The NFL season kicked off in earnest Thursday night time with the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams falling to the Buffalo Bills 31-10. It was the primary significant recreation motion for followers — and bettors — however now the true enjoyable begins. Sunday’s Week 1 contains a full slate of 14 video games to doubtlessly wager on. There are storylines galore this weekend, with Russell Wilson going through off towards his former crew on Monday Night Football, an NFL-record 10 residence groups enjoying the position of underdog, a Buccaneers-Cowboys rematch and far, way more.

If you are seeking to make some bets, you’ve got come to the correct place. Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Tyler Fulghum, Joe Fortenbaugh, Anita Marks and Erin Dolan, fantasy and sports activities betting analysts Eric Moody and Andre Snellings, ESPN Stats & Information’s Seth Walder, ESPN analyst Jason Fitz and Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz present insights into the video games and provide their tips and picks.

Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook until in any other case indicated.


What is your greatest betting storyline coming into Week 1?

Schatz: My greatest storyline coming into Week 1 is the way in which the NFL has gotten extra condensed than in earlier years. Football Outsiders numbers, at the least, recommend a league wherein the distinction between the very best and worst groups is smaller than regular. Part of the rationale for that is all that big-name participant motion from this previous offseason, with the very best groups dropping expertise primarily to lower-rated groups. (Von Miller going from the Rams to the Bills is an exception.) Since 2011, Week 1 has averaged 2.5 video games with a line over seven factors. This yr, there is just one such line, Indianapolis (-8) at Houston … and our preseason projections recommend taking the underdog in that recreation.

Kezirian: I agree with Aaron in that the NFL betting market is tighter than ever. So after we examine Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s legendary ATS (towards the unfold) run to that of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana from the Nineteen Eighties, it’s virtually apples and oranges. It’s only a completely different (betting) world now. However, Week 1 is nowhere near a solidified market and might throw a whole lot of curveballs, very similar to we noticed final yr with a document 9 underdogs profitable outright. So I’d say that enormous unknown is that this week’s greatest storyline, particularly with many of the sizable favorites on the highway.

Moody: Russell Wilson’s capacity to succeed underneath middle for the Denver Broncos towards his former crew in prime time with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy in an offense constructed round his strengths is a storyline I’ll be watching intently. During his Seattle Seahawks teaching profession, Pete Carroll is 19-8-1 towards the unfold as a house underdog. It may come as a shock, however Geno Smith is 6-3 towards the unfold as a starter and residential underdog. Week 1’s Monday Night Football recreation will probably be intriguing from a betting perspective as a result of Wilson is taken into account an MVP candidate and the Broncos are within the Super Bowl dialog.

Marks: I agree with Eric. Wilson returning to Seattle to face his former crew is the story of Week 1. I really like Denver -6.5; #RunDontWalk earlier than it jumps as much as 7 or 7.5 earlier than kickoff! Another prime storyline for me is that I do not perceive the love affair many analysts have for Trey Lance. Lance has little or no soccer expertise, together with going through subpar competitors in faculty. I simply do not consider he is able to win video games within the NFL. And the 49ers are a crew that’s constructed to win proper now! San Francisco renegotiating Jimmy Garoppolo‘s contract, together with Lance not being voted a crew captain, screams hassle within the Bay. The Bears (+7) and Lance INT (+120) are price enjoying.

Snellings: I’m all around the plethora of superstars coming into Week 1 with one thing to show and favorable matchups. Patrick Mahomes has spent the summer season listening to about how he’ll wrestle with out Tyreek Hill, whereas Kyler Murray had a comply with/unfollow get together along with his crew earlier than signing an enormous extension that has individuals publicly questioning him. I feel each placed on a present and that Kansas City Chiefs-Arizona Cardinals recreation goes over. There’s no telling what Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, contemporary off lacking the playoffs and missing a contract extension, may do towards the Jets. The Titans’ Derrick Henry may rush for 200 yards in his wholesome return towards the Giants. Aaron Rodgers will probably be anxious to point out that he can nonetheless lead the Packers to victory with out Davante Adams, which makes me like Green Bay even towards a tricky Vikings squad. Almost throughout the board, I’ll be discovering the elite gamers and backing them and their groups in Week 1.


