With the 2019 NFL schedule being released recently, football bettors everywhere already have the ability to take an early look at week 1 NFL odds.
Some people would raise an eyebrow at laying money on games that are over four months away, but sometimes when there is elite betting value, waiting isn’t really an option.
That could very much be the case before the summer arrives, and depending on how you bet on week 1 NFL games now, that wager’s value could get better as time goes on.
I’ve got a few specifically in mind I think already offer nice value and could become even more attractive as the 2019 NFL regular season draws closer.
Here are five games that I think offer the best bets for NFL week 1 as things stand.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets – Over 38.5 @ -110
One of the first week 1 NFL wagers I’m looking at is the total between the Jets and Bills. These are two teams with really nice pieces defensively, and both could end up being rather dominant on that side of the ball.
But this is still a rivalry game, and both teams also got a lot better on offense.
New York added to their defense, but they also paid to get stud running back Le’Veon Bell and snagged slippery slot man Jamison Crowder from Washington. Assuming Gang Green only keeps adding helpful bodies this offseason, their offense could be as good as ever.
Buffalo already has the big-play upside and dual-threat ability of Josh Allen. They could add a deep threat in the draft to maximize his down-field talents while utilizing intermediate additions like Cole Beasley and speedster John Brown.
I’d argue both of these teams are already built to compete and put up points in 2019. The fact that they are hated rivals and that both will want to get off to 1-0 starts only adds to the tension, while this total is also just flat-out low.
Bettors will likely feel safe going with the under here, but even a mild 23-20 game would get you the win here. I expect a little more offensive production than Vegas, and this one feels like a steal.
Tennessee Titans (+5) @ -110
I find it very interesting how easy it is for everyone to back a team like the Cleveland Browns, even though they’ve proven virtually nothing.
Yes, Baker Mayfield looks like he’s the man for the job, and adding Odell Beckham Jr. should be the cherry on top for a rapidly improving offense. But Cleveland was still just 1-5 against playoff teams in 2018, and they don’t exactly have an elite defense.
Mayfield and company face a stiffer-than-expected test immediately in week 1. Not only will they have immense pressure on them to get off to a hot start, but they welcome an underrated Titans team to town to begin the 2019 season.
Tennessee plays good defense, can run the football, and was a fringe playoff threat a year ago. If Marcus Mariota is healthy and plays to his ability, the Titans might actually be the better team between these two.
All of this makes the trendy Browns feel like an unnecessary risk in week 1. Instead, I’ll be taking advantage of this fat point spread and even chasing Tennessee as a fun week 1 upset pick.
Detroit Lions (Pick’em) @ -115
The Arizona Cardinals could be making big changes in the draft this year, but that doesn’t mean they’re for sure going from awful to competitive.
The Cardinals still lack reliable talent in too many facets of their roster, which has me a little shocked that this week 1 battle with the Lions is listed as a pick’em.
Based on what both of these teams do over the course of the rest of the offseason, I’m sure the week 1 NFL betting lines will end up changing. In fact, I’ll admit you could make a case that by the time the season rolls around, Detroit could lose some value.
However, the Lions still aren’t viewed as some powerhouse, and they’re on the road.
I see the downside, but right now, this game is a true pick’em, and the Lions can be had at a nice -115 price to win. That’s value for what I deem to be the superior team with more answers than questions when compared to the Cardinals.
San Francisco 49ers (+1) @ -115
You can get even more value with the 49ers in week 1. Just be prepared to back yet another underdog on the road.
I’m not entirely sure why Vegas is pricing San Francisco as the weaker team here, though. Other than playing away from the comfort of their own stadium, the Niners aren’t at some severe disadvantage here.
Tampa Bay still has a shaky quarterback under center in Jameis Winston, they’ll be breaking in a new coach in Bruce Arians, and they were not good in 2018. Things change, but the Buccaneers were just 4-4 at home a year ago, and San Francisco may be one of the better NFL teams on the rise this year.
Bovada.lv and other Super Bowl betting sites peg the Niners as trendy sleepers (+2500) to chase down a title, too. In fact, 49ers star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is even a sneaky option this year if you plan to bet on who will win the 2019 NFL MVP award.
I won’t go that far with either take just yet, but if the Niners got off to an 0-1 start, it’d be both disappointing and a little shocking. As things stand, you’re getting them at a cool -115 price, and if these week 1 NFL odds hold, their moneyline could be +100 or better.
New York Giants (+7) @ -104
I don’t know how I feel about backing the G-Men as a straight-up winner in week 1. Marching into Big D and taking down the rival Cowboys is a tall order.
That’s especially true when New York lacks high-level talent at some important positions and simply wasn’t very good a year ago. Trading away a superstar wide receiver like Odell Beckham Jr. might hurt the offense, while New York also lost some key defensive talent.
But as bad as it looks in the Big Apple, I actually (gulp) don’t hate what the Giants are doing.
It may also help them be more competitive early on. I’m not arguing they win here or that losing star talent is good. But Odell Beckham Jr. could be a distraction, and sometimes when you have a clear weapon on offense, you get tunnel vision and try to force the issue a bit too much.
There is an argument here that if the Giants improve enough defensively and commit to Saquon Barkley and the running game, they can be more competitive.
Every team buys into that notion come week 1, and bettors get the Giants with +7 in a huge rivalry clash. New York has beaten this spread (or pushed) against Dallas seven times in their last nine meetings.
It’s no given things end well for New York in a pretty tough spot, but fundamentally, they’re not as bad off as people think. The Giants were also a respectable 8-7-1 against the spread as a worse rendition of themselves.
You’re not betting on an aging Eli Manning to light the world afire here. You’re getting a thick line as you bet this game is just relatively close.
There is a lot to think about already with an eye on week 1 NFL betting.
The lines are going to change as teams make more moves, players get hurt, and the football betting sites start to properly assess everyone’s Super Bowl odds and rankings within their respective divisions, too.
Naturally, this is why I can see some killer value right now, and that may be enough reason to hop on it. There are also going to be spots where we hit the pause button, and there are also going to be week 1 NFL betting traps to avoid.
Hopefully, these options steer you in the right direction, but the good news is you have plenty of time to configure your 2019 NFL betting strategy, whether you’re aiming to bet on week 1 or props and futures.
5 Week 1 NFL Games That Look Like Safe Bets
Looking ahead to week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season to gauge which NFL games offer the most betting value to take advantage of.