The 2019 NFL schedule was announced on Wednesday night and it’s a whole lot to take in, what with 256 games. There’s Thanksgiving games to worry about, there are Monday Night Football games to worry about, Thursday Night Football games to worry about, revenge games to worry about and much more to focus on.
But more importantly there are games to bet on. Thanks to an increased acceptance with betting on sports and the legality of sports wagering spreading across the country, it doesn’t take long to see lines for the Week 1 games on the board.
In fact, the Westgate has already released odds and spreads for every single Week 1 game. Let’s go through them and give you guys some early leans.
We’ll also be dishing out full schedule analysis all week long on the Pick Six Podcast, our daily NFL pod featuring high-level NFL analysis with more than a dash of mirth. You can get it for free on iTunes or on Spotify or on Stitcher.
In the words of my esteemed colleague Pete Prisco, give me Aaron Rodgers with the points. Early lean: Packers +3.5
Really disappointing season for both teams in 2018 as neither lived up to expectations. Interesting strength on strength matchup too, with the Falcons’ stout offense going against the dangerous Minnesota defense. I like the Vikings’ ability to move the ball against this defense, barring a really nice acquisition in the draft for Atlanta, and although that’s a few more points than I would like to give, I’ll take the Vikings here because of their home-field advantage and what I think is a coaching advantage as well. Early lean: Vikings -4.5
The Redskins could be an absolute train wreck this season — they’ve got one of the worst receiving groups in the NFL as it stands right now, and only Case Keenum at quarterback. The Eagles will have a healthy Carson Wentz, a motivated DeSean Jackson and a loaded defensive line. HAVING SAID ALL THAT … this is too many points in a Week 1 divisional matchup. Early lean: Redskins +8
The Jets have really improved this offseason, but I think the Bills might have been one of the more low-key improved teams and I think Sean McDermott gives them a major coaching edge, especially having gone against Adam Gase the last few years. Early lean: Bills +3.5
This is a disgusting game. Hammer the under and hope there aren’t five special teams touchdowns. I don’t like doing it, but I’ll side with the home dog here by a slight edge and hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick can conjure some of that early-season birthday cake magic. Early lean: Dolphins +3.5
49ers at Buccaneers (-2.5), Over/Under 49
The Buccaneers being favored is a little surprising I guess, although it’s clear Vegas is hedging towards the 49ers with Tampa getting the standard three points for home field. Tampa’s improved a lot this offseason, but will have a new coaching staff. This all comes down to Jimmy Garoppolo and his health and how he looks in the preseason, but if he’s good to go and San Francisco can add another stud on defense in the draft, I would actually expect the 49ers to be favored by kickoff. Early lean: 49ers +2.5
Expect Kansas City to be a public darling given they beat the Jags last year and how they generally performed. But the Chiefs don’t have a ton on defense and the Jags did upgrade with Nick Foles at quarterback over Blake Bortles, while also doing a pretty good job of shoring up the roster. Jacksonville might not be great this season, but they shouldn’t be a six-point dog at home in Week 1, not with their defense and the potential for the run game against K.C. Early lean: Jags +5.5
The Browns are FAVORED to start the season. That’s not surprising given the Browns’ status as a big Super Bowl favorite, but it’s still a weird thing to write down on paper. Cleveland could be very good this year, but the hype might be a bit much here given the changes they have on the coaching staff and new personnel in place. The Titans are a solid team and should be healthy to start. Early lean: Titans +5
Really high total for two teams that have some question marks on offense. Are we sure we still trust Todd Gurley as a feature back? The Rams didn’t exactly inspire on offense in the Super Bowl against an OK but not great Patriots defense that had an excellent game plan. The Panthers’ offensive line is a question mark and so is Cam Newton’s shoulder. But I don’t think Carolina should be an underdog here, at least not if Cam’s arm is healthy. That’s the big question mark of course — if Cam is back on the field and looking sharp, this is a game the Panthers can easily win. Early lean: Panthers +2.5
This line STINKS. Everyone is burying the Cardinals, we don’t know who their quarterback is going to be until the draft rolls around and they were the worst team in football last year. Detroit wasn’t exactly great in 2018 and there’s a lot to worry about with this team, especially on offense. Honestly I think Arizona could really surprise here since it will be almost impossible for Matt Patricia to prepare for Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, even with this much time before the game. Early lean: Cardinals pk
Another first-year head coach here, albeit with a very different setup. Zac Taylor opens his career by going to Seattle, which is just brutal. The Seahawks are slated to be a very good team again and have put any Russell Wilson questions to bed by signing the quarterback to a huge new contract. Man, this is a lot of points, but I just don’t feel great about what Cincy is bringing to the table in a harsh road environment against a good Seahawks team. Early lean: Seahawks -7.5
Potentially enormous Week 1 game for seeding in the AFC. Both of these teams are considered contenders. Vegas typically builds in three points for home-field advantage, and the Chargers are an excellent football team with lots of weapons and a great quarterback in Philip Rivers. But Frank Reich is a big coaching upgrade over Anthony Lynn and the Chargers typically start slow to the season, which means there might be some nice value here on Indy. Early lean: Colts +3.5
Huge line for this traditional divisional matchup that always ends up happening in Week 1 of the NFL season for some reason. It’s a marquee Sunday afternoon game and not prime time, possibly explained by the massive spread. The Cowboys are projected by Vegas to lay the wood on a Giants team that hasn’t been very good the last two seasons. But this line is way too high. The Giants have plenty of playmakers and improved offensive line. Eli Manning will come to play early in this game — he’s always good against Dallas for some reason, and I think New York can keep it close. Early lean: Giants +7.5
Steelers at Patriots (-6), Over/Under 51.5
Premiere matchup to kick off the season here on Sunday night between the Pats and the Steelers. New England’s owned Pittsburgh over the years (last year being an exception) and the Pats have largely been good at home in these Super Bowl defense spots. Bill Belichick with months to prepare is a problem. Tom Brady’s offensive line should be loaded again, although no Rob Gronkowski is a concern. The Steelers lost Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell so there’s some overreaction built in here — I actually think they’ll be fine in terms of offense. This line might be too high. Early lean: Steelers +6
The Saints are great at home and Sean Payton with tons of time to prepare is scary, but this line is silly. The Texans aren’t a bad team and the offensive line should get better in the draft. Deshaun Watson in prime time is catching more than a touchdown? Gimme, gimme. Early lean: Texans +7.5
The Raiders are a trendy public team! Or something — the additions of Antonio Brown and three first-round picks plus Oakland smashing Denver to close out last season will make them a popular pick in this spot. I’ll take the underdog and the points in a late-night, Week 1 Monday matchup where weird things always happen. Early lean: Broncos +2.5
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