I love football. You love football. It's a great game, and the one thing that makes it even better is gambling, right?
Don't worry, we're all adults here. We can talk about this in the open. Each week, we'll bring you the odds and pick for every game on the NFL schedule. Welcome to Week 1, where the road teams are ready to rule. (All lines courtesy of Bovada.com, as of 9/8. Pick listed first, with home team in all caps.)
Panthers (-3) vs. BRONCOS [Over/under: 41.5]
Denver's defense will keep the Broncos in the game — get used to hearing that one this season — but Cam Newton's crew gets revenge with at least a seven-point win on the road. And that will take, what, three percent of the sting of a Super Bowl loss away? Four? Baby steps, people. (Result: The Denver defense and RB C.J. Anderson were outstanding, Trevor Siemian was fine, Cam Newton got hit in the head over and over again, and the Broncos not only covered but won outright, 21-20.)
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
JAGUARS (+6) vs. Packers [Over/under: 48]
Sorry, Aaron Rodgers, but in Blake Bortles we trust. Not to win this game or anything, mind you, athough stranger things (hey, that's a pop culture thing!) have happened. Green Bay's offense will be better this year, yet the Jags should be able to hang around as long as Bortles doesn't turn the ball over a half-dozen times.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
TEXANS (-6.5) vs. Bears [Over/under: 44]
Am I nervous about trusting Brock Osweiler as the Houston QB? Sure.
Does J.J. Watt's health give me cause for concern? Naturally.
Neither thought is as worrisome as betting on Jay Cutler, though. Give me Houston at home, even as a touchdown favorite.
MCT via Getty ImagesChicago Tribune
EAGLES (-4) vs. Browns [Over/under: 41]
Robert Griffin looked great in the preseason. His teammates seem to love him, too. Cleveland's defense could surprise people. And there's that whole "Carson Wentz at starting QB" ball of wax to deal with, too.
I'm still not betting on the Browns on the road to start the season until we see them do it when the games count, and you can't make me.
Raiders (+1) vs. SAINTS [Over/under: 51]
Outside of the inimitable Amari Cooper, Oakland's offense is a bigger question mark than the team would like to admit. The Saints have similar problems, however, and New Orleans can't begin to match Khalil Mack and the Raiders' defense. My advice to Drew Brees: Concentrate on the $44.5 million in guaranteed money, not the pain being inflicted by Oakland.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
Chargers (+7) vs. CHIEFS [Over/under: 44.5]
The Chargers will be better than people expect this season, and Kansas City is still dealing with injuries to Jamaal Charles (torn ACL last season) and Justin Houston (recovering from February ACL surgery on his left knee), among others. San Diego should keep things close.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsDenny Medley
RAVENS (-3) vs. Bills [Over/under: 44.5]
Question: Is Joe Flacco elite?
Answer: As long as we're comparing him to Tyrod Taylor, absolutely.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsTommy Gilligan
Buccaneers (+3) vs. FALCONS [Over/under: 47.5]
Would you rather put your faith in a rookie head coach (Tampa Bay's Dirk Koetter) or Atlanta's putrid pass defense?
That's not a rhetorical question. It's literally the consideration you're making with this game. Take Koetter, Jameis Winston's arm, and the Bucs' skill players — not to mention the three points.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
Vikings (-2) vs. TITANS [Over/under: 41]
Sam Bradford is the story for the Vikings, but Minnesota's defense is the real factor. As much as I like Marcus Mariota, I like the guys on the other side of the ball even more (and Adrian Peterson, too).
Bengals (-3) vs. JETS [Over/under: 41.5]
When you only have to lay three points to bet against Ryan Fitzpatrick, a QB the Jets barely wanted to sign this offseason, you lay the three points and hope that Andy Dalton gets the job done for the Bengals.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Dolphins (+10.5) vs. SEAHAWKS [Over/under: 44]
Although blowout season-opening wins are actually pretty common — in the past 10 years, 42.5 percent of Week 1 games have been decided by 11 or more points, according to Pro-Football Reference — I can't shake the notion that this is the year Seattle's offensive line questions catch up to the Seahawks. Russell Wilson & Co. get the win here, but the Dolphins make them sweat.
COLTS (-3.5) vs. Lions [Over/under: 51]
FOX Sports' WhatIfSports simulations have the Colts winning by 9.2 points on average; the first time I tried the cool simulation tool, it spit out a 42-6 Colts win. The second time, the computer laughed at me and said there was a zero percent chance it would pretend to be the Lions again. The robot uprising is ruthless.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Giants (-1) vs. COWBOYS [Over/under: 46]
I want to bet on Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Who wouldn't want to ride with those two super-talented rookies? But Dallas' apparent lack of a pass rush means I can't pick the Cowboys to win this one. You live another day, Eli Manning.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
CARDINALS (-9) vs. Patriots [Over/under: 45]
Originally, I thought Jimmy Garoppolo would be able to lead New England to a win in Arizona on Sunday. With Tyrann Mathieu fully healthy and ready to play every defensive snap, though, the Cards secondary will give the Patriots QB fits. And in Week 1, we don't have to worry about Carson Palmer falling apart. That comes later (but still soon). [UPDATE, Sept. 11, 12:00 PM ET: With Rob Gronkowski, Jonathan Cooper and Nate Solder all ruled out for the Patriots, this line moved to nine points by Sunday. The play stays the same.]
Getty ImagesJim Rogash
Steelers (-3) vs. REDSKINS [Over/under: 50]
With Le'Veon Bell out (suspension), this is a bet that Antonio Brown wins his battle against Josh Norman, that Ben Roethlisberger outplays Kirk Cousins, and that Pittsburgh's defense will be much better this season, starting in Week 1 against Washington.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsDerick E. Hingle
49ERS (+3) vs. Rams [Over/under: 44]
If you are betting on this game, you are a degenerate. That means we are of the same cloth, friend, and I am here for you. In such degenerate times, we double down and we root for chaos. The wheels will come off for the Niners this season, in glorious fashion. For one week, however, trust that Blaine Gabbert can keep things together against the inevitably-bound-for-.500 Rams.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsIsaiah J. Downing