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Ladies and gentlemen, we finally made it.

Football is back, baby, which means it’s time to load up the betting card for what should be an exciting week of action. I know you’re here for picks (and more importantly, winners), so I won’t waste any time getting to the good stuff. Check out my five best bets for NFL Week 1 and my favorite six-point teaser of the week.

NFL Week 1 Best Bets

Lamar Jackson looks on during a preseason game.
Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens looks on during a preseason game against the Washington Commanders | Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Favorite favorite: Baltimore Ravens -6.5 vs. New York Jets

Over the last four seasons, the Ravens are 3-1 in Week 1 games while outscoring their opponents by an average of… wait for it… 30.8(!!) points per game. No one gets his team ready for the start of the season better than John Harbaugh.

The Ravens, after an injury-plagued 2021-22 season, are mostly back to full health and ready to steal back the AFC North crown. On the other side of the ball, the Jets will be starting Joe Flacco with Zach Wilson out for the first few weeks of the season. I don’t see a scenario in which a 37-year-old Flacco can keep up with Lamar Jackson and Co., and I think this is maybe the biggest coaching mismatch of the Week 1 slate.

Give me Baltimore.

Favorite Underdog: Pittsburgh Steelers +7.5 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Everyone is going to be stumbling over themselves while rushing to the ticket counter to bet on the Bengals this week, but not me. Since 2000, the reigning Super Bowl losers have gone 4-18 against the spread in Week 1 the following season (per Action Network).

Mike Tomlin is also one of the most trustworthy coaches to back as an underdog. The longtime Steelers head coach is 14-6 against the spread and 11-9 straight up as an underdog on the road against AFC North opponents in his career (per Fox Sports). Pittsburgh always plays up to its competition, and I think Mitch Trubisky is much better than people give him credit for.

Quarterback is the only glaring difference between these two rosters, but Trubisky is good enough to cover this number and possibly pull off the upset.

Favorite Over: Arizona Cardinals vs. Kansas City Chiefs over 53.5

I don’t think Vegas could make this total high enough that I wouldn’t still like it. This is a matchup between two of the most explosive offenses and two of the worst secondaries in the NFL. And what do you get when you add those together?

Points, and a whole lot of them.

This is going to be an aerial attack from start to finish, and neither defense is going to put up enough resistance to keep the game in the 50s. Whichever team has the ball last is most likely going to win.

Favorite Under: Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers under 50.5

When you think of the Cowboys and the Buccaneers, you normally think of two high-powered offenses and easy overs, right? But not this week.

Both offensive line units in this matchup were decimated in the offseason. The Buccaneers lost Ali Marpet to retirement and Alex Cappa in free agency, and both Ryan Jensen and Aaron Stinnie suffered significant injuries in training camp. Tristan Wirfs also suffered an injury last month, and he may not be able to suit up in Week 1.

As for Dallas, the Cowboys lost three starters from last year’s squad with the departures of La’el Collins and Conner Williams and the recent injury to Tyron Smith. The talented defensive front sevens should control this matchup from start to finish, and I can’t see this going over the total.

Favorite underdog ML: New York Giants +198 vs. Tennessee Titans

The Giants have been a laughing stock for the last five years, but I’m optimistic about this group in 2022. Brian Daboll represents a massive upgrade at head coach over Joe Judge, and he should be able to elevate the offense from the jump.

As for the Titans, I see a ton of regression coming from a team that lost its top wideout in A.J. Brown. Brown kept opposing defenses from being able to stack the box and key on Derrick Henry in the run game, but Tennessee no longer has that downfield threat. I think the Titans are finally going to start losing close games this season, and it could start in Week 1.

Teaser of the Week


NFL Fantasy Forecast Week 1: Busts, Breakouts, Sleepers, and More

Baltimore Ravens -0.5/Las Vegas Raiders +9.5

I’ve already explained why I like the Ravens to cover -6.5 against the Jets, but I would be shocked if they didn’t at least win the game. Let’s bring them down to -0.5 in a six-point teaser and pray for no Flacco magic Sunday.

For the other leg, let’s go with the Raiders from +3.5 to +9.5. I see this game against the Chargers going similarly to last year’s regular season finally. Both teams will be able to score at will, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Las Vegas won the game outright. This one should go down to the wire, so I love getting more than a touchdown on either side.

All betting odds courtesy of FanDuel as of 9/11.

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