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Thanks to COVID-19, we didn’t have any preseason games to get the temperature of NFL teams in the preseason, so as teams begin their 2020 season, they’re doing so at full speed with no buildup. With some critical early matchups that could eventually determine division or conference supremacy, Week 1 kicks off this unprecedented NFL season with a bang.
NFL Betting Odds and Lines: Week 1
All odds via BetMGM Sportsbook. Last updated Sept. 10, 2020.
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Houston (+350) at Kansas City (-455)
The Over/Under seems a little high at 54.5, but the Chiefs proved in last year’s playoff against Houston, they could almost cover that in three quarters. The champs are at home, the Texans play their first game without DeAndre Hopkins and may be without his replacement (Brandin Cooks). Take the Chiefs and lay the 9.5 points.
Chicago (+125) at Detroit (-110)
Detroit is a 3-point favorite with an O/U of 43.5. Typically, I’m only a fan of the moneyline if you think there is going to be an upset. In his last three starts against the Lions and Matt Patricia’s defense, Mitchell Trubisky has somehow thrown for 866 yards with nine TDs and no interceptions. The Bears know how to scheme Detroit like few others. Take the Bears and the moneyline at +125.
Cleveland (+280) at Baltimore (-358)
In their last three meetings, the Browns and Ravens have averaged 55 points a game with Lamar Jackson running through Cleveland and Baker Mayfield throwing bombs (342 or more passing yards in three of four career games). Both offenses can light it up and won’t take their foot off the gas if things are going well. Take the over at -110.
Green Bay (+125) at Minnesota (-150)
The Vikings could have used a preseason to evaluate their cornerbacks after allowing their top three from last year to go away. Aaron Rodgers is the wrong quarterback to face in Week 1. Without Danielle Hunter to terrorize his blind side, take the Packers on the moneyline at +125.
Also see: NFL Picks: Office pool pick’em – Week 1
Indianapolis (-400) at Jacksonville (+310)
The Jacksonville fire sale was a head-scratcher, getting rid of their top remaining defensive player (Yannick Ngakoue) and offensive player (Leonard Fournette). Indy is only a 7.5-point favorite. The Jags may never have a spread that close the rest of the season. Lay the points at -110 and welcome Philip Rivers to Indy.
Las Vegas (-179) at Carolina (+150)
A rare road favorite on a cross-country early Sunday game, this smells like a trap. Both teams have a running back as its centerpiece and both QBs (Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater) are game managers. The Over/Under of 47.5 seems a little too high. Take the under at -110.
Miami (+245) at New England (-313)
Even when they had Tom Brady, strange things happen when the Dolphins play the Patriots. There seems to be some concern about Cam Newton adapting to the Pats offense, but the Over/Under of just 42.5 is too low. They’ve topped that number the last seven games, including two games where one team contributed three points or less. Take the over at -110.
New York Jets (+240) at Buffalo (-295)
The Over/Under of 39.5 is extremely low. With the offensive additions the Bills made, they could easily score in the high 20’s. All Sam Darnold has to do is string together two or three drives to hit the over. Take the over at -110.
Philadelphia (-239) at Washington (+195)
Washington had the 31st ranked offense and 27th ranked defense last season. Ron Rivera will bring change, but it will take time… a lot of time. The Eagles are poised to challenge Dallas for the NFC East title and these are games they have to win. They will. Lay the 5.5 points at -110.
Seattle (-129) at Atlanta (+110)
This has the makings of a back-and-forth battle. Seattle is the better team, but the Falcons are at home and they’re carrying momentum from the end of last season. I don’t consider this an upset, but I’ll take Falcons and the money line at +110.
Los Angeles Chargers (-167) at Cincinnati (+140)
Both teams have new quarterbacks and will look to control the ball on the ground and with time-consuming short, precision passes. Although 41.5 is an awfully low number, take the under because this game could produce more field goals than touchdowns.
Arizona (+240) at San Francisco (-295)
The O/U is very high at 48.5, but the two teams went over in both games last year and could again. This is game the 49ers need to put an early stamp on the division. 6.5 points is a lot to give away to a team that can score garbage points late to botch things up, but take the Niners and lay the 6.5 at -110.
Tampa Bay (+150) at New Orleans (-182)
A matchup of Hall of Fame quarterbacks who have a history of high-scoring games, now they’re divisional rivals. That will mean both of them playing with surgical precision to move the ball up the field to keep the other QB on the sideline. I like the Saints to win, but I love taking the under at 48.5 and hope to see classic 10- or 12-play drives that eat up clock time.
Dallas (-150) at Los Angeles Rams (+125)
The Over/Under is extremely high (51.5) because these are two offenses capable of getting into a shootout. In December, 2019, Dallas laid 44 points on the Rams, but expecting a big number in Week 1 is asking a lot. The better bet is laying the 2.5 points and taking Dallas at -110.
Pittsburgh (-250) at New York Giants (+210)
The Steelers defense is good enough to keep them in every game and just get enough out of the offense to win games. As such, taking the under at 45.5 for -110 is a pretty safe bet as Ben Roethlisberger plays his first game in almost 12 months.
Tennessee (-129) at Denver (+110)
Last year, the Broncos shut out Tennessee. The Titans went 7-3 after that and were a different team. But, they haven’t forgot the smackdown the Broncos put on them. As just a 2-point favorite (-110) after the line flipped following the Von Miller injury, lay the points, take the Titans and watch Derrick Henry get some revenge.
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