NFL WEEK 1: Ahhh… you can feel it in the air, can’t you? The NFL is finally back, and with it another opportunity to turn our knowledge into cold, hard cash. And with 2% commission on all matched bets, there’s simply no better place to get involved than BETDAQ.
Week 1 can be an absolute minefield, with last season’s results, offseason moves, and other variables combining to produce strong opinions that often turn out to be misguided. Some bettors I know sit out the first week of the NFL season entirely, but after waiting seven long months for the sweet nectar known as football, I will be doing no such thing.
The Falcons and the Eagles get things rolling on Thursday night, and the steady love that bettors have shown Atlanta over the past few days makes you think that the defending Super Bowl champs may be able to bring back those dog masks after all. Carson Wentz is not yet fully recovered from the knee injury he sustained late last season, but Nick Foles was last seen out-dueling Tom Brady on the sports’s biggest stage, so the Philly offense should be just fine until Wentz returns.
With a full Sunday slate and two Monday night games on tap, Week 1 promises the football feast that we’ve been waiting all summer for. A little something extra in our pockets come Tuesday morning is the goal, and with that in mind, here are a few recommendations:
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins (Ten -1.5, 45)
Recommendation: Miami moneyline at 2.02
Miami is projected by many to be among the worst teams in the AFC, but I believe the Dolphins are going to be dangerous, particularly early in the season. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is healthy again and should be intimately familiar with Adam Gase’s up-tempo offense, so I anticipate a crisp, clean performance against a Titans defense that really struggled against the pass in 2017 and totally rebuilt the secondary in the offseason.
On the other side of the ball, Titans QB Marcus Mariota will be adjusting to new coordinator Matt LaFleur’s offense while facing a beefed-up Miami pass rush that now features 2-time Pro Bowler Robert Quinn in addition to sack specialist Cameron Wake. Factor in what’s sure to be a hot, humid South Florida summer day, and you get an idea of what Mariota will be dealing with as he attempts to rebuild his reputation after failing to meet expectations last season. I like Miami’s chances here as a slight home ‘dog.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers (LA -3.5, 48)
Recommendation: LA -3.5 at 1.93
The Chargers started 0-4 last season, and though they won 9 of their final 12 games they could never quite dig out of the hole and wound up narrowly missing the playoffs. With a veteran team returning, expectations high and the taste of disappointment still fresh, I expect these Chargers to put extra emphasis on the first few games of 2018.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, will be breaking in a new quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, and though the team is apparently high on Mahomes and feels he will be a long-term upgrade over Alex Smith, this will be just his second career NFL start, and it will be on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses. As a bettor, I don’t much like the sound of that. Expect the Bolts to start the season on the right foot with a relatively comfortable win.
Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos (Den -3, 42.5)
Recommendation: Seattle +3 at 1.89
The Legion of Boom is no more, but if you’re expecting a Seattle defense with a few new faces to totally unravel, you may wind up disappointed. A few long-time stalwarts (Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, K.J. Wright, etc.) remain, and there’s some intriguing young talent, especially up front. This Seattle D might not be a top-5 unit anymore, but I bet they’re closer to top-5 than bottom-5 this season, and this week they face a Denver offense that was utterly punchless in 2017, averaging fewer points than all but five teams leaguewide.
To address their offensive woes, the Broncos gave $18 million to quarterback Case Keenum this offseason— an interesting decision, to say the least. Though Keenum did play well in Minnesota last year, he had a long and decidedly undistinguished career prior to that, and I have serious doubts as to whether he’s somebody who can turn around a bad offense. And though the Broncos should be solid defensively once again, they’ll have their hands full on Sunday with a Seattle offense led by Russell Wilson, who has developed into one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks. I think the wrong team is favored here.
New York Jets @ Detroit Lions (Mon.) (Det -6.5, 45)
Recommendation: Detroit -6.5 at 1.89
The Matt Patricia era begins in Detroit on Monday night, and from the looks of it the Lions couldn’t have drawn a much better opponent— the Jets were 5-11 last season, losing 6 of their final 7 games, and they’ll be going with rookie Sam Darnold at quarterback, who is set to become the youngest starting QB in NFL history at 21 years, 97 days old. Plus, the Jets weren’t just bad in 2017, they were the type of team that was blown out frequently, with 8 of their 11 losses coming by 7 points or more.
The Lions return a potent offense led by Matt Stafford and the elite wideout tandem of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, and the defense should improve under the guidance of Patricia, one of the league’s most respected defensive strategists. And we must stress again that this week’s opponent ranked 28th in total offense last season, averaged fewer than 19 points per game, and will be led by a 21-year old rookie quarterback. So while the Lions are notoriously unreliable and will be dealing with the uncertainty that comes with a new coaching staff, they’re the clear favorites in this matchup and a good bet to cover the 6.5-point number.