NFL Picks Week 1: Underdogs That Will Cover the Spread
Winning isn't always everything.
OK, most NFL coaches and plenty of hardcore fans would strongly disagree with that statement. But if we're talking betting—not that I condone that—who cares if your favorite team loses as long as they cover the spread?
One of the best ways to make some money via the gridiron—not that I condone that—is to find the underdogs who can keep games close.
Let's take a look at Week 1's likely candidates to do just that.
Note: Odds via Covers. Home team in capital letters.
Washington Redskins (+9) Over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Saints' arrow is pointing down.
Yes, Drew Brees is Drew Brees and he will be doing Drew Brees things while leading his offense to a slew of points. That won't change.
But Sean Payton is no longer calling the shots, suspensions have run amok on the clubhouse and the defense is still far from ideal.
On the other side of the ball, Robert Griffin III could certainly struggle on the road in his NFL debut, but this isn't any normal rookie. He's been the center of attention for a long time and hasn't shown any indication of crumbling.
Give him some solid deep threats, a good tight end over the middle and three potential studs at the running back position, and the Redskins are more than capable of keeping things close.
San Francisco 49ers (+5.5) Over GREEN BAY PACKERS
The Packers want to throw, throw, throw and maybe even throw some more, while the Niners want to pack it in, punch them in the mouth and grind out an ugly victory.
This is, without a doubt, the most intriguing matchup of Week 1.
Who is most likely to cover the spread?
I realize the Packers are at home and Aaron Rodgers is one step from knighthood, but anytime you get a legitimate Super Bowl contender and six points to boot, you take it. Especially when that team will seriously slow the game down in order to keep it close.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+2.5) Over Carolina Panthers
The Buccaneers were downright atrocious in 2011 after a promising 2010 campaign, but I'm under the impression Josh Freeman, Doug Martin and company will lead them closer to the latter in 2012.
Of course, the Panthers have a decent weapon in Cam Newton and are only continuing to get better as they continue to move in the opposite direction as the Bucs in the NFC South.
But always expect the unexpected. The Bucs were much better at home last year, and giving them points in a matchup that will be closer than people expect is too hard to pass up.
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