NFL Week 1 Preview, Predictions & Best Bets
The 2017 NFL season is finally here! Best Bets for Week 1!
It feels like an eternity ago that the New England Patriots recorded that memorable come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51 and we could not be more excited to get stuck into a new NFL season.
Our NFL best bets were incredibly profitable during the 2016 NFL season, so don’t miss out on our complete 2017 NFL Week 1 tips that can be found below.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The New England Patriots dynasty shows no signs of slowing down and they go into the new NFL season as clear favourites to win the Super Bowl.
New England knocked the Kansas City Chiefs out of the NFL Playoffs the last time that these two teams met in 2016 and it is the Patriots that will start this clash as dominant favourites.
The Patriots won eight of their ten games as home favourites last season and even more impressive was the fact that they finished with the exact same record against the line.
Kansas City clearly have one eye on the future – moving up in the NFL Draft to claim Patrick Mahomes was clear evidence of that – but they are still expected to be a Playoffs contender with Alex Smith under centre this season.
The Chiefs were one of the best betting teams in the NFL last season and they won three of their four games as away underdogs for a very big profit.
Kansas City did beat New England by 41-14 when they met in 2014 at Arrowhead Stadium, but it really is incredibly tough to back against the Patriots when they are at home.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting perspective.
BUFFALO BILLS VS NEW YORK JETS
2016 was a struggle for both the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets and neither look like being any better in 2017.
The New York Jets have completely stripped their roster and are clearly tanking, while the Buffalo Bills have made a number of questionable calls during the off-season and really are a franchise with no direction.
It is the Bills that will start this clash as clear favourites, but it was the Jets that won the two games played between these sides last season.
Buffalo won only three of their five games as home favourites last season for a clear loss and they were a poor 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
New York may have beaten Buffalo twice last season, but they were still only able to win two of their seven games as away underdogs and their record against the line was no better.
The only value in this clash lies in the Total Points betting market.
The Over saluted in all eight of the Bills home games last season and the two games played between these sides last season were surprisingly high-scoring affairs.
Best Bet Over 42 Points $1.91 – Bills Win
HOUSTON TEXANS VS JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
These AFC South rivals both have issues at quarterback, but it is the Houston Texans that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Houston took DeShaun Watson in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but they will go into this season with the limited Tom Savage as their quarterback – it will be interesting to see how long he is able to hold on to the job.
The Texans preseason has obviously been effected by Tropical Depression Harvey and this will be an emotional occasion for the team as well as the city of Houston as a whole.
Houston have won their past seven games against Jacksonville and they did not lose a single game as home favourites last season.
Jacksonville were one of the biggest disappointments in the entire NFL last season and the career of quarterback Blake Bortles has stalled in a big way.
Bortles has now been replaced as one of the Jaguars five team captains and there is plenty of speculation that he could be replaced by veteran Chad Henne.
Jacksonville won only one of their eight games at away underdogs last season, but they were 5-3 against the line in this scenario for a profit.
This is a big occasion for Houston and they should be able to get the job done, while covering the line in the process.
Best Bet Houston To Beat The Line (-4.5 Points) $1.91
CLEVELAND BROWNS VS PITTSBURGH STEELERS
This is one of the most one-sided rivalries in the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers have won eight of their past nine games against the Cleveland Browns.
Pittsburgh are considered one of the main dangers to the New England Patriots in the battle for the Super Bowl and with one of the most star-studded offences in the NFL it is easy to see why.
The Steelers won five of their eight games as away favourites last season and in each of these wins they were able to cover the line in the progress.
Cleveland won only a single game last season and while they are unlikely to be that bad in 2016, they are still a team that is in the middle of rebuilding.
The Browns have taken a punt on rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer and he really has been thrown into the deep-end in this season opener against the Steelers.
Cleveland won only one game as home underdogs last season and they failed to cover the line in seven of their eight games in this scenario.
This is a soft way to start the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers and they really should be able to cover the line of 7.5 points very comfortably.
