We’ll be here to guide you with weekly picks against the spread on key games throughout the 2023 regular season. Here are a handful to kick it off.
Check the live odds page for line moves closer to kickoff and watch for Trend Dummy’s deep dive into the database to find useful (or maybe just interesting) wagering angles. Odds courtesy of Draft Kings Sportsbook as of midweek.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5): Texans
I don’t like that Mark Andrews injury situation for a Ravens team that has a lot of question marks already in the pass-catching corps and has undergone a lot of change this offseason. Usually the Ravens are a good bet for some early-season blowouts but I have a feeling DeMeco Ryans will have his young team riled up and the Texans will keep this close on the road.
San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers: Steelers
Pittsburgh’s awesome defense isn’t getting enough respect at home considering that the 49ers have some key question marks with the statuses of Nick Bosa and George Kittle. I also wonder if Pittsburgh spend a lot of time in recent months figuring out Brock Purdy. I’m looking for a Steelers upset to open the season at Heinz Field.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2) at Cleveland Browns: Browns
I think we’re overrating the Bengals considering big changes in the secondary and Joe Burrow’s injury, and I also think we’re overlooking a Browns team finally quarterbacked from the get-go by one of the highest-rated qualified passers in NFL history. Look for Cleveland to pull off a mild surprise to kick off the campaign at home.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at New England Patriots: Patriots
Yup, it’s underdog week! Reigning Super Bowl losers always seem to struggle out of the gate, and the Eagles have undergone a lot of turnover on defense. I’m surprised to see them giving more than a field goal to a team that is still coached by the GOAT. This is a field-goal game.
Archived Week 1 NFL picks article from Sept. 8, 2022
New York Giants at Tennessee Titans (-5.5): Giants
Without Harold Landry, I’m not sure the Titans defense can really take advantage of the obvious issues with the Giants offense. And without A.J. Brown, I’m not sure what we’ll get from the offense in this spot. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley can keep this close.
Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals
The Cardinals offense is stacked and Kyler Murray looks set to take off to another level. The Chiefs defense isn’t special and they’re on the road after a lot of offseason changes. This will be tight.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at Dallas Cowboys: Buccaneers
I’m surprised the Bucs aren’t even giving up a full field goal here. They’re just a much better team than the Cowboys, who also are dealing with a ton of change and have injury concerns impacting quarterback and left tackle. Look for Tom Brady to make yet another statement.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5): Bengals
We’re just used to thinking of the Steelers as not bad, but they’re far from good and the quarterback situation is ugly. On the road against the reigning/surging AFC champs, I’ll happily give less than a touchdown.
Denver Broncos (-6.5) at Seattle Seahawks: Broncos
I know there’s that whole 12th man element in Seattle’s home opener, but this team truly has become bad. Russell Wilson is well supported and likely to make a statement against his former squad in prime time. You’d think his Broncos would be laying at least a touchdown.
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Archived Week 1 NFL picks article from Sept. 11, 2021
It’s here. It’s finally freakin’ here.
After a long offseason, NFL football is back. And we’ll be here to guide you with weekly picks against the spread every week. Here are our first 16 dart throws for an extended 2021 season.
Check the live odds page for line moves closer to kickoff and watch for Trend Dummy’s deep dive into the database to find useful (or maybe just interesting) wagering angles. Odds courtesy of FanDuel as of midweek.
Week 1 NFL Picks
2020 RECORD: 127-115-10
DALLAS COWBOYS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-9): BUCS
Home teams coming off Super Bowl seasons generally dominate these Thursday openers, and this should be no exception with the jacked Bucs returning all of their key players from 2020. That’s a big number, but a lack of offensive continuity and a lack of defensive talent will make it tough for Dallas to keep it within the single digits.
NEW YORK JETS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (-4): JETS
I’m not convinced the Panthers are a much better team than the Jets, who have the young quarterback with the higher ceiling and an underrated offense. I wouldn’t bet big bucks in this unpredictable matchup, but I’m not giving up more than a field goal with Carolina and Sam Darnold.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-6.5): BILLS
The Steelers were horrendous late last year before experiencing a terrible offseason. They’ll be adjusting to a lot of changes, especially along the offensive line, while the Bills will have near-complete continuity for their first game in nearly two years in front of a full house. That should lead to at least a touchdown victory for Buffalo.
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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-7.5) AT DETROIT LIONS: 49ERS
Kyle Shanahan is going to have a field day with one of the worst defenses in football and it’s hard to see the Detroit offense doing much as it gets acclimated against a stout and finally healthy San Francisco D. The Lions are going to be a mess early this season, so I’m expecting a blowout here.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-3) AT HOUSTON TEXANS: TEXANS
No way in hell I’m laying a full field goal with a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach on the road in Week 1, especially when we’re talking about a team that won just a single game last year. The Texans a horrible, but they’re not that much worse than the rebuilding Jags.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-2.5) AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: COLTS
At the very least, the Colts are in Seattle’s range in terms of talent. They’re deeper, and they’re healthy just in time for Week 1. At home against a Seahawks team traveling three time zones, they should be a small favorite, not a small underdog.
