NFL Week 1 Picks Against The Spread: Predictions, Best Bets, Odds

nfl-week-1-picks-against-the-spread:-predictions,-best-bets,-odds

Buffalo Bills (-2.5) vs Los Angeles Rams

How to watch: Thursday, 8: 20 PM ET, NBC

Last season, the Buffalo Bills went 11-6 and blew out the New England Patriots in the first round of the playoffs, but QB Josh Allen and his talented roster got beat by the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 36-42, in the divisional playoffs, so no doubt they are looking to prove they could have beaten the LA Rams in the Superbowl, unlike the Bengals, a great way to kick off the season.

Trading away the QB that brought the team to a Super Bowl looks genius now that HC Sean McVay figured out a way to get his Los Angeles Rams to win a Big Game, their defeat of Joe Burrow’s Cincy Bengals by a field goal the direct result of new QB Matthew Stafford’s high level play, not to mention GOAT DT Aaron Donald cracking helmets on the other side of the ball.

Home games on opening day favor the team that lives there, so take the Rams to cover the spread and start the season out with a win over the Bills.

Pick:

Rams +2.5 (-110)

New Orleans Saints (-5.5) vs Atlanta Falcons

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, FOX

Imagine a New Orleans Saints team QB’d by a healthy Jameis Winston throwing to an equally healed Michael Thomas and rookie sensation WR Chris Olave while rookie LT Trevor Penning covers his blindside, a healthy picture for new HC Dennis Allen to take on as his Saints look to manhandle a restructured Falcons team and steal an opening week win while away from home.

For the Atlanta Falcons, under center it looks like it will be either veteran QB Marcus Mariota or rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder, a tough setup for new HC Arthur Smith in his first shot as an NFL head coach, the 40-year old former Titans OC ready to bring his brand of offense to whoever will be throwing to rookie WR Drake London, a team still recovering from a tough 2021.

It’s a home game for the Falcons and the oddsmakers are giving them a lot of points on opening day, so expect them to cover the spread against these Saints who are still getting their groove back.

Pick:

Falcons +5.5 (-110)

San Francisco 49ers (-7) vs Chicago Bears

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, FOX

Nobody is sure who is going to start under center for the San Fran 49ers, with veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and 2nd year QB Trey Lance seeming to be the two most likely candidates for the job to work with triple-threat Deebo Samuel who can catch, run, and return the ball in a way that makes him almost impossible to track down let alone tackle, HC Kyle Shanahan’s dream player.

The Chicago Bears new head coach Matt Eberflus is a 52-year old defensive specialist who should fit right in with that historically defensive powerhouse, now with two rookies starting in his secondary – SS Jaquan Brisker and CB Kyler Gordon – a young team QB’d by the 23-year old OSU alum Justin Fields who struggled there his rookie season, a born winner ready to win.

The oddsmakers are giving the home team Chicago Bears almost a touchdown in this one, so take them to cover the spread even though the Niners will most likely win this one outright.

Pick:

Bears +7 (-115)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5)

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, CBS

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without their longtime QB Ben Roethlisberger for the first time in a while, so the job to fill his mammoth shoes falls to either veteran Mitch Trubisky, rookie Kenny Pickett, or forever backup Mason Rudolph, a challenge for HC Mike Tomlin who has never had a losing season as the Steelers head leader, now with rookie WR George Pickens there.

Nothing worse than losing the Super Bowl, arguably, and the Cincinnati Bengals players might agree, but it’s a new season and HC Zac Taylor still has QB Joe Burrow and one of the most exciting young WRs in the league in Ja’Marr Chase, a combo that is complemented by a terrific run game led by Joe Mixon, plus a defense that DC Lou Anarumo has turned into a force.

The Bengals at home should make easy work of this rebuilding Steelers team and win this one by at least a touchdown, a team they beat twice last season by a total of 45 points.

Pick:

Bengals -6.5 (-115)

Philadelphia Eagles (-4) vs Detroit Lions

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, FOX

The Philadelphia Eagles’ front office seems to have a lot of faith in young QB Jalen Hurts who was 9-10 as a starter there after two seasons of playing under center, his trio of WR targets – AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins – surehanded as is his pass-catching TE Dallas Goedert, a second season for HC Nick Sirianni whose leash might not be terribly long.

The Detroit Lions HC Dan Campbell talks tough and leads by example, but last season his team only managed three wins all year, a tough breaking-in period for QB Jared Goff who was used to the sunny skies of Los Angeles, now a make-or-break situation for him as OC Ben Johnson tries to figure out what to do with first-round WR Jameson Williams who’s now on the team.

The Lions are the home team here and they are getting too many points to pass up, so expect them to cover here against the Eagles who are still figuring out who they are.

