2012 NFL Schedule: Week 1 Betting Odds and Early Predictions

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IApril 18, 2012

2012 NFL Schedule: Week 1 Betting Odds and Early Predictions

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    The 2012 NFL regular-season schedule was released earlier today, and it already has sports books buzzing with anticipation.

    BetOnline has just released betting odds for the opening week of action, which will start with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

    Closing out Sunday's schedule will be one of the most anticipated games of the entire year, as new Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Let's take an early look at the first 16 games of the season from a betting perspective. 

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

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    The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants will open up the 2012 NFL regular season by hosting the Dallas Cowboys inside MetLife Stadium in prime-time on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

    I don't anticipate any early movement in the betting odds for this contest, but I'll likely grab the points barring any major injuries.

    Opening Line: New York Giants -3.5 

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears

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    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler should be back under center, and it will be interesting to see who's under center for the visitor in this contest.

    Virtually every 2012 NFL mock draft has the Indianapolis Colts selecting Stanford Cardinal signal-caller Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall selection.

    Should make for interesting theatre in the Windy City.

    Opening Line: Chicago Bears -7.5

Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings

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    It's likely that the only people watching this game will be sitting in a Las Vegas sports book, as both teams will come in with very low expectations.

    A battle of second-year quarterbacks could be in the offering, with the Jacksonville Jaguars being led by Blaine Gabbert, while the Minnesota Vikings will likely start the year with Christian Ponder.

    I'll hold out on making any predictions until after the preseason on this particular affair.

    Opening Line: Minnesota Vikings -3.5

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

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    The New York Jets' quarterback tandem of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow will host the Buffalo Bills to open up the season, which is actually a critical AFC East divisional contest.

    I suggest grabbing the points early, as the Bills will have an entire offseason to prepare for any surprise packages that the Jets put together.

    Buffalo's revamped defensive line has me excited about this matchup as well. 

    Opening Line: New York Jets -6

Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans will definitely experience a different type of training camp this year, coming off a first-ever berth in the playoffs.

    I'm always one to fade a team in this situation, but the Miami Dolphins' quarterback situation will leave me sitting on the sidelines for now.

    Opening Line: Houston Texans -6

New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans

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    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been stewing over the team's Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants for four months, which has caused this line to be inflated a bit.

    The Tennessee Titans are a dangerous first-week opponent, especially with running back Chris Johnson looking to bounce back after a sub-par 2011 campaign.

    Upset alert? 

    Opening Line: New England Patriots -5

St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions

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    The oddsmakers have little choice but to send out the Detroit Lions as a heavy home favorite here, as the St. Louis Rams were miserable last year offensively.

    Detroit also jumped out to a tremendous start during the 2011 season, something that the betting public will certainly remember.

    There's no way I'd lay this number right now, but I'm not exactly running up to the window and taking the underdog.


    Opening Line: Detroit Lions -7.5

Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints

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    New Orleans should realistically be an eight-point home favorite in this contest, but the year-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton is noticeable with the oddsmakers releasing this type of number.

    I'd also be worried in laying the points due to Saints quarterback Drew Brees still seeking a long-term extension.

    In my opinion, the number is spot on due to off-the-field factors. 

    Opening Line: New Orleans Saints -6

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns

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    I'm not one to play road favorites, but the Philadelphia Eagles will be looking to start the season off with a bang after failing to live up to high expectations in 2011.

    The betting odds certainly reflect this in matching up with the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.

    Lay it if you play it at this stage.

    Opening Line: Philadelphia Eagles -6

Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs

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    Everyone is waiting for the Atlanta Falcons to take that next step forward, but traveling to Arrowhead Stadium in the season opener could cause the team to start the year in the loss column.

    Kansas City was devastated by injuries early in the 2011 campaign, which could provide value in playing the home underdog in this spot.

    A wait-and-see approach.

    Opening Line: Atlanta Falcons -1

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers

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    It's time for San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to get off the golf course, as he will begin his second year on the sidelines against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

    I can think of about 31 different stadiums that an NFL team would rather play in to start the 2012 season.

    Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers will be waiting.

    Opening Line: Green Bay Packers -5

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

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    The oddsmaker is basically stating the Seattle Seahawks as a favorite in this spot, considering that home-field advantage is likely worth 2.5 points in this particular spot.

    I have no interest in playing the Seahawks on the road to open the season.

    You know what to do.

    Opening Line: Arizona Cardinals -1

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will likely kickoff as a road favorite to open the 2012 campaign, something that I will have a hard time backing in just his second year.

    Tampa Bay is a strong candidate to bounce back this year.

    Watch out. 

    Opening Line: Carolina Panthers -1.5

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

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    It's now or never for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, as the team fell just short against the New England Patriots in last year's playoffs.

    The Ravens draw a difficult opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals to open up the 2012 campaign, which will likely have me watching this contest as a spectator.

    Not getting involved at this point in time. 

    Opening Line: Baltimore Ravens -6

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos

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    The NFL wasted little time in getting Peyton Manning back in front of a prime-time audience, with the Denver Broncos hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first installment of NBC's Sunday Night Football.

    I'm not surprised that the Broncos opened up as a slight favorite, but I definitely anticipate this line dropping down to a pick 'em by the end of the week.

    Grab the points early.

    Opening Line: Denver Broncos -1.5

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

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    The San Diego Chargers may offer some value in this spot, as they'd normally be laying at least 3.5 points in this spot.

    Oakland may suffer a serious hangover from falling off a cliff to end the 2011 season.

    I'll be laying this small number early and make any necessary adjustments down the road.

    Opening Line: San Diego Chargers -2