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NFL Week 1 Free Picks

NFL Week 1 Picks

By Ecobika -> Free NFL Picks

Now Iím not a professional handicapper per se, but I think I know more about the NFL than 98 percent of the people who bet on games every week, just because I research it so much. I also have been known to lay some money down on the NFL, mostly on player bets, which Iíll give you more detail on later this week. On occasion, though, I will make a few wagers on particular games I like against the spread and have done quite well in the past. I figure I have just as profitable a betting strategy on the NFL as anyone else I know, so Iím going to give it a shot in this weekly column and weíll see how I do.

The primary thing you need to know about NFL betting against the spread is to look for the key numbers, which are 3- and 7-point spreads. I donít know the exact number, but I believe about 30-35 percent of the final scores end up with either a 3- or a 7-point margin. The other two important numbers are 10 and 14, as those are the next two most common margins. The other primary thing I look at is home underdogs. Home dogs cover the spread more than any other group, so youíll see me pick a lot of those. Likewise, I will rarely pick a favorite on the road.

When I look at the number for each game Iíll be looking at favorites to be under that 3, 7, and 10 number. If I see a -2 or -2.5, a -6 or -6.5, or a -9 or -9.5 for a favorite I like, Iím most likely going to take that. The opposite holds true for dogs I like. If I can get that 3, 7 or 10 number on my side, thatís always to my advantage. I love to see a +3.5 or +4, a +7.5 or +8, or a +10.5/11 on my dogs. Of course the oddsmakers know all of this, so theyíll try to keep those lines right on the 3, 7 and 10 so they get action on both sides. Thatís how the sportsbooks make their money.

Now, the one thing you can do to get that number on your side is whatís called buying points. If you place a bet at a sportsbook, you normally will pay 0 to win 0, no matter what side you take. If you see a game thatís right on the 3, 7 or 10, though, you can pay a little extra to get that number on your side. If you really like that home dog and they are a +3, you can move that number to a +3.5 (and increase your odds of winning because now a 3-point loss becomes a win for you) by paying more, usually a bump up. If you were going to buy the Ĺ a point here, it would cost you 0 to win 0. Believe me, the math works in your favor to do this, but only on the 3 and the 7, not the 10 and the 14. If you like a favorite, youíd buy the opposite way. Youíd buy the Ĺ point down to -2.5 instead of -3. Itís the same cost to do this, youíre just moving it the different direction.

There are many other things Iíll look at for each game before I decide which team I like (weather, injury, past performance, motivation, etc.) but the main thing I look at is the number itself. A lot of times Iíll see numbers I think are just crazy, but for the most part the oddsmakers do a fantastic job and are very hard to beat. Believe it or not, there are very few people who can pick 60 percent of the games correctly against the spread for an entire season. Iíll be happy if I can even get 55 percent, but weíll see. Off we go to Week 1:

Denver -3.5 at St. Louis Ė Denver is clearly the better team here but as I said above, thereís that +3.5 we like to look for, and we have a home dog. My pick: ST. LOUIS

N.Y. Jets +2.5 at Tennessee Ė Almost the exact opposite scenario here, the home favorite with the good -2.5 number. Both teams are going to have it rough this year, but the Titans should win this by at least 7. My pick: TENNESSEE

Buffalo +9 at New England - The Pats are a good team, but not what they were two years ago. They are missing top WR Deion Branch, and RB Corey Dillon is another year older. Buffalo could be an up and comer if QB J.P. Losman can improve in his first full-time season. Pats win but by a touchdown or less. My pick: BUFFALO

Baltimore +3 at Tampa Bay Ė I believe the Ravens are going to the playoffs this year. The defense has looked great all preseason, and they finally have a real QB in Steve McNair. Jamal Lewis will be ready for this one, and Tampa QB Chris Simms will be in for a long day. Iíll be buying the Ĺ point here to +3.5. My pick: BALTIMORE