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There are an NFL-record 10 residence underdogs. Which one do you want probably the most? How many do you suppose will win?

Fulghum: I do not like hardly any of them to win outright. If I needed to decide the most certainly residence ‘canine to win it might be the Detroit Lions (+4 vs. Eagles) or Minnesota Vikings (+1.5 vs. Packers). Ultimately, I feel two to 3 of the 9 enjoying on Sunday/Monday win outright. However, I feel a number of of those residence ‘canine present some worth ATS — particularly residence underdogs in Week 1 division matchups. It could also be scary to guess on the Colts and Falcons towards superior competitors, however since 2014, underdogs in Week 1 divisional matchups are 28-9-2 ATS (76%). Just one thing to think about.

Fortenbaugh: A little bit of a cop-out right here as a result of it is the most affordable residence underdog on the board, however I’d again Minnesota to win outright. Green Bay is dropping roughly 30% of its receiving manufacturing from final season with Adams becoming a member of the Raiders, and I feel it could take a number of video games for this offense to seek out its groove. Minnesota performs significantly better — particularly on the defensive facet of the ball — at residence than on the highway. The splits are dramatic.

Dolan: I must decide the Cardinals +6, given how a lot this line has moved. The Chiefs had been -3 after which obtained as excessive as -6.5 during the last couple of days. The Cardinals sometimes play higher to begin off the season, as we have seen the previous two seasons. The Cardinals are 3-0 ATS in Week 1 since 2019, 6-0 ATS as an underdog and 4-1 ATS towards nonconference groups since 2021. Kansas City continues to be deadly with Mahomes and Andy Reid, however I’d quite take the 6 factors on this spot given how a lot the road has moved.

Last yr’s opener was Buccaneers-Cowboys and was a traditional. We have the rematch a yr later within the Sunday prime time. The Bucs are a 2.5-point favourite on the highway (whole 50.5). What do you want?

Fulghum: I just like the underneath within the 2022 model of this matchup. Both groups have taken huge hits to their offensive rosters. The Cowboys have misplaced the next gamers from final yr’s No. 1-ranked offense both by way of commerce, free company, harm or retirement: WR Amari Cooper, WR Cedrick Wilson, LT Tyron Smith, RT La’el Collins. For the Bucs: G Ali Marpet, G Alex Cappa, C Ryan Jensen, G Aaron Stinnie, WR Antonio Brown, TE Rob Gronkowski and doubtlessly WR Chris Godwin coming off ACL surgical procedure. I’m sorry, that is simply means an excessive amount of. Plus each groups in the mean time can tout a transparent power on the defensive facet of the ball.

Fortenbaugh: Under 50.5. Bad offensive strains don’t journey effectively within the National Football League. This matchup options not one, however two suspect offensive strains. That means it is going to be a grind attempting to not solely set up the run, however holding up in cross safety on a constant foundation as effectively.

Kezirian: The underneath is my favourite play of Week 1. Both offensive strains have skilled important accidents. Tampa Bay will be unable to purchase Brady time to throw deep, and thus he might want to matriculate the offense down the sector. And Dallas was dealt a big blow with Smith’s accidents. The eight-time Pro Bowler has missed 20 video games over the previous two seasons, and his absence has a direct influence. Without him, the Dallas offense averaged .7 yards much less per rush and .7 yards much less per cross try. The sack price additionally will increase from 4.2% to six.2%.

Moody: Like a lot of my colleagues, I just like the underneath. The Buccaneers’ final eight video games towards NFC groups have hit the underneath. Five of the Cowboys’ final six video games towards the Buccaneers have gone underneath the whole. Tampa Bay ought to cowl the two.5-point unfold. The Buccaneers’ offense is loaded with expertise, whereas the Cowboys lack playmakers outdoors of CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. The offensive line additional complicates Dallas’ state of affairs. By pressuring Dak Prescott early and infrequently, the Buccaneers’ defensive position may disrupt the Cowboys’ passing recreation.

