Covering the Spread: Your weekly Philly Sports Network guide to NFL Betting


The NFL season is finally almost upon us and for some fans that means an exciting time to start wagering on games. Whether you’ve been betting on football games for years or just starting out, gambling is a fun way to test your football knowledge, just as long as you don’t go overboard with your wagers.

Each week, I’ll be posting my prediction for every game against the spread. For those who don’t know, the spread is the line that Vegas puts out for every game that handicaps the matchup in favour of one team. Currently, the Eagles are at -2 against the Falcons to kick off the NFL season. So Philadelphia would need to win by three points or more to cover the spread.

Philadelphia Eagles (-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Eagles are 15-2 at home under head coach Doug Pederson (week 17 against Cowboys not included), which includes two victories against the Falcons. The Eagles did lose two key coaches but were able to keep the rest of their core roster intact or replace the players they lost.

Philadelphia was also able to defeat the Falcons by an average score of seven points in the two games they’ve played under Pederson. The line is close but the Eagles have shown that they have the Falcons number.

Prediction: Eagles cover -2

Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) vs. Buffalo Bills
Nathan Peterman has been confirmed as the week one starter for the Bills over 1st round draft choice Josh Allen. This may be the best decision for the franchise since they shipped off left tackle Cordy Glenn to the Bengals while starting center Eric Wood retired and guard Richie Incognito walked. This will force Peterman to fend for himself all game long.

Last season, Baltimore was able to win all of its nine games by seven points or more, which included seven victories of ten or more points. Buffalo had a trend of losing big last season, dropping five of their seven games by seven or more points.

Prediction: Ravens cover -7.5

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
The Browns are a trendy pick this year to be a competitive team. After finishing with one win in the last two seasons, they revamped their quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions which should lead to a much-improved offense. They did, however, lose Joe Thomas who was their anchor and best player on the team. The Steelers have also made headlines this offseason because of the drama with their superstar running back Le’Veon Bell, who has yet to show up to the team.

This is the second straight season Cleveland and Pittsburgh will play in week one. Last years contest saw the Steelers winning by three points.

Prediction: Browns Cover +4

Indianapolis Colts (-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Last year these two teams played and Cincinnati won 24-23, however, this year the Colts will have Andrew Luck back under center for them. In his four and a half seasons with the Colts, Luck has gone 24-12 at home, Indianapolis is a different team with their star quarterback leading the way, especially at home.

The Bengals have had two straight losing seasons and their lackluster offseason was no indication that their streak will end this year.

Prediction: Colts Cover -3

Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans (-1.5)
Miami gets Ryan Tannehill back after missing a full season, however, they did lose Ndamakung Suh and Jarvis Landry in free agency. Although the last time Tannehill was their starter, Miami went 8-5 before his injury forced him out.

The Titans had a polar opposite offseason and were able to secure, Deon Lewis, Bennie Logan, Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vaccaro in free agency while also having a strong draft. Tennessee won a playoff game last year and managed to get better, expect a dominant performance to start the season off.

Prediction: Titans Cover -1.5

Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) vs. San Fransisco 49ers
The Vikings big offseason acquisition was signing Kirk Cousins who is an instant upgrade over Case Keenum. The Vikings will also get back their star rookie running back from last year in Dalvin Cook while the 49ers lost their running back Jerick McKinnon for the entire season.

Even though Jimmy Garappolo hasn’t lost as a starter, the Vikings went 7-1 at home last year. All seven of those home wins were by seven points or more.

Prediction: Vikings cover -6.5

New England Patriots (-6) vs. Houston Texans
The Patriots will be without star receiver Julian Edelman to start the season but will have Rob Gronkowski ready to go. Last year New England was smacked in the mouth by Kansas City in week one, proving New England can be beaten to start off the year.

JJ Watt is finally healthy and so is Deshaun Watson. With Watt healthy, the Texans can go back to having a fearsome defense while Watson can give them that much needed offensive firepower. Last year the Texans only lost by three points to the Patriots.

Prediction: Texans cover +6

New Orleans Saints (-9.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints remain a top contender for the Lombardi Trophy this year while the Buccaneers won five games last year and won’t have Jameis Winston until week four. The Buccaneers did, however, manage to sneak out a win in the last week of the season against the Saints.

The other four losses for the Saints had been against playoff teams, while eight of their eleven wins were by ten points or more.

