Earlier this week, I shared my favorite strategies for betting NFL games. With the first Sunday of the season just days away, let’s put some of those strategies into practice. I tend to keep my betting card pretty light early in the season, but there are definitely some angles out there. Here are my NFL Week 1 Betting Tips & Strategies.
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NFL Week 1 Underdogs
If there was ever a time to back the underdogs, it’s Week 1 of the season. Since 2000, NFL Week 1 underdogs have gone 175-155-14 (53%) against the spread (ATS). Even more impressive are divisional underdogs, which have covered the spread 59% of the time since 2005.
An incredible TEN underdogs are playing at home in Week 1 of this NFL season. That’s the largest number of home underdogs for any Week 1 in the history of the league. The sample size is certainly big enough to bet a small amount on each home underdog this week, but there’s one game I like in particular.
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Indianapolis COLTS vs. Houston TEXANS (+7.5)
What better way to start the 2022 NFL season than by betting on the worst team in the league?
The Houston Texans (+7.5) host the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. This is the largest point spread of the week, and it’s mostly due to public perception. Having lost their star quarterback and without any star players, the betting public has no interest in backing the Texans.
And that’s exactly why we’re betting them.
Divisional matchups are often highly contested compared to out-of-division games. Teams know a win matters a lot more against a divisional rival. What’s more, the Texans are playing at home with a huge chip on their shoulder. They’ve been picked by most analysts to finish dead last in the NFL this season. They’d love nothing more than to play spoiler in front of a home crowd.
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With everyone picking the Colts to win the AFC South (I did too!) and picking the Texans to finish dead last, sportsbooks have priced this number accordingly. This spread is high enough to offer good value on the Texans. They’re a home underdog, a divisional underdog, and a Week 1 underdog – a trio of profitable spots.
I grabbed the Texans +8.5 early on, but the bet is still actionable at +7.5, widely available at most sportsbooks.
Do not play this lower than +7.
Best NFL Week 1 Teaser Candidates
In my NFL Betting Guide, I discussed the three unbreakable rules of NFL teasers. We’ve been given a slew of options this week as seven games fit the criterion to be teased. These two are my favorite:
Jacksonville JAGUARS +2.5 (Teased to +8.5)
While most bettors like to tease favorites down, I look for slight underdogs who can win the game outright and tease them up.
The Jaguars are my favorite pick for the most improved NFL team this season. Head Coach Doug Pederson should inspire some much-needed confidence in the locker room. QB Trevor Lawrence can only improve without the Urban Meyer distractions off the field.
The Commanders on the other hand are a mess. They overpaid for a mediocre quarterback in Carson Wentz, who lost to these same Jaguars last year on a much better Colts team. Washington also has the worst home-field advantage of any NFL franchise as they struggle to fill their home stadium.
Dallas COWBOYS +2.5 (Teased to +8.5)
And then there’s the Cowboys, a team with one of the best home field advantages in sports. This is a repeat matchup of last year’s opening game which the Bucs won 31-29. This crowd should be rocking for a prime time game against the NFC favorites Tom Brady and the Buccaneers
Both the Cowboys and Bucs have significant injury trouble, and I see this game closer to a pick ‘em than the current two and a half point spread. Tom Brady always gets a ton of public money, and the Bucs are currently getting about 60% of the betting handle. I like the Cowboys to keep this one close at home.
Teasing both the Jaguars and Cowboys through the key numbers of 3 and 7 up to +8.5 makes this my favorite teaser candidate of the week.
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Protect The Bankroll
There are two games to avoid this week.
Baltimore RAVENS -7 vs. New York JETS
Lamar Jackson is questionable to play on Sunday due to ongoing contract negotiations. I love the Ravens this year and would normally take a crack here, but the uncertainty surrounding him this week is enough to stay away.
We’ll have plenty of chances to bet the Ravens this season. Save the bankroll for when we know Lamar Jackson is playing.
Kansas City CHIEFS -6 vs. Arizona CARDINALS
Another stayaway for me this week are the Kansas City Chiefs.
This line opened at -1.5 and has been hammered all the way to -6. The Chiefs are a superior team facing the Cardinals without star receiver Deandre Hopkins, but this line has simply moved too much to offer any value.
If anything, it’s a decent spot to play contrarian and bet the Cardinals +6, but I don’t trust Kyler Murray or Kliff Kingsbury. I’m passing.
Looking Ahead To Week 2
I know how tempting it is to bet as much football as possible right out the gate, but patience is key. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding each NFL team in Week 1. Take the opportunity to watch the games, study the players, and see if you can spot a good angle to bet moving forwards.