The NFL betting season has arrived. While the NFL preseason gave us a taste, it is officially time to get into the action on meaningful NFL regular season games.
While NFL Week 1 is not always the easiest slate to bet on when you take into consideration all the offseason changes on all 32 NFL clubs — 10 head coaching changes, incoming rookies, marquee quarterbacks, and skill position players changing teams — there is always value to be had and the best bets to make. Let’s get to it.
Note: NFL betting information used in these best football bets are current as of Friday, Sept. 9, at 12 p.m. ET at the sportsbook noted.
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams Best Bet
Bills -2.5 (-105) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit(s)
At one time, the Bills were -1. If you took this line then, congratulations. However, it has since jumped another 1.5 points, which doesn’t scare me away.
This Rams team has some question marks, notably, replacing mainstay LT Andrew Whitworth and WR Odell Beckham Jr. While Allen Robinson is expected to close the gap, we have yet to see him on the field since his woeful 2021 performance in Chicago.
We must also take note that Los Angeles’ top two running backs, Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers have battled preseason lower body injuries. While they are good to go, they may not be at full strength.
Meanwhile, the Bills are locked and loaded for a Super Bowl run. They told us they were all-in by inking former Rams’ pass-rusher Von Miller to a lucrative deal in free agency while drafting the explosive all-purpose playmaking running back James Cook in the second round of April’s draft.
Although both sides will look to open 2022 strong with a win, expect the Bills to strike first and strike often with their high-octane passing attack. Jalen Ramsey should contain Stefon Diggs, but the polarizing Gabriel Davis will be hard to lock down matched up with either David Long Jr. or Troy Hill.
When it comes to the spread, the Bills sport a 4-1-1 record against the spread in their past six games, while the Rams are 2-4 ATS. Furthermore, the Bills are also 4-1 ATS in their past five meetings with the Rams overall.
Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets Best Bet
Ravens Cover -6.5 (-115) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit(s)
The Jets have been the talk of the offseason. With splash impact players added on both sides of the football, the Jets appear to be an improved team, on paper.
We’ve heard this story before, however. Meanwhile, whether it is Zach Wilson (knee) or Joe Flacco in a revenge game, the Jets will once again open the year with question marks at quarterback.
The Ravens are a team looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2021 filled with injuries. And while the Baltimore offense didn’t seem to skip a beat, their defense was in shambles.
What is flying under the radar is the fact that the Ravens’ defense is now healthy, with Marcus Peters back from injury to pair with offseason acquisitions Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, and Kyle Fuller. Add Marlon Humphrey to the mix and the Ravens could field one of the best secondaries in the NFL, which does not bode well for New York’s passing attack.
The Jets will improve in 2022, but we won’t see it in Week 1. While the Jets ended the year 4-4 ATS, the Ravens went 5-3 in their final eight. Again, bludgeoned by injury. Look for the Ravens to open the year by punching the Jets in the face and covering the spread convincingly.
The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings between the Jets and Ravens, while New York is 1-5 in their past six Week 1 matchups overall.
Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions Best Bet
Lions Cover +4.5 (-114) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1.5 Unit(s)
This could be one of the trap games of Week 1. While the Lions may Lion, the Eagles bolstered their roster this offseason and enter 2022 with immense hype.
Although the Lions only managed to win three games last season, they covered the spread 11 times, including going 7-3 ATS in their final 10 games. On the other hand, the Eagles went 4-5-1 ATS in their past 10, while going 1-1-3 in their final five.
The Lions seem to be changing the culture under head coach Dan Campbell, chronicled on the latest HBO Hard Knocks. They also played better under him last season, noted by the rate they covered the spread as the season went on.
As long as the Lions can keep up with the Eagles’ scoring, this will be a blow-for-blow meeting in Detroit, which means the Lions will be in it in the fourth quarter. Then, it will be anyone’s game.
With the Eagles holding a 1-4 mark in their past six games against NFC foes, and the Lions 5-1 in that same category, I will bet the trend here.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders Best Bet
Jaguars Moneyline (+120) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1.5 Unit(s)
This is a game that somebody has to win, right? I will err on the side of the Jaguars here.