Marks: I nonetheless can not consider the Cowboys aren’t favored at residence — in prime time — towards a Bucs crew that may be a shell of themselves. The Bucs offensive line is a multitude with Ryan Jenson and Aaron Stinnie injured, Ali Marpet gone, and Tristan Wirfs is coping with an indirect harm. Brady is horrible underneath stress (44.8% completion share final season when pressured). There are accidents to the Bucs’ WRs, Gronk is just not coming to the rescue, and Brady took an 11-day break from coaching camp to cope with private points. Micah Parsons begins his DPOY tour on Sunday night time. Give me the Cowboys on the ML (+120) and Parsons with a sack.

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Field Yates breaks down how the Davante Adams commerce will have an effect on Aaron Rodgers’ inventory in fantasy.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (-1.5, 47) are in Minnesota for his or her first recreation with out Davante Adams. Adams and the Raiders (+3, 52) face the Los Angeles Chargers. How do you see each video games?

Schatz: I feel Packers-Vikings is a surprisingly even matchup, so I’ll take the Vikings to stun followers with an early win and canopy. Our projections have the 2 groups neck-and-neck for the season, predicting a rebound for the Vikings on each offense (Kirk Cousins could be very constant in his good-not-greatness) and protection (the place they need to have way more cross rush than final season). I’m much less excited in regards to the Packers’ protection than typical knowledge, as a result of the Packers have not had a superb protection for years, and it’ll take a extremely good yr from these rookies to show it round.

I feel Chargers-Raiders goes to be an ideal matchup, and the Chargers are actually going to overlook J.C. Jackson within the secondary. Despite that absence, I’m going to be contrarian and recommend that my guess on this recreation can be to go underneath 52. The Chargers play at a slower tempo than you in all probability anticipate, and final yr the primary matchup between these groups was not as high-scoring as you suppose it was. (It went underneath the quantity, which was coincidentally additionally 52.)

Marks: I’ve the Vikings profitable the NFC North. New head coach Kevin O’Connell has a plethora of expertise at his disposal, and I am unable to wait to see it unleashed. Cousins is likely one of the most underrated QBs within the league, and this might presumably be his most interesting season. On the defensive facet of the ball, Za’Darius Smith has beef with the Packers group and plans to take it out on Rodgers alongside a wholesome Danielle Hunter. Rodgers will probably be with out Adams, presumably Alan Lazard, and he may need to depend on a corps of rookie broad receivers. Give me the Vikings at residence with the factors (+1.5) and Aaron Jones over receiving props.

Moody: The NFC North energy hierarchy may change in 2022, and the Vikings may fill the void. O’Connell, previously of the Rams, will convey a pass-heavy offense to Minnesota, which ought to take a look at the Packers protection in Week 1. The Vikings have a 32-17 document at residence since 2016, the second-best residence document within the division over that span behind the Packers and the seventh-best within the league. In the previous, the Vikings have completed effectively towards the unfold when they’re underdogs at residence. In Week 1, I’m backing them.

The AFC West is loaded this season, and we get to see two of the groups face off towards one another within the first week of the season. Los Angeles’ protection was upgraded in an enormous means this offseason, however the Raiders, who ranked sixth in passing yards per recreation final season even with out Davante Adams, may pose a problem. It will probably be tough for the Chargers to defend Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. Since that is trying like a high-scoring recreation, I’m leaning towards the over.

Snellings: Though I just like the Vikings this season, I’ll go along with the Packers to win a low-scoring recreation within the opener. While all the eye is on Adams’ departure and the shortage of brand-name receivers in Green Bay this yr, the Packers quietly have one of many strongest 1-2 punches at operating again within the NFL in Jones and AJ Dillon. And whereas the Vikings’ cross rush needs to be higher, their run protection was susceptible final season. They allowed the eighth-most dashing yards within the NFL final season and completed within the backside third in fantasy factors allowed to opposing operating backs as a composite measure of how opposing operating video games did towards them. I anticipate Rodgers and the Packers to lean on that run recreation and their protection and grind out a win.

