NFL Picks Week 1: Examining Recent Odds and Expert Predictions

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2014

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) catches a ball during warmups for a NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Detroit, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The wait is finally over. Week 1 of the 2014 NFL regular season is upon us, and it’s time to break down the picks for every game on the schedule, the latest odds and expert predictions.

With the Seattle Seahawks starting their quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions Thursday night against the vaunted Green Bay Packers, there is no better way to begin the football season than with a battle of this magnitude.

Here are the predicted winners in each Week 1 game and a breakdown of the experts’ predictions.


NFL Week 1 Schedule, Odds and Predictions
Away Home Time (ET) Prediction
Green Bay Seattle (-5.5)8:30 p.m. (Thur.) 30-27 SEA
New Orleans (-2.5) Atlanta 1 p.m. 31-21 NO
Cincinnati Baltimore (-1)1 p.m. 28-17 CIN
Buffalo Chicago (-7.5)1 p.m. 34-20 CHI
Washington Houston (-3)1 p.m. 27-23 HOU
Tennessee Kansas City (-3.5)1 p.m 30-17 KC
New England (-5)Miami 1 p.m. 37-21 NE
Oakland NY Jets (-5.5)1 p.m. 20-10 NYJ
Jacksonville Philadelphia (-11)1 p.m. 33-16 PHI
Cleveland Pittsburgh (-7) 1 p.m. 30-13 PIT
Minnesota St. Louis (-3)1 p.m. 27-20 MIN
San Francisco (-4.5) Dallas 4:25 p.m. 31-24 DAL
Carolina Tampa Bay (-1)4:25 p.m. 24-17 CAR
Indianapolis Denver (-9) 8:30 p.m. 38-20 DEN
NY Giants Detroit (-5.5)7:10 p.m. (Mon.) 27-21 DET
San Diego Arizona (-3) 10:20 p.m. (Mon.) 34-21 SD
Source: and

*Odds via


Week 1 Expert Predictions
MatchupsJason La CanforaPete PriscoJarrett Bell
Green Bay at Seattle SeattleSeattleSeattle
New Orleans at Atlanta New OrleansAtlantaNew Orleans
Minnesota at St. Louis St. LouisSt. LouisSt. Louis
Cleveland at Pittsburgh PittsburghPittsburghPittsburgh
Jacksonville at Philadelphia PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaPhiladelphia
Oakland at NY Jets OaklandNY JetsNY Jets
Cincinnati at Baltimore BaltimoreCincinnatiBaltimore
Buffalo at Chicago ChicagoChicagoChicago
Washington at Houston HoustonWashingtonHouston
Tennessee at Kansas City Kansas CityKansas CityKansas City
New England at Miami New EnglandNew EnglandNew England
Carolina at Tampa Bay Tampa BayTampa BayTampa Bay
San Francisco at Dallas San FranciscoSan FranciscoSan Francisco
Indianapolis at Denver DenverDenverDenver
NY Giants at Detroit DetroitDetroitDetroit
San Diego at Arizona San DiegoArizonaArizona
Source: CBS Sports and USA Today

*Pete Prisco and Jason La Canfora’s picks via

*Jarrett Bell’s picks via


Breaking Down the Experts

Breaking down the expert picks for Week 1 is an important part of the research fans should be doing before making their own predictions. These are the people who cover the league extensively and have the inside scoop on who will do well and who will struggle.

More so than ever, Week 1 will see experts picking the favorites in each game until there is actual regular-season game footage to judge off. Our experts this week are Jason La Canfora and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports and Jarrett Bell of USA Today.

La Canfora, Prisco and Bell agree on many games this week. The trio all believe that Seattle will start the season off with a win over Green Bay. In Sunday’s action, they are all riding with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, New England, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Denver and Detroit to walk away victorious.

Most of the unanimous selections are betting favorites and the consensus pick to win, but it was stunning to see all three agree on St. Louis beating Minnesota despite the injury to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.

It’s also telling that none of the experts gave Carolina the win over the Buccaneers.

It wasn’t all agreement, though, as La Canfora and Bell had similar mindsets this week. Both sided against Prisco by picking New Orleans, Baltimore and Houston to win. La Canfora went out on his own by picking San Diego over Arizona and Oakland over the New York Jets.

As the weeks progress, we will see differing opinions on many teams, and the predictions will be shaken up. Picking the better team heading into Week 1 is a mixture of studying tape and guesswork.

After Week 1, the experts and fans alike will have some hard evidence to go off when making their picks in Week 2.


*Stats via