NFL Week 1 Picks: Prop Bets, Vegas Lines, Over-Under Predictions and Advice

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 23: Starting quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes during the first half of a preseason game  against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 23, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Every year, the excitement of NFL football comes down to the three Ps: pride, points and payments.

Pride is simple. There are football fans out there who root for their favorite team because of tradition or loyalty or simply because they're all about the hometown team.

Next up is the points. 

Fantasy football owners cheer for their respective teams filled with players they've drafted via intense scrutiny, blind luck or, in some cases, plain old bad draft selections.

Finally, the payments.

This is for the football fans who put money on the line. They're the informed gamblers who make wagers on over-unders, point spreads and prop bets.

Week 1 is almost here, so we'll take a look at some season-long prop bets, Vegas lines and over-unders.


Season-Long Win Prop Bets

OddsShark has updated its list of season-long win prop bets and has made the following predictions:

Arizona Cardinals (5.5): Over

Atlanta Falcons (9): Over

Baltimore Ravens (8): Over

Buffalo Bills (6): Over

Carolina Panthers (9): Over

Chicago Bears (6.5): Over

Cincinnati Bengals (6.5): Over

Cleveland Browns (5.5): Over

Dallas Cowboys (8.5): Over

Denver Broncos (7): Over

Detroit Lions (7.5): Under

Green Bay Packers (10): Over

Houston Texans (8.5): Over

Indianapolis Colts (6.5): Over

Jacksonville Jaguars (9): Over

Kansas City Chiefs (8.5): Over

Los Angeles Chargers (9.5): Under

Los Angeles Rams (10): Over

Miami Dolphins (6.5): Over

Minnesota Vikings (10): Over

New England Patriots (11): Over

New Orleans Saints (9.5): Over

New York Giants (7): Over

New York Jets (6): Over

Oakland Raiders (8): Over

Philadelphia Eagles (10): Over

Pittsburgh Steelers (10.5): Under

San Francisco 49ers (8.5): Over

Seattle Seahawks (8): Over

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.5): Over

Tennessee Titans (8): Under

Washington Redskins (7): Over


The Philadelphia Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champs, and they are built to win enough games this season to be in serious contention to repeat.

They won 13 games last season, and from the looks of their upcoming schedule this season, they should come pretty close to that same win total, making it a pretty safe bet for those wagering on the over.

Last year's beaten Super Bowl finalists the New England Patriots have 13 seasons on the books where they've won at least 11 games.

They continue to have turmoil and a revolving door of offensive players, but with Tom Brady under center and the fact that their division is below average at best, they always have a chance to win 10 or more games.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are teeming with great players at the skill positions, making them a perennial threat to win at least double-digit games, but their schedule won't make things easy.

Steel City will have to really play well to equal last year's win total, so buyer beware for those bettors leaning towards the over.


Vegas Lines and Over-Under Predictions

Here are the latest lines and over-unders for Week 1, per OddsShark:

Atlanta at Philadelphia (-2 PHI, 45 O/U): Philadelphia, Over

Buffalo at Baltimore (-7 BAL, 40.5 O/U): Baltimore, Under

Jacksonville at New York Giants (-3 JAC, 43.5 O/U): Jacksonville, Under

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-9.5 NO, 49.5 O/U): New Orleans, Under

Houston at New England (-6.5 NE, 51): New England, Under

San Francisco at Minnesota (-6 MIN, 46): Minnesota, Over

Tennessee at Miami (-1 TEN, 45): Tennessee, Under

Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-3 IND, 48.5): Indianapolis, Under

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-4 PIT, 45.5): Pittsburgh, Under

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers (-3 LAC, 48): L.A. Chargers, Under

Seattle at Denver (-3 DEN, 43): Denver, Under

Dallas at Carolina (-3 CAR, 43): Carolina, Under

Washington at Arizona (EVEN, 44): Arizona, Under

Chicago at Green Bay (-7.5GB, 47.5): Green Bay, Under

New York Jets at Detroit (-7DET, 45): Detroit, Under

Los Angeles Rams at Oakland (-4.5 LAR, 49.5): L.A. Rams, Under

Atlanta at Philadelphia (-2 PHI, 45 O/U): Philadelphia, Over


All eyes will be on Nick Foles in Week 1 as he starts under center. He'll want to recapture the magic that sparked his improbable run to lead the underdog Eagles to a historic Super Bowl LII win, which netted the backup quarterback an MVP honor.

The last time Foles faced the Falcons, he passed for 246 yards and completed 76.7 percent of his passes on the way to a Philly win.

Although the defending champs are favored, they'll still have their hands full with Atlanta, who will have Devonta Freeman running the ball and newcomer Calvin Ridley lining up at wide receiver.

It was just two seasons ago that the Falcons had the most potent offense in the league, and now that Julio Jones is back and locked in, they could be in for a bounce-back year.

The Eagles are the smart bet here.


General Advice

It's an understood principle among sports bettors, but it needs to be said: Picking winning teams against the spread is almost an impossible task.

Bettors should always exercise caution when wagering on teams that are favored to win by more than eight points, which is a lot of ground to cover.

For instance, the Baltimore Ravens should easily be able to win their matchup at home against the Buffalo Bills this week because of quarterback play. Even though Flacco may have to look over his shoulder at Lamar Jackson, he's still twice the passer Nathan Peterman is, especially considering his penchant for turnovers.

But to bet the Ravens to cover, that's betting on them to win by more than seven. That's a tall order considering they've had to revamp their receiving corps and now rely on likes of John Brown and Michael Crabtree instead of stalwarts like Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace.

Still confident that the Ravens will cover? That's a gutsy call.

A good rule of thumb for gauging confidence in a team's ability to cover should be score breakdown. Go through all the games on the schedule and predict the final scores one by one.

Take those scores and compare them with the spreads listed by the Vegas sportsbooks. For the scores that you have listed that go well beyond the spreads generated by Vegas, focus on those games as the ones safest to wager on.

If you have the Steelers beating the Browns 29-17, that's a 12-point margin of victory, which easily covers the four-point spread. That works in theory, but keep in mind that the last time these two teams faced each other Pittsburgh only won by four points, and the time before that, they only won by three points.

Consider all angles before jumping in with both feet. Will it be a game with quarterback airing it out? Will it be a game of defensive domination? Will the receivers or running backs break open for huge yardages?

Take all of these points into account before opting to bet on teams covering the spread and you'll find yourself taking better chances with your money.


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