Week 1 of the NFL season is always a difficult one to bet on because most teams have made significant changes through roster additions and losses, and those changes aren’t always reflected until teams take the field for the first game of the regular season.
We spread the wealth around with the week’s best bets, incorporating a moneyline bet, a couple of point-spread bets, and a pair of Over/Under bets.
It may become a weekly feature to bet against the New York City teams, because it’s just too easy to head to the pay window that way. In honor of the town so nice they named it twice, we start spreading the news by betting against both southern New York teams.
Minnesota Vikings (-101) on the moneyline
While the Green Bay Packers are a prime favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, one of the few divisional stumbling blocks they have had over the years is when it comes to the Vikings. Green Bay has owned the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, but there are a couple of good reasons why Minnesota should win this game.
Typically, when a new head coach and general manager are hired it is when a franchise has hit rock bottom and is in full-on rebuild mode. In Minnesota, head coach Kevin O’Connell inherits a veteran-laden roster with talent on both sides of the ball. With Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, the Vikings have offensive weapons that can do a lot of damage, which will test the Packers defense to the limit.
But what makes this a better bet is Green Bay’s offense. Aaron Rodgers didn’t take the field in the preseason and hasn’t had time to build an in-game rapport with his new wide receivers. Not only did Rodgers lose Davante Adams but also Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown in free agency. Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan – two of the few receivers Rodgers has a history with – aren’t full practice participants. Throw in that Minnesota is going to employ a 3-4 defense, Rodgers is also going to see looks he has never seen from Minnesota before while throwing to several receivers he’s never played with. Skol claps all around in this upset win.
Tennessee Titans laying 5.5 points (-110) vs. the New York Giants
There seems to be no love for the Titans, who aren’t predicted by most to win their division or even make the playoffs after being the No. 1 seed in a stacked AFC last year. Sure, the Titans shocked their fans by trading A.J. Brown, but that move won’t banish the Titans onto the Island of Irrelevance in 2022.
The Giants had one of the worst offenses in the NFL last season and didn’t do a lot to make a dramatic improvement. As a result, their defense was in the bottom third. The Titans should be able to control game flow with its power-running game headed up by Derrick Henry. If the Titans can get out to an early lead, it will put the onus on Daniel Jones to carry the offense on his back. Historically, when there has been one set of knee prints in the sand on the Jersey Shore, it has been when Jones has been asked to put the team on his back and collapses.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Titans win by 14, which makes laying 5.5 points a relatively easy sell for me.
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks UNDER 44.5 points (-110)
Russell Wilson plays his first game in Seattle as a road warrior, but don’t be surprised if his new team employs a strategy that his old team made famous – ball control with a heavy dose of the run game and mixing in downfield passes to gain yardage in chunks.
The feeling in Denver is that Wilson is suddenly going to make the moribund Broncos offense of recent vintage into a replicant of the Peyton Manning years. Don’t buy that. With Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, the Broncos will be able to control the clock and grind out 10-plus-play drives that drain time off the clock. If they get a big enough lead, Wilson will milk the clock and sit on the ball to prevent the chance of a comeback.
This game has the chance to be a blowout, because I’m unconvinced that Geno Smith can generate more than 10 or 13 points against a top-10 defense that will be coming after him and a predetermined Seattle mindset to establish the run. While 44.5 points doesn’t sound like a lot, when one team barely cracks double digits it may take a Pick-6 thrown by Smith to hit the Over. He’s had his share.
Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals go OVER 53.5 points (-108)
Each week, I tend to look at the highest and lowest Over/Under numbers, because both are there for a reason. Either neither team is expected to score many points, or the game is expected to be a back-and-forth shootout and you need to set a number high or low enough to get a 50/50 split of opinion.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals fit this profile for the highest point total of the week (53.5 points). Both teams are capable of putting up points in a hurry, and their defenses are liable of getting gassed when they’re asked to come back on the field three minutes after they left because their offense either scored or went three-and-out.
When 30-23 is still hitting the Under, the best thing that can happen here is that one team gets down by 10 points and the running game is all but abandoned. The Chiefs are capable of putting 30 points on anybody, but their defense is also capable of having a 30-burger dropped on them.
I get the feeling Kliff Kingsbury is going to come out looking to prove a point and Andy Reid is going to say, “Is that how it’s going to be?” and won’t take his foot off the gas. It may require garbage points late if the game is a blowout, but this is a “get your popcorn” ready type of game that could see both quarterbacks throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Baltimore Ravens laying 7.5 points at New York Jets (+100)
The Ravens survived 2021 with as many key injuries on both sides of the ball as any team has been forced to endure in recent NFL history. They come into 2022 healthy and looking to get their swagger back. There may be no better team to face in Week 1 than the Jets – who held the dubious distinction of having the 26th-ranked offense last year and the 32nd-ranked defense.
The Jets have added some pieces to both sides of the ball, but not enough to make a significant jump up in either ranking. The Ravens are looking to make a statement early with Lamar Jackson looking to prove something playing on his fifth-year option.
I could easily envision the Ravens piling up yards and points on the Jets defense and making New York become one-dimensional on offense. Historically, that is bad news for Ravens opponents, because when Baltimore is in attack mode, a 10-point deficit more often becomes a 20-point deficit.
I would be willing to lay 10 points on this game because I don’t believe that, barring critical turnovers, the Jets are capable of scoring more than 13 or 14 points. Those are numbers the Ravens offense can easily double. At 7.5? Yes, please. This is Baltimore’s fourth preseason game.
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