Sunday Locks (Week 1)
49ers (-8.5) @ Lions, O/U 45
The (potential) debut of Mike Shanahan’s 2-QB system vs. the Dan Campbell all grit, no flash era in Detroit. This game was a lot tougher to pick before Lions star left tackle Taylor Decker was ruled out. That injury alone destroys any hope the Lions had of keeping this one close. Give me the Niners big in this one in a game the Lions struggle to score in.
Picks: 49ers -8.5 (Padlock), UNDER 45 (Deadbolt)
Steelers @ Bills (-6.5), O/U 48.5
I expect a lot of passing offense in this one. I absolutely love the Bills this year, but I think the Steelers keep this one tight as the Bills struggle to run the ball to put the game away. I’ll take the Steelers getting the points in a high-scoring affair.
Picks: Steelers +6.5 (Padlock), OVER 48.5 (Deadbolt)
Jets @ Panthers (-4), O/U 44.5
The Sam Darnold revenge game! I do like Zach Wilson, but I really expect Sam Darnold and the potentially explosive Panthers skill guys to have their way in a game won fairly easily by the Panthers. I’ll lay the points with the Panthers.
Picks: Panthers -4 (Fort Knox), OVER 44.5 (Deadbolt)
Eagles @ Falcons (-3.5), O/U 48.5
Which bird will fly higher — the young, unproven Jalen Hurts or the aging, steady Matt Ryan? I think Kyle Pitts proves he’s every bit of the hype he’s been getting all offseason. I also think the Eagles offense could be sneaky explosive against bad defenses, which I expect the Falcons to be. Give me the points with the Eagles in a high scoring game.
Picks: Eagles +3.5 (Deadbolt), OVER 48.5 (Deadbolt)
Seahawks (-2.5) @ Colts, O/U 49
Tough game to pick here. The Seahawks still have Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, so yes, they’ll still be good. Don’t overthink that. But the Colts were one of the best teams in football last year, and are still a home underdog. The reason for that is the deserving skepticism surrounding Carson Wentz, partly injury-related, partly just because he stinks. I’ll take the points with the home team, but don’t feel great about it.
Picks: Colts +2.5 (Padlock), UNDER 49 (Padlock)
Cardinals @ Titans (-3), O/U 52
Another really good inter-conference game here between what was a promising Cardinals team during most of last season and a Titans team who added Julio Jones to an already elite offense. I expect a lot of points to be scored. Kyler should be back to healthy and running all over the place, but I’ll lay the field goal and pick the Titans here.
Picks: Titans -3 (Deadbolt), OVER 52 (Deadbolt)
Vikings (-3) @ Bengals, O/U 47
I expect this to be a little one-sided. I don’t think the Bengals will stop thr Vikings offense much. I also think Joe Burrow will struggle in his return from injury in the beginning of the season. Give me the Vikings in a blowout.
Picks: Vikings -3 (Deadbolt), UNDER 47 (Padlock)
Chargers @ Football Team (-1.5), O/U 45
I love both of these teams. Justin Herbert is a star. This Chargers team, particularly the offense, should be very good. But Washington counters that with what may be the best defense in football. I expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead this team to a solid win in this one.
Picks: Football Team -1.5 (Padlock), UNDER 45 (Padlock)
Jaguars (-3) @ Texans, O/U 45
The Trevor Lawrence era begins, and the schedule-makers did him a big favor going up against the trainwreck that is the Houston Texans. Boasting a trio of WRs up there with the best in the league, I expect the Jags to put up a lot of points. The only think that makes me pause at all in this game is that if you look at the Texans schedule and are forced to pick a game they have a chance to win, this would probably be that game. Still, give me the Jags laying a field goal.
Picks: Jaguars -3 (Deadbolt), OVER 45 (Padlock)
Packers (-3.5) @ Saints, O/U 49.5
I’m very curious to see the Packers offensive line after losing All Pro center Corey Linsley to the Chargers, and as they begin the season without All Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. Still, I don’t trust this Saints team at the moment, and do trust Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Co. I’ll lay the points with the Packers.
Picks: Packers -3.5 (Fort Knox), OVER 49.5 (Padlock)
Browns @ Chiefs (-5.5), O/U 54.5
I love the Browns. How can you not? There’s not a single weakness on this team, on paper at least. Yes, I also love the Chiefs, but if you revert back to last season, the Chiefs were very bad ATS as they almost toyed with teams all season long and just wound up winning by a single score late. I think the Browns challenge them to win this one outright, but will gladly take the points in what should be a great battle.
Picks: Browns +5.5 (Deadbolt), UNDER 54.5 (Padlock)
Broncos (-3) @ Giants, O/U 42
Saquon will play, but will likely be kept in check both from a number of plays perspective and also from a lack of blocking perspective. I think the Giants struggle to put up points in this one. I think their defense contains Teddy Bridgewater and what could be a sneaky good Broncos offense, but not enough. I’ll lay the field goal with Denver in a low scoring battle.
Picks: Broncos -3 (Padlock), UNDER 42 (Deadbolt)
Dolphins @ Patriots (-3.5), O/U 43.5
The battle of young ‘bama QBs. Yes Tua has the leg up with at least some NFL experience. Yes the Dolphins coaching staff and defense are both very good. Yes the Patriots will be starting a rookie QB and don’t have many offensive weapons at his disposal. But the Patriots still have Bill Belichick and a full offseason to plan for this game. In a defensive battle, I’ll take the home team.
Picks: Patriots -3.5 (Padlock), UNDER 43.5 (Deadbolt)
Bears @ Rams (-8), O/U 46.5
Khalil Mack and the tough Bears defense get to go after Matthew Stafford again. This time though, it will be with Stafford surrounded by an absolute powerhouse of a team, on both sides of the ball, in the Rams. I don’t think the Rams have any trouble winning this game, but 8 points is a lot in what I expect to be a low scoring game. For that reason, I’ll take the Bears with the points.