NFL Take 3: Week 1 Predictions with the Spread

Matt Barbato@@Matt_BarbatoCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2012

Even if Arian Foster isn't 100 percent, Houston will take care of Miami easily.
Even if Arian Foster isn't 100 percent, Houston will take care of Miami easily.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Football season is finally here and the sports books in Las Vegas are about to get very crowded.

Week 1 is one of the toughest weeks to bet on because the lines are based mostly on last season's results and this year's preseason games. Consider your betting woes over as I give you three games that will keep your wallets happy.


Miami at Houston (-13)

This is typically a game that I would take the points, but this matchup is an exception.

Arian Foster is banged up with a knee injury but is expected to play on Sunday. Houston was a top-15 offense last season, even with injuries sidelining Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, and is one of the most balanced attacks in the league.

On defense Houston is stacked and will key on Reggie Bush, who is Miami's only offensive playmaker. Ryan Tannehill will struggle in his NFL debut against one of the strongest secondaries in the league and Miami will have trouble scoring points.

Thirteen points is a lot to give, but I think Houston will score on offense, and Miami will struggle to even get first downs. Even if Foster does not play the entire game, Ben Tate will do more than an adequate job running the ball. 

I'll give the points and have Houston winning 30-10.


Seattle (-3) at Arizona

This matchup is an intriguing one.

Seattle is going with rookie Russell Wilson at quarterback and Arizona will start John Skelton. This game could be very low scoring as both offenses will try to find a rhythm with their new quarterbacks.

Both defenses allowed fewer than 22 points per game in 2011 and could give the opposing quarterbacks fits with their strong pass rushes.

Arizona has the best player on the field in Larry Fitzgerald. Marshawn Lynch should have a decent game against the Cardinals, who gave up an average of 124 yards per game on the ground last season.

This game will be determined by the quarterback play. I'm taking the home underdog Arizona and the points, but I have Seattle winning the game 21-20.


Cincinnati at Baltimore (-7)

The first game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader will feature two of the best defenses from last season.

Baltimore came one game shy of the Super Bowl, and Cincinnati made the playoffs as one of the NFL's biggest surprises of 2011.

Baltimore is very strong at home and has RB Ray Rice to produce big plays. Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton and his favorite target, WR A.J. Green, will try to repeat their strong rookie seasons. They will have BenJarvus Green-Ellis to help in the backfield.

This game will be a defensive slugfest and will be close to the end. I think seven points is too many to give in this game. Cincinnati will limit Joe Flacco and Rice but I think Baltimore will win on a couple of big plays.

I am taking the points, but I think Baltimore wins the game 20-14.