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Betting Against the Spread: NFL Week 1 Picks and Odds

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck

The long NFL offseason is finally over and we've got real football to talk about, as well as other good stuff like odds, picks, lines, over/under — you get the idea. The fans are happy and the league is too with all of the negative publicity it got. Up front, last year's 50-25-2 record I put up was the best I've ever done in pro football.

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The oddsmakers are very sharp when it comes to this sport. When it comes to betting this sport, a lot is about betting spots although that doesn't come into play until later on. No team is overlooking Week 1 for the matchup that looms in Week 2. Also remember that even the poor teams will have good crowds early because everyone has hope. Time to see if I can approach the lofty record I set forth last year.

Record: 0-0

Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at New York Jets (0-0)

This one figures to be a defensive battle on Sunday with two of the better units in the league. Cincinnati is trying to finally take that next stop when it comes to the playoffs and it starts in New York against the Jets. Andy Dalton and All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green are back, but his sidekicks Marvin Jones and Mohamad Sanu are elsewhere (and Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert is still recovering from offseason surgery). The Jets’ run defense was one of the best in the league last year so this unit should be able to bottle up Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. On the other side, you've got Ryan Fitzpatrick with the keys to the car. He's got Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to throw to and Matt Forte out to prove he's got something left. The Bengals have gone under in 12 of their last 17 road games. Meanwhile, in games with tight lines, the Jets have gone under in nine of their last 13. I think this one could be a field position type contest with a lot of punts and a lot of field goals. SELECTION: Under 42

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Green Bay Packers (0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)

Jacksonville has a sellout for Sunday's home game against the Packers. The Jaguars are one of those teams this offseason that has been touted as a sleeper team and I'm going to agree with it. Blake Bortles had a good 2015 and he turned Allen Robinson into one of the better receivers in the league. The team has a pair of solid RBs in T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory so the offense shouldn't have too much of an issue moving the ball. The defense continues to add young pieces and some players in free agency. Now, it'll be a challenge to slow down the Packers, which are out to reclaim the NFC North. Jordy Nelson is getting closer and closer to 100 percent after tearing his ACL in the preseason last year. Aaron Rodgers is going to be in the MVP mix once again, but he may struggle in this one. Letting go of Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton was an interesting move for an offensive line that has had some continuity the past few years. I think the Jaguars can get a bit of a pass rush in this one. I'd love to get another half a point of value, but I’ll take it where it is. SELECTION Jaguars +5.5

NFL Power Rankings: Jaguars

Detroit Lions (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0)

Andrew Luck is back under center as the Colts host the Lions. There are a lot of question marks for Indianapolis, starting (once again) with the offensive line. If Luck can get the time, he's got two very good wide receivers and Frank Gore, who continues to run well despite being in a battle with Father Time. The Detroit defense is an underrated unit and has one of my favorite CBs in Darius Slay. I think the Lions should be able to get some pressure up front to make life miserable. In Indy's dress rehearsal preseason game, the Eagles pushed them around up front. On the opposite side, I may have an irrational love for the potential for the Lions’ offense. Calvin Johnson is gone, but I like the additions of Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin. If Detroit can get any semblance of a running game, this offense will be really dangerous. The Colts’ defense doesn't scare anyone and the loss of cornerback Vontae Davis confirms that. The Colts have covered in just five of their last 12 games where the total is 49.5 or more. SELECTION: Lions +4

NFL Power Rankings: Detroit Lions

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.