Pro handicappers highlight soft spots in NFL schedule

May 6, 2013 |
Pro handicappers highlight soft spots in NFL schedule
Eli Manning is a live underdog against his brother in Week 2.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Eli Manning is a live underdog against his brother in Week 2.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
It’s never too early to start handicapping the 2013 NFL season, especially when oddsmakers give you spreads for every game on the first 16 weeks of the schedule.

Cantor Gaming released pointspreads for Weeks 1 through 16 this past weekend, and our NFL experts already have some strong opinions on those lines. We chat with some of Covers Experts’ sharpest minds to see where they spot value in the early NFL spreads:

Week 1: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-2.5)

“Minnesota overachieved last season while the Lions were a bust despite lofty expectations,” says Covers Expert Jesse Schule. “It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Lions’ offense light things up at home in Week 1. They have a talented young quarterback and one of the best receivers in the game. This number appears to be on the wrong side of three.”

Week 2: Denver Broncos at New York Giants (+1)

“The Broncos travel to the Big Apple to take on the Giants in a meeting of the Mannings where Eli looks to avenge a pair of losses to Peyton in their other two scrapes," says Covers Expert Marc Lawrence. "Eli's sterling dog log - 33-20-2 ATS - and Denver arriving off a playoff-revenge game with the Ravens opening week make the G-Men attractive here."

Week 3: Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5)

“The Bears have a divisional matchup with Minnesota in Week 2 and another divisional matchup with Detroit in Week 4. In between:  A road trip to Pittsburgh,” says pro handicapper Teddy Covers. “As a result, Pittsburgh -2.5 in Week 3 looks cheap at the opener.”

Week 4: New York Jets at Tennessee Titans (+1)

“The Jets have divisional games against New England and Buffalo then travel to Tennessee in Week 4, just prior to a Week 5 Monday Night Football affair at Atlanta,” says Teddy Covers. “Which of those four games do you think the Jets are most likely to lack focus for? Titans +1 in Week 4 is a clear choice.”

Week 6: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)

"The Eagles visit Tampa Bay off a major revenge skirmish with the rival Giants (lost 42-7 in last meeting) with a double-revenge affair with Cowboys on deck," says Lawrence. "That is bad enough for the Birds, but having to play the third of three straight road games in Tampa Bay cements it. Bucs at home less than a field goal looks good."

Week 7: Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (+3.5)

“The Broncos might win this game by 1,000,” says Robert Ferringo of Doc’s Sports. “The Colts are going to be terrible this year and the Broncos might be the best team in the AFC. This spread will be at least a touchdown when this game is actually played, and it comes at the end of a brutal three-game stretch for the Colts in which they face San Francisco, go to San Diego on Monday night, and then host this Sunday nighter.”

Week 7: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (+2.5)

“The rebuilt Chiefs open at Jacksonville and have Dallas, Philly, Tennessee and Oakland on their early season slate,” says Teddy Covers. “If they open 4-2 or 5-1, as they easily could, suddenly that +2.5 at home for their Week 7 matchup with Houston looks too rich to pass up.”

Week 10: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3)

“These are two teams going in opposite directions. The Bengals have no fear against the Ravens as is. And this year, I think the matchup is going to be lopsided toward Cincinnati,” says Ferringo. “Baltimore isn’t going to fall off the map because Ozzie Newsome is an amazing general manager, but the Ravens are going to regress. I think by this point in the season, the Bengals will be a small favorite in this game so I will gladly take these points.”

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