NFL Week 1 Predictions: Projections for the Early Lines, Spreads and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles throws during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Week 1 of the 2018 National Football League season presents plenty of intriguing betting options.

Starting Thursday night with the Atlanta Falcons' visit to Philadelphia, there are a handful of contests that will stick out right away in the eyes of bettors. 

When you get to the slate of contests Sunday and Monday, there are a few overwhelming favorites that seem like locks to cover. 

Between now and the start of each game, the lines will fluctuate a bit because of injuries and countless other factors, but don't be surprised if the traditional powers of the sport emerge as the most favored betting options for Week 1. 


Updated Week 1 Odds

Thursday, September 6 

Atlanta at Philadelphia (-2.5) 


Sunday, September 9

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-7) 

San Francisco at Minnesota (-5) 

Buffalo at Baltimore (-3) 

Jacksonville (-3) at New York Giants

Houston at New England (-6.5) 

Tennessee (-1.5) at Miami

Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-1.5) 

Pittsburgh (-6.5) at Cleveland

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers (-3) 

Washington at Arizona (Even) 

Seattle at Denver (-1) 

Dallas at Carolina (-2.5) 

Chicago at Green Bay (-8) 


Monday, September 10 

New York Jets at Detroit (-6.5) 

Los Angeles Rams at Oakland (Even) 


Could Philadelphia's Quarterback Situation Affect Line?

When Thursday rolls around, there will be plenty of celebrations occurring in Philadelphia, as the Eagles raise their first Super Bowl banner. 

All of the discussion before Thursday's season opener revolves around which quarterback will start for Doug Pederson's side. 

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Saturday that Nick Foles will start under center, as the Eagles give Carson Wentz more time to work his way back from the ACL injury he suffered against the Los Angeles Rams in December:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Eagles plan to start QB Nick Foles on Thursday in the season opener, sources say. Carson Wentz (ACL, LCL) has done fantastic in rehab. But this is a long-term decision for the face of the franchise.

However, Pederson wasn't willing to confirm the news Sunday during his press conference, as he produced a standoffish answer to reporters, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Jeff McLane @Jeff_McLane

Doug Pederson: Won’t comment on who the starting QBs will be Thursday because there was a report that Nick Foles will start over Carson Wentz. Said he’s blaming the entire media, lumping the entire group in. #Eagles

With the uncertainty at quarterback likely hovering around the Eagles until the first offensive series Thursday, the line will drop.

Foles still gives the Eagles a decent chance to win, but if Wentz were under center, there would be a bit more confidence in the starting QB getting the job done. 

The Eagles are 2.5-point favorites, but that should drop to 1.5 or lower in the buildup to Thursday given the uncertainty at quarterback and the real possibility the Atlanta Falcons could steal a victory at Lincoln Financial Field.


Pittsburgh and New England End Up As Week 1's Heaviest Favorites

Two of the perennial contenders in the AFC will open Week 1 as the heaviest favorites.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 6.5-point favorites on the road in Cleveland, while the New England Patriots are favored by the same amount against the Houston Texans. 

The line in Pittsburgh's game makes sense because the Steelers have a superior roster to the Browns and they've actually won a game in the last year. 

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

New England being a strong favorite at home is no surprise, but it is interesting to see the Houston Texans get no love as road underdogs despite the return of Deshaun Watson at quarterback. 

Entering Monday, the Green Bay Packers are the heaviest favorite at -8, but expect some sharp bettors to put money on the Chicago Bears and drive the line down a bit. 

The Bears will generate betting buzz because of their recent acquisition of Khalil Mack and the hype surrounding the combination of first-year head coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. 

Detroit and New Orleans are the other overwhelming favorites to keep an eye on, as they play host to the New York Jets and Tampa Bay, respectively.

The Lions and Saints are expected to win convincingly at home, which could lead to more money being thrown in their direction, but given the surefire locks that the Steelers and Patriots appear to be in Week 1, they'll enter Sunday with the best odds as 7.5-point favorites at least. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Odds obtained from OddsShark


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