Las Vegas Sun

January 20, 2018

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Week 1 NFL picks against the spread for the Sun’s handicapping contest

Carolina Panthers among five home underdogs on first weekend


The smart money likes Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Sun's NFL betting game of week 1

Which team would you bet in Seattle minus-3.5 at Carolina?
Seahawks -3.5 — 76.1%
Panthers +3.5 — 23.9%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Football bettors who can’t resist the allure of home underdogs are either in for a treat or torture to start the 2013 NFL season.

Four of the 10 games that kick off at 10 Sunday morning as part of the NFL’s week 1 slate feature a home team taking points. And then there’s another on Monday Night Football.

Veteran gamblers have extolled the virtues of home underdogs for so many years that the advice has become cliché. Turns out it’s a myth too, at least lately.

Six years have passed since the last time it was profitable to bet on home underdogs over the course of a season. Last year, for example, they went 43-47-3 against the spread.

The Las Vegas Sun sports staff will feel the pain if the trend continues. For the second straight year, the Sun will run a contest asking its three sports writers to make six picks with either the spread or over/under total every week of the season.

Yours truly won the inaugural edition with neither Taylor Bern nor Ray Brewer cracking the .500 mark over a 17-week period.

But this week’s picks from the three contestants all look similar. They all backed at least one out of the set of five home underdogs with the Carolina Panthers plus-3.5 against the Seattle Seahawks, the Jacksonville Jaguars plus-4 versus the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers plus-4.5 hosting the Houston Texans all garnering two picks apiece.

Someone also weighed in with an opinion on the 45.5-point total in the Seattle vs. Carolina game.

That over/under is three points higher than when these teams met during week five of last season. The game finished well under with the Seahawks beating the Panthers 15-12.

The Seahawks were a popular choice in sports books that week, driving the spread down from minus-3 in favor of the Panthers to minus-1. History is repeating itself in that regard.

Reports indicate as much as 75 percent of the money is on Seattle, a trendy Super Bowl pick, in its trip to Carolina. This comes in spite of yet another sports gambling cliché: To not bet on a West Coast team playing an early game on the East Coast.

It didn’t bother Seattle last year. The victory over the Panthers started the stretch that saw the Seahawks go 9-2 against the spread (8-3 straight-up) over the next three months to reach the playoffs and, ultimately, receive hype headed into this season.

Carolina had a hot finish of its own in 2012, winning and covering in each of the last four weeks. The streak showcased a budding young defense as well as illustrating the bright future of 24-year-old quarterback Cam Newton.

The Seahawks have a standout 24-year-old of their own as the starting signal caller in Russell Wilson and a defense that’s arguably the best in the NFL.

Check below to find out who’s picking against the Seahawks along with all of the other picks. Games are listed in order of kickoff time.


Case Keefer

Last Season: 54-47-1

Jaguars plus-4 vs. Chiefs

Panthers plus-3.5 vs. Seahawks

Lions minus-5 vs. Vikings

Browns minus-1 vs. Dolphins

Packers plus-5 at 49ers

Chargers plus-4.5 vs. Texans


Taylor Bern

Last Season: 48-50-4

Jaguars plus-4 vs. Chiefs

Panthers plus-3.5 vs. Seahawks

Lions minus-5 vs. Vikings

Cardinals plus-4.5 at Rams

Packers plus-5 at 49ers

Cowboys minus-3 vs. Giants


Ray Brewer

Last Season: 47-53-2

Bengals plus-3 at Bears

Steelers minus-7 vs. Titans

New England vs. Buffalo over 50

Seattle vs. Carolina over 45.5

Cardinals plus-4.5 at Rams

Chargers plus-4.5 vs. Texans

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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