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The Miami Dolphins claim they’re not tanking but have seemingly liquidated their inventory. The last-year-in-Oakland Raiders will travel more than 32,000 miles by the end of the season. Tom Brady is back looking for another ring (how many fingers does he have left to fill ‘em all).

Antonio Brown’s feet have recovered from cryotherapy, and two of the most powerful owners in the league couldn’t care less about their star running backs squabbling over a few extra million dollars.

Let the NFL frenzy begin.

Over the next 17 weeks I’ll be guiding you through six weekly best bets, and I have only one stipulation about these plays when you’re making your wager. It’s something I always was aware of, but it wasn’t until my dear friend Billy Walters insisted about betting games with a point spread on 2.5, 3 or 3.5 — always buy the hook.

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If you’re playing an underdog catching +2.5 or +3, you buy the half point up — no questions asked. If you’re playing a favorite laying 3.5 or 3, you never hesitate to buy the half point down. 

It’s automatic both ways, he used to tell me. So keep that in mind when playing my games this season.

Let’s have some fun this season and remember to wager within your means. As the old saying goes: Bet with your head, not over it.


Packers at Bears -3: I’m a big believer in Chicago’s second-year starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. He is one of the main reasons Chicago finished 12-4 to capture the NFC’s No. 3 seed last season. 

With this being the first game of the season, I don’t care how good Aaron Rodgers is, this isn’t his stage. Besides, last year Chicago’s defense led the NFL in fewest points allowed (17.7 per game), takeaways (36), interceptions (27), interception touchdowns (five), fewest rushing yards (80.0 per game) and fewest net yards per pass play (5.3). 

Chicago’s defense stymies Mr. Rodgers in Mr. Trubisky’s neighborhood. BEARS


49ers Pick at Bucs: You know who else I’m a big believer in? Jimmy Garoppolo. I think he comes out slinging it immediately. But I want to talk about the defense, an area of concern after last season, but an area I think San Francisco addressed. 

They traded for and signed edge rusher Dee Ford, and he’ll join Nick Bosa in opposing teams’ backfields all season. And if the 49ers want to have a successful campaign, they have to look at Week 1 as the tone-setting game. They are 3-13 away from ‘Frisco the last two seasons, so it’s a must-win attitude immediately. 49ERS

Chiefs -3.5 at Jaguars: I don’t know if LeSean McCoy was the final piece to the puzzle for Kansas City, but it sure doesn’t hurt knowing he’s joining one of the most dominating offensive units in football. 

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McCoy understands the nuances of coach Andy Reid from their days in Philadelphia, and the 5-foot-11 workhorse will complement the backfield nicely for Patrick Mahomes. Last season when these teams met, the Chiefs won 30-14 after putting up 424 yards of offense. 

What’s worse, the Jags tallied 502 yards of offense but mustered only two touchdowns. Nothing changes. CHIEFS

Rams -3 at Panthers: The defending NFC champs head to Tobacco Road and I’m not too worried about the travel for the Rams, it’s more about if the defense can stop Cam Newton. I think it can. While the Panthers are expected to be much more efficient offensively, I won’t trust the offensive line until I see it perform against guys like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald – the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. RAMS

Lions -3 at Cardinals: I’m truly pulling for Kliff Kingsbury as coach of the Cardinals. Unfortunately, until I see something, I’ll side with the books when they install a road favorite playing at University of Phoenix Stadium. 

Detroit has a dangerous passer in Matthew Stafford, and he now gets to target two-time Super Bowl champion Danny Amendola. The Lions also have a very underrated defense to challenge Kingsbury’s troops. I’ll wait to be proven wrong by going against the Cards. LIONS

Colts at Chargers -7: The Colts are a flat-out mess. The Melvin Gordon issue pales in comparison to the dilemma Andrew Luck left behind in Indianapolis.

That offensive unit is going to stuggle on the road against a Chargers team that will be out to prove it doesn’t need Gordon. 

Jacoby Brissett is now the starter for the Colts, and as much as I hate to say this since I’m not a fan, but he’s no Philip Rivers, who is gearing up for his 16th season. Lightning strikes early for the Colts. CHARGERS


About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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