NFL Week 1 Picks: Updated Spreads and Predictions for Opening Schedule

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2015

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Fla.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

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

MatchupSpreadPredicted Winner
Pittsburgh vs. New EnglandNE -7PIT 28-24
Seattle vs. St. LouisSEA -4SEA 17-10
Green Bay vs. ChicagoGB -3.5GB 35-17
Kansas City vs. HoustonHOU -2.5HOU 20-14
Cleveland vs. NY JetsNYJ -3CLE 13-6
Miami vs. WashingtonMIA -1.5MIA 28-13
Carolina vs. JacksonvilleCAR -2.5CAR 14-13
Indianapolis vs. BuffaloIND -2.5IND 17-14
Detroit vs. San DiegoSD -2DET 23-20
New Orleans vs. ArizonaARI -3ARI 24-23
Cincinnati vs. OaklandCIN -3CIN 27-24
Baltimore vs. DenverDEN -4DEN 20-10
Tennessee vs. Tampa BayTB -2.5TB 24-14
NY Giants vs. DallasDAL -5DAL 24-20
Philadelphia vs. AtlantaPHI -1PHI 30-27
Minnesota vs. San FranciscoSF -4.5MIN 24-20
Odds via Odds Shark, author's projections.

Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.

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Analyzing Toughest Lines

Miami (-1.5) vs. Washington

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

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."

Meanwhile, the Rams will be without back Todd Gurley, and Tre Mason is a game-time decision.

Injuries and inexperience mean Seattle will pull out a tough victory.

Prediction: Seattle 17, St. Louis 10

Carolina (-2.5) vs. Jacksonville

Don Wright/Associated Press

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.

Nick Wass/Associated Press

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

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and accurate as of September 8. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus

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