The NFL season is underway. On Thursday night, the Packers defeated the Bears 10-3 behind two great defensive performances. A disappointing 0-2 start to my season as I did not expect the Bears coaching staff to play David Montgomery so little and get away from the running game so early. Today, I unveil my best three plays of Week 1 NFL Action. I will analyze one more game Saturday and then give my best player props on Sunday. We continue to give you daily NFL picks at CA Betting News, breaking down the best angles to play for this week’s action including one California team’s game. As the sports betting season goes on, we will provide the most updated odds using FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook.
A word of warning that Week 1 of the NFL season is probably the most difficult week to forecast of any opening week sport. Last night was a perfect example. You can’t go by what you saw in the preseason, and you just don’t know how teams will transition from one year to the next. It’s tricky. While these are my three best plays, I will warn you they are not made with the confidence as other picks later in the year. So wager carefully in week 1, but as the season goes on, confidence rises. It’s a long season ahead of us. Here’s my three best plays for Sunday:
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Kanas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars +156
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Jac +156
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds Jac +145
Anyone who has read my NFL Odds Reports’ thus far know I am in love with this Jaguars team. This is my favorite play of Week 1. Yup, crazy as it is, I am going against the Kansas City Chiefs and that offense. No, I don’t believe the Chiefs are going to have a bad season. I do believe the Chiefs have all the weapons in place to win the AFC West and still come out with 12 wins in 2019. But this is not a good matchup for them. For starters, they are going into the sweltering Jacksonville heat which will make things very uncomfortable for them. They will have to deal with Leonard Fournette running on their 31st ranked defense in that heat, and Fournette is not a guy who is easy to bring down. Worst of all, they will have to face of the NFL’s scariest defenses, led by Jalen Ramsey, rookie Josh Allen, and Myles Jack. The Jaguars are now led under center by Nick Foles, who led the Eagles the last two seasons to a 4-1 postseason record and a Super Bowl trophy.
Many people may not remember, but the Jaguars were a quarter away from the Super Bowl two years ago. They went to New England and led the Patriots most of the way until a fourth quarter onslaught by Brady. They won the AFC South two years ago and went to Pittsburgh and dominated the Steelers. This is a very good football team that unfortunately got hit by a barrage of injuries a year ago and lost all confidence in Blake Bortles. I’m high on a big year from Dede Westbrook, who has a solid chemistry with Foles, and get Marquise Lee back on the outside who missed all of 2018. Foles loves tight ends, and they drafted a good one in Josh Oliver in the third round. I don’t like the Jaguars to just cover this spread, I’m going for the money line and the win outright in week 1. I think their defense will contain Patrick Mahomes and their offense will have success on a defense moving on the ball on a defense I still think will struggle this year.
Prediction: Jaguars 27, Chiefs 17
6-point TEASER: Los Angeles Chargers -0.5 + Oakland Raiders +8.5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: 6-point teaser: Chargers -0.5/Raiders +8.5
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds 6-point teaser: Chargers -0.5/Raiders +8.5
I am usually not one for playing teasers week 1, but I do think both the Raiders and Chargers have some value in their numbers. Let’s start with the Chargers who host the Colts on Sunday. A 6.5-point favorite, you can tease this down to basically a pick ’em. All the Chargers have to do is win. Granted, the Chargers have distractions with the holdout of Melvin Gordon, but he will hardly be missed with Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson leading to the way, who just so happened to head the backfield when they went to Kansas City at the end of last year and won. The Colts will have to deal with major changes on the offensive side of the ball. Jacoby Brissett just a week ago thought he was the backup and now has been thrust into the starter role as a result of Andrew Luck’s retirement. The Colts will lean a lot on Marlon Mack and the running game to help take the pressure off of Brissett, who it’s going to take a few games to get accustomed to the starting role. I don’t think this is going to be an easy win for Los Angeles, but I think they have the talent and the better quarterback and will find a way to scratch out a win.
The Raiders getting 8.5 I’m more confident in. Despite the drama surrounding Antonio Brown, the Raiders are still a better team than they were a year ago. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs is a major upgrade for the backfield and Clifton Ferrell will be an immediate impact on the defensive line. The Raiders haven’t lost to the Broncos by more than a touchdown in their last five contests, and the Raiders won the last game at home a year ago on Christmas Eve, 27-14. The Broncos do come in with a stout defense, but questions on offense, and will turn to veteran Joe Flacco at quarterback. Whether the Raiders win or not, I don’t know, but under Jon Gruden for the second season, the Raiders will compete and at home, they will keep this Monday night game very close.
Prediction: Chargers 23, Colts 20; Raiders 20, Broncos 19.
Cincinnati Bengals +16.5 total points at Seattle Seahawks
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Cin OVER 16.5 total points (-104)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Cin OVER 16.5 total points (-110)
You probably won’t find me playing the Bengals many times this year, but seeing their point total at 16.5 is inviting and hard to resist, no matter what team it is. The Seahawks have questions on the defensive line, and a year ago gave up an average of over 21 points per game. Their pass defense ranked 27th in the NFL, and the Bengals won’t be afraid to air it out and exploit that pass defense under new coach, Zac Taylor, a coach with an offensive mind. Despite not having A.J. Green, the Bengals still have weapons on offense to throw to behind quarterback Andy Dalton, primarily Tyler Boyd. You’re not going to see a 13-10 type game here. It’s either going to be offensive from both teams or a Seahawks blowout, and if the Bengals do get behind big in the game, which could easily happen, the Seahawks are more susceptible to giving up a late touchdown and the Bengals could go over that 16.5 point total number easily.
The Seahawks have their own question marks on offense trying to replace Doug Baldwin. They drafted D.K. Metcalf who likely will start opposite Tyler Lockett, but Metcalf is still recovering from knee scope surgery. David Moore, the number 3 receiver on the depth chart, has a broken arm and will miss some time. If Seattle can’t move the ball efficiently, that gives the Bengals more chances to score. While I’m not going to go all out and predict a Bengals win, I do think they can find a way to at least get to 17 points against an average-at-best Seahawks defense. Give the Bengals with their point total.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Bengals 20
So to summarize my top 3 plays:
Jaguars ML +160 (FD)
6-point teaser: Chargers -0.5 + Raiders +8.5
Bengals +16.5 total points