NFL Week 1 Picks: Locks to Cover the Spread on Opening Weekend

Mike HoagCorrespondent IISeptember 5, 2013

Aug 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) celebrates with center Kyle Cook (64) after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Early betting in the NFL is problematic, which is probably why you're here looking for help with your Week 1 picks.

With so many differing opinions before the kickoff of a new season, it’s hard to pinpoint smart places to move your money. Whatever you do, don't base anything off of preseason standings.

The New York Jets went 3-1 during those meaningless contests; they’ll be lucky to win three games all season. We’ll delve further into the Jets' situation later on.

Below, you’ll find a table with picks against the spread (ATS) for each Week 1 game. Then you’ll get two locks to bet on with confidence this weekend.


Betting information provided by Odds are current as of Sept. 5, 2 p.m. ET



Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) at New York Jets

Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were an impressive 6-1-1 ATS while on the road. They will more than likely continue their prowess away from Raymond James Stadium in 2013 by abusing the New York Jets in Week 1.

According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, New York announced that it would start rookie Geno Smith at quarterback. That’s the same Smith that threw a plethora of interceptions during the preseason.

In mid-August,'s Will Brinson reported that head coach Rex Ryan labeled Smith's performance at one practice as "brutal."

Tampa Bay has gotten much better defensively too, adding former Jets star Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and rookie Johnthan Banks to a unit that ranked last in pass defense a season ago. Its rush defense was much better, holding opponents to a league-low 82.5 yards per game.

With Smith’s propensity to cough up the football and the Bucs’ overall defense, this game could easily get way out of control in favor of the visitors.


Cincinnati Bengals (+3) at Chicago Bears

Both the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears finished their 2012 seasons with 10-6 records. It was the Bengals, though, that made it to the postseason via a wild-card berth.

The Bengals were no slouches for bettors on the road last season, either, going 6-2 ATS away from Paul Brown Stadium.

Chicago has gone through an overhaul this offseason, bringing in new head coach Marc Trestman in an attempt to spark life into its stagnant offense. The former coach of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes hopes his West Coast offense will improve a team that finished 28th in the NFL in total offense a season ago.

But the task couldn’t be harder early on for the new coach.

Cincinnati’s defense was the sixth-stingiest unit in the league a season ago, surrendering just 5,115 total yards on the year—65 more than Chicago’s vaunted D.

Cincinnati’s additions of rookies Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert give Andy Dalton the weapons he needs to really take the next step in 2013. That process begins by getting the better of a solid Bears defense in Week 1.