NFL Weekend One – Our Top Tips for the Big NFL Kick Off
This week sees the first weekend of matches in the brand-new NFL season. After four weeks of pre-season games, the 32 teams are now ready to do battle across the next 17 weeks, up to the end of the year, to decide who comes out on top in each of the eight divisions during the regular season.
Then the divisional winners, plus four Wildcard teams will contest the Playoffs and the two conference champions from the playoffs, one from the NFC and one from the AFC will then go on to battle it out in the Superbowl in Atlanta, Georgia in February 2019.
The countdown to that worldwide spectacle begins this weekend with the first 16 games of the regular season. We have gone through the matches and brought you our picks in the three most common betting markets, the Spread, Total and Money Line markets.
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NFL Opening Weekend Fixtures and Tips
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles
This should be a close one to start the season and the teams met in the Playoffs last season, with the Eagles winning 15-10. I see a similar, tight game here and I can’t see too many points being scored by either team, but I do feel that the Eagles just have the edge in terms of a better balanced offense and a better defense.
Spread – Philadelphia Eagles -2.0 (10/11)
Total – Under 45 Points – (10/11)
Money Line – Eagles – 4/5
Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens
The bookmakers think that the Ravens have this in the bag and while they have been impressive in the pre-season period, they have often flattered to deceive like this in the past. For me the Bills are significantly undervalued here and I reckon that they will not only get the win, but they will do so to surprise more than a few bookmakers and tipsters alike.
Spread – Buffalo Bills +7.5 (20/23)
Total – Over 40 Points – (10/11)
Money Line – Bills – 5/2
Cincinnatti Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
I think this is an even contest between two sides that are well matched, especially since Andrew Luck’s return to the helm at quarterback for the Colts. He’ll need to be at his best against a Bengals defensive line that is still powerful, but I think the Colts will be stronger this year and will get the season off to a solid start with a win.
Spread – Colts -3.0 (20/21)
Total – Under 48.5 points (10/11)
Money Line – Colts – 20/31
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots
This game could well be a rehearsal for the AFC Championship game according to some and I think one thing is certain here and that is with two explosive offenses, points will be scored. The Texans almost beat the Patriots in the regular season last year and my gut feeling is that they will push the Pats hard once again. The Patriots will win, but not by more than 6.5 points, hence I’ve backed the Texans in the spread and the Patriots in the Money Line.
Spread – Texans +6.5 (10/11)
Total – Over 51.0 points (10/11)
Money Line – Patriots – 10/27
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Giants
Much is expected of the Jaguars this season after pushing New England so close in the AFC Championship game last year. I’m still not on the Blake Bortles bandwagon though though I don’t think they’ll have enough to get the job done against a Giants side that have some great individual players, but who are not yet a great team.
Spread – Jaguars -3.0 (20/23)
Total – Under 43.5 points (10/11)
Money Line – Jaguars – 20/33
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
The Steelers are the obvious pick here but I do think that the Cleveland Browns will be a much improved team on the last few seasons, when they have been the joke franchise in the NFL. They’ll give the Steelers a very good game in front of the Dog Pound, but for me the Steelers will snatch the victory here.
Spread – Steelers -4.0 (10/11)
Total – Under 45.5 (10/11)
Money Line – Steelers 1/2
San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings
The 49ers are an improving team and I think they will be stronger this year than last but I think it is a tough ask to go on the road on the opening day and win at Minnesota, a team who provided plenty of drama in the playoffs last season. The 49ers have improved, but not enough to make a real game of it here in my view.
Spread – Vikings -6.0 (10/11)
Total – Over 46.0 (10/11)
Money Line – Vikings – 5/13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
The big factor in this game is Jameis Winston’s suspension, ruling the quarterback out for the Buccaneers in a game that they can scarcely afford to be without him for. That pushes the odds much in favour of New Orleans, who despite not having a stellar supporting cast for quarterback Drew Brees, should still have more than enough to get the win comfortably here.
Spread – Saints -9.5 (10/11)
Total – Under 49.5 (10/11)
Money Line – New Orleans Saints – 2/9
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins
Two teams who endured poor pre-seasons meet in Miami and although the Titans lost all four of their games, I feel they are the stronger outfit here. Mike Vrable needs to sort out the mental side for this team and if he can, they could challenge for the playoffs. The Dolphins are not in great shape but will keep this one close, but I think the Titans, just, will take the win.
Spread – Titans -1.5 (10/11)
Total – Under 45 points (10/11)
Money Line – Titans – 5/6
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
This should be a close game and last season, I’d have probably gone with the Chiefs to win here, but after a year of being in Los Angeles and a solid off season, I like the look of the moves the Chargers made to improve their roster and as a result, I feel that they will be the team taking the win here.
Spread – Chargers -3.0 (4/5)
Total – Under 48.0 (10/11)
Money Line – Chargers – 4/7
Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers
I think of all the teams in the NFL, the Panthers may be one of the most underrated. They aren’t really talked about as NFC South contenders, but I feel they will be. The Cowboys will be expecting a big season from their quarterback Dak Prescott, but I think they’ll struggle on the road against a solid Panthers team.
Spread – Panthers -3.0 (1/1)
Total – Over 43.0 (10/11)
Money Line – Panthers – 20/29
Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos
Both these sides have enjoyed better success in recent seasons and I think both are trying to get back to former glories. For me the Broncos are further along the road on that journey and I think with the big departures from Seattle this off-season, I am backing the Broncos to start their season with a solid win here.
Spread – Broncos -3.0 (Evens)
Total – Under 43.0 (10/11)
Money Line – Broncos – 4/6
Washington Redskins @ Arizona Cardinals
These two teams are very evenly matched on paper and in such games, small things can be crucial. For me, I think the fact that Arizona are at home is key here and I think the Cardinals, with their better defense, will be able to nullify the Redskins and take the win here, but I am expecting a very close game with perhaps a field goal the difference.
Spread – Cardinals -1.0 (evens)
Total – Under 44.0 (10/11)
Money Line – Cardinals (10/11)
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
The Bears defense will be upgraded with the signing of Khalil Mack from the Raiders but he’ll need to be superhuman to lift the Bears to win here. The Packers at home with Aaron Rodgers fully fit and confident are a massive test for any team and while I can see the Bears keeping it close (which is why I have backed them in the Spread), I still feel that Green Bay will win the game.
Spread – Bears +7.5 (10/11)
Total – Under 47.5 (10/11)
Money Line – Packers – 5/17
New York Jets @ Detroit Lions
I can’t see either of these teams being in the reckoning for the big honours come the end of the season and as such, this could be a close game. However, I feel the Jets are the weakest team in the NFL at the moment and they are ripe for taking apart by Matt Stafford. I am expecting the Lions to get off to a solid start at home here.
Spread – Lions -6.5 (10/11)
Total – Under 45.0 (10/11)
Money Line – Lions – 4/11
Los Angeles Rams @ Oakland Raiders
I expect both these teams to improve on last season and I think the Raiders do stand a good chance of winning the AFC West, however for me the Rams are genuine Superbowl contenders and have improved what was an already good team markedly over the off season. I expect them to show that with a solid win here over a good Raiders team.
Spread – Rams -4.0 (10/11)
Total – Over 49..5 (10/11)
Money Line – Rams – 10/21