Best Bet Pittsburgh To Beat The Line (-7.5 Points) $1.91
DETROIT LIONS VS ARIZONA CARDINALS
The Arizona Cardinals were extremely disappointing last season, but they will still go into this clash with the Detroit Lions as favourites.
Arizona went into the 2016 NFL season as genuine Super Bowl contenders, but they struggled from the outset and finished a disappointing 7-8-1.
Carson Palmer is not getting any younger, but they do have one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL in the form of David Johnson and it would not surprise if they are one of the big improvers in 2017.
The Cardinals were mediocre away from home last season and finished the season with a 2-2 record as home favourites.
Detroit once again missed out on the NFC North Title last season, but they still qualified for the NFL Playoffs and they should be in the mix for a wildcard once again.
Winning at home was a big strength for Detroit last season and they won six of their eight games at Ford Field for a big profit.
Somewhat bizarrely, the Lions have lost their past seven games against Arizona and they have not beaten them since 2005, in a close game I’m tipping Arizona to come away with this game.
Best Bet Arizona To Win @ $1.85
CHICAGO BEARS VS ATLANTA FALCONS
It has been a very tough off-season for the Atlanta Falcons and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from their Super Bowl meltdown.
Their Super Bowl choke overshadowed what was an excellent season for the Falcons and they have very similar pieces in place heading into 2017.
They are no guarantee to make another deep run, but they will still fancy their chances of making a winning start to the season.
The Falcons won all three of their games as home favourites last season and more impressively they were 7-1 against the line on the road.
2016 was another season to forget for the Chicago Bears and it is expected to be another tricky season for the struggling franchise.
Mike Glennon has been named starting quarterback – despite being challenged by rookie Mitch Trubisky in the preseason – and Glennon has shown some promising signs during his time as a starter in the NFL.
Chicago were able to win three of their six games as home underdogs last season and they were an impressive 5-1 against the line in this scenario. However I expect the Falcons to bounce back strongly after a painful wait for the start of the season.
Best Bet Falcons to win
TENNESSEE TITANS VS OAKLAND RAIDERS
Big things are expected of both the Tennessee Titans and the Oakland Raiders this season and this is an interesting way for them to start the season.
Tennessee were one of the biggest surprise packages in the NFL and they finished the season with a 9-7 record that almost saw them return to the Playoffs.
Anything less than a Playoffs berth would be seen as a disappointment for Tennessee and they will go into this clash with Oakland as home favourites.
The Titans won four of their five games as home favourites last season and if they are going to be a genuine contender in 2017, they must turn LP Field into a fortress.
Oakland looked as though they would be serious Super Bowl contenders in the second half of last season, but a season-ending injury to Derek Carr devastated their chances and they went out in the first round of the NFL Playoffs.
Carr is back and the AFC West Title really is there for the taking for this Raiders outfit.
The Raiders were able to win four of their seven games as away underdogs last season for a big profit and they have beaten the Titans in the past two seasons.
The one betting market that really does appeal in this clash is the Over in Total Points betting markets.
Backing the Over was a profitable betting play in games involving either of these sides last season and it would not surprise to see Carr and Marcus Mariota put on a show.
Back Over 51 Points $1.91 & Raiders to win $2.30
CINCINNATI BENGALS VS BALTIMORE RAVENS
Both the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens will be keen to improve on what were fairly mediocre seasons in 2016.
Cincinnati took a step backwards for the first time in the Andy Dalton/A.J. Green era last year, but they have added a fair bit of talent in the off-season and will go into this clash with their divisional rivals as favourites.
The Bengals won only three of their six games as home favourites last season and they were a tough side to trust in this scenario.
It is tough to know what to make off the Ravens heading into 2017.
They still have one of the best defences in the NFL and if Joe Flacco stays fits the offence is capable of moving the football, but they do not have any explosive playmakers.
Baltimore really struggled away from home last season and they lost all five of their games as away underdogs, while they were a very poor 1-4 against the line in this scenario.
