NFL Week 1 Lines, Totals and Picks
The NFL schedule was set in April and online sports betting sites immediately released NFL Week 1 lines.
For some teams, a lot has changed over four months, while things remain relatively constant for others. Online sportsbooks have adjusted accordingly, and with just two weeks until the NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday Night Football, it’s only proper to take an updated look at NFL Week 1 lines for all 16 games.
NFL Week 1 Lines
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears -3.5, O/U 46
The NFL season kicks off with the league’s oldest rivalry Thursday night, Sept. 5. Last season, the Bears won their first NFC North division championship since 2010. The Bears are one of the most popular NFL futures Super Bowl picks, and Mitch Trubisky is one of the most popular bets to win NFL MVP. A healthy Aaron Rodgers could have something to say about that as the Packers quarterback and new head coach Matt Lafleur try to take back the NFC North for the Cheesehead faithful.
The spread and the total have stayed steady since opening. Don’t plan for much line movement here, as there should be a healthy amount of bettors on both sides.
While bettors love the Bears and their 20/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, I think we can expect some regression similar to what we saw with the Vikings a year ago. I have a tough time not taking the points with Rodgers at the helm. Remember the comeback he pulled off in the season opener against Chicago last season?
Pick: Packers +3.5
If you’re looking for a more in-depth breakdown of our favorite NFL player props for Thursday night, click here.
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles -9, O/U 46
The Washington Redskins still don’t know who their quarterback will be, but judging by the preseason, Washington is in trouble regardless of who wins the job. That might be part of the reason why the spread has already moved a point towards Philadelphia after opening -8.
Comfortable with who they are, the Eagles have taken a conservative approach to the preseason. Their primary focus is staying healthy so they can take back the East from the Dallas Cowboys.
Whether it be Dwayne Haskins, Case Keenum or Colt McCoy, I have very little faith in the Redskins. Still, 9 points is a lot in the NFL. Instead, I like betting against this offense and taking Under 46 points.
Pick: Under 46
Los Angeles Rams vs. Carolina Panthers +3, O/U 51
Behind the Saints the Rams are the favorites to win the NFC and return to the Super Bowl. Carolina has high expectations after a disappointing 7-9 season left them on their couch during the playoffs. The game has moved half a point towards Carolina. Cam Newton sprained his ankle in Week 3 of the preseason, but he was seen walking without it just a few days after the injury. I fully expect him to be ready to go for Week 1.
It wasn’t but two years ago that the Panthers finished the 2017 season 11-5. With a strong arm, Cam Newton is an MVP candidate — it’s not like he hasn’t won the award before (‘15). Receiver Curtis Samuel sounds primed for a breakout year according to reports from training camp. Newton also has the No. 1 receiving back in the league in Christian McCaffrey
Don’t be surprised if we see a Super Bowl hangover from the Rams, which could be bad news in Week 1 if the Panthers’ offense turns out to be the real deal. Give me the home dog.
Pick: Panthers +3 (+105) (use our PointsBet promo code to get these odds)
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars +3.5, O/U 52
Is Patrick Mahomes due for a sophomore slump? Can Jacksonville finally provide enough offensive support for their stellar defense? The latter seems more likely than the former. Jacksonville finally parted ways with Blake Bortles, signing Nick Foles as their starting quarterback. Jacksonville wants to pass the ball more with their new quarterback, which will help running back Leonard Fournette stay healthy.
The Kansas City offense put up 30 points against Jacksonville in Week 5 last season. As good as this Jacksonville defense is I think Mahomes & Co. is better. With about 75% of money backing the Jaguars early, per VegasInsider.com, the spread has fallen from Kansas City -5 to -3.5 at most online sports betting sites. A field goal game wouldn’t surprise me, so I’m going to take the moneyline -200 here. I also like for another low scoring matchup, relatively speaking, for the two teams.
Picks: Kansas City Moneyline -200; Under 52
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets -3, O/U 39.5
We get to see two second-year first-round draft picks go head to head in this one. Sam Darnold has looked much improved in training camp. Darnold has thrown for two touchdowns on two drives in the first two preseason games of the year. That should surprise no one, considering Darnold was one of the best quarterbacks during the last month of the 2018 regular season (105.6 QBR in his last six games). In fact, Darnold closed 2018 without throwing an interception in his final 114 passes. Darnold and the Jets offense could make a huge leap in 2019, but one concern is head coach Adam Gase’s historically slow pace of play.
Darnold isn’t the only reason why the Jets offense could make strides this season; the Jets also have Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. Bell has yet to play in the preseason, but he should be fresh after a year hiatus.
This is all about the Jets for me, but the Bills offense can expect to be better than last year. Josh Allen was a major threat with his legs in 2018, and he should have a dependable short-yardage target in Cole Beasley. We saw the duo connect five times in Week 2 of the preseason.
I’m backing the Jets here, but I also like these teams to combine for a healthy dose of points while the weather is still nice in New York.
Picks: Jets -3, Over 39 (use our DraftKings Sportsbook promo code to get these odds)
Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns -5.5, O/U 45.5
Let’s rewind two years ago. Who would have thought, at that time, that we’d be talking about the Cleveland Browns as the most popular Super Bowl bet in 2019? It wasn’t so long ago that people were betting on whether the Browns would just win a game. Well, a lot has changed since then, and with hype surrounding the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr. bettors are filing into the Dawg Pound.
Almost 80% of money (VegasInsider) is on the Browns in their Week 1 matchup against Tennessee. It’s still unclear who will start at quarterback — Tannehill or Mariotta — for the Titans.
At first glance, the Browns stick out as the bet, but I can’t help to think the Browns enter the season a bit overvalued. The games that look easy never end up quite as they appear. I don’t want to be burned by OBJ, but I also don’t want to overreact to all the hype. I’m passing on this one altogether.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings -4, O/U 47.5
The Vikings got all the hype entering 2018, but expectations have been tempered after failing to make the playoffs. Minnesota appears to be diverging to a more balanced offense, maybe even a run-first philosophy with a healthy Dalvin Cook, than we’ve seen in recent seasons.
The Falcons also look to bounce back after missing the playoffs in 2018. Lucky for Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, their first nine games are indoors. The Atlanta front office placed a heavy emphasis on acquiring talent for the offensive line, which will serve Ryan well after being the 8th-most sacked quarterback.
My first instinct is to run away from any team that is even thinking about adopting a run-first philosophy, especially when their receivers include Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs. I’ll take the Falcons on the road in a dome.
Remember, you can easily find where to bet the best number (Atlanta +4.5) by using our NFL odds comparison tool, a new RotoGrinders tool that should be utilized as you bet throughout the NFL season.
Picks: Falcons +4.5
Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins +5, O/U 37
Averaging 17 carries a game, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson ran the ball more than he passed in 2018. The Ravens aren’t trying to take his legs away, but they want to get him more comfortable in the pocket. He might have endured a lecture after an impressive preseason touchdown run that was later called back against the Green Bay Packers.
The Dolphins have looked lost on offense in the preseason, but it is just the preseason. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the leading candidate for the starting quarterback job over Josh Rosen. Neither quarterback has shown enough to lock down the job. Whoever ends up the starter against the Ravens won’t have a lot of talent surrounding them, which explains why the Dolphins have a league-low 5 game win total across online sports betting sites.
Unsurprisingly, this spread has moved from Miami +3.5 to Miami +5 at most sites. We might be a little late to the party, but partying is better than not partying at all. And again, if you use our NFL odds comparison tool you can find the Ravens at -4.
Pick: Ravens -4 (use our DraftKings Sportsbook promo code to get these odds)
Indianapolis Colts vs. Los Angeles Chargers -3, O/U 47.5
Update: With the news of Andrew Luck retirement, the Chargers have moved to 7-point favorites at FanDuel and 7.5-point favorites at DraftKings. If you already backed the Chargers -3, then I recommend trying to middle the game by betting on Indianapolis +7.5.
The Colts might start the season without Andrew Luck again. In fact, every day it’s looking more and more like Jacoby Brissett will start in the season opener against the Chargers. Some online sportsbooks have taken the game off the board due to the lack of clarity.
Brissett has gotten the job done before, but Chargers -3 still seems like great value. Hop on this one before it moves to -4.
Pick: Chargers -3
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Seattle Seahawks -9, O/U 43.5
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton already has to start the season without injury-prone wide receiver A.J. Green. Dalton might be without receiver John Ross for the Week 1 opener against the Seahawks as well. Seattle opened as 7.5-point favorites, but the spread has moved to 10 points at some shops. I don’t want anything to do with the Bengals or the Seahawks giving 10 points.
Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals +2.5, O/U 47.5
The Cardinals joined the latest trend in the NFL by hiring a young offensive mind this offseason. Arizona brought in Kliff Kingsbury after Kingsbury was fired by his alma mater, Texas Tech, for consecutive losing seasons in the Big 12. Somehow, the Ryan Gosling look-alike found himself promoted to the NFL.
Some fans are already growing sour on Kingsbury and rookie Kyler Murray after ugly preseason outings. Kingsbury has been adamant that their preseason offense is intentionally “vanilla.” While we shouldn’t jump the gun after two preseason games, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of this Cardinals team.
For one, their defense is going to be bad, and the worst of it will be early in the season. Arizona is without their two best cornerbacks, Patrick Peterson (suspension) and Robert Alford (leg injury) for the first six games of 2019. Also worth pointing out is Kingsbury’s track record at Texas Tech. The three worst Texas Tech offenses over the last 12 years were during Kingsbury’s tenure. Are the Cardinals really getting an offensive genius, or did Kingsbury just luckbox into coaching Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes?
Arizona won’t be stopping teams, and regardless of how you feel about the Kingsbury-Murray experiment long term, the two are in for their fair share of growing pains. Bet against Arizona early and often.
Pick: Lions -2.5
San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1, O/U 49.5
Jimmy Garoppolo returns to the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a non-contact ACL tear in Week 3 last season. So far, Garoppolo hasn’t looked great in practice. At one point in training camp, the high-priced quarterback threw three interceptions on five consecutive passes against the 49ers secondary. The good news is that the 49ers defense is much improved from last year, according to GM John Lynch.
Completing just one pass for zero yards and an interception, Garoppolo didn’t look much sharper in his first taste of preseason action against the Denver Broncos. He’ll have a much easier test against Tampa Bay’s defense, but I still prefer to fade Jimmy G and the 49ers early.
Pick: Buccaneers -1
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys -7.5 , O/U 46.5
The Dallas Cowboys’ front office has had a drama-filled preseason, not the least of which included running back Ezekiel Elliot’s holdout. Tension has escalated between the two parties after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones jokingly responded “Zeke who?” to a question from the media.
Eli Manning will start for the New York Giants, but injuries to Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman have already plagued the receiving corps. Not to mention the fact that No. 1 receiver Golden Tate will serve a suspension for the first month of the season.
Who knows if Elliot will be ready to go for the season opener. The Cowboys also have to worry about receiver Amari Cooper, who is inactive this preseason as a result of a heel. Quarterback Dak Prescott looked like an entirely different player with Cooper on the field for the last half of 2018.
With so many moving parts in question, I’ll stay away from a side in this one. Instead, give me Under 46.5 points. Cowboys will focus on stopping Saquon Barkley and I don’t think Eli Manning can score enough points for this to go Over.
Picks: Under 46.5 (use our PointsBet promo code to get these odds)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots -6, O/U 51
Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady meet again, but this time, the future Hall-of-Famers face off without Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. The perfect topping for Sunday night, this game will be as exciting of a matchup as we get NFL Week 1.
New England prioritized strengthening their defense in the offseason. I don’t expect a down year from either team, even in the absence of Brown and Gronkowski, but neither offense should expect the same explosiveness they’ve played with in recent seasons.
51 isn’t much different than the totals of their last five matchups (55.5, 52.5, 49.5, 49, and 51). For what it’s worth, the Under hit in four of those five games. With the Patriots’ upgraded defense I like the trend to continue.
Picks: Under 52 (Use Rotogrinders NFL odds comparison tool to find out where to get this number)
Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints -7, O/U 53.5
In the first of two Monday Night Football games, the New Orleans Saints are favored by a touchdown as Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins travel to the Superdome. Will Fuller returns to the field after an injury-ridden 2018, and the Texans added Duke Johnson in the backfield. Johnson should be utilized more than he was in Cleveland. This is a big spread against Houston’s prolific offense, but the Texans lose two key defensive players from last year’s squad and they did little to improve a suspect offensive line.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton says he wants to keep Alvin Kamara ‘s workload close to what it was a year ago, so the Saints bring in Latavius Murray after losing Mark Ingram. I’ll probably stay away from this one, but I’ll have the Over if I get an itch to play.
Pick: Over 53.5
Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders -1.5, O/U 43
The Denver Broncos will put out one of the best defenses in the league, but it could get ugly on the other side of the ball. Joe Flacco has thrown three pick-sixes in scrimmages. I’m not sure who that says more about – the offense or the defense. Oakland has its own problems trying to get their star receiver on the field. Expect the Raiders to aim at establishing the run after using the No. 24 overall pick on rookie running back Josh Jacobs.
Pick: Under 43
Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images