The NFL season kicks off this weekend. Are you ready to get in on the action? Here are five games I am betting against the spread.
Packers vs. Vikings
- Moneyline: Packers (-125) | Vikings (+105)
- Spread: Packers -1.5 (-110) | Vikings +1.5 (-110)
- Total: 47 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
The Packers are the favorites for the NFC North, but I think this game is going to be a close one.
With new head coach Kevin O’Connell in town, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings should be ready to play ball. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are an elite WR pair that – let’s face it – Aaron Rodgers just doesn’t have.
With no Davante Adams and Allen Lazard already in question for Week 1, Rodgers might have an uphill battle on Sunday. Last year in Week 1, Rodgers failed to throw for a single TD as the Saints stomped the Packers 33-3.
Of course, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon should be able to run all over the Vikings, but will it be enough? The Green Bay defense is touted as much improved, but they will need to show up in full force.
With a new coaching staff and loads of offensive talent, I think the Vikings can keep this one close, and I’m willing to bet on it.
PICK: Vikings +1.5
Eagles vs. Lions
- Moneyline: Eagles (-200) | Lions (+165)
- Spread: Eagles -4 (-110) | Lions +4 (-110)
- Total: 48.5 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
The Eagles went all-in in the offseason, adding A.J. Brown as another weapon for Jalen Hurts. They also added James Bradberry opposite Darius Slay for an elite cornerback duo, meaning Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St Brown will certainly have their work cut out for them.
D’Andre Swift may also struggle as the Eagles allowed the ninth-fewest rushing yards per game in 2021.
Meanwhile, the Eagles, who rushed for more yards than any other team last season (2,715) should have no trouble with a Lions run defense that surrendered the fifth-most rushing yards per game in 2021.
I watched enough "Hard Knocks" to want to root for the Lions, but Dan Campbell’s crew will have to bite a lot of kneecaps to lose by less than a touchdown.
PICK: Eagles -4
Jaguars vs. Commanders
- Moneyline: Jaguars (+115) | Commanders(-138)
- Spread: Jaguars +2.5 (-110) | Commanders -5.5 (-110)
- Total: 44 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Remember last season how the Jaguars got to Carson Wentz? Well, I can guarantee Carson Wentz does. In two games vs. the Jags in 2021, Wentz threw for 365 yards and one touchdown total – with the final upset win eliminating the Colts from the postseason (and subsequently Wentz from Indianapolis).
Meanwhile, Jacksonville will be entering its second season with Trevor Lawrence under center and its first with Doug Pederson as head coach. They added Christian Kirk, regained Travis Etienne, and improved their defense in the offseason. Things should be better this year for Jacksonville. Give me the road dogs plus the points.
PICK: Jaguars +2.5
Patriots vs. Dolphins
- Moneyline: Patriots (+155) | Dolphins (-188)
- Spread: Patriots +3.5 (-110) | Dolphins -3.5 (-110)
- Total: 52 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
I know, I know! Tyreek Hill is in town and Tua is a new man! Listen, I want to buy in on Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins as much as anyone, but Bill Bellichick is just the guy to spoil a coming-out party. Last year the Dolphins won both matchups, but the first was decided by just one point.
Mac Jones and the Patriots surpassed expectations last year, finishing the season with a 10-7 record. Much of that success was due to an incredible run beginning in Week 7, with the Patriots winning eight of their last 11 games as Jones proved to be an impressively accurate passer in his debut NFL season. He should take a step forward in his sophomore season.
I’m not saying the Patriots win this one, but I am saying they should cover the spread.
PICK: Patriots +3.5
Browns vs. Panthers
- Moneyline: Browns (+105) | Panthers (-125)
- Spread:Browns +1.5 (-110) | Panthers -1.5 (-110)
- Total: 41.5 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Revenge game narrative!! If you’re Baker Mayfield, how are you not coming out firing on all cylinders?
The Panthers will be at home and have the advantage of a healthy Christian McCaffrey in addition to an upgrade at QB in Mayfield (something I never expected to type). I’m looking forward to more DJ Moore this season.
Nick Chubb should put up good numbers for his fantasy managers, but the rest of the Browns' offense projects to be disappointing. Jacoby Brissett will do his best for the Browns, but let’s face it, this Browns team just doesn’t look right. It was built for Deshaun Watson, and we all know how that turned out.
Buy the narrative. Baker covers the spread.
PICK: Panthers +1.5