Has there ever been more optimism around a team coming off an 0-16 season in NFL history than what is surrounding the Cleveland Browns in 2018? Some of that is the fact that the Browns were featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer. And to be fair, there has only been one other 0-16 team in league history: the 2008 Detroit Lions.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Despite just one victory in their past 32 regular-season games overall, Cleveland is “only” a 4.5-point home underdog this Sunday against a good Pittsburgh Steelers team. The Steelers closed last season covering just one of their final seven and aren’t expected to have star running back Le’Veon Bell due to a holdout.
The biggest Week 1 NFL betting spread is the New Orleans Saints at -9.5 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a number that jumped about a field goal at most sportsbooks when Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was handed a three-game suspension for an off-field issue. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the call. Tampa has lost seven straight as a road dog, while the Saints have won their past eight at home by an average of more than 10 points.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck on Sunday plays his first game that counts since the conclusion of the 2016 regular season. Luck missed all of last year due to a shoulder injury. His Colts are 3-point favorites against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. Indy is an ugly 1-9 against the spread in its past 10 season openers but only a few of those included Luck.
The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite is New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, and he makes his debut at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 3-point favorites after reaching last season’s AFC title game. Jacksonville is 1-5 ATS in its past six against NFC foes, however.
It’s two teams with new starting quarterbacks from the desert as the Arizona Cardinals host the Washington Redskins. The Cards are the shortest favorites on the board at -1. Arizona starts Sam Bradford under center, and the Redskins go with former Kansas City Chief Alex Smith. The home team has won the past six in this series.
The only rookie quarterback who will start Week 1 is the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold at the Detroit Lions in the first game of a Monday night doubleheader. The Lions are 7-point favorites and have covered five of their past six on MNF.