The NFL Lines – Week 1

Filed in AFL Lines, NFL, NFL Tips by on September 8, 2011

The NFL lockout has come and gone, the pre-season has run its course, almost every player on a contractual holdout has reached terms with their clubs and importantly for many of us, our fantasy NFL sides have been drafted for the upcoming season. Americans, along with no shortage of interested onlookers from other corners of the globe, are ready for some football! Your old pals at Making The Nut can’t wait either. In a similar vein to “The Early Line” and “The AFL Lines”, we will bring you the weekly musings of Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham on each of the matches, along with their recommended bets.

NT – In the words of Glenn Stewart, "Let's get it on, baby". NFL season is here and your Making The Nut NFL experts have finally left the secret bunker after a month of preparation with the first week lines nutted right out. The winners are there…and hopefully we find them.

CB – Alright, season previews and the like are in the books, so let’s get this party started. What say we have a little season-long side wager? $50, best weekly picks record (in terms of units of profit/ loss) wins the cash. May the better punter win. As an aside, I’m going to stay out of the overs/ unders total points markets for the first few weeks until some more discernible 2011 trends start to play out.


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(Please note – all times are American ‘Eastern Time’ – add 14 hours to get the AEST)


New Orleans at Green Bay, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Green Bay -4 to -4.5

NT – I am very high on the Saints this year and think they enter the season as the clear top NFC team. The Saints getting 4.5 is a tempting play, particularly with a schmick new running game that should free up Drew Brees. I'm a believer in the Super Bowl hangover and not in this year's Packers. Bet 1.5 units on New Orleans +4.5.

CB – Ordinarily home field advantage is worth the equivalent of around three points. However, I would argue that “home field in your opening game as defending champions whilst the Lambeau faithful lose their collective minds” is worth more than three. Moreover, defending champions have an outstanding recent record in these season opening matches. Couple this with the fact that I think the Packers are the slightly better team and I’m happy to have one unit on the Packers at the -4 available with some corporates.



Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Baltimore -1 to -2.5

NT – The Ravens are a red hot goof rolling the Steelers this season and finally claiming the division crown but having covered only one of their last seven against their rivals, I can't recommend a bet though I do believe the Ravens win.

CB – These teams have a strong recent history of playing low-scoring, knock’em down style matches where someone wins by three. Suffice to say, I think the line is pretty much right here, so no bet for me.


Detroit at Tampa Bay, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tampa Bay -1 to -1.5

NT – This game doesn't interest me in the slightest. I'm low on the Bucs but I am extremely wary of any of these hot sleepers who everyone wants to back. No bet. 

CB – Detroit seem to have become the bandwagon 2011 sleeper pick – the record of these bandwagon picks actually proving to be sleepers over the years is about 5-824 (all numbers approximate). Meanwhile here are the Buccaneers and Josh “he just wins football games” Freeman getting little to no respect. The Bucs should be giving at least three points here, and thus I’ll take one unit on the minus.


Philadelphia at St Louis, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Louis +4 to +4.5

NT – Early road favourites are fraught with danger and Philadelphia, despite their spending spree, still need to prove they can gel. I don't rate the Rams though so no play.

CB – I think the Rams will win the NFC West on the ‘best of a bad lot’ corollary, but don’t think they can match it with the big guns. Nonetheless, backing road favourites in week one seems like a recipe for disaster. No bet.


Buffalo at Kansas City, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Kansas City -4.5 to -6

NT – I am finding this hard to say but I believe we have a bet on Buffalo with the six points start. The Chiefs are in for a massive fall this year, the Bills have covered six of seven against Kansas City and I am a secret Ryan Fitzpatrick fan. Play 0.5 units on the plus.

CB – I can’t bet against my Bills on principle. I can’t back them when receiving only 4.5 to 6 points on a lengthy road trip to take on a defending divisional champion. I may need a hug and some comforting ‘it’s not your fault’ words by the second quarter of the season. Pass.


Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Jacksonville -1.5 to -2

NT – I think the Jags are an underrated proposition this year but a last-minute move to cut David Garrard has me concerned, as does the fact the Titans won here 30-3 last year. A lean the minus but definitely no play.

CB – Exactly what were the Jags thinking in waiting until days before the season opened to release their former starting QB David Garrard? What the hell kind of move was that? I’d be bolshy about the Titans here after such a panicky looking move, but last year Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew carved them up and he may do so again. Plus I’d like to cheer for MJD (my best fantasy running back) in this game without conflicted thoughts. No bet.


Indianapolis at Houston, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Houston -8.5 to -9.5

NT – How can you possibly have a bet here? The Peyton Manning streak has come to an  end and may not resume this year while the Texans' top running back Arian Foster has a bum hamstring and a bad attitude. No play.

