As week 1 of the NFL season dawns upon us we will shift our focus from NFL futures and props to the games being played. First I will talk about potential teaser legs for week 1 that I find attractive.
Starting with the first game of the year. The Atlanta Falcons come into Philadelphia to play the Eagles on national TV on Thursday night. The Eagles will be having a pre-game ceremony to unveil their Super Bowl Championship banner. The atmosphere should be absolutely electric similar to how it was in the playoffs last year. I think home field advantage will play a huge part in this game. The Eagles are coming in starting backup QB Nick Foles who has not played well this pre-season but is coming off winning last year’s Super Bowl MVP. The Eagles will have what I like to call ‘ring night swag’ which simply is when a team is celebrating their championship victory from a season ago, things usually end up going their way. The Eagles still have a terrific defensive line and they should be able to run the read option effectively enough to win. I’m not sure they can cover a 3 point spread and will most likely be on Eagles money-line, but I also like them as a teaser leg at +3. This is a game I can even see Atlanta narrowly winning on a last second field goal or the eagles winning by blocking that kick or it missing.
Next up I want to talk about the Baltimore Ravens. They are listed as 7 point favorites at home against the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens should definitely win this game. Seven points is a large spread to bet on in week 1 but I like them as a teaser leg at -1. The Ravens have a good defense and it will be difficult for Bills QB Nathan Peterman to move the ball. I agree with the bookmakers and can see Baltimore rolling in this game. I am only reserved because it is only week 1. I think Baltimore winning outright is a safe bet, and therefore like them as a teaser leg at -1.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have come down from a 6.5 to 7 point favorite to now only being 4 point favorites playing the Browns @ Cleveland. Much of this has to do with the Browns recent hype due to them being headlined on the TV show Hard Knocks. The Browns are certainly poised to do better this year but there is nothing else you can do when your team did not win at all in the previous season. Despite the hype, I do not see their first win coming in week 1. The Browns played the Steelers very well in week 1 in Cleveland last year but I do not see this happening again this year. I like the Steelers to cover the 4 point spread which makes them a very attractive teaser leg at +2.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played in New Orleans last year they were bullied and lost 30-10. In week 1 they are playing again in New Orleans and I see more of the same. The spread is at 9.5 and I agree with bookmakers that the Saints should dominate this game. The Saints have not won their opener since 2013. I see that changing this year. They are better than the Buccaneers talent-wise and their coaching is also far superior. This is a game they could win by 17 or more points. This makes them an attractive teaser leg even with the hook at -3.5. I see them bullying this team at home once again.
The Denver Broncos have had recent a lot of early success recently at home. Due to changes in training camp rules NFL players have not been in as good of shape as they had been in year’s past. This has given the Broncos an incredible advantage because they play at a high altitude. This has shown to make the biggest difference at the beginning of the season before players are fully in shape. The Seahawks are coming into this year trying to rebuild. They have lost most of their defensive talent they had left over from their Super Bowl years. They come into this year with a team that is not very talented. This is not an unpopular opinion as they have much lower expectations than in years past. The combination of these facts is the reason why I like the Broncos as a teaser leg. They are currently 3 point favorites so teasing them brings them to 3 point underdogs. I am not sure Denver can cover the 3 points, and I like them more of a money line bet. With the Broncos having home field advantage though this is not a game I can not see them losing by more than 3 points.
The Rams enter week 1 as 4.5 point favorites on the road in Oakland. To put it simply the Rams have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. The Raiders do not. For this reason alone the Rams should win this game outright. The line is where it is because people still have high expectations for Jon Gruden. These expectations are not warranted and have more to do with Gruden’s popularity than they do with his head coaching regimen. The Raiders do not seem like a team that will be very competitive. Their defense is not very good and their offense is led by QB Derek Carr WR Amari Cooper and RB Marshawn Lynch. All of whom are overrated in my opinion. The Rams should have no problem covering the 4.5 point spread which also makes them an excellent teaser leg at +2.5.