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NFL picks against the spread 2017, Week 1: This isn’t science

It’s the first Sunday of the NFL season where unpredictability is the only rule. Sort of.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard enough picking games in November. Trying to figure things out in Week 1 is damn near impossible. One game is still a small sample size, even for a season with 16 games.

Unpredictability is no excuse. You’ve got a summer of cheap livin’ to blow on sports betting. Or maybe you made a small fortune betting on the preseason, you genius. Either way, we need to put some advice on the internet for you to skim and scan then choose to ignore or compute or maybe blindly follow, because who knows, this stuff isn’t really a science.

Odds are courtesy of Odds Shark. The home team is in all caps.

TEXANS (-5) over Jaguars

I still can’t figure out why the Jags decided to leave Blake Bortles as their starter, but they did. Maybe it was strategic. Maybe they’re baking on J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus will take care of that problem for them. That’s probably not it, but if there’s a prop bet on Bortles getting snapped in half, you might put a fiver on that.

Jets (+8) over BILLS

Yes, the Jets are going to open the season with a win ... against the spread. The Bills aren’t on the same expressway to tank city that the Jets are, but it’s close. They’re not going to be very good.

On the other hand, I could be wrong — I often am! And if I am wrong about the Jets being unable to cover an 8-point spread against the Bills, we might be watching one of the worst teams in NFL history.

Raiders (+3) over TITANS

I’m pretty hyped about the Titans this season. The problem might be their age. It’s still a pretty young team. I still think they’ll be good this season, but the Raiders have a little more working in their favor to win the season opener.

LIONS (+2.5) over Cardinals

I feel like either one of these teams could be 10-6 just as easily as they could win five games.

WASHINGTON (+1) over Eagles

Kirk Cousins and that offense is going to miss DeSean Jackson more than we realize. By the end of the season, I’d bet on the Eagles having more wins, but this week, with a spread this close, I’ll defer to the home team.

Falcons (-6) over BEARS

Ugh, some of this Sunday’s games ...

Steelers (-8.5) over BROWNS

I want to think that the Browns are going to be better. They could be better, maybe not over-.500 better, but generally improved.

RAMS (-4.5) over Colts

The Rams won’t have Aaron Donald, but at least he’s back. The Colts have nobody. Vontae Davis is out. Ryan Kelly is out. Andrew Luck deserves better than the Colts. He’s out this week too.

Seahawks (+3.5) over PACKERS

Both of these teams should cruise to a division win, barring injuries, etc. This is the hardest game to pick this week.

Panthers (-4.5) over 49ERS

Sort of a home game for Christian McCaffrey. And I’m dying to see if he’s going be as active in this offense as we’ve been led to believe through the offseason.

I kinda wish the 49ers had to play the Jets this year.

Giants (+4) over COWBOYS

This is the one that’s going to seem so obviously wrong by halftime. But who knows. I feel like the Giants defense might have a little bit of an edge here, especially in Week 1.

Janoris Jenkins is a big part of the reason the Giants were 2-0 against the Cowboys last year.


VIKINGS (-.3.5) over Saints

If this is the year that Alex Smith can throw the deep ball well, maybe Sam Bradford ... ha ha, I’m just kidding. Against the Saints defense though, those check downs might be enough.

BRONCOS (-3.5) over Chargers

I’m interested to see if the Chargers can be a playoff team this year. The defense is criminally underrated, especially the combination of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. And maybe the offense will get a break from injuries this year. Still, the Broncos are at home and they still have Von Miller. It’s not intended to be heavy lifting for Trevor Siemian.