Pick:

Lions +4 (-110)

New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins (-3)

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, CBS

From the offseason ‘muscular’ looks of New England Patriots QB Mac Jones, it’s obvious he’s been putting in a lot of work in the weight room, and now that his front line has been beefed up with first-round pick rookie LG Cole Strange, expect him to connect more with WRs DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and Jakobi Meyers in the slot, another fun Bill Belichick challenge.

The Miami Dolphins were 9-8 last season but missed out on the playoffs entirely, something that HC Mike McDaniel no doubt wants to change, and he thinks he can do it with QB Tua Tagovailoa, a third-year pro who completed almost 68 percent of his passes last season, a good sign for WR Tyreek ‘Cheetah’ Hill who requires a cannon to fire footballs when he runs deep.

Expect this one to be a decent game with enough scoring to cover the over in Florida, a hot place to open the season for the Tua – Hill connection.

Pick:

Patriots +3 (-110)

Baltimore Ravens (-7) vs New York Jets

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, CBS

Whether Baltimore Ravens star QB Lamar Jackson works out a deal with the front office by the start of the season will most likely not affect his drive to have his best season yet, with rookie first-rounder C Tyler Linderbaum now leading his protection on a team HC John Harbaugh expects to take to the postseason with a healthy J.K. Dobbins powering out of the backfield.

The New York Jets have turned heads with their offseason moves to improve, including adding three first-round picks and a second-rounder to their starting roster, and now HC Robert Saleh gets to see if QB Zach Wilson is the real deal as this team that went 4-13 last year looks to legitimately battle for the AFC East, their last place defense from last season also improved.

The Jets are getting almost a touchdown at home on opening day, so take them to cover the spread over a visiting Ravens team that will most likely win in a close game.

Pick:

Jets +7 (-115)

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Wash Commanders (-3)

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, FOX

It will be fun to see what the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new HC Doug Pederson can do with this 3-14 team with their playmaking QB Trevor Lawrence still suffering football PTSD after playing under one of the worst NFL HCs last season, now this team has enough talent and a veteran coach to get them back on track, including two first-round LBs, Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker.

Let’s see how the newly renamed Washington Commanders do with veteran QB Carson Wentz under center, the journeyman hurler most likely hoping to find a permanent home there to run out his NFL career, and HC Ron Rivera will hopefully bring some veteran order to the chaos that is that organization, now with first-round rookie WR Jahan Dotson on board to catch passes.

Chances are the Commanders can win at home on opening day against this rebuilding Jaguars team, but it could be close so take the Jags and the points.

Pick:

Jaguars +3 (-115)

Cleveland Browns vs Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, CBS

There is no telling how many games Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson will be suspended but chances are it will at least be for Week 1, so expect competent backup Jacoby Brissett to be under center for this one, a roster that seems postseason bound but only if HC Kevin Stefanski can manage all of the drama, though this defense with DE Myles Garrett should be fun to watch.

This game went from ‘who cares’ to ‘must watch’ the second the Carolina Panthers traded for QB Baker Mayfield, the disgruntled ex-Brown who would love to use his knowledge of the enemy to help his new team win their opening game and have a healthy RB Christian McCaffrey in the backfield won’t hurt, but DC Phil Snow’s defense most certainly will bring pain.

The home team gets a slight advantage, but the Cleveland Browns roster is far too talented to not be able to take down these rebuilding Panthers right out of the gate.

Pick:

Browns +2.5 (-100)

Indianapolis Colts (-8.5) vs Houston Texans

How to watch: Sunday, 1: 00 PM ET, CBS

The Indianapolis Colts have a new QB (again), this time veteran Matt Ryan who brings his fourteen years of NFL experience to a Colts team that seems ready to compete, their RB Jonathan Taylor a powerhouse out of the backfield who can also act as a check-down receiver, and DE Kwity Paye and DT DeForest Buckner are always hunting quarterbacks to sack.

No doubt the Houston Texans are rebuilding, and HC Lovie Smith is right in the middle of it but QB Davis Mills showed some signs of being the man under center, this team now with five rookie starters including playmaking CB Derek Stingley Jr., a tough home game to start the season and with all those points the oddsmakers are handing out they could actually cover.

The Colts should be able to take care of the Texans on the road, but Houston is the home team so take all those points and expect them to keep it close in front of their own fans.

Pick:

Texans +8.5 (-110)

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New York Giants vs Tennessee Titans (-6)

How to watch: Sunday, 4: 25 PM ET, FOX

New York Giants’ latest HC Brian Daboll most likely has two seasons to get this team right, a roster with a lot of veteran talent (RB Saquon Barkley, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Kenny Golliday, CB Adoree Jackson) with some rookies thrown in (LB Kayvon Thibodeaux) that must do better than the 4-13 season they just had where they came in last place in the NFC East.

If the Tennessee Titans can stay healthy this season, they have a great shot at ruling the AFC South the way they did last year with a 12-5 record and a trip to the Divisional Playoffs, but HC Mike Vrabel no doubt wants to get to the big game so QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry must stay off the IR and on the field, with rookie WR Treylon Burks now a target.

