NFL Preseason Week 1 Free Picks

With the Hall of Fame Game hogging all the limelight, I've been scanning the board in search of some early value for Week 1 of the preseason. These lines are definitely going to be soft and I would check to see how much these lines swing right before game time. Remember that spreads almost never go beyond three points this early so anything over that will be well outside of the norm. Beware of those spreads. I'll keep things nice and simple and run with some straight money lines. Let's jump right in.

Our first and only Wednesday night game brings us the Texans and Panthers. The Texans are facing confounding questions at quarterback but it is Carolina where the real drama lies. "Super" Cam Newton is coming off an awful season and keeps telling anyone who will listen that he wants to drop back in the pocket more often. But the coaching staff is rightfully concerned about his long-term health and durability. Who will win out in terms of play selection? Yah, that's right: the coaches. Who will win this game? I'm going with the home team for this one and riding with the Carolina Panthers.

Thursday provides some intriguing matchups. My beloved Miami Dolphins host the fall-apart Falcons while the reigning champs (damn it still hurts to say) Patriots host the Jags. I've got to say that I'm really starting to like the Jaguars squad. Bortles will improve and there are so many former rookies on defense that I'm thinking will have a better sense of this league in their sophomore season. I'm seeing a reverse of that disgracefully exhilarating Super Bowl. Take the Atlanta Falcons & the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Friday Night brings us fewer games, but higher quality action. The Steelers host the Giants and my only question for this one remains who the bigger prima donna is: Big Ben Roethlisberger or Odell Beckham Jr. This is a clear toss-up. On one hand you've got Big Ben who has to deal with another diva in Antonio Brown. For Ben, it's all about him, which is why he's threatening everyone in Steel Town that this may be his last season…yah right. On the other hand we have Odell, who reportedly wants to become the highest paid player in the entire league! Talk about a Sophie's Choice. In the end, I'm rolling with Big Ben and a home squad with greater depth; roll with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As we head into the weekend we've got another couple decent matchups. I think that the Cowboys and Cardinals, both having a game under their belt, have a distinct advantage on Saturday night. Watch those lines closely. But the real value is with the Tennessee Titans who should walk all over the woeful Jets. Keep an eye on the Titans all year. I would not be surprised if they took home their division. The Colts and Andrew Luck are way overhyped. Speaking of which, the first (unofficial) weekend of the year concludes with the Colts and Chargers hosting the Lions and Seahawks. I'm not touching the Colts game but I really like the Seattle Seahawks to run all over the recently upended L.A. Chargers. The Seahawks are simply the more competitive team. Pete Carroll remains, hands-down, my favorite coach in football, even with that infamous play-call. He'll have the boys all fired up. Plus: Richard Sherman. Enough said.