Thanks to Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, it's time for bettors to renew the never-ending battle against the house, otherwise known as Las Vegas.
It's nearing midweek and Thursday Night Football rests right around the corner, so Las Vegas continues to make the necessary adjustments on the lines to protect itself against bettors.
For bettors, it's the first time back, so it's all right to have a bit of rust. Let's shake it off by looking at the latest offerings from Las Vegas and breaking down how to play the lines based on the latest news, lineup changes, injuries and more.
NFL Week 1 Odds
|Pittsburgh vs. New England||NE -7||PIT 28-24|
|Seattle vs. St. Louis||SEA -4||SEA 17-10|
|Green Bay vs. Chicago||GB -3.5||GB 35-17|
|Kansas City vs. Houston||HOU -2.5||HOU 20-14|
|Cleveland vs. NY Jets||NYJ -3||CLE 13-6|
|Miami vs. Washington||MIA -1.5||MIA 28-13|
|Carolina vs. Jacksonville||CAR -2.5||CAR 14-13|
|Indianapolis vs. Buffalo||IND -2.5||IND 17-14|
|Detroit vs. San Diego||SD -2||DET 23-20|
|New Orleans vs. Arizona||ARI -3||ARI 24-23|
|Cincinnati vs. Oakland||CIN -3||CIN 27-24|
|Baltimore vs. Denver||DEN -4||DEN 20-10|
|Tennessee vs. Tampa Bay||TB -2.5||TB 24-14|
|NY Giants vs. Dallas||DAL -5||DAL 24-20|
|Philadelphia vs. Atlanta||PHI -1||PHI 30-27|
|Minnesota vs. San Francisco||SF -4.5||MIN 24-20|
|Odds via Odds Shark, author's projections.|
Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.
Analyzing Toughest Lines
Miami (-1.5) vs. Washington
This is an odd, odd line.
On one hand, Washington looks like the most unpredictable team in the league. The coaching staff seems confident with Kirk Cousins under center and the team has a nice stable of backs.
On the other, Cousins threw just 10 touchdowns to nine interceptions last year, there has been a wild amount of controversy around the franchise and it's unknown how the team will perform against a polished squad like the Miami Dolphins.
One year after completing 66.4 percent of his passes with 4,045 yards and 27 touchdowns, Ryan Tannehill looks like the main reason to roll with the Dolphins in this one. As the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero pointed out, Tannehill's offseason improvement isn't limited to numbers:
Tannehill lost Mike Wallace, sure, but gained Greg Jennings, rookie DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills in the passing game. New tight end Jordan Cameron is a solid fit for the offense, too.
Oh, and keep in mind this is the same Miami team that added Ndamukong Suh this past offseason. Road game or not, Cousins will have some issues with consistent pressure in his face and Tannehill will control the pace of the game by spreading the ball around.
Prediction: Miami 28, Washington 13
Seattle (-4) vs. St. Louis
There are few better ways to start a season than with a division rivalry.
The above is especially the case for the showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams. It might not sound like much, but the line is low for a reason—last year when Russell Wilson and Co. made the trip to St. Louis, they returned home with a 28-26 loss.
While this has the feel of a trap game, the new-look Rams haven't exactly impressed. Preseason isn't the end of the world, but the team managed to lose all four games. Quarterback Nick Foles hasn't impressed, and neither has one of the league's most dramatic offensive line overhauls.
Yahoo Sports' Eric Edholm put it best:
In what figures to be a defensive battle, it's Seattle owning the claim to most-improved offense. Rookie wideout Tyler Lockett looks like a big-play weapon, and veteran back Fred Jackson now flanks Marshawn Lynch to give the team a brutal one-two punch.
Coach Pete Carroll didn't hesitate to say Jackson will see playing time in Week 1, either, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times: "He’ll play a lot. He ran the whole offense today. I don’t know how he got it all done, but he got it done today so I would think he’ll be ready to go."
Injuries and inexperience mean Seattle will pull out a tough victory.
Prediction: Seattle 17, St. Louis 10
Carolina (-2.5) vs. Jacksonville
Say hello to what might be the most difficult line of the week.
On one side is Jacksonville, a team starting a rookie running back in T. J. Yeldon and hoping a patchwork offensive line can hold up against a defensive front featuring Charles Johnson, Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short and Kony Ealy, not to mention Luke Kuechly and David Thomas behind them.
Then there's Carolina on the other side, sans Kelvin Benjamin and hoping the combo of Ted Ginn and Corey Brown can stretch the field vertically enough to open up room for Jonathan Stewart.
In what figures to be a low-scoring affair, the Panthers seem to be getting healthy at just the right time. Per Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, corners Charles Tillman and Josh Norman will suit up and Lotulelei will be a go if he isn't sore.
The above swings things in Carolina's favor considering Jaguars sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles figures to continue his growing pains. As a rookie, he completed just 58.9 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns to 17 interceptions.
Against one of the most underrated defenses in the league, the Jaguars won't have enough juice at home to take down Cam Newton and Co., especially if Newton comes out strong and puts the team on his back.
Prediction: Carolina 14, Jacksonville 13