ARIZONA CARDINALS AT TENNESSEE TITANS (-3): CARDINALS
Most will disagree, but the Cardinals are simply the better all-around team. They underperformed last year but now Kyler Murray and Kliff Kinsgbury should be ready to take off following their first full, unimpeded offseason together. Still, the most likely result is a three-point Tennessee win so I wouldn’t go nuts here.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT WASHINGTON (-1): WASHINGTON
Meanwhile, the hyped Chargers feel a lot like last year’s Cardinals. That new-look offense might need some time, especially with big changes along the offensive line. And they still look vulnerable on defense. Running into the defensively-stacked WFT on the road, it’s surprising this is essentially a pick’em. Especially because Washington even found an offensive groove this summer with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-3) AT CINCINNATI BENGALS: BENGALS
This line is comical. With Joe Burrow at quarterback against non-playoff teams in 2020, the Bengals went 1-1-1 and scored more points than they allowed. They’re a lot better on paper now, Burrow is healthy again, and the Vikings don’t look like they’ve improved in a significant way. Why would I give Cincy three points in its home opener here? It’s not as though Minnesota has the pass-rushing firepower to take advantage of a still-suspect Bengals offensive line.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT ATLANTA FALCONS (-3.5): EAGLES
I don’t believe in betting Falcons games because they somehow constantly screw all bettors. That said, if I have to pull the trigger, I’m now dropping a field goal and a hook with a team stuck in neutral. Let’s not forget that the Eagles still have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Far more than Atlanta sans Julio Jones.
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-3): PATRIOTS
These Patriots are way better than the team that beat the Dolphins by a double-digit margin in Foxborough to kick off the 2020 season. Miami has improved as well, but not at the same rate. Bill Belichick looks determined to right this ship. He’s not losing at home right out of the gates. No fear laying the field goal.
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CLEVELAND BROWNS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-5.5): BROWNS
This pains me because I have the Chiefs winning it all again in 2021, but they’re still giving up too many points against a team that is nearly as talented and put up a fight at Arrowhead in January. Keep in mind Kansas City will be trying to adjust to an offensive line that underwent significant changes in the offseason. [ Bet Mahomes vs Mayfield props and more ]
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3.5) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: PACKERS
An angry Aaron Rodgers opened the 2020 season by dominating Green Bay’s first four opponents, one of which was the Saints. Now, Rodgers seems angry again and the Saints are no longer the team they were a year ago. Without the benefit of the Superdome crowd, I have no idea how the Saints are getting a full touchdown here.
DENVER BRONCOS (-3) AT NEW YORK GIANTS: GIANTS
The Broncos might be the better all-around team here, but the Giants have the quarterback with more potential and Daniel Jones is now surrounded by plenty of talent. I’m just not willing to lay a full field goal with a traveling Denver squad and Teddy freakin’ Bridgewater, but I wouldn’t spend much on this one.
CHICAGO BEARS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (-7.5): RAMS
The Bears appear to realize they’re in trouble as they adjust to major offseason changes in a prime-time road game against a team that features a terrifying defense. Aaron Donald should have a fun night as the Rams win by double-digits.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-4) AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: RAIDERS
The Ravens lost their best two pass-rushers in the offseason, two of their top offensive backs in the preseason, and quarterback Lamar Jackson spent much of his summer without a full complement of receivers. In their first Las Vegas game with a full crowd, the Raiders have a good chance at pulling off an upset.
Archived article from Sept. 9, 2020 by Brenden Deeg
There are three games slated for the 4 p.m. ET time slot and we have best bets on all of them, choosing the Chargers in a battle of teams struggling with terrible ATS streaks and picking the 49ers to cover a big number at home. We also like the Bucs to continue a horrible Week 1 ATS trend for the Saints. Get your remote ready and your wagering account ready.
CHARGERS @ BENGALS – TAKE CHARGERS -3.5 (FanDuel)
Chargers @ Bengals
Rookie QB Joe Burrow’s debut could not come against a tougher defense, but Bengals backers hope it doesn’t change the money-making 6-1 ATS run Cincy enjoys against the Chargers. LA’s defense will be one to reckon with this year, and should be a Top 5-rated unit in the NFL. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa should cause havoc on the young Bengals offense.
Having said all that, I do like what the Bengals have done this year. The Heisman-winning rookie QB has an arsenal of weapons in Joe Mixon, A.J Green and Tee Higgins. However the offensive line could be a problem this season despite the additions.. Jonah Jackson, their second-round pick in 2019, will slide in at RT, which has to be encouraging for the Bengals organization.