NFL Best Bets Week 1
After enjoying the taster that was Thursday Night Football, we are back with the main course which is week 1 of the NFL. Each week I’m going to be running through the Sunday slate of games and picking a some teams that may do better than expected and beat the spread. With it being week 1, it’s a little more speculative as a lot can change in this league, but let’s dive in to this weeks matchups.
Las Vegas Raiders (+3.5) @ Denver Broncos
The Raiders have themselves a new quarterback this season with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, which some would argue was one of the more sideways moves this offseason. Nevertheless, the offense as a whole has improved some, with the additions of Jakobi Meyers and the rookie Michael Mayer joining Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Josh Jacobs fresh off of his new deal. Las Vegas definitely struggled last year, finishing 6-11 for the season, but injuries definitely played their part. Hunter Renfrow missed 7 games, Darren Waller missed 8 and they ended the season by benching Derek Carr for Jarrett Stidham. Now their offense looks healthy, which is a far cry from the Denver Broncos.
Sean Payton has been vocal in his opinons on the team he’s inherited this year, with Tim Patrick out for the season once again, Jerry Jeudy is dealing with a hamstring issue and Javonte Williams is coming back from his ACL tear. This leaves Russell Wilson with few options to help him attempt to improve on last years dismal campaign. What will help him is the fact that the Raiders allowed 242.9 yards on average in the air last season (29th) and they waited until the 4th round to address the outside by drafting Jakorian Bennet from Maryland. I liked both picks the Broncos made with their first 2 picks, Marvin Mims (2nd) and Drew Sanders (3rd) but I think it’s going to take this Denver team a while to get going, again with Javonte Williams coming off his injury he may take a few games to get back to the level he was at previously. Although he only started 10 games last season, Jimmy G ranked 5th overall in pass completion (67.2%) and threw 16 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions. If Jacobs can continue his fantastic form from last year (1653 yards & 12 TD’s) and Garoppolo can find a rhythm with Davante Adams and the rest of the receivers, the Broncos could find themselves in trouble. I don’t think it’s going to be a high-scoring game, but I’d be happy to go as far as taking the Raiders ML (+150) for this one.
New York Giants (+3.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
There’s not a lot of games with upset potential this week, but I started to come around to the idea that the Giants may surprise Dallas here in the opener. The Giants last won in Dallas back in 2021 and part of the success they had there was the fact that they were able to mix it up between the run and passing game, something they really struggled with last year as the injuries mounted up. In the aforementioned game, Sterling Shepherd finished with 8 receptions and 112 yards, the Giants only had 1 instance of a player hitting 3 figures last season (Wan’Dale Robinson WK11, 9 rec, 100yds). Thankfully now, it looks as though this will improve with the addition of Darren Waller from the Raiders and also drafting 3rd round receiver Jalin Hyatt from Tennessee, this has given Daniel Jones a good core of receiving talent to work with. Another sign of improvement for Daniel Jones is the fact he ranked tied 5th overall in pass completion (67.2%) and for QB’s with 16+ games played he threw the fewest interceptions of all of them (5).
On the other side, Dak Prescott had a year to forget, marred with injury and poor performances. He started just 12 games but lead the league in interceptions (15) and was unable to lead the Cowboys past Brock Purdy and the 49ers in the first round of the playoffs, finishing that game with just 1 TD and 2 INT’s. Dallas still have great offensive options with the likes of Ceedee Lamb, Michael Gallup and the addition of Brandin Cooks, as well as Tony Pollard now the starting running-back, but with Kellen Moore leaving for the Chargers I wonder how they’ll cope offensively in their first game without him. The extra half a point is very useful, especially if this game stays close and ends up being decided by a field goal for either team. It’s also worth noting that the only game the Cowboys lost last season at home was their opener against Tampa Bay (19-3), here’s hoping they have another slow start in Dallas this weekend.
I’m David, 28, originally from England but now married and living in Texas. Originally studied English Literature at Liverpool Hope University, alongside Sport & Education. Having been an avid sports fan my entire life, I had a season ticket at Everton FC in the EPL for 17 years. Since moving here I’ve become a Kansas City Chiefs fan after Kelce won me my Fantasy League on my first-ever try. Love watching the games whether it be college on Saturdays or the NFL throughout the week. You’ll always find me with a bet or two on as well. 1 leg losses are my Kryptonite.