Week 1 has got to be the hardest for the odds makers to set odds. For me, placing side bets with my buddies in week 1 has always been simple. I usually assume nothing will change from week 17 to week 1. Now this rule of thumb can be applied nearly across the board but there's cases when it can't. For teams like Pittsburgh and New England that have two of their premier players suspended the aforementioned rule of thumb is tossed out the window. With that said, let's take a look at the week 1 lines provided by Paddy Power and I'll point out my obvious picks.
|THU, SEP 10||LINE (away team)||TIME (ET)||LOCATION|
|Pittsburgh at New England||+2.5||8:30 PM||Gillette Stadium|
|SUN, SEP 13||LINE (away team)||TIME (ET)||LOCATION|
|New Orleans at Arizona||+3.0||4:05 PM||U of Phoenix Stadium|
|Green Bay at Chicago||-4.5||1:00 PM||Soldier Field|
|Kansas City at Houston||+2.0||1:00 PM||NRG Stadium|
|Cleveland at NY Jets||+3.0||1:00 PM||MetLife Stadium|
|Indianapolis at Buffalo||-1.5||1:00 PM||Ralph Wilson Stadium|
|Miami at Washington||-2.0||1:00 PM||FedEx Field|
|Carolina at Jacksonville||-3.5||1:00 PM||EverBank Field|
|Seattle at St. Louis||-3.5||1:00 PM||Edward Jones Dome|
|Detroit at San Diego||+2.5||4:05 PM||Qualcomm Stadium|
|Tennessee at Tampa Bay||+3.0||4:25 PM||Raymond James Stadium|
|Cincinnati at Oakland||-3.5||4:25 PM||O.co Coliseum|
|Baltimore at Denver||+4.5||4:25 PM||Sports Authority Field at Mile High|
|NY Giants at Dallas||+5.5||8:30 PM||AT&T Stadium|
|MON, SEP 14||LINE (away team)||TIME (ET)||LOCATION|
|Philadelphia at Atlanta||-1.5||7:10 PM||Georgia Dome|
|Minnesota at San Francisco||+3.5||10:20 PM||Levi's Stadium|
Pittsburgh at New England
I couldn't be happier with the week 1 matchup between NFL power houses Pittsburgh and New England. Pittsburgh is at New England and normally I'd say New England is a "lock" especially at only -2.5 however, they will be without Tom Brady due to suspension. Even though the Steelers will be without their top RB L. Bell losing your running back is much easier to overcome and pales in comparison to losing your QB. I'll take the Steelers getting +2.5 points.
New Orleans at Arizona
I grew up watching the Saints and tend to be biased, you've been warned. The Saints travel to Arizona and are getting 3 points, what's not to like? Traveling on the season opener isn't near as bad as traveling during the season so that doesn't worry me. Also, the Saints put their road game woes behind them in 2014. Most pundits will point out that the Saints lost their premier pass catcher in Jimmy Graham but I think Josh Hill steps in and fills the void nicely. Maxx Under will solidify the center position and keep Drew upright which is the only thing required for him to have a stellar performance. But it's not the offense that worries me, they should muster 21 to 24 points against the stout Arizona defense. But can the Saints defense keep Arizona within 3 points? The Saints defense was decimated by injuries early in the 2014 season. Those guys should be around in week 1 and they've added play-makers since then so it's not hard to fathom a decent performance from the Saints defense. I'll take the Saints getting +3.0 points.