NFL Best Bets for Week 1
7th 2016 - Old Man Winner

Hou -6 vs. Chi

Welcome to a fresh NFL wagering season, where we all start the season undefeated! Remember your hurdle rate for the year, boys. The number is 52.4%. That is the percentage of time you need to win in order to clear the juice/vig hurdle. I've cleared it for six years in a row. How about you?

I love week #1 in the NFL. I find it one of the easiest weeks to pick games. There is no in-season stats to lean on, no sense of how team's looked 'last week', and no expert pickers . . . yet! While most analysts these days love to lean on all the data and numbers, I enjoy doing the qualitative work of trying to figure out how new coaches and new schemes will impact teams with new players and sometimes even playing in new stadiums, alla Minnesota this year.

Traditionally, week #1 is filled with underdogs that cover. That is not always the case, but it happens more often than not. And, with that said, I do like a lot of dogs this week to cover or even outright win their games. However, my best bet this week is being played in Houston and I will be on the favorite.

I am from Chicago, and I normally try to love my Bears, but these are not my Bears. Over the past decade this team has had as many Offensive Coordinators as Jay Cutler has smoked cigarettes in a day. Ya, that's a lot! Look, Cutler lost his competitive fire years ago and is now just playing out his contract. They lost three starters on the offensive line and Kyle Long, their best starter, has been banged up. Their line is currently ranked as one of the five worst in the league. They also lost their pro bowl running back, Matt Forte, to free agency. He had the full compliment of skills (running, catching, and blocking). They now turn that duty over to a relatively unknown commodity in Jeremy Langford. He most certainly does not share those same skills as Forte. Their receiving options are super questionable as well with Jeffery, Kevin White, and Eddie Royal - all who have a history of injuries. The outstanding Houston defense, especially their front seven, should destroy any offensive rhythm the Bears may try to establish. I saw Vince Wilfork live in the pre-season and he looks to have put on a few more pounds (I know, you didn't think that was possible). He will stop any runs between the tackles and outside linebackers Clowney and Mercilous will stop anything to the outside. JJ Watt appears to be ready to go and should disrupt any dropbacks. I simply don't see how the Bears score in this one.

On the other side of the ball, Houston's offensive line ranks in the top third of the league and the offense has picked up several exciting new weapons, including a big improvement at RB with Lamar Miller, a proven three down back. They have also added two new rookie receivers, in Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, that both looked great in the pre-season. And, obviously, their new quarterback Brock Osweiler should be a definite improvement over what they had last year. They should destroy an awful Bear defense that will struggle all day against a much more physical line. Expect the Texans to establish the run and for Miller to have a big day, while at the same time beating the Bears deep a few times after their safeties start to cheat up.

I also give the coaching edge to Bill O' Brien. He is tough minded and learned from his time in New England to have the team well-prepared coming into game one. John Fox is a one-trick pony - only good when he can play defense and pound the ball. He doesn't have that team this year . . very far from it.

I expect Houston to score early and often in this one and for Cutler to be throwing picks by early in the 3rd quarter.

Hou 37 Chi 17

Bonus Pick: I also love the LA/SF UNDER 44.5 total points play this week. I just can't see how two very weak offenses can get to 45 pts. in this one. Take the UNDER here.

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