At last, NFL regular season betting is in FULL swing with Week 1. But what are the best bets of the NFL’s opening week? Welp, we have three of ‘em right here — and we’re giving them to you for free. Read on for expert betting advice!
Over/Under 52.5 points: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams
The reigning Super Bowl champs, the Rams, face the odds-on favorites to win the title this year, the Bills in the Thursday opener. We’re not overly enthusiastic about betting the game’s moneyline, but we are about the over/under set at 52.5 points. Here’s how top NFL betting sites are pegging it:
|Over 52.5 points||-110||-110|
|Under 52.5 points||-110||-110|
The 52.5 points is on the high side. In fact, only one other Week 1 game — the Chiefs vs. Cardinals — has a higher set over/under. Our instinct tells us the point total number is overly optimistic despite it being early in the season when scoring tends to be higher (before injuries decimate teams).
But speaking of injuries, no one is completely sure how healthy (or unhealthy) Matt Stafford is. His elbow has kept him out of preseason and most of training camp. It’s not a new injury as it also hampered him much of 2021 but an offseason injection didn’t heal it as hoped. Stafford has experienced discomfort and been on a limited throwing schedule during practice. Does that sound like a quarterback who’s going to be airing it out Week 1? Not to us — and it’s not like LA has an imposing run game to make up for it.
Buffalo is every bit deserving of their Super Bowl hype, but going on the road and running up the point column against the defending champs doesn’t seem likely. Not when the champs defense possess game-changing talent like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, among others. More signs point to this game being an under than an over.
Over/Under 41.5 points: Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers
Here’s one of the juicer matchups of the 16-game slate — the “Baker Mayfield revenge” game. The Browns essentially sold their souls to the devil to controversially acquire Deshaun Watson and divorce with Mayfield. Watson is suspended 11 games, while Mayfield debuts with his new team here. It’s a meaty story, but bookies don’t think it’ll be all that high-scoring, giving Cleveland vs. Carolina a modest over/under of 41.5 points:
|Over 41.5 points||-110||-110|
|Under 41.5 points||-110||-110|
We’d have to agree with bookies on this one and say points will be hard to come by. Let’s begin with Cleveland, who will thrust Jacoby Brissett under center. The six-year veteran has started 37 NFL games on three different teams so he’s as experienced of a backup as you can get. Brissett has never been terribly impressive at quarterback, hence why he’s on his fourth NFL team now. Expect the Browns to lean heavily into its ground-and-pound run game to get by until Watson is back.
As for Mayfield, he’ll definitely be out for vengeance against his former teammates but we’re being cautious that he’ll actually gets it. Let’s not forget he was traded to Carolina only two months ago — that’s not a whole lot of time to pick up a new offense and get in sync with teammates. Mayfield's career has been slowed by a revolving-door of coaches and coordinators, an issue that remains in his new destination. It’ll take time before Mayfield is comfortable, which means the Panthers will also lean on its Christian McCaffree-led running game to get them through in the meantime.
Naturally, run-heavy offenses — which we fully expect from both sides — move slower and kill more clock. This puts the wheels in motion for an under.
Against The Spread: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
Here’s another revenge game of sorts as Russell Wilson battles the Seahawks, the franchise he spent the first 10 years of his career. Despite being on the road, Denver is a heavy ATS favorite in the Monday Night Football matchup:
|Denver spread (-6.5)||-110||-110|
|Seattle spread (+6.5)||-110||-110|
We’ll be upfront and say we expect Seattle to be one of the worst teams in the entire NFL this year. The team named Geno Smith its starting quarterback over Drew Lock, and he might just be the least impressive starter of all 32 teams. He’s 31 years old and by now, you are who you are as player. For Smith, that’s an inaccurate thrower prone to turnovers.
Expect the Broncos to beat the absolute breaks off the Seahawks — by two possessions minimum. Wilson will be motivated to torture Pete Carrol’s defense, one he knows all too well after 10 seasons spent together.
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