After a couple of solid weeks of building our bankroll in college football, it’s time to turn our focus to the big boys! The season kicks off on Thursday with a marquee matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams. The week concludes with Russell Wilson’s dramatic return to Seattle on Monday Night Football.
More money is bet on the NFL than any other sport, so the market is extremely efficient. That means it’s wise to limit your plays and pick your spots. So with that, here are our 3 best bets for NFL Week 1.
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On NFL Week 1
Giants +6 over Titans (PointsBet)
One of our favorite NFL handicapping strategies is to buy low and sell high. The Tennessee Titans had a fantastic season in 2021, even though they were bounced out of the playoffs early by the Cincinnati Bengals. On the other hand, the New York Football Giants had another disappointing season at 4-13.
All that being said, we envision the G-Men improving quite a bit this season. It’s do-or-die time for Daniel Jones, especially since New York declined to pick up his fifth-year option. The former Duke Blue Devil is only 12-25 as a starter but he does have 45 career touchdown passes with only 29 interceptions.
“Danny Dimes” has plenty of weapons to throw to in Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay, and Sterling Shepard. Second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson has a ton of speed and could give this Titans defense some fits. Lastly, first-round pick Evan Neal should give Saquon Barkley some extra running room on the right side of the line.
On the other side of the ball, we see the Titans taking a major step back this season. We love head coach Mike Vrabel but his squad benefitted from one of the weakest schedules in the AFC last season. QB Ryan Tannehill is okay but he’ll miss star wideout AJ Brown in a big way this year.
The Titans will probably pull out the straight-up victory at home, but six is simply too many points to give an improving Giants squad. Shop around and find the +6.
Broncos -6.5 over Seahawks (FanDuel)
Jump on this one now before it hits the key number of 7. This play seems as square as can be but sometimes the simplest logic is the best approach. For several years now, Denver has been “a QB away” from being a top-tier team.
The Broncos got their missing piece back in March when they acquired Russell Wilson from the Seahawks. Wilson will enjoy throwing the ball to Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy on some deep post patterns. He’ll also appreciate having a pair of solid running backs to hand off to in Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon.
Denver only allowed 18.9 points per game in 2021 and we think they’ll once again have a solid defense. Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory are excellent pass rushers and Pat Surtain is already a star in the making at cornerback. We just don’t see Seattle putting up more than 14 points in this game.
The Seahawks are in full rebuild mode this season but they did pick up some nice draft picks in Charles Cross and Kenneth Walker III. Nevertheless, Geno Smith is a dink and dunk kind of QB and that won’t get it done against an aggressive defense like Denver. Wilson should have a nice homecoming! Lay the points!
Bucs / Cowboys UNDER 51 (PointsBet)
GULP! This one is a little tough to hit submit on because these two teams ranked 1st and 2nd in points per game last season. Even with that being said, one of our top totals analysts has this pegged as his favorite play on the board for Week 1.
The main reason for the Under comes down to the injury report. Both of these teams were decimated by injuries along the offensive line the entire preseason. Because of that, both teams should have success rushing the passer. This should lead to more screens and draws instead of shot plays deep down the field.
The Cowboys will be without their best tackle, Tyron Smith, who is on IR with a knee injury. New wideout James Washington is out until Week 5 with a foot injury and top WR CeeDee Lamb is a bit banged up and is listed as questionable. To make matters worse, Michael Gallup will also miss this game with a knee injury.
Things aren’t so rosy for the Bucs either. Tom Brady missed the majority of the preseason and his starting center Ryan Jensen is on IR with a knee injury.
OG Aaron Stinnie is also on IR and projected starters Tristan Wirfs and Robert Hainsey are listed as questionable. The Bucs WR corps is also banged up, with Russell Gage and Chris Godwin listed as questionable with leg injuries.
Yes, we know that these two teams combined for 60 points in Week 1 of last season. The total on that game was lined at 52.5. We don’t think this year’s number of 51 accounts for the huge amount of cluster injuries for both squads. Take the Under and root for lots of field goals and stalled drives!