NFL season kicks off tonight

The 2012 football season is finally here. College football kicked off last weekend, with Alabama humiliating Michigan in one of the most high-profile games of week one. Now the NFL gets into the act tonight with the Dallas Cowboys traveling to New York to face the Super Bowl Champion Giants.

Our NFL lines page is now more robust, as it’s powered by SBRodds and features lines from a number of sportsbooks.

We’ll be posting free picks throughout the year from some top handicappers. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you probably won’t do very well just following the herd. For example, last year everyone was convinced that the Cincinnati Bengals would have trouble winning one game with their rookie quarterback. They made the playoffs. This year you’re hearing some of the same stuff about the Cleveland Browns. But if Trent Richardson turns out to be healthy and Brandon Weeden pans out, this team could surprise some people. Meanwhile, the Bengals have lost two starters on the offensive line and Andy Dalton might be facing a sophomore slump. The NFL can be very unpredictable, so be careful about listening to the loudest voices.

Another hyped player this year is Russell Wilson. Yes, he’s looked good in preseason, but let’s wait to see him play one in one real game before electing him to the Hall of Fame and handing the division to the Seahawks.

You don’t have to bet of course to enjoy picking against the spread, as the are plenty of free football pools out there. Still, there are few things like spending a fall weekend in Las Vegas where you can spend the entire day at the sportsbook. Enjoy!

  

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Are you ready for some football?

New England Patriots cheerleaders perform during a NFL football game against the New York Giants in Foxborough, Massachusetts September 1, 2011. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

After a brutal off-season, the NFL kicks off tonight with a great match-up between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints in a battle of the past two Super Bowl winners. Check out Anthony Stalter’s 2011 NFL Preview for all of his predictions, and then check out the latest NFL lines to get ready for your office pool.

We’ve included some cheerleader pics for your viewing pleasure so check out more after the jump.

The Redskins cheerleaders are in mid-season form:

Washington Redskins cheerleaders perform in between the first and second quarter their pre-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on August 12, 2011. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg
Washington Redskins cheerleaders perform in between the first and second quarter their pre-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on August 12, 2011. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

These Denver Broncos cheerleaders are loaded with energy:

The Denver Broncos cheerleaders perform at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on August 20, 2011. UPI/Gary C. Caskey
The Denver Broncos cheerleaders perform at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on August 20, 2011. UPI/Gary C. Caskey
The Denver Broncos cheerleaders perform at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on August 20, 2011. UPI/Gary C. Caskey
  

College football is back

Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly (C) leaves field after his team’s 22-19 loss to the Auburn Tigers in the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in Glendale, Arizona, January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Will Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly have the same sour look on his face tonight after his Ducks face LSU, or will Oregon get off to another fast start. After that, will Kelly even survive the Willie Lyles scandal?

It’s been a brutal off-season for college football, as the very structure of the sport is coming under attack. Perhaps nobody is to blame, as this system has evolved over the years into a multibillion dollar business while trying to keep the myth of amateur athletics. So you end up with ridiculous rules, and big programs in trouble with tattoo scandals and potential suit scandals as college kids deal with instant fame and boosters who want to spend time with them and give them money. Then you end up with absurd results where champions like USC have to pretend they didn’t win a BCS title because one player broke the rules.

At the same time we have an absurd BCS system that is anything but fair, making a mockery of the whole season, while universities jump around from conference to conference looking for the biggest payday.

With all that, most of us are excited to have the season begin because it’s such a great sport. We love football, and we love the tradition and pageantry associated with the sport. College fans are intense and loyal. We also love our weekly office football pools and friendly wagers with friends.

Tonight we have two great games, with Oregon as a 3.5-point favorite against LSU and Boise State as a 3-point favorite against Georgia. Check out all of the college football lines for today’s games.

  

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