NFL Picks Week 1: -$1810
My NFL Picks were my most popular feature last year, so I'm bringing them back for 2013. Like last year, my picks will be posted gradually during the week because I type them up on my commute. Here we go!
Game 1: Baltimore @ Denver -8.5
This is the first time in a while that the defending Super Bowl champs haven't opened at home, which could play in to the Raven's psyche here. Denver is out for blood after being eliminated by the Ravens last year in the divisional round. I'm picking line value, not the spot, here so I'm going Baltimore for 2.
Baltimore +8.5 (3 units) -$330
Game 2: New England @ Buffalo +10
New England has been the center of focus this offseason, between Aaron Hernandez and Tim Tebow. However, Tom Brady is still an elite quarterback, and he can make plays even with Hernandez and Gronk out. The Bills have perhaps the murkiest QB situation in the league with Manuel and Tuel. I'm tempted to lay units on New England, but I don want to lay 9.5 on the road until I get more comfortable this year.
New England -10 (0 units) -$0
Game 3: Tennessee @ Pittsburgh -6.5
The Titans are one of my picks to surprise this season, I think that CJ2K is going to live up to his name this year. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has a very jumbled running back situation here and are fielding their worst team in years. I'm picking line value again here and going with the Titans.
Unit Change: The spread has dropped below 7, so I'm dropping this to 1 unit.
Tennessee +6.5 (1 unit) +$100
Game 4: Atlanta @ New Orleans -3
Atlanta has the talent to go to the Super Bowl, and they weren't far away last year. However, I think they're going to win a lot of regular season games and not playoff games again. I don't know how to feel about New Orleans. They have Sean Payton coming back from suspension, and I don't know how much that is going to help so I'm staying away.
New Orleans -3 (0 units) -$0
Game 5: Tampa Bay @ New York Jets +3
Tampa Bay is not a very good football team, and it's gonna show this year. Their talent is concentrated in a few players, and they're very week without them. The Jets have been the subject of a ton of off-season scrutiny, and everyone and their mother is jumping on the ESPN-led "The Jets Suck!" bandwagon. I'm fading the public here, their conceptions of both these teams are way off.
New York Jets +3.5 (4 units) +$400
Game 6: Kansas City @ Jacksonville +3.5
This has got to be the first time in recent history that the teams with the first two draft picks play each other week 1. Kansas City is going to be much improved this year, Alex Smith is the best quarterback they've had in almost a decade. Jacksonville, on the other hand; will still suck. I have no read here; on line value (+3 is about right) or the spot.
Kansas City -3.5 (0 units) +$0
Game 7: Cincinnati @ Chicago -3
The Bengals have now made the playoffs as a wild card 2 years in a row now, an this game against another playoff contender is key for their hopes of making it again this year. Chicago is probably not as good as Cincinnati, although I could see them surprising this year if Forte gets in a groove. I have no read here.
Cincinnati +3 (0 units) +-$0
Game 8: Miami @ Cleveland -1
This line has been drifting higher for a while now, and that's a sign of major public action on Cleveland. I don't get this, considering everyone loved Miami for their acquisitions of Mike Wallace and others. Cleveland has the player who I believe is going to surprise people and challenge for the rushing title: Trent Richardson. I really like Cleveland for line value reasons, but I'm limiting this play to 1 unit because I'm not sure how they'll handle being favorites, a rare spot for them.
Cleveland -1 (1 unit) -$110
Game 9: Seattle @ Carolina +3.5
Seattle is one of the top contenders for the Super Bowl according to Vegas, and I'm going to have to agree. However, this is an awful spot for them with a 1 PM game out east and their first game viewed as a major contender. Carolina, on the other hand, is pretty underrated. I love the spot, but I'm worried the sharps will pour cash on Carolina and drop this line. I'm still betting 3.
Carolina +3.5 (3 units) -$330
Game 10: Minnesota @ Detroit -4
Everyone seems to have forgotten that the Vikings made the playoffs last year. The public doesn't realize that Christian Ponder is not an awful QB (he's not good, but he's not Blaine Gabbert). I'm just as much of a Lions fan as the next guy, but I'm not buying the hype this year surrounding Reggie Bush and this team. The tremendous line value, combined with the Lions in an unfamiliar spot means I'm going all in.
Minnesota +4 (4 units) -$440
Game 11: Oakland @ Indianapolis -10.5
The Raiders are not a good football team, by any stretch of the imagination. Any team with Terrelle Pryor as their starting quarterback can not be good, and it only gets worse from there. How many players can you name on their starting 22? 8? 9? The Colts, on the other hand, could easily challenge Houston for the AFC South this year. Point is, the Colts are more than 7.5 points better than Oakland.
Indianapolis -10.5 (2 units) -$220
Game 12: Arizona @ Saint Louis -4
Arizona is definitely an improved team over last year, and they might end up winning 6 or 7 games. However, the public is still not realizing how good Saint Louis is. Daryl Richardson is a stud, which many people don't realize. Tavon Austin is also going to be a star downfield for Saint Louis. The fact of the matter is that Saint Louis is 4 or 5 points better than Arizona.
Saint Louis -4 (3 units) -$330
Game 13: Green Bay @ San Francisco -4.5
These teams are, in my opinion, the top 2 NFC candidates to go to the Super Bowl. Green Bay has a solid running back again in Eddie Lacy, and they're still the best team in the NFC North. I'm not sure how to feel about the 49ers. Will Colin Kaepernick be less effective now that teams have had an entire offseason to study film of him? Green Bay is going to be very good, and San Fran is more of a question mark. 1 unit on Green Bay.
Green Bay +4.5 (1 unit) -$110
Game 14: New York Giants @ Dallas -3.5
New York Giants +3.5 (2 units) -$220
Game 15: Philadelphia @ Washington -3.5
Washington -3.5 (1 unit) -$110
Game 16: Houston @ San Diego +4.5
Houston -4.5 (1 unit) -$110