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NFL Week 1 Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Welcome to the 2023 NFL season. All the puff pieces, hot takes, and Twitter threads handling offseason stats can finally be put in the trash and lit on fire.

Week 1 is our first taste of what each NFL has done to try (or not) to contend this season. Each week of the NFL season, I will go through my best bets for the upcoming games.

Love em or hate em, you can find me on social media and we can talk it out. Door is always open, although I may regret it.

Note: NFL betting information used in these best football bets are current as of Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at 10 a.m. ET at the sportsbook noted.

Texans at Ravens Best Bet

Ravens -10 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

10 points is a sizable spread for a Week 1 game, but this is a wager on talent and consistency against a rookie quarterback.

C.J. Stroud is making his Texans debut on the road against a defense with Pro Bowl talent on every level, as well as a mismatch between the Houston defense and Ravens offense.

Houston is also expected to play without three starters on the offensive line.

If the Texans cover, it is because Stroud took advantage of a secondary expected to be without top CB Marlon Humphrey. That is a lot to ask a rookie to do against one of the better front-sevens in the NFL.

Buccaneers at Vikings Best Bet

Vikings -6 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

This line is good to (-7) because the Vikings are a mismatch at a lot of positions.

Tampa Bay lacks depth defensively to handle another season of gelling from the Vikings offensive line, as well as the Vikings offense that can spread the ball around despite the dominance of WR Justin Jefferson.

The Bucs offense is toothless, even with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at wideout. Next in line at receiver are rookies Trey Palmer and TE Cade Otton. Palmer should stick long-term in three-wide sets, while Otton is good enough to catch and fall.

Tampa will hope Baker Mayfield has some magic left in his legs and arm to make up for a weakened o-line and a lot of unknowns with his running backs.

The under 45.5 points also looks intriguing in this matchup.

Cardinals at Commanders Best Bet

Commanders -7 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

I cannot trust Arizona after their odd rash of transactions leading through roster cutdown day. QBs Clayton Tune and Josh Dobbs are either too new to trust or bad (sorry, Josh). Tune is also the only QB on the roster that has been in the offense for more than two weeks.

Now they have to go to the greater D.C. metro area and face Washington’s front four? Chase Young (stinger) may miss Week 1 and I still have supreme confidence in Washington’s defense.

Arizona will have to get creative to score, which is something I do not expect based on how new head coach Jonathan Gannon runs his team.

Panthers at Falcons Best Bet

Over 39.5 Points (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

There is enough concern for both teams with depth that each offense could get big yardage plays.

The Panthers lost their top rotational linebackers Marquis Haynes Sr. to IR Monday, which means Carolina will rely on a trio of defenders that are not nearly as talented as Haynes.

If Falcons HC Arthur Smith could find any way to incorporate Kyle Pitts against a strong Panthers secondary, it could open a lot of easier passes for QB Desmond Ridder.

An offense based around their strong two-headed monster in the backfield with chunk pass plays will tire Carolina sooner rather than later.

Rams at Seahawks Best Bet

Seahawks -5 (-110)

Caesars Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

No Cooper Kupp is about as bad of a start to 2023 as the Rams could’ve dreamt.

The Seahawks’ defense is improved and no clear WR1 puts the Rams in a bad spot. That puts too much pressure on a poor offensive line, Matthew Stafford, and Cam Akers.

The Seattle offense also faces a thin defense that will offer little resistance to their passing attack. Aaron Donald is always a threat to wreck games, but even he will need help to keep the Seahawks’ attack at bay.

Jaguars at Colts Best Bet

Over 45 Points (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

We all have seen the Jaguars offense load up at receiver, and the addition of RB Tank Bigsby in the backfield gives this offense another pass catcher and depth for a team that lacked it in 2022.

The Colts are very much a work in progress, but the home debut of Anthony Richardson paired with health on the o-line paints a rosier picture for Indy Week 1.

No Jonathan Taylor is an obvious downgrade, but Zack Moss and Deon Jackson aren’t slouches and have numerous relevant performances under their belts. Rookie Evan Hull is also a strong pass catcher and blocker, which helps keep all three backs fresh.

Titans at Saints Best Bet

Under 41.5 Points (-110)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

Both defensive units are the better halves of these teams, and each can exploit their opponent.

The Titan’s offensive line may be the worst in the NFL, while the Saints offense could be down to just one trust running back if Kendre Miller is out Week 1. Trusting Derek Carr to throw upward of 40 passes is a great way to dig a hole you cannot get out of.

If I don’t have to watch this game, I won’t.

Author

Jeff Hicks

Jeff is the Digital Content Coordinator at The Game Day. He has been covering sports in some fashion for a decade. He has been published on Yahoo Fantasy, 4for4, FantasyLabs, The Action Network, Bleacher Report, Daily Herald (IL), and numerous others. His first published piece was a poem in 8th grade, so naturally he progressed to sports writing.

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