Week 1 NFL Picks: Predictions on Vegas' Mid-Week Betting Odds and Lines

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2014

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) leaves the field after a preseason NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The Vikings won 19-3. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

The last Sunday that featured a meaningful NFL game was Groundhog Day when the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos squared off for the Super Bowl title.

Ideally, you used all those free weekends to cram in as much extra family time as you could, dutifully attend those summer weddings and build up some capital for football season because it’s time to devote our weekends to pigskin for the foreseeable future.

Of course, there are some fans who take a rooting interest in games that extend beyond those featuring their favorite teams. Oftentimes, those fans, not so coincidentally, have been to the sportsbooks in Las Vegas. 

With that in mind, here is a look at all of the Week 1 NFL odds, according to Odds Shark, as of Tuesday evening. We even mixed in a few predictions for your viewing pleasure.

NFL Week 1 Odds
Home TeamAway TeamSpreadPredicted winner vs. spread
SeattleGreen BaySEA -5.5Seattle
Atlanta FalconsNew Orleans SaintsNO -2.5New Orleans
Baltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsEvenCincinnati
Chicago BearsBuffalo BillsCHI -7Chicago
Houston TexansWashington RedskinsHOU -2.5Houston
Kansas City ChiefsTennessee TitansKC -3.5Kansas City
Miami DolphinsNew England PatriotsNE -5New England
NY JetsOakland RaidersNY -5.5New York
Philadelphia EaglesJacksonville JaguarsPHI -11.5Philadelphia
Pittsburgh SteelersCleveland BrownsPIT -7Pittsburgh
St. Louis RamsMinnesota VikingsSTL -3.5St. Louis
Dallas CowboysSan Francisco 49ersSF -4.5San Francisco
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCarolina PanthersTB -1Carolina
Denver BroncosIndianapolis ColtsDEN -9Denver
Detroit LionsNew York GiantsDET -5.5New York
Arizona CardinalsSan Diego ChargersAZ -3San Diego

Games to Watch

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NFC: Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams

Adrian Peterson likely has fond memories of the St. Louis Rams. The last time “All Day” faced them, he exploded for 212 rushing yards in the victory, including an 82-yard touchdown scamper that contributed to his 2012 MVP season.

Peterson and Rams running back Zac Stacy will play major roles in this contest because this isn’t exactly a showdown between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at signal-caller.

St. Louis lost quarterback Sam Bradford to injury in the preseason and will turn the reins over to Shaun Hill, while Minnesota settled on Matt Cassel over rookie Teddy Bridgewater.

The key to this game and the reason we picked the Rams against the spread is the defensive line in St. Louis. Stopping the running backs and putting pressure on the vulnerable quarterbacks should help set the tone in this one, and the Rams may have the best defensive line in the league.

Robert Quinn and Chris Long are pass-rushing fiends, and rookie Aaron Donald shores up the middle as a run-stuffer.

Throw in middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, and this defensive front is certainly formidable. It may not be able to completely stop Peterson, but it will at least contain him and put serious pressure on Cassel. Look for Quinn and company to rattle Cassel into at least one interception Sunday as they stuff the box.

What’s more, special teams could be key in a low-scoring affair, and Tavon Austin is more than capable of breaking a game-changing punt return for the Rams. Fox Sports NFL certainly thinks so:


He has the tools. He has a year of experience. Even w/out Sam Bradford this could be a breakout year for Tavon Austin http://t.co/1GUcid5fX6

Prediction: Rams 24, Vikings 17

AFC: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos

The spread may be more than a touchdown in this one, but we still like Peyton Manning and company.

The Indianapolis Colts handed the Denver Broncos their first loss in the seventh game last season and even held a 33-17 lead in the fourth quarter at one point. However, Manning and the Broncos offense will be looking for some revenge Sunday.

There will be some notable names missing on both sides. Wes Welker is reportedly suspended for the Broncos, and Robert Mathis is suspended for the Colts. The loss of Mathis is critical because his absence will allow Manning to sit back in the pocket and operate with the surgeon-like precision he almost always does when given time.

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 28:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos watches from the sidelines against the Dallas Cowboys  in the first half of their preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Manning will certainly find a way to put up points even without Welker, using weapons like Demaryius Thomas, Montee Ball and Julius Thomas.

Remember, the Broncos have scored a combined 80 points in Manning’s two openers and feature an improved defense behind DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward, among others.

There also has to be some credence to the idea that the Broncos are looking to remove the lingering bad taste from the Super Bowl that has festered during the entire offseason. Unfortunately for the Colts, that may just mean plenty of Denver points Sunday night. 

There is also a strange dynamic with Manning facing off against his former team. Reggie Wayne discussed it, via Phil Richards of USA Today: "I want to beat him every time. Once the whistle blows, you're their enemy. When the fourth quarter comes and it's all zeroes on there, now we can laugh and talk about whatever it is. That's just the attitude of a football player."

Denver is motivated and talented, and Indianapolis’ best chance at slowing down Manning will be on the sidelines for this one. That’s not a great combination for the Colts.

Prediction: Broncos 34, Colts 23

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