Prediction: Saints cover -9.5

New York Giants vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)
The Giants are a much better team with Odell Beckham Jr in their lineup. Adding Saquan Barkley can only make them a harder team to play against. Although the Giants still couldn’t manage a win with Beckham in their lineup for the four games he did play in.

Jacksonville was able to win all ten of their games by three or more points, which doesn’t include the two playoff wins they had. Jacksonville also had the best defense in the league from last year and didn’t lose any key players.

Prediction: Jaguars cover -3

LA Chargers (-3) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
If the Chargers had any resemblance to an NFL kicker they would’ve made the playoffs. However, the one team that did give them trouble last year were the Chiefs. Kansas City was able to beat them 24-10 and 30-13 last year, which improves the Chiefs unbeaten streak against the Chargers to an incredible eight straight games. Kansas City’s success will hinder on first-year starter Patrick Mahomes, who’ll be facing a stingy Charger’s defense.

The Chargers also lost two key starters due to injury in Jason Verrett and Hunter Henry and that’s on top of Corey Liuget’s four-game suspension to start the season off.

Prediction: Chiefs cover +3

Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) vs. Washington Redskins
The Cardinals finished 8-8 last year and upgraded from the Stanton/Gabbert quarterback situation by signing Sam Bradford and drafting Josh Rosen. The biggest get for the Cardinals will be getting superstar running back David Johnson in the lineup. Johnson was able to muster over 2000 yards on the ground and through the air while adding twenty total touchdowns in his last healthy season.

Washington was able to beat the Cardinals last year in week fifteen by a score of 20-15. Although, the Redskins have also lost five straight season openers.

Prediction: Cardinals cover -1.5

Carolina Panthers (-3) vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Panthers will be without star linebacker Thomas Davis while the Cowboys will be without star center Travis Frederick for week one’s game. All eleven of Carolina’s wins were by three points or more while only losing one game to a non-playoff team. The Panthers only lost two games last year at home, while the Cowboys actually managed to win five games on the road last season.

Dallas did lose Jason Witten and Dez Bryant who were their top two receivers from last season. They’ll be replaced by Allen Hurns and two mid-round rookies. Until they can sort out their passing game, Carolina should take this one.

Prediction: Panthers cover -3

Denver Broncos (-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Broncos were able to finally upgrade their quarterback position by signing Case Keenum. Thomas and Sanders should have huge bounce-back seasons for the Broncos with Keenum throwing the balls instead of Seiman/Lynch. Denver also added another fearsome pass rusher at the top of the draft with  Bradley Chubb, although losing Aqib Talib will hurt.

The Seahawks lost Cam Chancellor, Michael Bennet, Richard Sherman, Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Cliff Avril, and Paul Richardson. Their roster is crumbling and Wilson can’t do it all by himself.

Prediction: Broncos cover -3

Green Bay Packers (-7.5) vs. Chicago Bears
The Packers were 4-1 before Aaron Rodgers went down for the season, which included a 35-14 win against the Bears. A healthy Rodgers makes Green Bay a legitimate Super Bowl Contender. However, the Bears did add Allen Robinson who gives Mitch Trubisky a star receiver in the passing game. But the biggest addition is, of course, Khalil Mack, who’s one of the best defenders in the NFL.

Even without these additions, the Bears were able to keep six of their losses to within eight points, and most of those games were a lot tighter than eight points. Expect the Bears to keep it close.

Prediction: Bears cover +7.5

Detroit Lions (-6.5) vs. New York Jets
The Detroit Lions finished last year at 9-7 but went just 1-5 against playoff teams. Of the Jets eleven losses, only three of them were within six points. Although the Jets got their franchise quarterback, it remains to be seen how much of an immediate upgrade he’ll be over Josh McCown.

The Lions beat seven teams by seven or more points last year but went just 4-4 at home.

Prediction: Lions cover -6.5

Oakland Raiders (-4) vs. LA Rams
The Raiders lost Khalil Mack in a trade and with him went their defense. Mack had the second most tackles and accounted for one-third of the Raiders sacks. They replaced him with a rookie 5th rounder who has big shoes to fill. They did however add, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant to replace Michael Crabtree.

The Rams added Brandin Cooks, Ndamakung Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters. All eleven of their wins were by four points or more.

Prediction: Rams cover -4


Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports