NFL Week 1 Odds, Picks: Predictions for Bengals vs Browns, Cowboys vs Giants, More
Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Henry (left) and Daniel Jones (right).
It's time to lock in NFL Week 1 picks and predictions.
Some of our NFL betting analysts made their Week 1 picks back in May when the schedule came out. Needless to say, they've been champing at the bit for these regular-season games to get underway.
Get our staff's favorite NFL picks and Week 1 bets against the spread for some of Sunday's best games below.
There’s a lot to love about the Cleveland Browns. If Deshaun Watson can rekindle anything close to his 2020 self, the sky's the limit for Kevin Stefanski’s squad.
It’s no secret that Cleveland’s run game behind Nick Chubb is already dominant, but the addition of Elijah Moore gives Watson another weapon in the air attack. The Browns also made a splash on the defensive end, bolstering both their line and secondary.
All this to say that I’m extremely high on Cleveland this season. And what better way to start the season off than with a win against your division rival in Week 1?
Think back to last season, when Joe Burrow suffered a ruptured appendix and needed surgery. His status was up in the air to open the season and he never saw preseason action. What happened? He threw four interceptions and went 33-of-53 in an overtime loss to Pittsburgh at home.
A similar timeline has happened once again in 2023. Burrow suffered a calf strain during practice and once again missed all of preseason. Zac Taylor seems confident in Burrow returning, but again, it’ll come only through practice run-throughs.
This Browns team is way more talented than last year’s Steelers team that trotted out Mitch Trubisky under center. Chase Claypool led Pittsburgh in rushing yards (36), above Najee Harris (10 rushes, 23 yards).
I love Cleveland to start hot out of the gate against a Bengals team that will have a rusty Burrow under center. For what it’s worth, Week 1 divisional underdogs are 61% ATS since 2005.
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If you've read anything I've written heading into the season, then you know I'm all in on the Texans.
I'm backing Will Anderson Jr. for Defensive Rookie of the Year (+500), Dameon Pierce to lead the league in rushing (+4000) and DeMeco Ryans for Coach of the Year (+2500). I'm also on the Texans as this year's worst-to-first division winner in a bad AFC South (+1100).
It's almost always a good idea to back a team with such a high line in Week 1 — football is unpredictable, and until we've seen teams play, there's just no way we know Houston is bad enough to be a 10-point underdog. The trends speak for themselves.
Week 1 underdogs of eight or more are 25-9 ATS (74%) since 2003. Teams that missed the postseason and open as Week 1 road dogs are 51-29-2 ATS (64%) since 2011.
Translation: Week 1 spreads give too much credit to the team that played poorly last year, not the one on the field now.
Houston added some real floor-raising pieces over the offseason. Veterans Sheldon Rankins and Jimmie Ward improve the defense, while Shaq Mason and Josh Jones should help a young offensive line. And then there are the headliner top-three picks from the NFL Draft: Anderson, the best defender in the draft, and quarterback C.J. Stroud.
A full season of last year's No. 3 pick, Derek Stingley Jr., should help a defense led by new head coach DeMeco Ryans, who did well with the 49ers. The Texans quietly ranked 10th in Defensive DVOA over the back half of last season, including No. 2 against the pass. Don't be surprised if this defense more than holds its own against a Baltimore offense that's debuting a new attack under offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
Baltimore has been a high-floor team for years with its rushing attack and stout defense, but this year's team looks pass-heavy and is already experiencing cluster injuries at corner, so the Ravens could be high variance. This is just too many points to give a favorite and an underdog we don't know enough about.
Give me the Texans, and I'll sprinkle the moneyline at +375, too. The Texans can upset a lot of survivor pools if they pull the shocker and hang with a Ravens team in transition. Look for Baltimore to be better later in the season than in Week 1.
The Titans had just about everything go wrong in the home stretch of the 2022 season – from injuries to a seven-game losing streak to lose the division.
Ryan Tannehill is healthy to start 2023 and he raises the floor of the Titans offense considerably. While there are major questions along the offensive line, Tennessee upgraded at receiver with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins and maintains a clear head coaching advantage with Mike Vrabel over the Saints’ Dennis Allen. Tennessee also returns most of its underrated defensive personnel and has everyone healthy; Shane Bowen is also back as defensive coordinator.
New Orleans enters with an aging roster in its first year with new quarterback Derek Carr. While they’ll benefit from the league’s easiest schedule, the Saints are overvalued because of Carr’s decline in efficiency year over year, and the reliance on post-production for aging veterans.
The Saints are old at a lot of key positions, especially on the defensive line. New Orleans has been patching together its roster and filling in the gaps for years, and the addition of Carr is no different. His accuracy rate declined modestly each of the last two seasons and we now have a well-established baseline of what Carr is as an NFL quarterback.
These two teams are about even for me, so after home field, I’m willing to take the Titans at +3 or better in Week 1.
Week 1 picks are largely about your reads heading into the season. I'm all over the Falcons, but worry the intriguing Panthers rebuild could take a while to set.
Atlanta is my No. 8 offense, a vote of confidence in Arthur Smith's offensive genius unlocking an elite trio of weapons in Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts, with the help of one of the league's best offensive lines. All of that makes life easy on sophomore QB Desmond Ridder — and so does what should be a significantly improved Falcons defense that added Jessie Bates, Calais Campbell and a handful of other adults in the room to firm up the unit's spine.
The Falcons are a clear playoff team for me in a watered-down NFC, and they're my division favorite in the South as a worst-to-first division winner. This is a great opportunity to get the season started off on the right foot against a team debuting a rookie QB, coaching staff and rookie offensive coordinator.
Carolina had a miserable preseason, particularly on offense. The team doesn't know who is calling the plays yet, and the offensive line looked shambolic at times. That could make for a difficult debut for No. 1 pick Bryce Young on the road, in a loud dome against a much-improved defensive line.
Atlanta's powerful run game is the one clear strength for either team. The Falcons have covered 10 of their last 15 against the Panthers, and new Carolina head coach Frank Reich has never covered in Week 1. He's 0-4-1 ATS and his teams have failed to cover by 8.0 PPG.
I may wait out the line and hope we get -3 at some point, but I'm happy to play Falcons -3.5.
By Simon Hunter
This line has been jumping since it appeared on the board in May. It opened at Eagles -3.5, jumped to -5.5 in late July and then moved back to -3.5.
Every pro I’ve spoken to loves this spot for the Patriots. It’s not shocking that they let this number get so high before coming back to it heavily.
I still love it, though. This shouldn’t be more than Eagles -3. Everybody loves Jalen Hurts and this Philly team, which was the No. 1 seed in the NFC last season and didn’t lose until Week 10. The hype around the Eagles entering this season is Super Bowl or bust.
We have the Patriots on the other side of the ball, coming off another down season in 2022. New England is +800 to win the AFC East, their lowest odds heading into a season since the 1990s.
I’m looking to buy low on the Patriots this season. Everything I’ve heard coming out of training camp is how great the offense has looked under offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Factor in Bill Belichick having an entire offseason to prep for this Eagles offense, and how could you not love the Pats as a Week 1 home ‘dog?
I can see the Eagles’ young defense struggling while the Patriots defense slows down Hurts.
I’d bet New England down to +3.
By Simon Hunter
It's the first Sunday Night Football game of the season and we've got a home divisional 'dog at more than a field goal.
Not only do the Giants have the better head coach, but they might just have the better quarterback.
Everybody has been telling us this Cowboys team is top three in the NFC. The Giants, on the other hand, are an afterthought. Most view Brian Daboll’s team as one that got lucky last year and is destined to finish this season below .500.
This game has my favorite trend for this matchup: Divisional home underdogs are 25-13 against the spread in Week 1 (including 7-0 since 2018), 15-2 since ‘12 and 21-5 since ’09.
The Giants may lose this game, but it won’t be by more than a field goal.