While the Commanders added Carson Wentz at quarterback, I am not ready to crown this addition as a vast improvement, especially considering the signal callers Wentz is succeeding. I have more questions than answers for this team.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, have nowhere else to go than up. They want to win, which was noted by over-spending in free agency to make upgrades to a roster that needed it.
When you take a presumed franchise quarterback like Trevor Lawrence, you must put pieces around him to succeed, which the normally inept organization has done.
Although players play, the greatest addition came in the form of head coach Doug Pederson. His recent Super Bowl championship and the fact that he is a former player will provide the locker room with someone to look up to and relate to. Contrary to the disastrous Urban Meyer project.
Let’s also note that the last time Wentz faced off against the Jaguars as a member of the Colts, he completely melted down, forcing Indianapolis to send him packing. Wentz threw for 365 yards with one touchdown and an interception, and a fumble lost in two games against the Colts last season (1-1).
Chase Young on the PUP list to start the year won’t help Washington’s cause, either.
I love the Jags to win this one outright. If you want to play it safer, take the Jags +2.5 (-105) at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals Best Bet
OVER 53.5 (-105) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit(s)
Fireworks should be on full display here. While the Chiefs moved on from Tyreek Hill, they added enough at wide receiver to fill the void collectively. And they still have the trio of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid. Kansas City’s offense will be just fine.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, made a splash addition at wideout, adding Kyler Murray‘s old college buddy Marquise Brown, one of the top deep threats in the game. Two of the NFL’s most explosive offenses on teams that perennially field questionable defenses spell points to be had in the desert.
The Cardinals must rely on their offense to win football games. And although that is a difficult feat when Murray is not healthy, that is not the case here.
Murray is healthy and hungry for another Super Bowl chase. He must keep up with Mahomes facing one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.
Expect a back-and-forth game with the Chiefs likely pulling off the win. However, since this game can go either way with a slight edge to the Chiefs, betting on the points is the way to go in this high-flying affair.
The Over is 7-1 in the past eight Chiefs games and 7-0 in their past seven games in Week 1.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Best Bet
Cowboys Cover +2.5 (-110) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit(s)
In last season’s opener, the Cowboys surprised and covered the spread while nearly picking up the win against the Buccaneers. Tampa got the 31-29 win on a last-minute field goal. The difference is that game was in Tampa Bay and now the Cowboys are the home dogs.
On paper, you’d think Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, etc. are all you need to know. Pump the brakes. The Buccaneers, while loaded, have question marks along the offensive front with three new starters on their interior offensive line.
If you can’t protect the statuesque Brady, he can’t distribute the ball to his weapons. And historically, you can pressure Brady up the middle, where the Bucs are hurting the most.
The Cowboys are also entering the year with a new-look offensive line with Tyron Smith on IR, Conner Williams in Miami, and La’El Collins in Cincy. However, since Dak Prescott is mobile, he can evade the pressure.
Dallas was one of the NFL’s best teams ATS, holding a 13-5 mark including the postseason while the Buccaneers went 3-3 in their final six. The Cowboys are 13-3 ATS in their last 13 against NFC opponents and 7-0 ATS in their past seven as home dogs. I’ll take Dallas and the points.
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Best Bet
Raiders Cover +3.5 (-118) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 2 Unit(s)
While the Los Angeles Chargers have one of the best rosters in the NFL, notably making key offseason additions like Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson on the defensive side of the football, the Las Vegas Raiders have made some upgrades of their own.
Adding a stud wide receiver in Davante Adams and one of the most menacing pass-rushers in the land in Chandler Jones, the Raiders are on their way up in the AFC West, perhaps the most loaded division in the NFL.
These two teams have played it close in the Justin Herbert era. The Raiders and Chargers have covered the spread twice in their past four games. Meanwhile, three outings were decided by fewer than five points, including a pair of three-point outcomes in overtime.
Following the trend is the way to go here, especially in a Week 1 in-division matchup. In the past 26 games between the Raiders and Chargers, the underdog is 19-7 ATS. The Raiders are also 5-1 ATS in their past six Week 1 matchups.