The 2013 NFL season brings on a new NFL Spread Shredder. This advanced forecasting weapon will prepare bettors to make savvy bets based on critical statistics that national media discards in favor of the more publicized sizzle.
Week 1 is both the easiest and most difficult week to lay down chips. Despite seemingly obvious on-paper analysis of teams classified as contenders, the NFL is never at a shortage of surprise teams and dark horses. Week 1 will begin to tell a story from a book nobody has yet read.
The ground rules are simple. Three games against the spread, with detailed handicapping statistics supporting the right side of a suspect line. It's not perfect. It may not be pretty. But, by George, it's effective.
Cincinnati (+3) over Chicago
Many experts and handicappers love the Cincinnati Bengals over the Chicago Bears this weekend, yet few can effectively explain why. In fact, with 75 percent of the action going to Cincinnati, the Bears have really been rendered a paper favorite.
Despite finishing the season poorly and missing the playoffs, the Bears had an inflated 2012 in certain facets of play. Their successes in turnovers will be difficult, if impossible, to replicate. From 2011 to 2012, Chicago's turnover margin improved by 18, according to NFL.com. The high turnover-change ratio is a glaring sign of the Bears' inflated value. Did I mention the Bears offense recovered a lucky 60 percent of their fumbles in 2012 in a league where generally 50 percent of fumbles are recovered by the defense? (h/t How to Beat the Pro Football Point Spread)
Chicago was also tops in the league in defensive and special teams touchdowns with nine. That's great for 2012. But the league median of special teams TDs is only four, according to Yahoo! Sports. Expect a precipitous decline for Chicago in this category too.
Chicago boasts a first-year head coach in Marc Trestman, who will be implementing a version of the West Coast offense as new in Chicago as it is archaic in the NFL. One must travel back to 2002 to find Trestman's last successful tenure with the NFL. Will his principles be exposed as old hat?
Expect a sloppy Jay Cutler to do the Bears in with turnovers. Cincinnati presents a deeper roster with an underrated defense. The well-coached Bengals were a respectable plus-4 in turnover ratio last season and should have no issues covering as an opening-day dog.
Prediction: Cincinnati, 24-16
Carolina (+3.5) over Seattle
Seattle is a popular Super Bowl pick in 2013, and for good reason. The Seahawks present a deep roster, a budding star at quarterback and a swarming defense capable of creating turnovers.
But Seattle will be fighting a negative body clock, traveling across three time zones to play the Carolina Panthers. Kickoff time is 1 p.m. ET, which is 10 a.m. West Coast time. Don't be surprised to see sloppy play from a potentially flat Seattle team.
Should they get a steady, diversified diet of Mike Shula's new offense in the game that counts, Seattle may have a tough time adjusting to read-option plays run by a much bigger, stronger option quarterback than theirs.
Carolina will be seeking revenge for a winnable 16-12 loss last season that dropped their record to 1-4. The Panthers are motivated and are at a pivotal point in the Newton-Rivera era. Another year out of the playoffs will bring about wholesale changes.
Roll with the home dog.
Prediction: Carolina, 27-24
Indianapolis Colts (-10) over Oakland
It's rare to see favorites being picked on the Spread Shredder, but come on Oakland. The Raiders will be traveling across three time zones and fighting a West Coast body clock against an improved Indianapolis Colts team.
Which Spread Shredder pick is the best bet?
But that's the least of their worries.
Terrelle Pryor was selected as the lesser of two evils at quarterback. The green, mechanically flawed signal-caller will be playing behind a makeshift offensive line. As of final cut-down day, Oakland only had seven healthy offensive lineman.
Expect erratic play from Oakland that leads to Raider turnovers early and often. Improvements at offensive line for Indianapolis, in addition to Andrew Luck starting his second year, should lead to cleaner offensive execution.
This one should be a bloodbath.
Prediction: Indianapolis, 37-10
Lines provided by 5dimes.eu via Yahoo!