NFL Odds Week 1: Best Picks Against Spread for 2013 Season Openers
Finally, the NFL offseason is nearing its conclusion. Prospects were drafted, free agents were signed, trades were made and training camps were completed. Now, it's time for the games that actually matter as the playoff pursuit begins.
As always, the opening week of action is one of the toughest to forecast. That's why the most important factor in coming up with winning picks is sticking with teams that have a positive vibe coming out of the preseason or going against those with a negative vibe.
So let's examine three teams that should be able to cover the spread in Week 1. They are the best options in what's likely to become a wild opening weekend of action. All odds used are courtesy of Vegas Insider.
New England Patriots (-10 at Buffalo Bills)
Bill Belichick loves to make statements. Not to the media, but rather by having his team crush an opponent. So, after an offseason in which the Patriots passing game saw an overhaul around Tom Brady, raising questions about its overall ability, expect one of those Belichick statements in Week 1.
New England is going up against a Bills squad that didn't have much injury luck during the preseason. Perhaps the most important loss of all was that of cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The team's only serviceable cornerback was lost for at least six weeks due to a wrist injury.
With Buffalo's lame-duck secondary and the Patriots out to prove they are still the class of the AFC East, expect a blowout victory in favor of New England. It should be up by double digits at halftime before completely pulling away after the break.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3 at New York Jets)
The fate of Tampa Bay's season rests heavily on the shoulders of Josh Freeman. A bounce-back season from the quarterback and the Bucs should be in playoff contention at the very least. They don't need a big game from him to win handily in Week 1, though.
Which team is the best spread pick in Week 1?
That's because the Jets are a total mess right now. The quarterback situation remains unsettled after none of the team's options pulled away during the preseason and Mark Sanchez suffered a shoulder injury. And they don't have a strong enough rushing attack to make up for it.
The revamped Buccaneers defense should have very little trouble shutting down New York's offense, and Doug Martin should handle almost everything else. Even though opening on the road can be tricky, the Bucs should win by a couple touchdowns.
Arizona Cardinals (+4.5 at St. Louis Rams)
Arizona is a sleeper team to watch in 2013. The additions of Carson Palmer and Rashard Mendenhall, along with further improvement from the offensive line, should bring some much-needed stability to an offense that struggled in 2012.
The Cardinals already ranked just outside the top 10 defensively last season. Additions of playmakers like Jerraud Powers and Tyrann Mathieu to the secondary should make that unit much tougher to face, likely pushing the unit inside that top 10.
Their opener against the Rams is a measuring stick. St. Louis finished a couple games ahead of Arizona last season and both are looking to take that next step toward the postseason. The Cardinals made more improvements and could very well win outright but shouldn't lose by more than a field goal.
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