especially on defense.

Seattle 24 (+3), JACKSONVILLE 17 - Seahawks have huge personnel advantage offensively, and Jacksonville's admitted edge on defense may not be as big as one would think. This figures to be one of those opening day "faux upsets" that will not be regarded as such when it is all said and done.

MINNESOTA 33, Tampa Bay 14 (+5) - Home cooking in this series couldn't be hotter: Nine straight wins and covers by a combined 121 points! And isn't the salary cap a splendid institution? Under it, a team can be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one year, and Quinnipiac College the next.

Green Bay 31 (+2), DETROIT 17 - Theseus had Medea, and Al Capone had Eliot Ness. Well Joey Harrington has the Green Bay Packers: A lifetime 46.9 passer rating in six games, with one net touchdown (five TD passes minus the four of his eleven interceptions that were returned for scores). Only Green Bay's long siege of futility on the artificial carpet (13-31 against the line since 1994) and inside domes (6-15-1 spreadwise since '97) keeps this one out of Best Bet Land.

St. Louis 24, SAN FRANCISCO 23 (+4) - If you want to give points with the Rams on natural grass (3-14 against the line in their last 17) and/or outdoors (7-18 vs. the number in their last 25), be my guest.

SAN DIEGO 21, Dallas 10 (+4) - Another number that appears on the small side, as six games separated these two teams in last year's standings; but Dallas rarely offers good value as a visitor on the grass (3-9-2 against the line in their last 14 games) and the Cowboys have a current five-game losing streak on opening day which includes losses to the expansion Texans in their first game ever and to the Falcons at home without Michael Vick.

BALTIMORE 24 (+3), Indianapolis 20 - Yes, the quarterback matchup is reminiscent of the fabled clash of the tortoise and the hare, but you'd have to be hare-brained to bet on the road team here when it has lost the last five meetings; and the Colts, whose defense looked simply awful in the preseason, have won only once in the nine times they have visited The Modell Franchise since 1973.

MONDAY NIGHT

ATLANTA 19 (+3), Philadelphia 17 - Super Bowl runners-up have dropped six straight openers the following year and Michael Vick actually showed decent accuracy in what little of Atlanta's five preseason games he appeared in; still, this game matches up what will prove to be the league's two biggest disappointments this year and on that basis is best stayed away from.

BEST BETS: N.Y. GIANTS, WASHINGTON, MINNESOTA

Last edited by Anthony; 09-10-2005 at 09:14 AM.
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