NFL Week 1 Predictions: Tough Games with Odds to Avoid on Opening Weekend
As NFL kickoff weekend approaches the odds and spreads on each contest continue to become more and more conservative.
Outside of the typical three points awarded to the home team, most games have close lines because oddsmakers truly have no idea how most of the contests are going to play out at the dawn of a new season.
It is advisable to avoid most games on the slate, but the following are three that should be avoided at all costs—it's simply too risky in the first week of the season to put anything on the line with these teams.
Note: All odds courtesy of Vegas Insider.
|Baltimore at Denver||8:30 PM (THU)||NBC||Sports Authority Field at Mile High||Denver|
|New England at Buffalo||1:00 PM||CBS||Ralph Wilson Stadium||New England|
|Cincinnati at Chicago||1:00 PM||CBS||Soldier Field||Cincinnati|
|Miami at Cleveland||1:00 PM||CBS||FirstEnergy Stadium||Cleveland|
|Atlanta at New Orleans||1:00 PM||FOX||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||New Orleans|
|Tampa Bay at NY Jets||1:00 PM||FOX||MetLife Stadium||Tampa Bay|
|Tennessee at Pittsburgh||1:00 PM||CBS||Heinz Field||Tennessee|
|Minnesota at Detroit||1:00 PM||FOX||Ford Field||Minnesota|
|Oakland at Indianapolis||1:00 PM||CBS||Lucas Oil Stadium||Indianapolis|
|Seattle at Carolina||1:00 PM||FOX||Bank of America Stadium||Carolina|
|Kansas City at Jacksonville||1:00 PM||CBS||EverBank Field||Kansas City|
|Green Bay at San Francisco||4:25 PM||FOX||Candlestick Park||Green Bay|
|Arizona at St. Louis||4:25 PM||FOX||Edward Jones Dome||St. Louis|
|New York at Dallas||8:30 PM||NBC||Cowboys Stadium||New York|
|Philadelphia at Washington||7:00 PM (MON)||ESPN||FedEx Field||Washington|
|Houston at San Diego||10:15 PM (MON)||ESPN||Qualcomm Stadium||Houston|
Schedule courtesy of ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins (-3.5)
The NFC East always causes fans to pull their hair out because of the unpredictable nature of the division. It makes for some amazing football, but for odds purposes it is a nightmare.
This matchup in particular is a scary one. Here are the Washington Redskins with Robert Griffin III fresh off of reconstructive knee surgery ready to take on the Philadelphia Eagles and Michael Vick, who has not played in a full season since 2006.
Which team wins?
Both quarterbacks are susceptible to injury at any point and all bets are off if either goes down.
The past is not a good indicator here either, as Washington swept the series last season with a healthy RGIII. Now Philadelphia is led by Chip Kelly, whose high-octane offense could be a massive success or utter dud.
Stay very, very clear of this one.
Prediction: Redskins 24, Eagles 23
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (-3)
Sean Payton is back in town for the New Orleans Saints and has embarrassed Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith in six of the last eight contests.
Even the miserable Saints squad without Payton and the worst statistical defense in NFL history managed to upset the Falcons in New Orleans last season.
Which team wins?
Like the NFC East mentioned above, the NFC South is an absolute nightmare when it comes to odds purposes as well. That is especially the case here in this matchup with two MVP candidates in Drew Brees and Matt Ryan duking it out.
At the end of the day, the Saints will be back on track with Payton directing things and tout a more diverse offense. Rob Ryan should have the Saints defense looking at least respectable this time around as well.
Like the matchup before it, this is one to avoid because it could swing either way. Wait to see how these two do against each other in Week 1 to get a better feel for the rest of the year.
Prediction: Saints 42, Falcons 30
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Chicago Bears (-3)
One of the under-the-radar quality matchups of Week 1 happens at Soldier Field between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Chicago Bears.
It also happens to be one of the more difficult games to figure out.
Andy Dalton and the Bengals are a Cinderella in the AFC for most, but Chicago has managed to keep a low profile under the guidance of new head coach Marc Trestman.
Which team wins?
The game will most likely be decided on the defensive side of things, where Geno Atkins and the Bengals defensive line will wreak havoc on a spotty Chicago interior and Bears' elite corners Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman will benefit from taking advantage of Andy Dalton's weaknesses.
As far as odds go, Chicago is far from a guarantee at home, but at the same time there is the propensity for this game to change at the drop of the hat thanks to an opportunistic Bears defense and mental mistakes from Dalton.
At least for this week, wait to even think about playing the odds with these two teams.
Prediction: Bengals 23, Bears 17
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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