Underdog Game kicks off with first lines

Today's the day that our charity pro football underdog game really gets rolling, with the first week's lines here:

8 DALLAS at Tampa Bay (pick due Thursday 5:20 p.m. PDT)

7.5 DETROIT vs. San Francisco

7.5 CHICAGO at Los Angeles Rams

6.5 PITTSBURGH at Buffalo

6 CLEVELAND at Kansas City

4.5 NEW YORK JETS at Carolina

4.5 LAS VEGAS vs. Baltimore (Monday; pick still due by Sunday morning)

4 NEW ORLEANS vs. Green Bay (in Jacksonville)

3.5 PHILADELPHIA at Atlanta

3 HOUSTON vs. Jacksonville

3 CINCINNATI vs. Minnesota

3 ARIZONA at Tennessee

3 MIAMI at New England

2.5 INDIANAPOLIS vs. Seattle

2.5 NEW YORK GIANTS vs. Denver

1 WASHINGTON vs. Los Angeles Chargers

For players in our game, the goal is pretty straightforward. They try to pick an NFL underdog every week that will win its game outright. If the player's 'dog wins, the player gets the number of points that team was favored to lose by. The player with the most points at the end of the season is the winner. This is the start of Week 1.

There is a modest entry fee, and all proceeds go to charity, in that the winner gets to pick an eligible charity that gets the dough. If more than 10 players play, the second place finisher will also get to designate a small portion of the pool to his or her eligible charity. If more than 20 players play, the third place finisher will also get to designate a small portion of the pool to his or her eligible charity. So far we've got around 15 'dog aficionados who have expressed an interest.

The full rules are here. If you want to play, you can do so for free this first week, provided your fee is in by the 15th (a week from tomorrow). Send your pick to dogpdx21@gmail.com. That's also the address to email me for further instructions on how to enter.

Do you see an underdog on that card that you think will win its game outright this weekend? You could be a hero for a charity you like. Picks are generally due before kickoff on Sunday; see the rules. This week, that means Sunday at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, except where noted above (the Thursday game).

Good luck, players! And when you send in your pick, please let me know what name you want to go by on this blog. If I don't get a nickname from you, I'll use your first name (and last initial if multiple players have the same first name).