Each week during the pro football season, Covers Expert Art Aronson looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Chicago Bears
If you're a Minnesota fan, you may want to jump on the seven points, which is still currently available at a few books. We can already see this line starting to drop across the board.
Last year the Vikings and Bears split, with each team winning on home turf. The Vikes held a 14-13 lead at half time over the Lions in Week 1, but couldn’t match pace in the second half, succumbing 34-24 in the end. Chicago would earn a 24-21 victory over the visiting Bengals last week, making Marc Trestman a winner in his coaching debut.
Simply put, the Vikings are better than what we saw in Week 1, while we should be cautious in "crowning" the Bears quite yet.
Chicago QB Jay Cutler had just 242 yards behind a line with four new starters. Stupid penalties and turnovers would kill the Bengals, as they all but handed the game to the Bears (kicker Robbie Gould also had to nail a franchise record 58-yard FG).
Chicago made big changes on the defensive side of the ball in the offseason (Brian Urlacher is now in the reporting booth) and as the week goes on and the public remembers this, expect this line to continue to drop.
Spread to wait on
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (Pick)
If you're a Cardinals backer, you may want to wait a few days before jumping on board. Arizona actually opened as 1-point favorite, but the public has quickly jumped on the "sexier" team and we're now starting to see the line swing dramatically the other way.
The Cardinals would lose a heart-breaking 27-24 game to the Rams in Week 1 as St. Louis would hit the go-ahead FG in the closing seconds. The offense had many questions coming into the season, but overall veteran Carson Palmer looked solid, hitting WR Larry Fitzgerald for two TD strikes. Arizona also got a defensive score.
Can the Lions remain focused after their big opening win over division rival Minnesota? If history is any precedence, then the answer is a resounding no.
Detroit was just 2-6 SU away from home last year, with victories over only the lowly Jaguars and the discombobulated Eagles (3-5 ATS). Last week, it benefited greatly from three INTs and two fumble recoveries. The Lions now face an experienced QB in Palmer, who in the end was 26 of 40 for 327 yards last week.
And remember, when Detroit came to Arizona last season it was destroyed 38-10.
Total to watch
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (45)
Division rivalries are always the most heated and that will definitely be the case between these two powerhouses.
It was only two years ago that the NFC West was considered the laughing stock of the league. After Week 1 this season, the Rams, 49ers and Seahawks are all 1-0.
These teams played twice last year. San Francisco won 13-6 at home on October 18, before Seattle destroyed the 49ers, 42-13, late in the season in front of the home town crowd.
Seattle was punched in the mouth last week, but regained its composure in the later rounds to secure a 12-7 win over the Panthers. The 49ers won a shootout over the visiting Packers 34-28.
This total is already dropping, though, as the public expects an all out defensive battle on the national stage Sunday night. If you're playing the Under, you may want to jump on this one now.