The first week of the NFL season was wild and a bit all over the place. There were blow-outs, narrow victories, and even a tie, but now that the dust has settled there should be some clarity on how teams will be this season.
Some of the early lines are leaning in favor of Week 1 results which should raise some eyebrows. These are some games you might want to get in on early before the line moves.
Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) @ Washington Redskins, 1:00 PM:
My expectation is that Dallas will become a heavier favorite closer to kickoff following the news that Washington’s starting running back Derrius Guice is going to miss the game, and possibly a significant amount of time this season.
The Washington Redskins were definitely a surprise last Sunday, at least to gamblers. Although Washington (0-1) lost, they covered the 9-point spread after losing 32-27.
Washington’s replacement running back may be as good as any in the league in former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, but something to note is that Peterson listed as a healthy scratch last week. With Peterson needing to shake off rust, I’ll take the Cowboys at (-4.5).
The Dallas Cowboys (1-0) are coming off a dominant performance at home defeating the New York Giants 35-17.
Quarterback Dak Prescott had himself a stellar day passing for 405 yards on 25-of-32 completions and four touchdowns.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott was also quietly productive in his first taste of action since his hold, rushing 13 times for 53 yards and one touchdown, adding one reception for 10 yards.
Picks: Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) @- 105
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1), 1:00 PM:
Similar to the Washington line, the San Francisco 49ers are already down a starting running back in Tevin Coleman. With Coleman out, the next man up is Matt Breida who had been splitting the backfield workload for the most part.
San Francisco (1-0) defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-17 on the heels of a fantastic defensive day. The 49ers’ defense forced three sacks, a fumble, and three interceptions; two of which were returned for touchdowns courtesy of Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon.
The Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) fell just short of the largest upset this week as 10-point underdogs, but still managed to easily cover the spread losing 31-30 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Bengals offense was explosive lead by quarterback Andy Dalton; Dalton completed 35-of-51 for 418 yards and two touchdowns. Wideout John Ross III had himself a breakout game catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals added four sacks and a forced fumble on the defensive side of the ball.
After seeing Cincinnati compete the way they did in Seattle, my expectation is that the Bengals will put it all together for a win at home.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (-1) @ -105
Cleveland Browns (-2.5) @ New York Jets, ESPN, 8:15 PM (Mon.):
While I don’t see this line moving much from now until Monday, I could see the Browns becoming three or three and a half point favorites. The main reason being due to the injuries of Jets’ linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.
Mosley scored the first points for New York on an interception return for a touchdown before exiting with a groin injury. Williams was the Jets’ first-round draft pick this season, but left the game with a boot on his foot.
New York (0-1) allowed 17 unanswered points in the second half, losing to the Buffalo Bills 17-16.
With those holes left in New York’s defense, the Browns should be set for a bounce back performance.
Cleveland (0-1) suffered an ugly 43-13 home loss against the Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Baker Mayfield had a rough game behind center getting sacked five times and throwing three interceptions. He finished completing 25-of-38 for 285 yards and one touchdown.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. added seven receptions for 71 yards.
I’m taking Cleveland (-2.5) before the line changes. With New York being at home, the Jets could have value as an underdog, but I like the Browns to bounce back and at least cover the spread under a field goal.