Ballin' on a Budget NFL Betting Week 1

We can’t all be out here tossing around millions of dollars on random sporting events like Floyd Mayweather. Most of us gambling folk are small-time bettors just looking to make the game a little more interesting with a couple bets on the NFL. That’s where we come in. Let’s say you have $20 to bet on NFL games every Sunday (am I being a little too generous? C’mon, just play along). We will break down here where you should spend that $20 and how to maximize your return. Throughout the season, we will keep track of our money earned in a piggy bank. Hopefully, we’re in the green all season long.

 

Okay, without further adieu, here is how to spend your hard-earned Andrew Jackson in Week 1:

 

*All game lines are based on the William Hill Sports Book in Nevada.

 

Let’s start with picking games themselves. There are three games that caught my eye in Week 1, all of them favorites with the point spread.

 

Jaguars -3 over Giants (-110)

 

This game is in the Meadowlands, but Jacksonville being just a field goal favorite is too good to pass up. Most of the money on this game is going on the Giants, who have new star running back Saquon Barkley. Perhaps people have forgotten the Jaguars have the most fearsome defense in football. The secondary isn’t going to allow an aging Eli Manning to get anything over on them, meaning the Jags can stack eight in the box against Barkley.

 

Coming off a trip to the AFC Championship Game last season, the Jaguars didn’t lose any key pieces. New York is marginally better than they were a year ago and has home field advantage, but it would still be surprising if Jacksonville didn’t cover the spread.

 

The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.55.

 

Patriots -6.5 over Texans (-110)

 

It’s hard to bet against the Patriots, especially when they’re coming off a crushing Super Bowl loss and opening the season at home. Houston QB Deshaun Watson certainly looked like a superstar when he was healthy last year, but there’s no telling how he’ll look in his first game action after returning from a torn ACL. The fact the line is 6.5 is enticing, because it means New England can cover by simply winning by a touchdown.

 

With Tom Brady as hungry as ever to add another trophy to his collection, the season will start off right and New England will make a statement Week 1 against a Texans team that figures to challenge for a Wild Card spot.

 

The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.55.

 

Rams -3 over Raiders (-110)

 

L.A. led by Todd Gurley is a hot pick to win the NFC this season. They certainly showed last year they have some of the pieces to do it. Add to that weapons like WR Brandin Cooks and QB Jared Goff could be in for a breakout campaign. DT Ndamukong Suh also gets added to the defensive front that with a healthy Aaron Donald should feature the best defensive line in football.

 

Oakland is a tough place to play, especially since the fans are even more passionate given their team is leaving town soon. However, with head coach Jon Gruden being out of coaching for so long, there’s no telling how the Raiders are going to come out of the gates. Most likely, they will need to work out some kinks and against a team like the Rams, they’re not going to be able to do that on the fly. Expect L.A. to cover their field goal spread and come out with a relatively pressure free Week 1 win.

 

The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.73.

 

Now, we’re going to move on to point spreads. Everyone likes to say “Life’s too short to bet the under,” and while it’s true rooting for the over is more fun, the under actually hits more than half the time. This week, there are two unders worth considering spending your money on.

 

Bengals at Colts UNDER 46.5 (-165)

 

We haven’t seen Andrew Luck throw a football in a regular season game in well over a year and the Bengals are, well the Bengals. RB Joe Mixon is primed for a breakout season, but QB Andy Dalton has regressed over the last couple seasons and there’s no reason to believe he’s going to torch the Indy secondary.

 

With the line on this game set at Colts -3 and the over/under at 46.5, this means Vegas thinks the final score will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 24-21 in favor of Indianapolis. This just feels like a game where the offenses move pretty well, but stall out and are forced to kick field goals. Those field goals are your best friend when you bet the under and they should help you with this UNDER bet.

 

The bet: $5 for total payout of $8.03.

 

Rams at Raiders UNDER 49.5 (+145)

 

This under is a little riskier, because the Rams have the ability to put points up in bunches, but that’s why you get the nice +145 value on it. Certainly, the Rams could go off and threaten to push the point spread over, but if they’re holding the Raiders in check, there’s still no need to worry.

 

Based on the Rams being three-point favorites and the over/under being 49.5, Vegas thinks this game will finish in the neighborhood of 26-23, Rams. With two solid defenses and with offenses trying to get up to speed, it’s more likely at least one team stays in the teens. That gives you more wiggle room, especially knowing Gruden is going to want to grind the clock with the running game if he can.

 

The bet: $2 for total payout of $2.90.

 

The parlay option: while it’s normally not the best idea to parlay more than a couple games, if you decide to parlay all five of these picks with your $20, here is what your payout would look like:

 

$20 on:

 

Jaguars -3 over Giants (-110)

Patriots -6.5 over Texans (-110)

Rams -3 over Raiders (-110)

Bengals at Colts UNDER 46.5 (-165)

Rams at Raiders UNDER 49.5 (+145)

 

The bet: $20 for total payout of $547.47.

 

Ballin’ on a Budget Piggy Bank: $0

 

Let’s hope we can add to that piggy bank after Week 1 and keep you filling up your own piggy bank all season long. Best of luck on your first week of bets; go make that $20 count!

Jacob Kornhauser
Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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