Books post spreads for four Week 1 NFL games

Books post spreads for four Week 1 NFL games

With Week 1 of the 2024 NFL season less than four months away, lots of sportsbooks posted numbers for three games yesterday and a now a fourth game that was announced this morning.

Let’s start with the Thursday night opener, as Kansas City will begin its quest for a three-peat by hosting Baltimore at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 5. As of Tuesday morning, the Westgate SuperBook had the Chiefs installed as 2.5-point favorites at a -120 price, and the total was 47 points.

Meanwhile, DraftKings had Andy Reid’s club listed as a three-point home ‘chalk’ with a total of 47.5. The Ravens were +130 on the money line.

Kansas City met its most important offseason goal when it inked perennial Pro-Bowl DT Chris Jones to a five-year year contract that includes $95 million of guaranteed money. The Chiefs also retained several other key players on defense like LB Drue Tranquill, DT Derrick Nnadi and DT Tershawn Wharton.

Patrick Mahomes has several new toys on offense, including sixth-year veteran WR Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, who had 91 catches for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns for Baltimore in 2021. Brown hauled in 51 receptions for 574 yards and four TDs for Arizona last season.

The Chiefs traded up to take WR Xavier Worthy out of Texas with the No. 28 overall pick in the first round. Worthy, who had 75 catches for 1,014 yards and five TDs for the Longhorns in 2023, ran an incredible 4.21 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. It was the fastest recorded time since at least 2003.

Kansas City also added veteran TE Irv Smith Jr. in free agency and TE Jared Wiley (TCU) with its fourth-round pick. We should point out that the Chiefs lost outright to Detroit in last year’s season opener on Thursday night at home.

Baltimore went defense with its first-round selections, taking CB Nate Wiggins from Clemson with the No. 25 pick. The Ravens went with OT Roger Rosengarten (Washington) in Round 2 and LB Adisa Isaac (Penn St.) in Round 3. They got a potential steal in the fourth round with former North Carolina WR Devontez Walker.

Baltimore’s big move in free agency was adding RB Derrick Henry, who signed a two-year deal worth $16 million.

In the NFL’s first venture into Brazil and ‘Friday Night Lights’ on Sept. 6, Philadelphia and Green Bay will square off at Corinthians Stadium in Sao Paulo.

Most books have the Eagles as 1.5-point favorites with a total of 48.5. However, the Westgate has Philadelphia -1 with the total at 48 points.

Philadelphia is looking to shake off last year’s late-season collapse and attempted to do so by grabbing the 2024 NFL Draft’s best cornerbacks. With the No. 22 overall pick, the Eagles took Quinyon Mitchell out of Toledo.

Then with the 40th overall pick in Round 2, GM Howie Roseman went with Iowa’s Cooper DeJean, who can also contribute on punt returns if needed. I’m really high on the value of four picks by Roseman in the later rounds, including RB Will Shipley (Round 4, Clemson), WR Ainias Smith (R5, Texas A&M), LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (R5, Clemson) and 6-foot-7 WR Johnny Wilson (R6, FSU).

If not for an issue with drops at FSU, Wilson would’ve probably been off the board in the third or fourth round. But if he can fix that issue, Wilson can be a weapon for QB Jalen Hurts. Smith, who can also contribute on special teams, probably would’ve gone higher if not for a bad knee injury sustained against Arkansas in 2022.

Roseman got more help for the defense in free agency by signing locker room leaders in veteran LB Devin White and DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who returns to Philadelphia after spending one season with the Lions.

The offense also gets a playmaker in 27-year-old RB Saquon Barkley, who signed a three-year deal for $37.75 million that can earn him more than $46M if he reaches certain bonuses.

With these moves, Roseman has displayed why I think he and Detroit GM Brad Holmes are the best in the business right now. With veterans Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce retiring, Roseman needed leading voices in the locker room and got several in White, Johnson and Barkley.

The secondary was a major issue in 2023, but that position group is completely rebuilt and has more speed with Mitchell and DeJean. The 2023 DBs lacked a captain, and the Eagles get that back with Johnson’s experience.

In a Week 1 tilt on Sunday (Sept. 8) at 4:25 p.m. Eastern, Cleveland will play host to Dallas. Most books have this game as a pick ’em with the total in the 43.5 (Westgate) to 44.5 (DraftKings) range, but DraftKings has the Browns as one-point home favorites.

Dallas was notably quiet in free agency with the exception of signing veteran LB Erik Kendricks. The Cowboys also brought back RB Ezekiel Elliott, but he’s a shell of the player they had when he came into the NFL out of Ohio St.

Dallas looked to improve in the trenches with its picks in Rounds 1, 2 and 3. The Cowboys selected OT Tyler Guyton (R1, Oklahoma), DL Marshawn Kneeland (R2 Western Michigan) and IOL Cooper Beebe (R3, Kansas St.).

Cleveland didn’t have a first-round pick, but most draft pundits loved its selection of DL Michael Hall Jr. (Ohio St.) with the No. 54 pick of Round 2. The Browns got excellent late-round value with WR Jamari Thrash (R5, Louisville), LB Nathaniel Watson (R6, Mississippi St.) and CB Myles Harden (R7, South Dakota).

With Nick Chubb returning from such a serious injury, Cleveland added depth at RB by signing D’Onta Foreman and Nyheim Hines, who can also return punts and kicks. Other notable additions in free agency include QB Jameis Winston, LB Jordan Hicks and DT Quinton Jefferson.

The NFL announced this morning that San Francisco will host the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. As of Tuesday morning, the Westgate had the 49ers as six-point home favorites with a total of 44.

However, DraftKings had San Francisco as 5.5-point ‘chalk’ (at a -115 price) with a total of 46.5. BetOnline had the 49ers -6 with a total of 45 points. DraftKings had the Jets at +190 on the money line.

I liked what San Francisco did in the draft, although opinions vary on whether or not it reached for Florida WR Ricky Pearsall, who went No. 31 in Round 1 after causing his stock to soar after crushing it at the NFL Combine. The 49ers added CB Renardo Green (FSU) at No. 64 overall in Round 2.

WR Jacob Cowing (R4, Arizona) is going to prove to be a steal, and the 49ers also selected Louisville RB Isaac Guerendo and Wake Forest CB Malik Mustapha in the fourth round.

San Francisco addressed its defensive line in free agency by signing DE Leonard Floyd, DT Jordan Elliott and DE Yetur Gross-Matos, and it also sent a seventh-round pick to Houston for DT Maliek Collins. The 49ers also picked up a tackling machine in veteran LB De’Vondre Campell.

Josh Dobbs and Brandon Allen were signed to compete for the backup QB gig behind Brock Purdy.

The Jets went offense with their first five picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, including OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu (Penn St.) with the No. 11 overall pick. They also added WR Malachi Corley (R3, Western Ky.), RB Braelon Allen (R4, Wisconsin), QB Jordan Travis (R5, FSU) and RB Isaiah Davis (R5, San Diego St.).

New York inked a big-time target for Aaron Rodgers in veteran WR Mike Williams, who comes over from the Chargers after missing most of last season with an injury sustained in September. The Jets also signed eight-time Pro Bowl OT Tyron Smith and DT Javon Kinlaw to one-year contracts.