Seeking somewhat short-term sports investments in early July may seem silly, but if the Las Vegas Hiltons SuperBook feels obligated to post its "NFL Games of the Year" for our perusal, are we not obligated to peruse?
I, for one, think so.
So worry not with this 111-degree Vegas heat its a dry heat. Lets get down on some early NFL lines before some of these teams get exposed for the rats they really are.
The Week 1 lines are already up at the LV Hilton; well offer our best early buys for the rest of the regular season:
Steelers +1½ at Browns: Opened -1 but optimism of QB Anderson re-signing and addition of WR Stallworth drove it up a ½. The problem? Browns last home cover vs. Pittsburgh came when Bill Clinton was still the president (2000). STEELERS.
Eagles +8 at Cowboys: Phillys won four straight vs. Dallas and gone 14-6-2 ATS in the last 22 meetings. Ill take the 8 in this MNF tilt all day long. EAGLES (BEST BET).
Eagles +1 at Bears: Bet down from 2½, the early money may be smart money. Chicago will lose this game and be scrambling by Week 4 without a clear-cut starting QB, RB or coach aggressive enough to do something about it. EAGLES.
Cowboys -6 at Cards: Dallas has won by an average of 15 points in the last three matchups. Half the fans in Glendale will be Cowboys in a road win theyll need in the end. COWBOYS.
Patriots -3 at Chargers: Possibly the AFC Game of the Year here and Ill take the hungry homeboys and the free FG. San Diego almost upset NE in the AFC championship game and the fans will be all charged up. CHARGERS.
Steelers -3½ at Bengals: Whats with Pitt and the state of Ohio? Pittsburgh has covered every game in the Queen City since 2001. And, the Bengals just cant beat the Steelers. Up from opening 3. STEELERS.
Chargers -3 at Saints: SD beat NO, 43-17 in 2004 but these two dont meet much. Too many questions for the Saints. Meanwhile, Chargers are among NFLs elite and foaming for a berth in Super Bowl. Plus, San Diego is better at quarterback, running back, left tackle and on defense. CHARGERS.
Cowboys -2½ at Giants: Dallas just 3-7 SU in last 10 visits to the Meadowlands so getting 2½ is like having free Heineken with your sirloin nice. GIANTS.
Patriots -2½ at Colts: Recently the NFLs best head-to-head matchup. Last seasons game will make Indy try different approach. Without Stallworth on NE and with a healthy Harrison on Colts makes getting 2½ in Naptown even sexier. COLTS.
Colts -2 at Steelers: The Colts should have a healthy Harrison back for the season and thoughts of a Super Bowl in their head. The Steelers are just not as good offensively as the public thinks. The line is down after opening at 2½. COLTS.
Bears +3½ at Packers: The Bears may still be looking for a QB a decade from now. Not so for Green Bay, with Aaron Rodgers a nice replacement for Favre. Although the Bears beat the Pack twice last year, this is a story of teams going in opposite directions. PACKERS.
Bengals +7 at Steelers: Pittsburgh has the Bengals number, going 15-8 ATS in their last 23 meetings including two covers last season. STEELERS.
Cardinals +6 at Eagles: Philly has gone 3-0-1 ATS in the City of Brotherly Love in its last four against the Cards, who should be much improved this season. Still, a TD wont be enough as the Eagles may be in the toughest division in the NFL. Down a half from opening line. EAGLES.
Raiders +11 at Chargers: Oakland has been woeful in the AFC West, losing 17 straight in the division before winning two in a row last year. SD has won nine straight against the Raiders and covered 9 of 10 against the Silver and Black, including twice last season. CHARGERS. (BEST BET).
Packers +6½ at Jaguars: Jacksonville (12-1 to win SB at LVH) is a team to watch this season. A nonconference game at home like this against a Favre-less Packers at the end of the season will be one they will have to win. JAGUARS.
Packers +2½ at Bears: After playing at Jacksonville in Week 15, and losing twice to their rival Bears last season, expect the Pack to be back with more focus for this game at Soldier Field. PACKERS.
Giants +3 at Vikings: The G-mens road winning streak last year is enough to back them with the points against an overrated Vikings team with Jackson at QB. The NFC Central may be putrid in 08. GIANTS.
Cowboys -2½ at Eagles: How is Dallas favored here? And what will the line be in this last game of the regular season? Ill gladly take the 2½ here with the team that has had the Cowboys number this decade. EAGLES. (BEST BET).
Bears +3 at Texans: Houston is expected to improve in 2008, though playing in the same division as the Colts, Jags and Titans is certainly no walk in the park. In their only meeting ever (in Chi-town), Houston hibernated Da Bears, 24-5. TEXANS.