NFL Week 1 Preview
After a long, baseball-filled summer, professional football is here. Check out Alex's picks and plays.
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
NFL Week 1: Everyone is Undefeated
Holy crap - we made it people! The seemingly endless drought of football got especially dry and dark in Texas and a lot of football countries where triple-digit temps are the new normal. Alas, we just might be finally turning the corner into fall weather and fall vibes, and let’s hope the NFL’s beginning is the harbinger of cooler air. The only thing we need to keep warm this fall are our picks - allow me to usher you through the NFL calendar so you can crush your pools and thicken those bankrolls.
Week One’s potpourri of games includes a handful of divisional matchups, and a Monday Night Football debut for Aaron Rodgers in Jets green. On the bankroll side of things, it’s worth noting that almost every spread is inside a touchdown. Just like us, Vegas will be doing some curious watching and posturing to gauge and assign value to all 32 teams. With a full slate of NFL and lots of small spreads, I see nothing but opportunity.
NFL Week 1 Games of the Week
Lions @ Chiefs (-6.5) - 8:20 pm ET (Thursday) - Naturally, we kick off with the defending world champions getting their rings, cheering to another title and likely beating the breaks off of the Lions, right? These aren't your same old Lions, as Dan Campbell has them coming off a winning season and the spread indicates it could be tight at Arrowhead. If it slips over a score the Detroit bet could look tasty!
49ers @ Steelers (+2.5) - 1:00 PM ET - Year two with Kenny Pickett at the helm begins, and Brock Purdy officially steps into life as a full-time starter. With the Trey Lance distraction gone and Sam Darnold as the backup, the path is clear for the Niners to repeat another NFC run. They step into a tricky road test in Pittsburgh, and the classic “West Coast team flying east for an early kick” slang will be tossed around all week with this game.
Packers @ Bears (-1) - 4:25 pm ET - If the Bears are favored over the Pack, that must mean Aaron Rodgers is gone, right? It’s the Jordan Love era’s birth in the biggest rivalry in the division, and an interesting test for the Packers offense on the road. On the other side, Justin Fields is as dynamic as ever and now has DJ Moore as a connection downfield, which may symbolize that things could be different this season in Chicago.
Dolphins @ Chargers (-3) - 4:25 pm ET - An energetic matchup of offenses that can put up points in a hurry. It’s Tua va Herbert in week one - one QB is a glass house on the verge of not being able to play football again, while the other is still waiting to fulfill expectations for his team. Has the feeling of an OVER game where we lose track of touchdowns.
Fishy Week 1 Lines to Watch
Eagles @ Patriots (+3.5) - 4:25 pm ET - Even as a Patriots fan, this one has me shaking. The Pats offense had virtually zero reps with their starters, and Mac Jones’ success under center is a big question mark. So why so little respect for the defending NFC Champions? Vegas must be thinking Bill Belichick will speed this game up in every way to keep his offense on the field and Jalen Hurts off of the field. I expect late money to come back in on Philly here.
Texans @ Ravens (-10) - 1 pm ET - I always have eyes on the biggest spread of the week, and that typically includes the Texans in recent years. Funny enough, I've found a lot of good spots for Houston where they have covered these big spreads. I don’t love them facing the Ravens off the bat, but if you’re in on C.J. Stroud or the fresh blood in Texans camp, there are lots of points and cushion to bet on the Texans with comfort.
Week 1 Primetime Showdown
Bills @ Jets (+2.5) - We’ve seen the Cowboys/Giants matchup on Sunday night football a gazillion times, so the one to truly lock in on is the MNF opener and the Jets debut of Aaron Rodgers. He finds himself a slight underdog at home - traditionalists will tell you that is red meat for public bettors getting AR12 and a couple of points at home. The point total of 46.5 is tantalizingly low for QBs who like to air it out.
Week 1 Plays To Watch
- Bears -1 - The Justin Fields MVP hype moment is going to happen early this season.
- Dolphins/Chargers Over 50.5 - Two offenses primed for an early season shootout
- Cowboys -3.5 - I have a weird feeling the Cowboys take care of business and leave the Giants flat-footed on their 2023 expectations.
- Texans +10 - I’m a sucker for betting on Houston in spots like this.
- Raiders/Broncos Over 44 - Russell finally simmers the pot and begins to cook in Denver - their defense still needs work.
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