It has been a long time since Baltimore were able to beat Cincinnati in Cincinnati and that home-ground advantage does give the edge to the Bengals.
Best Bet Cincinnati To Win $1.65
WASHINGTON REDSKINS VS PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
The Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles finished in the second half of the NFC East last season, but the gap between them and the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants is not as great as last years standings indicate.
The controversy surrounding the contract of quarterback Kirk Cousins dominated the off-season in Washington and it overshadowed the fact that the Redskins have made a couple of shrewd moves during the off-season.
Washington will still go into this clash with the Philadelphia Eagles as underdogs and they weren’t particularly impressive at home last season – they won four of their eight games and had an identical record against the line.
Philadelphia and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz both made very promising starts to 2016, but fell away somewhat in the second half of the year.
The Eagles have doubled down on Wentz and have spent the off-season accumulating a host of different weapons for their young quarterback – despite having a number of key needs on defence.
Philadelphia were very poor away from home last season and they won just one of their eight games on the road and they failed to cover the line in their two games as away favourites.
I think the Eagles will make a lot of improvement this year, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, they’ll win this one and start the season off on the front foot.
Best Bet Eagles to Win $1.91
LOS ANGELES RAMS VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
The betting market for this clash completely flipped after it was revealed that Andrew Luck would not play in the season opener for the Indianapolis Colts.
The move from St Louis to Los Angeles was not a successful one for the Rams on the field last season and they finished with just four wins, while they lost their last seven games of the year.
Number 1 draft pick Jared Goff struggled from the outset and he will likely only have this season to prove that he is capable of being at least an average starting quarterback in the NFL.
The Rams lost both their games as home favourites last season and they won only one of their eight games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
There are few franchises in the NFL that are more reliant on one player than the Colts are on Andrew Luck and they will go into this clash with the very unreliable Scott Tolzien under centre.
The Colts were able to win four of their eight games as away underdogs last season for a big profit and the fact of the matter is that there is no real evidence to suggest that Goff is any better than Tolzien.
I couldn’t trust anyone in this, I need to see something from Goff first. If anything I expect to see Gurley take on a big role and dominate a weak defensive unit with the run.
The Carolina Panthers took a huge step backwards last season, but they will still go into this clash with the San Francisco 49ers as clear favourites.
Last season, Carolina were a shadow of the team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl the year prior and they finished at the bottom of the NFC South.
Whether they are able to bounce back this season could depend on the fitness of Cam Newton after he had his shoulder surgically repaired in the off-season, while their defence will definitely need to improve if they are going to be a contender.
The Panthers won only one of their three games as away favourites last season and their record away from home was poor.
San Francisco were one of the biggest winners of the NFL Draft and their head-office has made a number of very shrewd plays, but there is no doubt that they are a team that is still in the middle of a rebuild.
The 49ers still don’t have their quarterback of the future and it would likely be in the best interests of the future of the franchise if they went into the 2018 NFL Draft with a top five pick.
San Francisco won only one game at home last season and their record against the line was only marginally better.
Carolina go into this clash as deserving favourites, if Newton is healthy I look forward to the return of the Kelvin Benjamin/Cam Newton combo.
Best Bet Panthers to win $1.50
GREEN BAY PACKERS VS SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks have developed a heated rivalry in recent seasons and this will be another interesting clash between these two sides.
Green Bay made an incredibly slow start to the 2016 NFL season, but Aaron Rodgers was able to get hot at the right time and they ended up only a game away from the Super Bowl.
No team in the NFL relies more on one player than the Packers do on Rodgers and their chances this season really do live or die on his arm.
It is the Packers that will go into this clash as clear favourites and they are always a tough team to beat in front of their home fans at Lambeau Field – they won six of their eight games as home favourites last season and were 5-1-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Seattle Seahawks finished on top of the NFC West last season, but they never really looked like genuine Super Bowl contenders and they were eliminated by Atlanta in the second week of the NFL Playoffs.
The offensive line was a big problem for Seattle last season and they really haven’t done a great deal to fix this issue, which has plagued this otherwise strong side for a couple of seasons.
