For The Win: Week 1

NFL picks against the Las Vegas lines.

Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I begin my second season writing this column. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?

As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with 1-3 “Stars”, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.

With no preseason tape to munch on for the past few weeks, we have had to rely on whispers from training camp and our gut instincts. That may not be the worst thing entering a Week 1 that could feature plenty of missed assignments, slip-ups, and, frankly, rusty players. There is no telling how each team will start off in this unique season.

Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com

(Thursday Night) HOUSTON at KANSAS CITY (-9.5) (Over/Under 55)

The reigning Super Bowl champion is 17-3 straight-up (SU) and 13-5-2 against the spread (ATS) in the season opener of the following year, according to Vegas Insider. This statistic in a vacuum bodes well for the Chiefs, a team whose players have spoken of building a dynasty this offseason. Fresh off receiving their flashy new Super Bowl rings, the prevailing wisdom suggests that a Patrick Mahomes II-led team should get the job done. However, a 9.5-point spread is a significant obstacle to maintaining the blistering pace that champions have hit in previous openers.

Another complicating factor is the oh-so-tricky Houston Texans coming to town. This offseason has featured discussion about the shifting power structures of the AFC, with hardly a mention of a team that has consistently made the postseason and knocked off some giants along the way. It is a tantalizing opener for many reasons, not least the fact it is the first football game of any kind we will have witnessed since the Super Bowl. It is the Deshaun Watson vs. Mahomes battle that is most enticing, and with an over/under of 55 points, the expectation is for fireworks. It took an inspired Mahomes performance to wrest last year’s postseason tilt back from Houston’s grasp, and Bill O’Brien’s team is battle-hardened. Houston is fancied to keep things interesting and cover the spread.

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