As if betting the NFL wasn’t tricky enough as it is, we enter the 2020 season with more unanswered questions than we’ve ever dealt with before. Not only did COVID-19 completely disrupt the regular offseason workout regiments of NFL teams, but it also wiped all preseason games off the board.

Preseason games don’t do a whole lot as far as telling us how good a team is going to be in the upcoming season, but they do help teams get ready for the season. As we enter Week 1 of the NFL season, all 30 teams start a marathon without even going through some simple stretching exercises. My inkling is that it’s going to lead to a lot of strange, unexpected events. It’s also going to lead to a lot of sloppy football.

Still, without knowing exactly how it’s going to look, all anyone looking to bet on games can do is work with the knowledge they have. And with what I have at my disposal, these are the three bets I like the most for Week 1 of the NFL season. All lines are via William Hill Sportsbook.

1. Jets at Bills: Under 39.5

When you don’t know what to expect, go with what you know. What I know is that the Jets offense was an absolute mess last season, and I have no reason to believe it’ll improve all that dramatically in Week 1 of the season. Particularly against a defense as stout as Buffalo’s. In two games against the Bills last season, the Jets offense managed 29 points. Neither game between the division rivals saw more than 33 points scored, so when I see this total at near 40, the under is a no-brainer. Also, while I’m not sure it means anything that truly matters, the under has gone 20-8 in the 28 games that Josh Allen has started for the Bills in his short career. Low-scoring games are as much a part of Buffalo Bills football as drunken Bills fans being body-slammed through cheap, plastic tables.

Prediction: Bills 20, Jets 13

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2. Chargers at Bengals: Bengals +3.5

I understand that the Bengals had the worst record in the NFL last year, which is how they were able to draft Joe Burrow. I also know that this is Joe Burrow’s first NFL start. These are all reasons for the Bengals to be home underdogs to start the season. All that being said are the Chargers a team you’re ready to trust as a road favorite? Philip Rivers is in Indianapolis. Melvin Gordon is in Denver. Justin Herbert is on the bench, waiting to take over the starting job. In his place is Tyrod Taylor, who is nothing more than a stopgap option at the position. I’m not in the habit of taking stopgap QBs as road favorites, and you shouldn’t be, either.

Prediction: Bengals 20, Chargers 17

3. Cardinals at 49ers: Cardinals +7

San Francisco won both matchups against the Cardinals last season, but Arizona was a legit thorn in its side. The Niners won the first meeting 28-25, and although they won the second game at home 36-26, they needed a touchdown with 30 seconds left to take a 30-26 lead. Then the Niners scored a touchdown on the game’s final play as Arizona was looking for a miracle and fumbled. The Cardinals covered both times and enter 2020 as a better team offensively now that they’ve given Kyler Murray a genuinely terrifying weapon in De’Andre Hopkins. I don’t know if Arizona will get this win, but I have faith that the Cardinals will stay within a touchdown.

Prediction: 49ers 27, Cardinals 24

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