NFL Picks Week 1: Tips and Predictions for Prop Bets, Over/Under Lines and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2019

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 16:   Khalil Mack #52 of the Chicago Bears awaits the snap against Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on December 16, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Trends from a year ago could be a big help when it comes to breaking down the NFL Week 1 lines. 

Past production from the New Orleans Saints offense and Chicago Bears defense should serve as indicators for how the 2019 campaign begins.

Recent history in divisional matchups might also show you which lines are the most favorable. 

One of the other suggestions we have is to not be afraid of the larger spreads and minimal over/under totals. 


Week 1 NFL Odds

Odds via Caesars

Thursday, September 5

Green Bay at Chicago (-3) (Over/Under: 46) 


Sunday, September 8

Atlanta at Minnesota (-3.5) (O/U: 47.5) 

Baltimore (-6.5) at Miami (O/U: 38) 

Buffalo at New York Jets (-3) (O/U: 40) 

Kansas City (-4) at Jacksonville (O/U: 52) 

Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Carolina (O/U: 49.5) 

Tennessee at Cleveland (-5.5) (O/U: 45.5) 

Washington at Philadelphia (-9.5) (O/U: 46) 

Cincinnati at Seattle (-9.5) (O/U: 43.5) 

Indianapolis at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) (O/U: 44.5) 

Detroit (-2.5) at Arizona (O/U: 47.5) 

New York Giants at Dallas (-7) (O/U: 45) 

San Francisco at Tampa Bay (N/A) (O/U: 50) 

Pittsburgh at New England (-5.5) (O/U: 51) 


Monday, September 9

Houston at New Orleans (-7) (O/U: 53.5) 

Denver at Oakland (-1) (O/U: 43) 


Prop Bet Tips

Thursday Night 1st-Half Under

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

In each of their last three meetings, Green Bay and Chicago have scored under 20 first-half points.

If you go by recent history, the first-half over/under of 23, per VegasInsider.com, for Thursday's game is too high.

The low-scoring trend applied to last season's opener as well, with Atlanta and Philadelphia combining for nine points in the first two quarters. 

The under makes even more sense when you evaluate the matchup since Green Bay will be playing under new head coach Matt LaFleur's system in full game speed for the first time. 

In addition, Chicago's defense limited five of its eight regular-season foes at Soldier Field to fewer than 18 points a year ago. In total last season, the Bears held opponents under that total in 11 contests.

There is a slight chance Aaron Rodgers comes out on fire in his new offense against a divisional rival, but that is unlikely given all the trends going against a high-scoring first half. 


Philadelphia 1st-Half Spread

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Philadelphia shut out Washington in seven of the eight quarters they played in 2018.

In the last two seasons, the Eagles have given up two double-digit quarter totals to their NFC East rival. 

That leads us to the -4.5 first-half spread, per VegasInsider.com, for Sunday's meeting at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Washington's inability to score on a consistent basis against the Eagles should scare you away from taking Jay Gruden's side in most bets for the NFC East clash. 

In 2018, the Eagles outscored opponents 181-164 on home soil, with their largest margin of victory coming against the Redskins.

Not only should the first-half line be in favor of the Eagles, but the overall spread of -9.5 is likely to go their way as well since they have won their last four matchups with Washington by double digits. 


Over/Under Tips

Baltimore-Miami Under

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Baltimore's 47-point explosion versus Buffalo a year ago was an outlier in the franchise's Week 1 scoring trend. 

In 2016 and 2017, the Ravens totaled 20 points in their openers, while they combined for 32 with the Denver Broncos in 2015. 

Those numbers suggest the under of 38, which is the lowest total in Week 1, is in play against the Miami Dolphins. 

The over/under is low due to the history of the Ravens defense and the unknowns surrounding Miami's offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Do not get caught up in the 417 passing yards and four scores that the new Dolphins starter produced in Week 1 last year. 

In his five other Week 1 starts with Buffalo, Houston and the New York Jets, Fitzpatrick failed to hit the 210-yard mark. 

A matchup versus the fifth-best pass defense from a year ago should hurt the 36-year-old's offensive output. That combined with the Ravens scoring over 30 points once with Lamar Jackson under center should qualify the under as the reasonable wager. 


New Orleans Over and Spread

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

One of the most sensible bets of Week 1 involves the New Orleans Saints. 

The Saints averaged 34.1 home points per game in the regular season and earned four double-digit victories at the Superdome last season.

Five of their eight home matchups in 2018 would have cleared Monday night's over/under of 53.5, and two other totals were in the high 40s. 

The average margin of victory in New Orleans' six home wins was 15.8, with four of the triumphs being over 10 points. 

Even though Houston went 5-3 on its travels, the Texans conceded 22.5 points per contest and allowed three playoff sides to score 25 points.

They have a chance to hang around Monday, but that requires Deshaun Watson to match Drew Brees' level of production. 

Brees averaged 281.3 yards per game at home last season, while Watson totaled 256.7 yards per contest away from Houston. 

If those numbers hold true for Week 1, there is a better chance of the Saints pulling away than the Texans keeping the game close, which is why we like New Orleans on the seven-point spread and the over.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.