Before the first full week of practice concludes and injury reports are finalized, we take a look at some lines that either currently have good value or could find themselves moving towards strong upside.
Los Angeles Rams (-1.5) @ Carolina Panthers, FOX, 1:00 PM:
The Los Angeles Rams open the 2019 season with a sour taste in their mouths. After finishing with the second highest-scoring offense in the NFL, Los Angeles scored just three points in Super Bowl 53 against the New England Patriots.
The Rams’ dynamic offense of running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff are partnered with a dominant defense lead by reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.
The Carolina Panthers head into Sunday’s season opener on the heels of a disappointing 7-9 season. Carolina is an interesting team on paper, but the team’s biggest issue for several seasons has been keeping franchise quarterback Cam Newton healthy.
All reports lean towards Newton playing, but there is an outside chance the former MVP doesn’t suit up due to a foot injury. Newton also had his second shoulder surgery this offseason which leaves more cause for concern.
The Rams are my play at (-1.5) @ -105
Even if the line starts to trend upward, Los Angeles should win this game comfortably.
Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns (-5.5), CBS, 1:00 PM:
The Cleveland Browns hands down made the most noise this offseason. After finishing 7-8-1, which resulted in the franchise’s 16th consecutive losing season, Cleveland is looking to turn the page with the addition of superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The Browns made a change at signal caller with first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens, who moves from Cleveland’s offensive coordinator to running the show. Kitchens’ offense is poised to be one of the most explosive in the league.
Former number one overall pick quarterback Baker Mayfield heads into his second season with plenty of weapons in wide receivers Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, running back Nick Chubb, and tight end David Njoku.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans were a surprise last season finishing 9-7 despite constant injuries to starting quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota heads into a make-or-break contract season with a lot to prove, but will need help from running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver Corey Davis. On the other hand, the Titans’ defense is legitimate and head coach Mike Vrabel will have them ready to go on Sunday.
The pick is Cleveland (-5.5) @ -105
With the Browns playing at home, I’d be surprised if the spread doesn’t move to at least seven points. Last season, Cleveland was 5-2-1 at home.
New York Giants (+7.5) @ Dallas Cowboys, FOX, 4:45 PM:
A tradition like no other, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants meet on opening day of the NFL season.
Despite the news of star running back Ezekiel Elliot potentially not agreeing to a new deal, the Cowboys still sat as a strong seven-point favorite over Big Blue. On Wednesday, Zeke signed a six-year, $90million extension.
With the Cowboys now at full force, the line could potentially move up to an even heavier favorite for Dallas.
The Picks is the Giants (+7.5) @ -110
And I won’t hesitate to take them if given even more points.
In six of the last eight meetings between these teams over the last four seasons, the game has been decided by seven points or less. Three of those matchups were decided by just one point.
The Giants lost both meetings with Dallas last season and four consecutive meetings overall. New York is due against their rivals and I expect that to come on Sunday against a rusty Cowboys offense.