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Sports

Smart, healthy choices for betting in NFL Week 1

Week 1 of the NFL season is like going to the grocery story on an empty stomach. Everything looks appetizing.

Fortunately, The Bettor’s Edge exists to guide you past the ice cream aisle (the betting equivalent of making an unhealthy wager on, say, the Raiders) and directly to produce (see the picks below — all smart, healthy choices). With such a long way to go and so much in front of us, this is not the time to lie on the couch like a zombie Sunday night and wonder what just happened. A quart of ice cream, and impulsive gambling, can do that to you.

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We’ve waited long enough. Let the fun begin.

This week’s picks (home team in caps):

DETROIT (-5) over Minnesota — One year removed from being a trendy postseason pick, the Lions are under the radar, and open at home with a manageable number against a beatable team. Detroit’s secondary has been a problem, but its front seven (or its front one — Ndamukong Suh) should be able to contain great Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. If Detroit transforms itself into a playoff contender, we’ll look back at this line as an opening-week gift. Risking $110 to win $100.

NEW ORLEANS (-3) over Atlanta — The Falcons remain on the cusp of being great, while the Saints want to recapture that status. New Orleans’s suspect defense probably won’t allow that to happen, but slight regression from Atlanta and improvement from the Saints isn’t unrealistic. Throw in a Bourbon Street-fueled crowd that is ready to celebrate the return of coach Sean Payton and you’ve got all the makings of a jolly, sloppy evening at Pat O’Brien’s. Risking $110 to win $100.

CAROLINA (+3½) over Seattle — The Panthers are the home underdog (of four this week) that stands out. With player of the year candidates on both sides of the ball (Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly) and the momentum of winning five of its final six last season, Carolina is the ideal candidate to take down a contender that must travel across the country for opening day. Risking $110 to win $100.

CLEVELAND (even) over Miami — The Browns are headed in the right direction, and the first step along that route is winning at home. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last season: 37-37-1, minus $473 (lost $440 on the Super Bowl).

Ed Ryan can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com and on Twitter @edzoryan.

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