Week 1 is here. Nick Ballistreri previews the 5 Best Bets to get your betting season to a HOT start!
At long last, we have our first NFL Sunday. I know, it felt like forever. After a snoozer to open the season on Thursday night, we have a full slate of games to look forward to this weekend.
In this post, I’ll preview a couple games and give you my best bets for the week because let’s be honest…there’s nothing like going up big Week 1 and playing with house money. Let’s get into it.
49ers at Buccaneers
Week 1 is a huge week for both of these teams. To put it nicely, both of these teams struggled mightily last season, with the Bucs and 49ers only combining for 9 wins in 2018. The 49ers are hoping the return of QB Jimmy Garrappolo brings a spark to the club, while the Bucs are hanging onto the last thread of Jameis Winston’s potential…if that still exists.
To me, this game is too close to call. The Bucs are -1.5 favorites, but with the game being played in Tampa Bay, Vegas is basically saying these teams are even, and Tampa is only favored because of home-field. However, there is one thing I like in this game and that’s the total. The total is set at 50.5, which is relatively high, especially for an opener. That being said, both of these defenses are bad, while the offenses both have high-scoring potential.
This has the makings of a shootout, with lots of passing yards and little defense. Give me the over 50.5 in this one.
Pick: Bucs/49ers Over 50.5
Ravens at Dolphins
In a game featuring two of the powerhouses in the AFC…wait a minute, the Dolphins are the furthest thing from that. The Dolphins seem to have 1 thing in mind this year: tank for a better pick. They have slowly been shipping any NFL-caliber player on their roster to other teams for picks, including their young star tackle, Laremy Tunsil. What’s left of this team is not pretty, and they will be starting long-time journeyman QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick in this one, as opposed to their young and promising backup, Josh Rosen. To be honest, I’m not even sure they want to win any games this season.
The Ravens on the other hand have high hopes for this season. This will be Lamar Jackson’s first full season under center, and while he may have struggled passing the ball last year, he is simply an electric talent. Flanked by a strong offensive line, free agent RB Mark Ingram, and a plethora of young receivers, this offense may produce fireworks this season. The Ravens are -7 point favorites on the road, and while I am usually wary of such a huge favorite on the road, the Dolphins are not a normal NFL opponent. Take the points for the Ravens in this one.
Pick: Ravens -7
*BONUS PICK* Ravens/Dolphins over 39.5
Giants at Cowboys
Divisional games are always common in Week 1, but it seems like the Giants play the Cowboys every other season in Week 1. Both of these teams have different goals for the season. The Giants on one hand are riding the last of Eli Manning’s arm wherever he takes them, with promising rookie Daniel Jones waiting in the wings in case Manning implodes. A very solid possibility in my eyes. With Saquon Barkley in the backfield however, the Giants have the chance to break a touchdown on any given play.
The Cowboys to put it frankly, have Super Bowl expectations this season. After re-signing RB Ezekiel Elliott to a lucrative extension, they are putting all their chips on the table for their current roster. The talent on the roster should completely overwhelm the Giants in this one, and that is just what I expect to happen. The Cowboys are -7.5 point favorites in this one, and I believe the Cowboys enforce their will early and often, en route to a 2 score victory.
Pick: Cowboys -7.5
Falcons at Vikings
Analysts everywhere are falling in love with both of these teams, as they are both looking to bounce back from their disappointing 2018 campaigns. Both of these teams could easily make a Super Bowl run, but if they both missed the playoffs again, would anybody be surprised? I for one, wouldn’t be surprised by either.
The Falcons all of the sudden have some controversy, with Julio Jones saying he doesn’t know if he’ll suit up without a contract. At the time of this writing, no contract has been done, so it’s anyone’s guess if Julio will be in uniform come Sunday. The Vikings sport one of the league’s best defenses, and are getting Dalvin Cook back on the offensive side. Keep an eye on WR Stefon Diggs’ availability, but if he plays, the play here is simple. Give me the Vikings, but at their ML, not -4.
Pick: Vikings ML
Colts at Chargers
Before the shocking news that Andrew Luck has decided to hang them up, this had all the makings of the best game of Week 1. On paper, both teams were Super Bowl contenders looking to break through. Now, it’s anyone’s guess how Indianapolis will respond with the loss of their leader.
Although Luck is gone, the Colts roster is still one of the league’s most talented. Their defense is good, their skill players are explosive, and their offensive line is stacked. The only question mark is at QB, with Jacoby Brissett getting another chance. The Chargers will be without holdout RB Melvin Gordon, and star Safety Derwin James. The Chargers are the better team here, but with the line being set at 6.5, that is too steep for me. I expect the Chargers to struggle a bit out the gates with the loss of their stars, and the Colts have the talent to keep it close. The Chargers win, but the Colts cover.
Pick: Colts +6.5