The Chargers come into this season feeling like a crew of future. I’m excessive on the Raiders on the season, however I really feel just like the Chargers needs to be higher on either side of the ball. The Raiders’ offense is robust sufficient to place factors on the board to problem, however that ought to push your entire recreation over with the Chargers masking.

What are the three most vital issues that our analytics say (FPI)?

Packers (-1.5) at Vikings. FPI is all in on the Packers — it makes them Super Bowl favorites — and that is the primary actual take a look at to see how Green Bay fares with out Adams. It’s price noting, although, that Green Bay is not simply presupposed to be a powerful offensive crew; their protection ranks third in FPI score too. Plus, final season the Packers had been awfully profitable within the common season regardless of enjoying most of it with out three of its finest six gamers: Jaire Alexander, David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. While well being stays a query, it is doable they will have all three again Sunday. — Walder

FPI prediction: Packers by 4.6

Cardinals (+6) vs. Chiefs. Just just like the Packers, the Chiefs are a famous person quarterback-led crew with a wonderful offense that simply misplaced its begin broad receiver. Unlike the Packers, the Chiefs are weak on protection. The crew lacks an outdoor cross rush, and FPI estimates they’re at the moment the seventh-worst protection within the NFL. FPI sees Arizona as roughly common; although the way in which final season ended left a poor closing impression, they nonetheless have an above common quarterback. That’s sufficient, in FPI’s thoughts, to maintain this inside a discipline purpose for Arizona at residence. — Walder

FPI prediction: Chiefs by 1.3

Bears (+7) vs. 49ers. This is actually all about Trey Lance, as a result of FPI has completely no love for the Bears; it thinks Chicago is the worst crew within the league! What it is not shopping for is the belief that the 49ers will simply be good with a digital unknown at quarterback. And an unknown at QB interprets not solely to a variety of outcomes, but in addition a reasonably weak median final result. Even with strengths at different elements of San Francisco’s roster, FPI would not suppose a 7-point unfold on the highway is warranted. — Walder

FPI prediction: 49ers by 4.8

What is your finest guess for Week 1?

Schatz: Houston +8 vs. Indianapolis. Houston is notably mediocre this season. I imply that in the very best gentle, as mediocrity would not go 4-13. It goes 7-10. The Texans have loaded their roster with high quality rookies and affordable, however unexciting veterans. Football Outsiders projections aren’t enthusiastic about Frank Reich resuscitating Matt Ryan‘s profession, so we have got your entire AFC South projected as under common. That places these groups lots nearer collectively than typical knowledge believes. I just like the Colts to win, however the Texans have a powerful likelihood to cowl.

Fulghum: 49ers -7 at Bears. I’ll continuously be choosing on the Bears this season. In this explicit matchup, Justin Fields and the offense ought to wrestle significantly to maneuver the ball effectively towards an elite 49ers protection that made it to the NFC Championship a season in the past. Kyle Shanahan should not have any drawback scheming towards a Bears protection that has been declining for a few years and now not has Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. This is a huge mismatch within the trenches on either side of the ball, and that ought to mitigate any QB issues you’ll have about Lance. The 49ers ought to dominate this recreation.

Walder: Kyle Pitts underneath 58.5 receiving yards (-101). Our ESPN Analytics projection places Pitts’ quantity at 49.6, absolutely acknowledging that he is clearly the highest receiving choice on the crew and assuming he’ll preserve the 20% goal share he recorded final yr. The drawback? As far because the mannequin sees it, there simply aren’t going to be a ton of yards to go round with Marcus Mariota on the helm, and that dampens Pitts’ projection. In addition, relative to his friends, Pitts runs numerous crossing routes — that are much less efficient towards two-man protection, which the Saints ran greater than some other crew by a mile final season. Two-man will not be as straightforward to deploy towards Mariota, who’s extra cellular than Ryan, however it’s nonetheless a lightweight knock towards Pitts on this recreation.

