It’s good to be back. After a one-year hiatus from picking NFL games against the spread, Doc and Del have returned for the 2013 season to help you get your pools and survivor leagues — and whatever else you do that involves picking NFL games — in order.
For those of you who were not with us a couple of seasons ago, here’s how it works. We’ll pick each game against the spread and straight up all season long. The games you see highlighted in blue are the ones we feel most confident in. In other words, we’d be putting our money on those if we were gambling men. Those are the picks we really want to be nailing at more than a 50% clip as the season chugs along.
So without further ado, here are Del’s Week 1 NFL Picks. Be sure to jump ahead after the chart for analysis of this week’s top three selections, and check back on Friday when Doc posts his first picks of the season:
(ATS = Against the Spread, SU = Straight Up)
The first game that jumped out at me was the Indianapolis Colts laying 9.5 points against the Oakland Raiders. Terrelle Pryor is starting for the Raiders, and he has not looked impressive in practice. He has appeared in only three games since joining Oakland in 2011 and attempted only 30 passes. Pryor has been in the NFL longer than Andrew Luck, but he’s not nearly as experienced. Luck and the Colts’ offense could be even better in 2013 than 2012, so I expect them to blow the doors off the Raiders in their first home game of the season. This should be a 14-point win for Indy with ease.
Another line that stuck out is the Chicago Bears laying three points against the Cincinnati Bengals at home. Simply put, I’m a believer in Marc Trestman and what he can bring to an offense. Jay Cutler never seemed comfortable in Mike Tice’s offense, so this could be his chance to shine. Matt Forte looked phenomenal in the preseason and appears poised to be the center of Trestman’s offense — a role he is more than capable of handling when healthy. It’s not that I think the Bengals will struggle this season, I just think the Bears are underrated and could come out on fire. I like them to win by a touchdown.
And finally, I’m taking the Houston Texans laying four points on the road against the San Diego Chargers. It’s unwise to take last season into consideration when picking games, but what have the Chargers done to improve? Philip Rivers gets worse by the year and Ryan Mathews can’t hang onto the ball. The Texans look like a playoff contender and the Chargers look like a team that is finally entering a season without unnecessary hype surrounding them. Will that take the pressure off and allow them to succeed? Time will tell, but I wouldn’t count on it.Google+