The long wait is (almost) over. Just under seven months after the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI, meaningful NFL football returns on Thursday night with those defending champion Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills, who have Super Bowl-level expectations for the new year. As always, there are plenty of storylines for the league itself but, from a gambling perspective, there might be even more. For now, let’s focus on the NFL betting totals for Week 1.
With a full 16-game slate, headlined by Bills-Rams, Buccaneers-Cowboys, and Vikings-Packers, the opening week schedule features a bunch of great matchups. It’s also a great week for NFL point spread over and under picks because some high-powered offenses are meeting up and crazy things seem to happen at the beginning of new seasons. It’s a critical time to be better because the gap between the information the public has access to and the information that Vegas has access to is never smaller than it is right at the start of the year.
That lack of information is a major reason why there have been pretty significant over/under point total jumps for a bunch of Week 1 games from when the lines opened to where they are right now. Those games present pretty good opportunities to pick up value, which is why they’re worth diving into. Let’s take a look at a few of the notable total-movers:
Denver Broncos vs Seattle Seahawks: 44.5 points
Russell Wilson doesn’t have to wait long for his return to Seattle because his new team, the Denver Broncos, opens up its season on the road against the Seahawks on Monday night in what should be a doozy of a game. The NFL betting totals expect this one to be a pretty low-scoring affair, interestingly, but the total opened up at a much-lower 41.5 points and jumped up by a field goal over the course of the last week.
It makes sense why the total is so low — the Seahawks, led by Geno Smith, don’t exactly boast a high-powered offense and the Broncos are still trying to figure everything out after such an active offseason — but the late movement is interesting and probably can’t solely be justified by the up-in-the-air NFL injury report of Seattle running back Kenneth Walker III, who might be able to play. If Walker can go, it gives the Seahawks a big offensive boost where Pete Carroll’s team desperately needs one.
The NFL point spreads might be onto something here, especially because neither team’s defense is especially dominant by any means. The over is the play here and the few extra points shouldn’t dissuade you from taking it. Plus, Brandon McManus and Jason Myers (even after a down year) are both good kickers who can be relied upon to help the overhit.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Detroit Lions: 48.5 points
There was a similar line movement in Eagles-Lions as the NFL betting totals initially had this over/under at 46.5 points but it has since inched up two points. Plenty of optimism surrounds both of these teams right now as the Eagles, and Jalen Hurts, are looking to build on a surprising 9-8 season (and playoff appearance) in 2021 while the Lions, fresh off a Hard Knocks appearance, can only improve on a dreadful 3-13-1 campaign in Dan Campbell’s first season as head coach.
The Eagles have a revamped wide receiver room with A.J. Brown and Zach Pascal joining the elite DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins. With Hurts boasting some better weapons and having a solid offensive line, Philadelphia should be able to put up some points, particularly against a Lions’ defense that was terrible a year ago. Detroit also added a big-name receiver, picking up D.J. Chark to hopefully help out Jared Goff.
Field conditions inside the dome of Ford Field typically help offenses as well, so this game does have the makings of a potential barn-burner. A potential reason for concern is the health status of the Eagles’ Miles Sanders, who is questionable. The over is still a safe play but Philadelphia not having Sanders could force Nick Sirianni to keep the ball in Hurts’ hands more which is could help reduce scoring (if he runs a lot). That’s something to keep in mind.
New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins: 46.5 points
The NFL betting totals pegged this divisional matchup at 44.5 points to open with a slight upward correction following. But, unlike the previous two games highlighted in this article, this movement made a little less sense. player Mac Jones did have a successful rookie season but the Patriots didn’t exactly have an unstoppable offense, and the somewhat shaky wide receiver core only added the inconsistent DeVante Parker.
On the other side of things, Tua Tagovailoa does have Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson to throw to now (and Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert in the backfield) but Tua’s inability to throw deep should limit Miami’s offensive upside. Plus, New England had a top-five defense in 2021 and should be a force to be reckoned with as long as Bill Belichick is running the show.
The patriots-Dolphins game tends to be a little crazy so there could be some gimmick or trick play touchdowns factored in, but the under is a good play here. That’s a pretty high-point total for these quarterbacks and defenses.Follow us on Twitter