NFL Week 1 Preview: 5 Worst Spread Lines
It's a hard time of year to put money on games because nothing has been seen of teams other than preseason action. However, there are just some lines that shouldn't be avoided. There is an art to picking not only who will win but by how much.
Vegas was correct on opening night by putting five points on Green Bay, but they'll be eating their picks after these games take place on Sunday.
5. Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (-5.5)
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When two bad teams play against one another the home team should be picked. However, the line is too great. Bet on any other game but this one because I'm not sure six points will even be scored in San Francisco on Sunday.
Tarvaris Jackson has looked anything but good in preseason action, but can Alex Smith be trusted with your money down on the table?
Seattle has more defensive parts than San Francisco and that will be crucial with two terrible quarterbacks going head-to-head.
If you must, pick the Seahawks with this spread but it's not coming without a warning. Seattle isn't called the Seachickens for nothing.
4. Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)
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The streak of heavily favored home teams continues. Matt Cassel will play against Buffalo but he still has hurt ribs. Jamaal Charles is supposed to dominate the Bills, but the team added defensive tackle Marcell Dareus alongside Kyle Williams while replacing linebacker Paul Posluszny with Kirk Morrison to create even more pressure on the less than 100 percent Cassel.
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will show that he's on the same level as Cassel. The Chiefs' quarterback no longer has Charlie Weis or Josh McDaniels to hide his deficiencies as well with a new offensive coordinator. The game will be close and Cassel shouldn't be trusted to put this team out by a touchdown or more.
The only red flag for Buffalo and Fitzpatrick is how it matches up to what many believe to be a good defense, but it's still a 7 point spread
Take Buffalo and don't watch the game. There are too many good teams playing at 1 p.m. Instead, watch the Steelers take on the Ravens, the Falcons dual with the Bears or the "dream team" Eagles face off against Sam Bradford and the Rams.
3. Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals (-5.5)
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Kevin Kolb and Cam Newton make their respective debuts on Sunday. It's surprisingly the second game Newton will be playing at University of Phoenix Stadium and the first for Kolb.
Carolina gets a healthy offensive line for the beginning of the season. Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah will man the edges while the Panthers will give their runners a heavy dose of carries against an inconsistent Cardinals defense.
Ron Rivera's team also has health defensively for now—unlike most of last season. The linebackers can cover the tight ends of Arizona while cornerback Chris Gamble will do enough to slow Larry Fitzgerald down. Arizona will need to run the ball effectively to give an inexperienced but mobile Kevin Kolb respectability with the play-action pass.
Even if Arizona wins, Carolina will keep the clock ticking because they will have many successful rushing attempts. The game will be decided by fewer than 6 points either way.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
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When Joe Flacco plays Ben Roethlisberger, take the latter. Big Ben will carry his team, along with Terrell Suggs on his back, to victory. Baltimore's win against Pittsburgh last year came during Roethlisberger's suspension. Flacco is 2-6 overall against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh's defensive style dictates that people are near Flacco's feet, forcing his footwork to break down with bodies around him. The defense also confuses him and a healthy Troy Polamalu will continue that trend.
The secondary for Baltimore is not equipped to handle all the speed Pittsburgh now has with their receiving core. Hines Ward will still be available for Roethlisberger and he'll be needed on crucial downs.
Not only will the Ravens not meet the spread, but they'll lose at home to their rivals.
1. Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5)
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Jacksonville has just cut David Garrard and they are starting Luke McCown against the Titans. The spread is banking on the two teams splitting their two games this season but it won't happen, not with McCown or Gabbert starting against Hasselbeck or Locker.
The Titans still have a strong offensive line and they have Chris Johnson back to discipline Jaguars defenders for taking poor angles on attempted tackles.
Jacksonville's secondary is nothing great, either. Offensively, the Jaguars aren't going to be able to run as well as the Titans will be able to. Tennessee's defense is good enough to bail out on the run while Jacksonville's isn't.
As mentioned before, betting on the home team when two bad squads play against one another is smart. With that said, Tennessee isn't as bad as many think and their new head coach Mike Munchak has been with the team for years.
The Tennessee Titans go on the road and beat their division rivals.