NFL Picks of the Day: Week 1


Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Bears won 31-30. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It’s fun to pretend to know a lot about sports and picking winners, but when it comes to beating Vegas none of us are any good at all. They have all the money, and they’re able to spend a good deal to ensure that we don’t get it from them.


But as I said it’s fun to pretend, so on we go.

Each Sunday I’ll pick five games (Sunday and/or Monday night games), wagering one very fake SideLion Report Dollar (SLR$) on each*, and at the end of the year we can all laugh at my losses and how I’ll have to lose my house because I won’t have enough SLR$ to pay the bank.

*This, as we all know, isn’t the way you’d want to approach actual betting with an actual bankroll. You’d want to apply a version of the Kelly criterion — weighting your wagers based on the confidence you have in each pick — but, like, whatever.

Setting The Lines

I’ll get the betting lines from — a free-to-play betting site that allows users to grow their (fake) bankroll and eventually cash out for real money. You can play against me over there if you think you’re better than me (and you probably are!). They’re not sponsoring this or anything, I just think it’s fun.

The Picks

Picks against the spread are -110 unless otherwise noted.

Minnesota Vikings +3 at St. Louis Rams (+100) — Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

It’s not that I don’t trust Shaun Hill in his new gig as de facto starting quarterback for the Rams, it’s just that I don’t trust that whole Rams team. And the Vikings could be sneaky good this year after going 5-10-1 a year ago (gotta get Teddy Bridgewater in there).

Chicago Bears -7 vs. Buffalo Bills — Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

This is a monster line, but I’m rather high on the entire NFC North this year and very down on the Buffalo Bills. Opening Day at Soldier Field? I’ll take the Bears to cover.

Philadelphia Eagles -480 to win vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

I’m just taking free money here. Not a lot of free money, but some. The Eagles have a change to be very good this year, and the Jaguars don’t. I’m not going to put down on a double-digit line (the spread is -10.5 at time of writing), but neither would I bet against that.

New England Patriots -4 at Miami Dolphins — Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

The Patriots should prove to be one of the better teams in a rather weak AFC. Four points on the road isn’t a cakewalk in the NFL, but I really like this matchup for New England as they begin a run toward their sixth-straight AFC East title.

New York Giants +242 to win at Detroit Lions — Monday Night, 7:10 PM ET



Either the Lions win and I’m happy, or they lose and I’m more than halfway to funding next week’s bankroll. Definitely a terrible betting strategy, but definitely what I’m going to do here.

NOTE: Using this post as a guide for any sort of actual betting would constitute a poor decision by the reader.