Today, we look ahead to lines for the first week of the NFL season. For the few not keeping track, the NFL returns in six days.
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Here are the current lines for Week 1:
Cowboys at Buccaneers (-7.5)
Cardinals at Titans (-3)
Jets at Panthers (-5)
Chargers (-1) at Football Team
Eagles at Falcons (-3.5)
Seahawks (-2.5) at Colts
Vikings (-3.5) at Bengals
Jaguars (-2.5) at Texans
Steelers at Bills (-6.5)
49ers (-7.5) at Lions
Broncos (-2.5) at Giants
Browns at Chiefs (-6.5)
Dolphins at Patriots (-2.5)
Packers (-4.5) at Saints
Bears at Rams (-7)
Ravens (-4.5) at Raiders
The first number that jumps out is Chiefs -6.5 over the Browns. Kansas City will show growing pains early in the season with its overhauled offensive line. The Chiefs are going to start five new starters, three of whom are rookies. Think about that.
No matter how great Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce are — that trio will be ineffective if the line isn’t up to par. Watch one quarter of this past Super Bowl for more evidence. Not only is pass protection a concern, but the lack of chemistry signals expectations of early-season holds and false start penalties.
Furthermore, the Browns won’t lose many games by a touchdown this year. From top to bottom, Cleveland has the best roster in the AFC. Everything about this team is strong: the defense, offensive line, running back duo, offensive weapons, and — yes — the quarterback.
I’m considering the Browns’ Moneyline at +220. And at this spread, Cleveland +6.5 is the bet of the week.
Second, look at the Bucs at -7.5. Opening night could quickly turn ugly for the Cowboys.
If Dallas can’t score on nearly every possession, they could get blown out. And that’s a tall task if Dak Prescott isn’t healthy, and Adam Schefter says he may not be healthy all season.
As much as I tend to stay away from favorites early in the season, Tampa’s defense will hold Dallas to under 20 points. And there’s no way the Cowboys’ defense can keep the Bucs under 30.
Moreover, the Bucs don’t have a flaw on either side of the football. That’s bad news for everyone. And Dallas is first.
I also like the Raiders at +4.5. Baltimore should win this game, but after the loss of JK Dobbins, it’s unclear how well this offense will perform early in the season. I don’t trust Lamar Jackson to throw the ball well enough to rack up points either. Couple that with Vegas’ offensive line keeping the Raiders on the field, and this should be a close game.
I’m expecting Monday Night Football to open with a down-to-the-wire field goal contest. Something like 20-17, Ravens.