Week 1 NFL picks and best bets for the Sun’s handicapping contest


Ross D. Franklin / AP

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray tries to elude Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Chris Peace (40) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.

Sun, Sep 8, 2019 (2 a.m.)

For the eighth straight year, those seeking last-minute NFL betting advice and picks are in luck with the Sun sports staff’s handicapping contest.

The basics of the competition stay the same for another season — Each of the four sports writers are asked to pick six selections per week. The details are overhauled, as the lines now originate from the Westgate Las Vegas Supercontest.

Like the $1,500 buy-in Supercontest, the biggest sports-betting contest in the world, one point is awarded for a win and a half-point for a push. Unlike the Supercontest, the Sun’s competition has a weekly best bet worth double points.

None of the four best bets of week 1 are in the same game, so peruse them below and pick your favorite. Good luck.      

Case Keefer

Points: 0 (0-0)

Last Season: 58-43-1

Vikings minus-4 vs. Falcons

Jets minus-3 vs. Bills

Titans plus-5 at Browns

Cardinals plus-3 vs. Lions

Giants plus-7 at Cowboys

Two-point best bet: Panthers plus-2.5 vs. Rams. Rule No. 1 of sports-betting contests: Extract value with stale lines. Carolina shouldn’t be an underdog in this game in the first place, and here, there’s an extra 1.5 points of market value.

Ray Brewer

Points: 0 (0-0)

Last Season: 49-51-2

Bills plus-3 at Jets

Chargers minus-6.5 vs. Colts

Rams minus-2.5 at Panthers

Steelers plus-5.5 at Patriots

Saints minus-7 vs. Texans

Two-point best bet: Bengals plus-9.5 at Seahawks. The Bengals offense will look like the Rams offense of last season with new coach Zac Taylor’s influence. Taylor was the Rams’ quarterback coach in 2018 and will bring the same approach to Cincy. Joe Mixon will put-up Todd Gurley numbers.

Mike Grimala

Points: 0 (0-0)

Last Season: 48-49-5

Falcons plus-4 at Vikings

Buccaneers pick’em vs. 49ers

Lions minus-3 at Cardinals

Broncos pick’em at Raiders

Patriots minus-5.5 vs. Steelers

Two-point best bet: Ravens minus-6.5 at Dolphins. The Baltimore defense teeing off against Ryan Fitzpatrick? That sounds like a recipe for a Ravens’ defensive TD and a blowout victory.

Justin Emerson

Points: 0 (0-0)

Last Season: 0-0

Ravens minus-6.5 at Dolphins

Jets minus-3 vs. Bills

Chargers minus-6.5 vs. Colts

Panthers plus-2.5 vs. Rams

Broncos pick’em at Raiders

Two-point best bet: Cardinals plus-3 vs. Lions. Call me a believer in the Cardinals. Or, maybe more specifically, call me a non-believer in the Lions. Detroit has lost eight of the last nine in Arizona and although that one win came last season, it came against a putrid Cardinals offense that is bound to improve this season. Arizona is changing its offense to fit Kyler Murray and gets David Johnson back. The Cardinals should win straight-up, so getting a field goal is free points.

Past Winners: 2012 — Case Keefer; 2013 — Case Keefer, Ray Brewer (tie); 2014 — Case Keefer; 2015 — Case Keefer; 2016 — Ray Brewer; 2017 — Case Keefer, Jesse Granger (tie); 2018 — Case Keefer

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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