NFL Week 1 Picks: A RedZone Accumulator
We have finally made it! At times, this season looked like it would never happen. While r-rates may be rising, and we may be entering the new ‘rule of six’ in the UK, but come 6pm on Sunday, all of us can lock ourselves down in front of NFL Red Zone for advert-free football. With nine games starting in that 6pm slot, there are plenty of games to look at for that Week 1 value. Week 1 in the NFL is always a strange week when it comes to lines as we really know nothing about many teams, even more so this year, and that can make it a great week for your picks if you can get ahead of the market!
Given the sheer confusion of the last few months, allied with the very limited amount that even beat reporters have been able to gleam from this off-season, trying to find the value in underappreciated rookies to get yards or touchdowns seems limited. Therefore, we are just going to look at the match betting lines to build the Week 1 accumulator, with maybe the odd handicap market thrown in.
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One of the things that can be spotlighted though is that home advantage maybe more limited in practice early this season compared to the significant impact it will have on the odds line.
That is where our first tip comes in and that is the Green Bay Packers (5/4 with SkyBet) to beat the Minnesota Vikings. The fact that the handicap line gives the Packers 2.5 points suggests that the Packers would be favoured at home. This is a Packers side that beat the Vikings twice last season, and while they may not have done much to help Rodgers in the offseason, they are no worse. The Packers are a better team than the Vikings, so getting odds against is great value.
Which spreads look appealing this week?
Cleveland being given a full touchdown on the handicap is appealing in Baltimore, especially as the Browns have had all offseason to plan for the Ravens unique offense. However, we just don’t know what additional wrinkles are going into the Ravens offense, so it seems sensible to avoid.
Jacksonville seem to be attempting what the Dolphins did last year in order to get Trevor Lawrence. Given the way the Dolphins were destroyed in the early weeks last year, giving the Colts just a touchdown and change on the handicap seems appealing. However, while the Jags will not be good, is the roster much worse than last year and they were mostly at least competitive.
However, the best handicap look is yet another road team and that is the Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 (57/50 with Unibet and 888). There are so many issues surrounding Washington that for them to run one of the potential NFC powerhouses close is asking a huge amount.
Another handicap that looks handy is the Detroit Lions -2.5 (10/11 with various) against the Chicago Bears. The moment that the Bears named Mitch Trubisky starter, any hope of the Bears being a competent team went with it. The prices are almost like the Bears still had their 2018 defense and not the team from last year that beat Jeff Driskel and David Blough by a combined 11 points.
Rounding off the accumulator
One home team that are tempting are the Cincinnati Bengals, who are underdogs at home to beat the LA Chargers. If you could make any promises that Burrow will be even a competent quarterback, then they would be great value. However, with rookie QB’s you just can’t tell until they get under centre for the first time.
It is two other road teams that are going to round out the accumulator this week. The Las Vegas Raiders (7/10 with BetFair and Unibet) going into Carolina is the first. There is a huge amount of continuity in the Raiders roster and they should pick up in Week 1 better than most as a result, with Carolina being the exact opposite.
Meanwhile, for excitement, the matchup between the Seattle Seahawks (3/4 with BetVictor) and the Atlanta Falcons should be the pick of the early games, with two potentially explosive offenses. Seattle have such a significantly better defense though that they are an extremely safe bet.
Accumulator: Packers ML, Eagles -6.5, Lions -2.5, Raiders ML, Seahawks ML
NFL Betting Analyst