Meaningful professional football is finally back.
And that means my SuperContest picks are nearing their first week. I've entered the Las Vegas SuperContest for the first time, so I'll showcase some of my picks on my blog, with the final results being highlighted on Twitter on Saturdays @AgainstTheChalk.
I couldn't have entered the SuperContest without the help of Vegas Football Proxy. Tom Carroll is the best in the business at being a proxy and there's still time left to enter the contest before the first whistle blows on Sunday.
Follow my journey through this blog and on Twitter to see my final SuperContest picks and how well I'm doing throughout the season.
Now, if you're looking for favorites I'm eyeing this week, check out these three week 1 NFL best bets.
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings (-6)
There's so many things about this matchup that I love in favor of the Vikings.
Minnesota's home-field advantage is real. In its last 10 games, Minnesota has won nine games, with the only loss coming to Detroit, in a game that could be best described as odd.
The offense should be better than last year's unit, which ranked 12th in yards per play in 2018. And the defense should be stacked again, coming off a season where it ranked second in yards per play allowed.
Head coach Mike Zimmer is 3-1 in openers, with the three victories being by double-digits. The only loss in that time was a West Coast trip in the late Monday night window.
San Francisco will be a better team this season, but this matchup doesn't make betting sense for San Francisco. Jimmy Garoppolo draws a tough assignment against a solid defense and the 49ers are having to start over with its running back position since Jerick McKinnon is out for the season.
And I know it's only week 1, but I hate a West Coast team traveling east to play in the early afternoon window.
This is a lot of points to give up, but this game seems like it means more to the Vikings, with Kirk Cousins and Cook looking to make a mark in the season's first game. Give up the points. — Go Chalk with Minnesota
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) at Cleveland Browns
This will be an unpopular pick, but I'm not falling into that Cleveland Browns hype train again.
Somehow we've painted Tyrod Taylor as this magician quarterback in the offseason. This is the same quarterback who led a Buffalo team to a blistering 4.7 yards per play average last season, good for 30th in the NFL.
His passing numbers weren't much better, averaging just 5.7 yards per pass attempt, ranking 28th in the NFL.
But the media's narrative is that Taylor, who was benched while quarterbacking a playoff team, is a quality quarterback who can lead Cleveland out of the dumps.
I'm not buying it.
Le'Veon Bell isn't worth the amount of points oddsmakers are anticipating. This game opened as nearly a touchdown in favor of Pittsburgh. With Bell's uncertainty, oddsmakers and the betting public are hitching a ride to a team that has won one game in the last two years.
Pittsburgh still has the weapons to compete at a high level on offense and don't lose sight in how much emotion can help and hinder the Steelers. They're an emotional team, which in this case, can work to their advantage. The world is backing away from them, so this will pull them closer and create a bigger-game atmosphere than the regular week 1 game.
It also doesn't hurt that former offensive coordinator Todd Haley is on the sidelines for Cleveland, and there's no love lost between Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers still have one of the best rosters in the NFL, so don't buy into this national Cleveland narrative. — Go Chalk with Pittsburgh
Tennessee Titans (-1) at Miami Dolphins
Tennessee is better.
There's not much else to consider when looking at this contest. Miami doesn't have much of a home-field advantage, so it's not advantageous for bettors to consider a bit of an edge for the Dolphins.
So it's basically, who has the better roster, and there's no question that the Titans are better prepared to win games than the Dolphins.
Tennessee has a top-tier offensive line to go along with emerging weapons for a healthy Marcus Mariota. The defense isn't great, but it's good enough to keep a marginal Miami offense at bay.
The Dolphins are short on talent and it will show in this game. Be very confident giving up just one point in this contest. — Go Chalk with Tennessee
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more NFL betting coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH