NFL season has sneaked up on us, and the time is here to actually start locking in Week 1 wagers. Here’s what jumps out to me on the NFL Week 1 betting card on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team: OVER 43 (-110)
While all of this feels like just blind betting Week 1 since we’ve seen nothing so far, betting totals out of the gate feels pretty weird this season. How are these teams going to look after such a unique camp and no preseason? An interesting comparison is looking at the 2011 season following the lockout, and we actually saw overs go 14-2 in Week 1.
This total feels especially low for two questionable defenses that had a ton of trouble defending the opposing team last season. Washington was actually up 20-7 on Philly at halftime of Week 1 last season before the Eagles came storming back to win 32-27. That game hit 59 points, and we saw another 64 points from these teams when they matched up in Week 15 — a 37-27 Eagles victory. Even with Washington’s offensive limitations, it has enough playmakers in Terry McLaurin and everyone’s favorite sleeper, Antonio Gibson, to get some points of the board. A total of 43 seems pretty modest.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons: SEA ML (-124)
Seattle was a tremendous road team last season, going 5-2-1 ATS in the regular season, and 6-3-1 ATS when you include two postseason games away from home. The Seahawks were 8-2 straight up in those road contests, including a 27-20 victory in Atlanta, where the Falcons were a disappointing 3-5 in 2019.
The Falcons got a little bit of momentum, ending the season on a four-game winning streak, but I’m not convinced it will carry over to this season. They won as favorites over Carolina and Jacksonville and beat the Bucs as one-point dogs in a meaningless Week 17 game (a win over the 49ers as 10-point dogs was legit). However, I’m more interested in how Atlanta began last season, which was by going 1-7 and dropping five of their first six home games by an average of 13.8 points.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints: TB +3.5 (-110)
For starters, I’m buying into the Bucs hype this season. I know the trendy thing to do is fade them, but I think they’ve built a legitimate offense, and only strengthened it around Tom Brady. The concern with the Bucs is typically defense, but I think subtracting Jameis Winston’s turnovers and replacing him with Brady’s ability to protect the ball is going to do wonders for this team. Tampa didn’t grade out all that poorly on the defensive side of the ball, it was just put in awful positions by Winston’s 30 interceptions. TB12 hasn’t thrown 30 picks in the last four seasons combined. This swing should be huge.
Then we have the Saints, who notoriously come out of the gates slow. In their last 17 games played in Weeks 1 and 2, New Orleans is an atrocious 2-15 ATS! The Saints tend to bounce-back just fine as the season progresses, so keep that in mind, but early is where we want to fade them. I think Tampa gets this one outright if you also want to back the moneyline, but +3.5 is a key number that I’m very interested in.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants: PIT -5.5 (-110)
This is the first of two MNF games, both of which I have some interest in. The Steelers were banged up at pretty much every position last season, still managing to go 8-8 overall and 9-7 ATS. The Giants were terrible at 4-12 overall, and while they managed to go 7-9 ATS, most of that was covering huge numbers on the road. New York finished just 2-6 ATS at home, failing to cover their six losses by just over 12 points per game. It’s important to note that they generally lost by much more than that, as they just missed covering the spread by 12 points per game.
The Giants did make a splash by adding James Bradberry as a top cornerback, and shored up the offensive line at the top of the draft, but I’m not sure that’ll be enough to help this team improve enough to be taken seriously in 2020. The Steelers just getting all of their bodies back and healthy on offense should put them in a pretty good position to begin the season. I’m not confident Ben Roethlisberger can necessarily stay healthy, so I’m not betting on the Steelers on any futures, but I’ll take the value while it’s here.
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos: DEN +2.5 (-110)
I’ve really been loving this spot for the Broncos leading up to the season, and we recently saw them shrink from 1.5-point favorites to a PK when the Titans signed Jadeveon Clowney. Now we see more massive line movement with the news that Von Miller will miss the season for the Broncos. It’s devastating for Denver’s long-term output, but getting them at a better number in this game is still appealing to me.
The Titans are pretty much returning with what worked for them in the postseason last year and hoping it works again. They might have just caught lightning in a bottle in 2019, and can’t expect to just be able to run Derrick Henry down everyone’s throats to win games — especially on the road against what’s still a good defense without Miller. Denver’s offensive upside is what’s being slept on most, as it used its first two picks to add at WR, where Courtland Sutton was already breaking out as a star. I think a much improved passing attack, along with adding Melvin Gordon to stabilize the RB position should lead to a lot more production on offense.
Don’t bet this one until closer to kickoff, as I want to see how the next few days go following the Miller news. I also think we could see this one get to +3, which is a key number.
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