Give me Scott Hanson and seven hours of commercial-free football, or give me death.

The start of the 2018 NFL season marks the beginning of a 17-week grind featuring multi-TV setups, fantasy football highs and lows, and a chance to make some dough.

It’s difficult to find a betting edge, but there are plenty of opportunities in Week 1 to beat the oddsmakers and get the season off on the right foot.

Here are my top plays and other picks I like for opening week:

Top plays

Cincinnati at Indianapolis

Pick: Over 47.5

I’m just hoping my infatuation with the Bengals’ offense was just a year too early rather than a full-on swing and miss.

My Cincinnati hype train was quickly derailed in 2017. The Bengals didn’t score a touchdown in the first two games, leading to the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese. Great call on my part.

If promoted coordinator Bill Lazor can’t figure it out, there’s something wrong.

Andy Dalton has weapons – if only they could stay healthy – and it’s about time he starts using them.

A.J. Green will be A.J. Green, but the Bengals have a chance to explode if they can keep Tyler Eifert and John Ross on the field. I’m not counting out Tyler Boyd to make an impact, and we still haven’t mentioned Joe Mixon.

Cincinnati matches up with a talent-poor Colts secondary that features Malik Hooker and a handful of other replacement-level players. It’s Pro Football Focus’ lowest-rated unit.

The Colts’ offense might not be as efficient, but it’ll sure be fun. New head coach Frank Reich carries over a no-huddle, RPO-based scheme tailored to – oh, yeah – Andrew Luck!

Their skill corps outside of T.Y. Hilton won’t inject fear in many defenses, but Luck boosts the unit tenfold if he’s healthy.

I won’t go as far as calling this a track meet, but there will be plenty of scoring opportunities given the strengths and weaknesses of both teams.

Buffalo at Baltimore

Pick: Over 40.5

Did you dry heave a little? Great. Anyone watching this one will need a tissue to wipe the blood dripping from their retina down their cheek.

The Ravens’ offense in 2017 was a fresh coat of paint drying. It was a scheme painfully light on big plays, and the personnel never fit. Joe Flacco stole the check-down talent from Alex Smith like the Monstars from “Space Jam,” posting just 5.7 yards per attempt. That’s disgusting in itself.

Now, he has a revamped group of receivers in Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead to replace Mike Williams, Jeremy Maclin, and Breshad Perriman. It isn’t life-changing, but it’s something. Now throw the ball downfield, Marty Mornhinweg!

It doesn’t get any shinier with Buffalo’s offense, which features Nathan Peterman under center, Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Jeremy Kerley at wide receiver, and Charles Clay at tight end.

The thing is, there’s almost too much volatility with this offense not to expect chaos. Whether it be Peterman throwing to players in purple jerseys, an inefficient offense that’s constantly playing from its own end and setting up Baltimore with good field position, or the screw-you approach of going play-action up top 15 times in the first half, this number is low enough to not need a track meet.

Seattle at Denver

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Pick: Seahawks +3

If the oddsmakers are pegging these teams as basically even on a neutral field, I’ll take a shot on the Seahawks catching a field goal in Denver.

Many are down on Seattle this year, for obvious reasons. The defense isn’t what it was during the two-time Super Bowl era and Russell Wilson would still be better served setting up traffic cones as offensive linemen.

Against Denver’s vaunted front seven, there’s a clear mismatch there. But if there’s one player I want my money on to find a way around it, it’s one of the most mobile QBs in the league, and one that, aside from probably Aaron Rodgers, is the best at extending plays and improvising on the run. For Wilson, that’s been second nature.

Extra points

Jacksonville at New York

Pick: Over 42

Even elite defenses can be caught off guard, right?

The Giants’ 2017 offensive season was full of lows, including injuries and pure inefficiency. Not much went right for New York.

Now, with Pat Shurmur and his offensive prowess at the helm and someone not named Mike Sullivan as coordinator – that’ll be Mike Shula this season – the Giants should be capable of getting the most out of a skill corps composed of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley. If New York is smart, it’ll throw the kitchen sink at Jacksonville.

The Jaguars aren’t as explosive, but they’re efficient. Leonard Fournette should pose a challenge to new defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who inherits a defense that finished 26th against the run last season. If Jacksonville can establish the running game, that opens up shots downfield for Blake Bortles, who has Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief, and Dede Westbrook at his disposal.

Chicago at Green Bay

Pick: Bears +7.5

The Bears have one gigantic Week 1 stage to show the world just how much they’ve improved.

Chicago comes in lauded for its offseason renovations, including makeovers both on the coaching staff and the field. The Bears were expected to take a huge leap in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s second year, and landing Khalil Mack via trade only heightened expectations.

Aaron Rodgers has made a killing against Chicago over his career. But for the first time in a long time, the Bears look capable of producing on both sides of the football.

I recommend the Bears with a touchdown-plus cushion. Who knows? If Matt Nagy’s offense doesn’t fully succeed when it counts, perhaps it will for a backdoor cover late in this one. (I’m kidding. I still like the Bears to keep this one close enough where a backdoor cover isn’t needed.)

Alex Kolodziej is theScore’s betting writer. He’s a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from “Rounders” and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.

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