Cincinnati +2.5 at Kansas City Ė Now, this is really a rare scenario, where you have a road underdog with a bad number. I believe Cincinnati is clearly a better team than the Chiefs, so for this one Iím going to buy up to the +3 even though I donít think I need it. The worst-case scenario is Iíll tie. My pick: CINCINNATI

Seattle -6 at Detroit Ė This one is tough for me because I think Seattle is definitely a better team, but itís that road favorite subset that I hate. If this was at -7 Iíd definitely take Detroit and the Ĺ point, but for now Iíll bite the bullet and take the ĎHawks. My pick: SEATTLE

Atlanta +6 at Carolina Ė Most prognosticators believe the Panthers are going to the Super Bowl this year. I donít know about that, but they are definitely 6 points better than the Falcons, who are still plagued by inconsistency by QB Michael Vick. My pick: CAROLINA

Philadelphia -4 at Houston Ė This was another tough one for me because the Eagles are clearly the better team here, but again, itís opening week, the Houston crowd will be fired up, and itís the first game under the Gary Kubiak regime. When in doubt, go with the system. My pick: HOUSTON

New Orleans +3 at Cleveland Ė These are two totally unpredictable teams since both have been horrible the last two years. The Saints have definitely upgraded their backfield with QB Drew Brees and RB Reggie Bush, but their defense is awful. Just a hunch here, but Iíll buy the -2.5 and take the Browns. My pick: CLEVELAND

Dallas +2.5 at Jacksonville Ė These are two evenly matched teams in my opinion, but since we have the -2.5 for the home team, Iíll take the Jags. My pick: JACKSONVILLE

Chicago -3.5 at Green Bay - If I thought the Pack were even close to the Bears in talent, this would be the ideal home dog scenario, but I canít see the Pack scoring any more than 10 points against this defense. Bears by at least a TD, but Iíll buy down to -3 just to be safe. My pick: CHICAGO

San Francisco +7.5 at Arizona Ė Wow, who thought weíd ever see the Cardinals be more than a TD favorite on anyone? I know San Fran is bad, but Iíve got to see the improvement in the Cards to believe it. My pick: SAN FRANCISCO

Indianapolis -3.5 at N.Y. Giants - Now this is a great home dog scenario. If your QB (Eli Manning) werenít playing against his big brother, who happens to be the guy who taught him (almost) everything he knows. Itís hard to pick against the Colts with almost everyone picking them to go to the Super Bowl, but I somehow think little brother Eli can keep it close. My pick: N.Y. GIANTS

Minnesota +4 at Washington Ė The ĎSkins looked like the worst team in football during the preseason and now it looks like star RB Clinton Portis is out for this game. I know itís Monday night and the crowd will be fired up, but I think the Vikes keep it close. My pick: MINNESOTA

San Diego -3 at Oakland Ė This is another tough game to call because we have two QBs in their first starts for their team. New Raider QB Aaron Brooks has done fairly well in the preseason and seems to be getting a decent connection with WR Randy Moss. Chargers QB Philip Rivers has been up and down but gets to play his first game in the jail cell that is Oakland. Good luck with that. Iíll take the Raider Nation and buy to +3.5. My pick: OAKLAND

Iíll keep track of my picks with the assumption Iím betting to win 0 on each game, with a 0 risk on a normal game and a 0 risk on games where Iím buying Ĺ point. Now, if you really want to gain another edge, it pays to shop around at different books to get the best price. The game that a normal person is betting 0 to win 0 on could possibly be found somewhere else where youíd bet 0 to win 5 on the exact same number. It is a bit of an effort but it does definitely make a difference in your bottom line if you can afford to do it.

Thatís it for Week 1. Hopefully itís a profitable one for both of us! -> Take your bet, click here for the best odds on NFL

Ecobika ->Free NFL Picks

About the Author:

Thatís it for Week 1. Hopefully itís a profitable one for both of us! -> Take your bet, click here for the best odds on NFL

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