During my Air Force career, I was fortunate to be stationed in Vegas at Nellis Air Force Base for five years, an awesome assignment and much better than my current base. Although I did find productive things to do that did not entail gambling (like finishing my undergraduate degree), I did get horribly bitten by the parlay card bug and have been addicted every since. Keeping in mind that if I was at all good at picking these things, I would be working in Vegas as a sports bookie, here are Down and Distance’s NFL Best Bets for Week 1:
Bengals +3 over Bears
I’m fairly surprised the Bengals are getting points and jumped on the chance to take them this week getting +3. The Bears have not adequately addressed their offensive line issues in my opinion and the Bengals’ defensive unit should make quarterback Jay Cutler’s life miserable all day. Expecting the Bengals to get favorable field position from a couple turnovers and turn them into points.
Cardinals +4.5 over Rams
Somewhat of a homer pick since I am a Cardinals fan, but taking points that push the line past field goal range (+3) is not a bad idea when you have two solid defenses on the field. Although I do worry that Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is going to be more comfortable operating out of pistol/shotgun formations this year, I think the Cardinals can keep this one close until the end.
Chiefs -4.5 over Jaguars
Whenever a line seems to good to be true, it often is; however, the Chiefs have far too many playmakers on both sides of the ball to repeat their abysmal 2012 performance. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are almost a lock for a top-3 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. This line seems grossly low to me. I see the Chiefs winning by double digits this week.
Dolphins +1.5 over Browns
The Dolphins are a chic pick to be a surprise team this year and the Browns still appear to be a year away from being in contention for anything. With wide receiver Josh Gordon out, the Browns will have to lean on running back Trent Richardson for a lot of the hefty lifting. Against a Dolphins team that is much stronger versus the run than the pass, the Browns could find themselves out of it early.
Bills +10.5 over Patriots
Yes, quite a few people would look at this and think, “YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND!” When I first started betting on football, I often would take the big favorites, only to lose. A good friend who worked at the Bellagio Casino told me, “You gotta understand; even the bad NFL teams are still NFL teams and big lines are hard to cover.” Taking the Bills here is a good bet here until the Patriots prove they have the firepower to recover from the losses in their receiving corps.
Seahawks -3.5 over Panthers
Not buying into any preseason hype about the Panthers being this year’s sleeper; yes, it could happen and it is much more probable for the Panthers than the Jaguars. However, a Super Bowl favorite against a “possible” playoff contender? Going to have to give up the 3.5 points and take the Seahawks to win by a touchdown.
Texans -5.5 over Chargers
The Chargers are one my picks for five worst teams in football this year; Rivers has been exposed as a average quarterback-at-best since the departure of wide receiver Vincent Jackson and the team has questions everywhere. The Texans should easily cover this spread by double digits. Good thing for East Coast folks so they can head to bed early when this game is over by halftime.
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