Coming off the best year of Pro Picks – yep, plus-22 against the spread if you’re counting – the challenge is to repeat such wizardry in the NFL’s 100th season.
It all got started Thursday night at Soldier Field with pro football’s oldest rivalry as the Packers beat the Bears, 10-3. Although I picked the Bears to win 23-16.
In emphasizing its centennial celebrations, the league chose to go with Packers at Bears rather than having the traditional matchup hosted by the Super Bowl champs. New England gets the spotlight tonight instead, with Pittsburgh visiting.
Pro Picks wound up 136-114-9 against the spread in 2018 and 176-89-2 straight up.
Baltimore (-6 1/2) at Miami – Let the tanking begin on South Beach. ... BEST BET: RAVENS, 17-3.
San Francisco (+2) at Tampa Bay – Jimmy Garoppolo and Jameis Winston have plenty to prove. Going with Jimmy G here. ... UPSET SPECIAL: 49ERS, 21-20.
Houston (+7) at New Orleans, Monday night – Saints might be the most talented team in NFL and have super motivation. ... SAINTS, 30-20.
Kansas City (-4) at Jacksonville – Or maybe Chiefs are the most talented team. Jags’ D could provide a slight test. ... CHIEFS, 27-17.
Detroit (-1) at Arizona – Neither of these is close to most talented. ... CARDINALS, 20-17.
Pittsburgh (+5 1/2) at New England – Two contenders with new looks — except at quarterback, which never seems to change. ... PATRIOTS, 30-23.
Tennessee (+5 1/2) at Cleveland – The start to the Browns’ explosion. Or implosion. ... BROWNS, 20-16.
Buffalo (+3) at New York Jets – A battle for AFC East runner-up supremacy. ... JETS, 24-23.
Cincinnati (+7) at Seattle – Seahawks’ aggressive offseason and recent moves put them in spotlight. ... SEAHAWKS, 30-19.
Atlanta (plus 3 1-2) at Minnesota – Two coaches who need playoff performances for their job security. ... FALCONS, 31-26.
New York Giants (+7) at Dallas – Ditto. And something within reach for the. ... COWBOYS, 26-10.
Washington (+9) at Philadelphia – Eagles are one of NFL’s best if they can stay healthy. That means you, Carson Wentz. ... EAGLES, 28-20.
Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Carolina – Rams are loaded, but Super Bowl losers often struggle in next year. Not here. ... RAMS, 20-10.
Indianapolis (+6 1/2) at Los Angeles Chargers – Luck-less Colts will be better than many think. But this is tough matchup. ... CHARGERS, 24-20.
Denver (pick-em) at Oakland, Monday night – Not sure what to make of either team. ... RAIDERS, 23-19.