Seattle won only one of their four games as away underdogs last season and they were a middling 2-2 on the road.
The Lambeau Field factor does give the Packers the edge in this one and a strong performance from Rodgers can help them cover the line. I don’t like the split locker room in Seattle so I can’t trust the Seahawks just yet
Best Bet Green Bay Packers To Win @ $1.57
DALLAS COWBOYS VS NEW YORK GIANTS
The rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants is one of the fiercest in the NFL.
Dallas were the number one seeds in the NFC last season and they lost only three games in the regular season, but two of those losses did come at the hands of the Giants.
The controversy surrounding Ezekiel Elliot has overshadowed everything involving the Cowboys this offseason, but they will have their star running-back for this clash.
Dak Prescott was arguably the biggest revelation in the NFL last season and he was truly exceptional, but statistically it will be tough for him to repeat what he achieved last season – especially if Elliot does end up missing six games.
Dallas won six of their seven games as home favourites last season and they were 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
The New York Giants were overshadowed by the Cowboys last season, but they still had a strong campaign and comfortably qualified for the NFL Playoffs with a wildcard.
Odell Beckham can be a tough unreliable, but he remains one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the entire NFL on his day and he will now be supported by veteran wide out Brandon Marshall.
The Giants took very big strides last season and this will be an excellent early-season test for a unit that is expected to improve again in 2017.
New York won when they were expected to last season, but didn’t cause that many upsets and they won only one of their six games as away underdogs, while their record against the line was not much better.
The Giants have a great Defense and If Beckham is fit I don’t think the Cowboys can match Eli and the passing game.
Best Bet Giants to Win $2.80
MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Mediocrity is the only way to describes the 2017 campaigns of both the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints.
The fact that the Vikings were able to win eight games last season with an offensive line as bad as they had was nothing short of a miracle and their line can’t possibly be as bad as it was in 2016.
That will take the pressure off Sam Bradford a little bit as will rookie running back Dalvin Cook.
Minnesota will start this clash as clear favourites and they were able to win four of their six games as home favourites with an identical record against the line last season.
The Saints’ defence was one of the worst in the entire NFL last season and they faded to a 7-9 record for the third season in a row.
Drew Brees is not getting any younger, but he continues to carry the hopes of the Saints on his shoulders and he is able to pick-up big yards with what receiving group he has at his disposal.
The acquisition of Adrian Peterson is an intriguing one for the Saints – there is no doubt he is in the final stages of his career, but if he is anywhere near his best he could help the Saints become the most dangerous offence in the competition.
Winning away from home was an issue for the Saints and they won only two of their seven games as away underdogs, but they were 5-1-1 against the line in this scenario.
This Market looks just about right and this is two teams I’ll need to see more of before I vote with any confidence.
DENVER BRONCOS VS LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The AFC West is one of the most open divisions in the NFL and wins in intra-divisional games will be absolutely vital.
Denver’s Super Bowl defence was something of a disappointment, but they still finished with a 9-7 record and their defence remains one of the best in the NFL.
Trevor Siemian will once again be under centre for the Broncos and his role will be simply to protect the ball as much as possible.
Denver won four of their six games as home favourites last season for a clear profit and their record against the line in that scenario was identical.
The Chargers have made the controversial move to Los Angeles and they will be hopeful that their first season in their new city will be more successful than that of the Rams.
Injuries have been a massive problem for San Diego in recent seasons and that has been one of the main reasons they have won only nine games over the past two years.
The offence has received a big boost in the off-season and if key players like Keenan Allen are able to remain healthy will be a strong unit, while Joey Bosa will be the leader of an improving defence.
Winning away from home was an issue for San Diego last year and they won only one of their five games as away underdogs.
This will be a hard-fought affair, and one of the most intriguing of week 1. With Coach McCoy headed to Denver to take over Offensive duties and Chargers fans see a healthy lineup for the first time in recent memory. The Chargers are under rated, they can get the job done at mile high.
Best Bet Chargers to Win $2.50