Week One Picks Vs The Spread

By Zack Cimini

Last season was truly a solid year against the spread on a weekly basis. Picking the favorite is always the trendy pick, but I like to go against the grain with the contrarian selections. It’s the only way you’re truly going to be above 50% winners when the season is done. Early on in the season is when people think that it’s tough to pick. Not necessarily. Teams that showed rust in the preseason usually carry it over. Where it may not be the optimal time to nail a spread with a team, maybe you should look at the points total instead.

With a Thursday kickoff, it’s not only time to deliver your starting fantasy lineups. It’s also time to submit week one spread selections.

Green Bay at New Orleans +4.5— Pick New Orleans

The last two Super Bowl winners face off in what should be a great opening to the NFL season. Heading to Green Bay is always a tough task for any opponent. Look for the Saints to be competitive from the start. Drew Brees is one of the best leaders in the NFL, and he’ll have this team ready after an embarassing exit in 2010. Look for the upset in this one

Kansas City -6

Matt Cassel’s health should be fine, and I like the way he finished the 2010 season. Dwayne Bowe and Cassel are truly developing into a potent tandem. The Bills just have too many question marks on both sides of the football. Home field edge and uncertainty all around on the Bills, makes this an easy choice.

Chicago Bears +3

Being the home dog is strange, particularly from a team that went to the NFC championship. The Falcons won a lot of games last season, but none were really run away contests. They find ways to win at the end. This one will be tight, but the Bears will deliver in the end.

St. Louis Rams +4.5

This is the trickiest line of the weekend, that many will get suckered into. Don’t. St. Louis is on the rise, and you can’t expect the Eagles offense to click effectively right away. Besides the questions on the offensive line, Vick’s receivers have not really been out on the field for game speed yet. It’ll be a sluggish game that the Rams may win outright. Nothing like a typical week one loss to raise eyebrows and get the media stirring.

Houston Texans -8.5

The Colts don’t have the team tenacity and zeal it needs without Peyton Manning under center. Not having their star quarterback under center is going to affect this veteran laden team. Looking around the roster it may be time to reshuffle in many positions. Including inserting Delone Carter as the starting running back.

Cleveland Browns -6.5

This point spread is a little high for my liking, but they’re going against a Bengals team that is going to start a rookie quarterback. It took Andy Dalton a couple preseason games just to get rid of the jittery bugs. Imagine how he is going to be in his first start?

Baltimore Ravens -1.5

One of the best, if not the best current rivalries in football. Every game is down to the wire. Hence the barely there home point spread edge. Baltimore’s defense is continuing to get older, but they know the secrets of playing this Steelers team. All they need is for Flacco to deliver on a few drives.

Jacksonville Jaguars -2

Many are discounting Luke McCown. He has started in the NFL before and is a seasoned veteran, who has sat on the sidelines without a start for many years. There has to be a last shot mentality clicking in his head to prove himself. Jacksonville has some key weapons including two solid running backs. Starting new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and being that Chris Johnson has no game action makes this one of our top plays this weekend.

Carolina Panthers +7

Don’t be shocked if Cam Newton gets win one in his first start. I’m not saying Carolina is going to roll off a bunch of wins, but this is one they can snag. Arizona always plays down to the level of their competition sort of like an over rated college basketball team. The Panthers coaching staff will ensure Newton’s designed plays are simplistic to minimize mistakes. For Arizona, you know the exact opposite will occur. They’re going to want to showcase the mega contract quarterback of newly signed Kevin Kolb. Handling that pressure might not be instant for Kolb.

San Francisco -5.5

Seattle’s just going to be a doormat cellar pitiful team all season. Across the board offensively they might have the worst starters in the league at main positions.

NY Giants -3

This is sort of a trap game vs. the spread, but the Giants will get it done with their dynamic ground game. It’s truly amazing to see the transformation Brandon Jacobs made after the horrid start he had last year.

Minnesota Vikings +9

Until it happens we’re not ignoring history. San Diego bites themselves in the rear each and every season with poor starts. You know that is going to be in every Chargers head, and will be shoved down their throats until Sunday. On the other hand, McNabb goes into the year with low expectations. Everyone is saying Minnesota is a horrible team, and McNabb is just a pit stop quarterback. Don’t discount him just yet.

NY Jets -4.5

This will come down to the defenses, and the Jets have proven to be bolstered and well established in that department. Dallas on the other hand always gets the name to change the issue, but the result never shows up on the field.

Miami Dolphins +7

Oddsmakers are giving the Patriots way too much credit in this one. Sure, Chad Henne has not looked like a starting quarterback whatsoever, but he has put together decent games even dating back to last year. New England just doesn’t scare opponents like they use to. Discounting last years blowout losses, Miami typically plays well vs. New England. Reggie Bush will prove to be a better signing than most would have thought. Especially in this game, when Bush can get out in the open field against the slow defenders of New England.

Oakland Raiders +3

The Tim Tebow affect in year two will finally revive Kyle Orton’s true form. That’s poor decision making and pick six’s the other way. Denver has been waiting anxiously for Orton to self destruct so they can be forced to begin the Tim Tebow experiment. A guy can only mentally withstand knowing someone has his job for so long. Don’t forget Darren McFadden’s average last year versus Denver. Nearly 135 yards rushing, and three total touchdowns.


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