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NFL picks against the spread, Week 1: Finally, it’s safe to bet on the Jaguars and Raiders

We’re back and we’re betting on the Jaguars and Raiders again.

Betting on preseason games is a fool’s errand. That doesn’t stop anyone from doing it. Betting on Week 1 seems just as iffy. The games actually mean something now, but there are a lot of these teams where I’m just not sure what we’re going to get. At least nobody’s injured, for the most part, since we’re just starting the season.

Like I always say, it’s your money. You can choose how to spend it and whether or not you want to bet on the Jaguars.

All odds via OddsShark. Home team is in caps.

JAGUARS (+6) over Packers, 1:00 p.m. ET

I’m not going to go back to see how many times I encouraged you to put money on the Jaguars last season. It was a lot, and Gus Bradley continually let us all down. I feel much better about the Jags this season after a haul in the draft and a free agent spending spree that filled a lot of holes. Vegas isn’t as enthusiastic about #JagginOff as the rest of us.

But a six-point underdog? I know the Packers are good, NFC Super Bowl favorite good, but a whole damn touchdown?

I’m definitely not going to be wrong this time, no way.


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COWBOYS (-1) over Giants, 4:25 p.m. ET

A one-point spread is just so appropriate for an NFC East game. Even if you’re still a little drunk on the Dak Prescott hype from the preseason, it’s fair to assume that this game will be a confusing, mistake-riddled affair.

Dallas is 1-7-1 against the spread in its last nine home games. They’re 1-5 over the last six games against the Giants. Nothing about this says that you bet on the Cowboys.

But that was before Ezekiel Elliott. I just don’t see the Giants being ready for this at all, and the Cowboys end up winning in a blowout.

Raiders (+2.5) over SAINTS, 1:00 p.m. ET

I get that it’s a home game for the Saints, but on what planet does that make any kind of difference for this team? Hell, forget the spread for a minute, the predicted score is Saints 29, Raiders 15.


New Orleans was 4-4 at home last season, with losses to the Bucs, Lions and Titans. Other than Drew Brees finally not counting for a gazillion dollars against the cap, nothing’s really changed enough to make the Saints moderate favorites over a pretty deep Raiders team.

Vikings (-2.5) over TITANS, 1:00 p.m. ET

Forget Shaun Hill versus Sam Bradford, you probably already did. This game comes down to Minnesota’s defense and a ball control offense, as many of their contests this year will.

Just keep it simple here. Minnesota, its quarterback aside, is a good team, well-rounded in all the spots. Even the special teams unit should be one of the league’s best. Teams like that usually end up beating teams like the Titans, especially with Mike Mularkey coaching the Titans. And I think they’ll do it by a margin closer to six points than three.

Patriots (-7) over CARDINALS, 8:30 p.m. ET

Remember, I’m not picking the Patriots to win this game outright, especially not with Gronk sitting out. But it’s really hard to think the Patriots are going to get beat by seven points or more.

New England has been the underdog before, though not very often. And when the Patriots are not the favored team, they’re usually a good bet. They’re 6-1 against the spread as underdogs the last two years.