Moody: Brandon Aiyuk over 47.5 receiving yards (-119). It was wonderful when Aiyuk absolutely grasped Shanahan’s offensive scheme through the second half of final season. In 5 of the final 10 video games, Aiyuk completed with 85 or extra yards. He had 16 receptions of 20 yards or extra and averaged 6.7 yards after the catch. Aiyuk’s 9.8 aDOT (common depth of goal) was the very best amongst 49ers receivers. This makes him a superb match with Lance, whose arm power could be very able to attacking defenses deep. Furthermore, Aiyuk was hailed as having the very best rapport with Lance throughout coaching camp. The receiver is effectively positioned to exceed this prop.

Marks: Ravens -1 and Colts -1 in teaser. A wholesome Ravens squad to begin the season is harmful, on either side of the ball, and the Jets with Joe Flacco makes this a recipe for disaster. John Harbaugh is aware of Flacco effectively, so anticipate an extended day for Joe behind a subpar offensive line. Lamar Jackson and his flock ought to have the ability to rating at will. Matty Ice is a large enchancment on the QB place for a Colts offense that runs by way of Jonathan Taylor (he’ll arrange play motion completely for Ryan). The Colts protection is likely one of the most underrated items coming into the season. They have the potential to rank within the prime 5. Houston did little or no to offer Davis Mills with extra weapons.

Snellings: Ravens -7 at Jets. This looks like stealing cash, even with the Ravens on the highway. Lamar and the Ravens come into this season with a ton to show and large chips on their shoulders. They’re coming off what simply seemed to be a playoff season earlier than accidents broke them down, they usually needed to watch one in all their division mates leapfrog all of them the way in which to the Super Bowl. Jackson goes to attempt to placed on a present all season in a contract yr. The Ravens are wholesome and able to present that they deserve the highest spot within the North. And they’re going through a Jets crew lacking their prime quarterback and their finest offensive linemen, helmed by an outdated and stationary Flacco. This simply appears like a blowout ready to occur.

What is your favourite participant prop?

Fulghum: David Montgomery underneath 52.5 dashing yards (-142). As talked about above, the 49ers protection ought to dominate the woeful Bears OL on the level of assault. That alone goes to considerably hinder Montgomery’s effectivity. Then there may be the query of quantity. As a 7-point underdog, Montgomery may shortly be a unfavourable recreation script that requires the Bears to play catch-up for many of the recreation. And in the event you consider that Khalil Herbert is a gifted praise, he too may steal snaps from Montgomery, who owned the most effective roles for quantity within the league final yr.

Fortenbaugh: Trey Lance over 38.5 dashing yards. Nobody schemes a greater dashing assault than 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Given San Francisco is going through one of many worst defensive strains within the NFL, anticipate a heavy dose of the bottom and pound from the 49ers on Sunday. Not solely would I anticipate a number of designed runs known as for Lance, however as a younger quarterback on the highway in Week 1, do not be shocked if he decides to tuck and run ought to the chance current itself.

Walder: Donovan Peoples-Jones over 2.5 receptions (+136). My favourite guess is a prop (above), however why not throw one other in right here? Peoples-Jones averaged 2.4 receptions per recreation final yr, when Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. had been absorbing targets at the least a few of the time. Now, he is the No. 2 wideout after Amari Cooper, solely preventing off gamers like David Njoku and rookie David Bell. My projections put Peoples-Jones at 3.35 receptions in Week 1, a simple over given the plus cash.

Moody: Derrick Henry over 10.5 receiving yards (-101). Henry was on monitor to have a profession season as a receiver out of the backfield earlier than his foot harm final season. He averaged 19.2 receiving yards per recreation. In Week 1 towards the Giants, I’d be shocked if Henry wasn’t extra concerned within the passing recreation for a Titans crew with 351 obtainable targets.

Marks: Saquon Barkley over 29.5 receiving yards (-110). I’m excited to see Brian Daboll’s new offense he has delivered to New York to assist resuscitate Daniel Jones. It will start and finish with Barkley, particularly within the passing recreation. I anticipate Saquon to have over 70 receptions this season, and it begins on Sunday towards the Titans. Hopefully you drafted him in your fantasy soccer crew!

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