Beating The Spread: Best NFL Week 1 Bets

Mandalay Bay Sports Book. Photo Credit: The LAFB Network
Mandalay Bay Sports Book. Photo Credit: The LAFB Network

The rare bright spot of 2020 is upon us with NFL kickoff weekend finally arriving. Despite doubts that it would happen, it seems that the NFL has handled the COVID-19 crisis well and with the kickoff game already in the books, it’s time to look at the rest of the Week 1 games.

The first week of the season is always the hardest one to gauge, especially when it comes to betting, but we’re here to show you the best bets to make you money. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best places to put your money this Sunday. All odds are via, check out their website for some of the best deals and odds in online sports gambling.

Best Spreads

Indianapolis Colts (-8) @ Jacksonville Jaguars, -105

Most of these games could go either way with the spread or just the money line. However, the odds with the spread are obviously better so that’s why they landed on this list. First up is the Indianapolis Colts going against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The key to placing good sports bets is finding the home-field advantage which affects otherwise bad bets and this is a perfect example of that. If this game was being played in Indy, chances are the spread would be much higher and odds much worse. The Colts have undoubtedly improved this offseason with the additions of Philip Rivers, Jonathan Taylor, and DeForest Buckner while the Jaguars have seemingly done the opposite, dumping any talent they had left on their roster. The Jaguars are clearly in tanking mode for one of the quarterbacks in next year’s draft class and that starts here.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) @ New York Giants, -105

If there is any further proof you need that the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most well-led organizations in football, largely thanks to the continued success of Mike Tomlin, it’s the fact they barely missed the playoffs in a season where their two starting quarterbacks were Mason Rudolph and Delvin Hodges.

Now that Ben Roethlisberger is back from injury with a year’s rest and arguably one of the league’s top offenses, Pittsburgh should be favorites to win their division. Meanwhile, the Giants are trending in the right direction for the future, however, they’re not quite there yet especially on defense. If this game were in Pittsburgh, the spread would probably be at 3 points higher, trust the Steelers to show up big on Monday night.

Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) @ Washington Football Team

This is a bet that I wavered on a lot. I’m still concerned about the Eagles wide receiver corps but Doug Pederson somehow always makes it work. There’s also a lot of unanswered questions around the Washington…Red Tails? Red Hawks? Warriors? Whatever, their name is, a lot of their success this season depends on Dwayne Haskins in his sophomore year and the rest of their unproven offense. While I’m still a believer in his potential and the promise of their defense, I think this will end up being a long year for Washington that starts with at least a 10-point loss to the Eagles.

Best Money Line

Las Vegas Raiders (-150) @ Carolina Panthers

I think the Carolina Panthers will be more competitive than most people think but ultimately, they lack the talent that will allow them to close out those close games. This will be evident in an even Week 1 matchup against the Raiders. While I do think this game will be close, hence the placement with the money line rather than the spread, I think the Raiders’ offense will be too much to handle for a Carolina defense that was ravaged by departures, particularly Luke Kuechly.

Pick – Raiders

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (-300)

This is by far the most boring pick of this article but boring tends to mean near-guaranteed money and this is where you’ll find it. The Bills are the favorites to win the AFC East for good reason. Josh Allen is expected to continue to improve with the addition of Stefon Diggs and Zack Moss to the offense. Meanwhile, the Jets are in high competition to win the first overall pick in next year’s draft with arguably the worst roster in the NFL. If you’re looking for a safe bet to go big on, this is it.

Pick – Bills

Dallas Cowboys (-145) @ Los Angeles Rams

The Dallas Cowboys were among the biggest offseason winners in locking down Amari Cooper with a contract extension, drafting CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs, and the signing of Dontari Poe. While the Cowboys unquestionably improved, especially on the offensive side of the ball, the Rams created more question marks around their team.

With the loss of Todd Gurley, Los Angeles’ offense now rests on the shoulders of Jared Goff, not a promising prospect, given he is coming off a year where he threw a career-high 16 interceptions. The Rams are still a talented squad but the Cowboys are the better team here and with home-field advantage largely being a nonfactor thanks to limited fan availability, Dallas should walk away with the win here.

Pick – Cowboys

Bonus upset picks: Chicago Bears +115, Denver Broncos +120, Green Bay Packers +120

Best Props

Aaron Jones 1+ touchdown at +100

The Vikings and Packers are both primed to battle it out for the division crown again this year starting out with what should be one of the better Week 1 games. While AJ Dillon and Jamaal Williams have been battling it out for the secondary running back spot, Aaron Jones is unquestionably their starter. With the Vikings pass rusher Danielle Hunter out for this game, and the Packers defense with some major holes, this promises to be a high scoring affair. Jones should be good for at least one rushing touchdown and is still a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield.

Tom Brady +296 yards at +124

The long-awaited debut for Tom Brady will be on the road against the New Orleans Saints. While there are a lot of questions about the Bucs’ offense on who will be the top receiver, the one unquestioned factor is that Brady is set up for success in his late-career. Tampa Bay’s running back depth chart is full of recognizable names but questionable talent leaving many to wonder how that will affect their game plan. Regardless, this game is shaping out to be a high-scoring affair which means a lot of passing, and even if Mike Evans misses the game, there is plenty of talent around Brady to get him over the 300 yards passing mark.

Chris Carson 1+ touchdown at +100

The Seahawks begin their season against the Atlanta Falcons, who for years now have been known to have a good offense but a middle-tier to bad defense. That looks to be the same case for Atlanta this year which makes their Week 1 matchup against a formidable Seahawks offense ripe for prop bets.

The Seahawks have been a source of fantasy and gambling frustration when it comes to their running backs as they have stuck with the committee approach for the past few years. However, it’s safe to assume that Chris Carson will assume starter responsibilities as he did for much of last year and with Russell Wilson at the helm, it’s a safe bet to think Carson scores at least twice in some form.