The Titans should be able to take care of the Giants and cover the spread, a home game to start the season and show off a roster that can earn wins.

Pick:

Titans -6 (-110)

Green Bay Packers (-1.5) vs Minnesota Vikings

How to watch: Sunday, 4: 25 PM ET, FOX

Should be an exciting NFC North matchup as the Green Bay Packers try and win without WR DeVante Adams but they do have Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb for QB Aaron Rodgers, plus the front office drafted LB Quay Walker in the first round to boost DC Joe Barry’s squad, a team that HC Matt LaFleur needs to finally take to the Big Game, though they have come close.

It will be fun for the Minnesota Vikings fans to watch their team opening up at home in an indoor stadium where snow is still always possible, and now QB Kirk Cousins and his main target WR Adam Thielen need to get serious about their offense that didn’t crack the top ten last season despite having one of the most exciting dual-threat backs out of the backfield in Dalvin Cook.

Tough to bet against Aaron Rodgers, but if you are going to do that it’s best to try it at the start of the year, so take the home team Vikings, and the two points that the oddsmakers are giving.

Pick:

Vikings +1.5 (-110)

Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) vs Arizona Cardinals

How to watch: Sunday, 4: 25 PM ET, CBS

The Kansas City Chiefs lost the AFC Championship Game to the Bengals in OT by a field goal, so QB Patrick Mahomes and his guru HC Andy Reid are starving for retribution, a feat made tougher with the loss of the Cheetah – WR Tyreek – who went south to Miami, but when you have TE Travis Kelce catching balls and RB Clyde Edward-Helaire rushing, things look good.

It’s time for the Arizona Cardinals to shake things up in the NFC West, a tough division that they have the talent to compete with as QB Kyler Murray continues to grow into a scary NFL QB with the speed to escape the pocket when he’s not finding TE Zach Ertz wide open, a team that JJ Watt dominates on defense with help from guys like FS Budda Baker roaming the secondary.

Since the Chiefs have been starting out slow lately, take the Cardinals and the points and figure they will cover the spread at home on opening day.

Pick:

Cardinals +4.5 (-110)

Las Vegas Raiders vs Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)

How to watch: Sunday, 4: 25 PM ET, CBS

Here come the Las Vegas Raiders with a new HC in Josh McDaniels who has been waiting around for the perfect offensive opportunity to rush the show, and with QB Derrick Carr and now WR Devante Adams reconnecting this season, the middle of the field will be open for TE Darren Waller and RB Josh Jacobs to exploit, plus LB Maxx Crosby is back for another year of chaos.

This will be Los Angeles Chargers HC Brandon Staley’s second season after taking his team to a 9-8 record last year and a third-place finish in the AFC West, but QB Justin Herbert is exceptional and he has Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and TE Gerald Everett to throw the football to, and it’s always fun to watch LB Joey Bosa inflict damage on his opponents.

Take the Raiders to cover the spread on the road here as their new and improved offense should be able to keep it close as the Chargers win this one by a point.

Pick:

Raiders +3.5 (-115)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) vs Dallas Cowboys

How to watch: Sunday, 8: 20 PM ET, NBC

The first Sunday Night Football broadcast of the 2022 NFL season promises to be exciting featuring two of the league’s premier QBs, the GOAT Tom Brady back in Tampa Bay with his Buccaneers, though now his HC will be the defensive-minded Todd Bowles, but Brady can handle the offense with a healthy Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, plus Vita Vea is back on D.

Though the Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East with a 12-5 record last season, HC Mike McCarthy’s bunch couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs, something that QB Dak Prescott will have to figure out without WR Amari Cooper who’s in Cleveland now, and RB Zeke Elliott must have a return-to-form type of season if he is expected to be their go to guy anymore.

The home team is getting points here, so take the Cowboys to cover the spread at Arlington, though the Buccaneers are veteran enough to show up in Week 1.

Pick:

Cowboys +1.5 (-110)

Denver Broncos (-6.5) vs Seattle Seahawks

How to watch: Monday, 8: 15 PM ET, ESPN, ABC

It will be a new look Monday Night Football broadcast the same way it will be a new look Denver Broncos offense now with veteran QB Russell Wilson under center, this defensive heavy team is said to be ‘a quarterback away’ from big things, so now it will be up to HC Nathaniel Hackett to use his roster wisely, with talent on both sides of the ball including LB Bradley Chubb.

It’s the perfect Week 1 game for the Seattle Seahawks who not only have to play without longtime QB Russell Wilson, but they must also face him on the field so their new guy Geno Smith who has been a backup there since 2019 gets to step up to see if he can use deep threat DK Metcalf wisely as DC Clint Hurtt tries to fix a defense that was ranked 28th last year.

Take the points and the home team always, but especially because this game will be a close one, either way, a battle that the Seahawks should at least cover with that help.

Pick:

Seahawks +6.5 (-110)

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