2010 NFL Week 1 Picks: Dolphins, Lions, Over 44 Chicago/Detroit
Miami @ Buffalo, Detroit @ Chicago, Detroit/Chicago total
The wait is over and the 2010 NFL season starts this weekend. Before we go out and try to break the book in Week 1, we are going to come out tiptoeing and start with a conservative 3% unit. Since we are starting with a $100 bankroll that means each pick will be $3.
The first few weeks of the season are the most difficult to handicap. No one knows how the teams are going to do. Everyone is reacting off last season’s perception, including the oddsmakers and the power rankings.
That being said, there are usually a few mismatches out there of which we can take advantage. This week our picks are:
1) Miami Dolphins -3 at Sportsbook.com
2) Detroit Lions +6.5 at Bodog
3) Over 44 in the Chicago/Detroit game at Superbook.
Miami Dolphins -3 at Buffalo
Everyone believes that the Jets can run away with AFC East division, but the Miami Dolphins have a good chance to make it into the playoffs this season as well. The Patriots still have a young defense and is suspect at the beginning of the season. They could easily be in a fight with the Dolphins for a second place finish in the division.
The Buffalo Bills are once again expected to be the doormat of the AFC East. They fired their coach after last season and instilled Trent Edwards as the starting quarterback. It is hard to believe that the Bills will make a remarkable turnaround from the 5-11 team of 2009.
During the offseason, the Dolphins added Brandon Marshall to their receiving corp. Their offense was missing that major play-making receiver in 2009 to complement their rushing attack that ranked fourth in yards gained and yards per carry last season. Add that to the fact that the Bills ranked 30th in total yards allowed on the ground last season and our pick is the Miami Dolphins -3 at Sportsbook.com.
Detroit Lions +6.5 at Chicago Bears
Last season Matt Stafford showed that he belongs in the NFL and that the Lions are on the upswing. Even though the Lions only won two games in 2009 that was two more than the previous year.
Stafford still has his playmaking receiver, Calvin Johnson, who was 16 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards in 2009. The addition of Nate Burleson, who will line up on the opposite side of Johnson, should help increase the passing productions this season. To round out the offense, the Lions drafted Javid Best with their second first round pick. Best is a dynamic running back who adds depth to the entire offense.
The Chicago Bears had an unremarkable offseason. The only major addition to the 2010 squad was the free agent signing of Julius Peppers. Though Peppers is a massive pass rusher, it is hard to believe that one person is the missing link of a defense that ranked 17th in yards allowed and 22nd in interceptions during the 2009 season.
Ranked 23rd in yards last season, the Bears’ offense was rather anemic. They still have a quarterback who threw one less interception than he did touchdowns. Jay Cutler guided the Bears’ offense to a 23rd overall ranking last season (17th passing/29th rushing) and the lack of offseason moves puts the Lions in a perfect spot to leap frog the Bears out of the basement of the NFC North. We like them getting the 6.5 points at Bodog.
Detroit/Chicago Over 44 points
Our reason for thinking the Lions will score on the Bears is explained above. However, there is no reason to believe that the Bears shouldn’t also be able to put up a few points against the Lions.
The Lions addressed some defensive issues and drafted Ndamukong Suh with their first round draft pick (#2 overall). Suh is expected to add life immediately to a defense that ranked 32nd overall last season. Nevertheless, just as it is hard to believe the Peppers will make that much of an impact on the Bears’ defense, Suh will not single handedly bring the Lions’ defense to respectability. There is no reason that these two defenses can’t surrender more than the 44 points that Superbook has listed for the total.