NFL Week 1 Picks: 5 Predictions for Rams vs Bills, Colts vs Texans, Giants vs Titans, More
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Jones.
- Football is back, starting with a juicy Thursday Night Football matchup between the Bills and Rams.
- There is intrigue across the Week 1 schedule in the NFL, and our bettors have already found their favorite picks.
- Check out five bets our staff had already made as of Monday night below.
We're back, everybody.
The NFL season is just days away, and what a way to start NFL Week 1 with Bills vs. Rams. There are more juicy matchups on Sunday, as well as a potential "Revenge Game" for the Seahawks on Monday night against Russell Wilson and the Broncos.
NFL Odds & Picks
The Rams' defensive line is built to give the Bills’ offensive line, which has a lot of question marks, a run for its money. Josh Allen doesn’t have many weaknesses, but pressure up the middle and outside blitzes have been his biggest issues. Los Angeles has plenty of ways to cause him problems.
Sean McVay is 5-0 straight-up in season openers as head coach of the Rams. I’d bet this game down to Rams +2.
Colts head coach Frank Reich's offense has given a significant bump in EPA+CPOE composite (a measure of efficiency and accuracy) in the last three seasons. Even with the Reich bump — which helped Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Rivers and Wentz last year — the new starter in Washington finished the season 22nd amongst quarterbacks with at least 150 snaps.
Wentz is a below-average starter at this point, and the Commanders have arguably the worst home-field advantage in the NFL.
Trevor Lawrence had a disastrous rookie season, but he finished the year with two of his three best games against the Jets and Colts. Only five times did Lawrence average more than seven yards per attempt in a game, and two of those came in Weeks 16-18.
While Wentz is downgrading situations going away from an excellent offensive line, run game and play caller, Lawrence gets the potential year-two bump aided by a massive upgrade in head coach with Doug Pederson.
As bad as the defense is on paper, Jacksonville did have plenty of success against Wentz last year. The Jaguars held Indianapolis under 6.8 yards per pass attempt in both meetings.
The Jaguars are a live underdog to win this game outright. I'd play them down to the key number of three before passing at anything lower.
Simon Hunter: The team many “experts” predict to be the worst in the league this season is one I’ll be betting on a lot in 2022.
The Texans aren’t as bad as we all think. Quarterback Davis Mills has looked great and has built strong chemistry with WR Brandin Cooks after a second training camp together. Now, they bring in rookie RB Dameon Pierce, who is being talked about in fantasy football corners after a breakout camp; his preseason performance made him the no-doubt RB1 in Houston.
It’s great to get a home underdog in a divisional matchup on the first Sunday of the season. This is a Colts team that’s the betting favorite in the AFC South and has Matt Ryan making his first start after 14 seasons with Atlanta.
This number should be closer to Colts -4.5, but the betting public has bet or teased this number all the way up to 8.5 as of Monday afternoon.
I’d bet this down to Texans +7 but could see it getting higher, possibly even all the way up to +9.5, as more money comes in on the Colts by kickoff.
Brandon Anderson: The Bengals are flying high after a magical run to the Super Bowl on the backs of budding superstars Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.
But it’s a new season, and Cincinnati is the team with the target on its backs now. You already know about the Super Bowl losers’ curse, but did you know it often starts right out of the gates?
Super Bowl losers are a disastrous 4–18 against the spread (ATS) this century in their following game, including just 9–13 straight-up (SU).
History tells us the public is badly overvaluing teams coming off a Super Bowl loss, putting too much stock into the last taste we had. It also tells us to bet on division underdogs like the Steelers in Week 1. Division dogs are 61–41–2 ATS (60%) in Week 1 since 2005, and they’re even better since 2014 at 29–9–1, a remarkable 76% cover rate.
The Bengals are very talented, but Cincinnati’s biggest strength is its passing attack, and Pittsburgh’s pass rush and secondary are its biggest strength too. The Bengals also overhauled their offensive line this offseason, but it takes time for those new starters to develop chemistry, and T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward should make life difficult.
Besides, aren’t you ready to start the season off with another rah-rah Mike Tomlin underdog spot? Tomlin is 45–23–2 ATS lifetime as an underdog, covering nearly two in three times. This is a huge coaching mismatch for Tomlin against Zac Taylor, an advantage that’s only bigger with a whole offseason to prepare.
I love the Steelers in a road division underdog Week 1 spot against an overvalued Bengals team coming off a Super Bowl loss. The Steelers shocked everyone with an upset Week 1 win over the Bills last fall. I’ll back Pittsburgh +6.5 and sprinkle the +240 moneyline for a possible Week 1 upset special.
Little was done to help Ryan Tannehill over the offseason. Tennessee sent star WR A.J. Brown to Philadelphia and replaced him with Robert Woods (fresh off an ACL tear). They did draft Treylon Burks, but he got off to a slow start in training camp. To expect an injury prone 30-year-old and a rookie to play large and immediate roles in Week 1 is asking a lot.
Yes, Derrick Henry returns and will lead the backfield as the powerhouse he’s long been. He missed the second half of 2022 with a serious injury (Jones fracture), and his workload will be heavy starting in this game.
The Giants will try to force Tannehill to make plays. They struggled defending the run last year — 25th in rushing yards allowed per game — but should be able to keep the game within striking distance as the Titans chew away at the clock.
Under Brian Daboll, we saw the Bills' offense – Josh Allen in particular – take drastic strides. Daboll will now try to work that magic in New York with Daniel Jones, who has a propensity of making backbreaking turnovers. However, the Giants took necessary steps for him to succeed, adding veterans Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano to the offensive line.
The Giants were one of the more unlucky teams last season when it came to injuries. This was a depleted roster that should bounce back in 2022. According to Football Outsiders, New York's offense had the third-worst injury luck.
I believe the Giants will be ready for this one, keeping it close with a chance to pull off an upset to begin the Daboll era. The Titans are too one dimensional at the moment. Before Woods and Burks settle into their new roles, look to fade Tennessee early in 2022.
Take the Big Blue catching six.