The NFL season gets underway tonight with the Thursday Night Football kick off game between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. I won’t have a pick on this game, but I do have a few picks against the spread for games on Sunday. I’m looking to do better this year than my 15-22-1 record against the spread on my regular season NFL spread betting picks from last year.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh -4
- Cleveland +4
Until the Browns show me something in the regular season I’m going to be fading them. This is still the team that went 0-16 last year. Yes, they’ve added some pieces, and the defense looks solid, but they are still the Browns. The team needs to get some regular season wins before I believe in them to beat teams like the Steelers. The culture of losing runs deep for the Browns and I’m not convinced they can just shake that right out of the gate.
Le’Veon Brown is likely not playing in week 1, but if history tells us anything the Steelers are just as good without him. Pittsburgh had a slightly better winning percentage and scored slightly more points per game without Bell than with him last year, so I’ll gladly take the extra 2 points or so that him being out of the lineup is giving on this spread.
The Steelers are an elite team with a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl. I don’t expect them to stumble out of the gate against Cleveland.
Play: Steelers -4
San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings
- San Francisco +6.5
- Minnesota -6.5
I’m a believer in Jimmy Garoppolo and his ability to turn this 49ers team into a playoff team this season. I don’t think the fact that the 49ers won their final 5 games of the season last year with Garoppolo at QB, after going 1-10 to that point in the season, was a fluke. Garoppolo is a winner and with an elite QB this 49ers team is a contender.
The Vikings have a big change at QB themselves with Kirk Cousins now the franchise QB in Minnesota. It could take a few weeks for Cousins to build chemistry with the Vikings two top wide receivers in Diggs and Thielen. The Vikings also will have issues at center this week and I think the 49ers D will make things difficult on the Vikings offense.
I’m taking the 49ers +6.5 in this one and think there is a reasonable chance they get the win.
Play: 49ers +6.5
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
- Kansas City +3.5
- LA -3.5
I’m taking yet another road team as my final pick. I think this Chiefs offense could be extremely dynamic this year. I’m high on Patrick Mahomes at QB and with weapons like David Johnson, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, I just can’t picture this offense sputtering this season. Mahomes has more big play ability than Alex Smith, so I think this team could run up the score at times this year, while also having the ability to get back in games with some big plays.
The Chargers are always a tough team to bet against because they have the ability to make big plays at both sides of the football, but I think this Chiefs team is coming together and has a shot at being extremely solid this year.
The Chiefs came out of the gate extremely hot last season and I’m expecting the same this year with an upset of the Chargers to kick things off.
Play: Chiefs +3.5