CB – The scariest line of the week. How many points per game is the downgrade from Peyton Manning to Kerry Collins worth? 10? 14? 25? And do you really want to lay such a big number with a perennial underachiever in the Texans, only to see Arian Foster either not suit up or injure himself further in this game? No thank you.


Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cleveland -6.5

NT – I don't like the Browns and I hate the Bengals this year so the line seems about right to me.  

CB – My 2011 sleeper pick opens the season at home, giving less than a touchdown to a dishevelled mess of a team whom ESPN’s Rick Reilly thinks may go 0-16 and whose quarterback will either be the immortal Bruce Gradkowski or rookie Andy Dalton, who is being mentored by Bruce. Sure, I’ll have a unit on the Browns at the minus here. That sounds delightful.


Atlanta at Chicago, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Chicago +2.5 to 3

NT – Very keen on the Bears here. I am low on the Falcons and I think the quality Bears defence shuts Matt Ryan right down here, particularly considering the Bears have won five of their last six home season openers. Forte has a big game. Bet 2 units on the well-backed plus.

CB – This line scares me, but only in the sense that I don’t 100 per cent trust Jay Cutler. Or 75 per cent trust Jay Cutler. Or 22 per cent trust Jay Cutler. Nonetheless, having tipped Atlanta to slide to 8-8 this year and not being sold on Matt Ryan’s ability outside domes, I really am obliged to have one unit on Chicago at the plus here.


NY Giants at Washington, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Washington +3

NT – I am loathe to take road favourites in week one but the Giants usually jump from the blocks in hot form and the prospect of that defensive line getting in Rex Grossman's face looks set to be plenty of fun. Bet 1 unit on the Giants laying the 3 points.

CB – Don’t like betting on road favourites in week one; don’t like betting on Rex Grossman under any and all circumstances. That was easy – no bet.


Seattle at San Francisco, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Francisco -4.5 to -5.5

NT – I am too blinded by my love of the Niners and the ineptitude of the NFC West to be able to give any kind of accurate assessment of this match.

CB – We have so many reality shows these days where producers search for a new signing talent, cooking talent, top model or whatever. My question is, why haven’t Fox commissioned a “Search for a competent NFC West team” series? We’d be into season two now with no signs of the show wrapping up soon. “Tonight on the show, Alex Smith and Tarvaris Jackson trade intercepts and terrible throws while two ex-college coaches seem dumbfounded, wondering how they could be elevated to NFL head coach status but have less talented players.” No bet for me.


Minnesota at San Diego, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Diego -8.5 to -9

NT – I have the Chargers close to the Super Bowl but I like the Vikings and think they improve dramatically this year. It may take a while to get it all together though. Will watch this game with great interest but will do so bet free.

CB – I don’t like the Vikings at all this year and feel like Donovan McNabb is washed up, but San Diego have a history of starting seasons slowly. Tread warily around this game.


Carolina at Arizona, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Arizona -7

NT – I won't be watching, thinking or considering this game in any way, shape or form. No.

CB – Arizona have a soft early schedule (Carolina, at Washington, at Seattle) to possibly send them to a 3-0 start and further inflate the hype around Kevin Kolb before he meets the Giants in week four, the Steelers in week seven and the Ravens in week eight. We can make money betting against Kevin Kolb, but not for a few weeks yet. Pass.


Dallas at NY Jets, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Jets -4 to -4.5

NT – This is a cracking matchup but I can't have a bet. I think the defence of the Jets causes some issues for Tony Romo after so long out but I don't want to be betting on Mark Sanchez.

CB – Two teams I like the season in the only match that threatens the Packers-Saints opener for match of the week status. The line feels about right to me, so I’ll watch and learn.



New England at Miami, 7.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Miami +7

NT – I'm very high on Miami this year and I think they can give the Pats a run here. They had the Pats early last year til some dreadful special teams play hurt them. A conservative possession game plan and the home dog with the points can be a nice earner here. Play 1 unit.  

CB – Another easy opening week game to bypass – a significant road favourite against a quarterback in Chad Henne whose feelings are hurt when crowds boo him, which happens rather a bit.


Oakland at Denver, 10.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Denver -3

NT –  The Broncos are going to be better than most expect and the Raiders are going to be as horrible as most know. I'm concerned about Darren McFadden but I think the Broncos should be way too strong. Bet 2 units giving the 3.

CB – The AFC West is only marginally better than the NFC West. So….errr….yeah. No bet for me.


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Recommended bet summary

NT – 1.5 units on New Orleans +4.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 0.5 units Buffalo +6 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 2 units on Chicago +3 at $1.81 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on New York Giants -3, 1 unit on Miami +7 at $1.91 (Centrebet) and 2 units on Denver -3 at $1.92 (Sportsbet)

CB – 1 unit on Green Bay -4.0 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Tampa Bay -1.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on Cleveland -6.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet) and 1 unit on Chicago +3 at $1.81 (Sportsbet).


Thanks to Joe Robbins/ Getty Images North America for use of the photo



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