5 NFL Week 1 bets to consider placing now

Sportsbook.ag posted Week 1 NFL lines on Friday.

We see some early value, especially where the public is too high on a particular team.

Here are the best way-too-early bets for NFL Week 1.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-3.5)

Chicago was perfect against the spread in divisional games last year.

All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack can disrupt Aaron Rodgers. Third-year running back Tarik Cohen has game-changing speed. Combine those factors with home-field advantage in Week 1, and I expect a semi-comfortable Bears victory.

The Packers could start slow with new head coach Matt LaFleur and a remade receiving corps. Rodgers doesn’t have any elite pass-catchers outside of Davante Adams.

Rodgers and the media planted the seed that Green Bay’s recent struggles were almost completely due to the incompetence of Mike McCarthy, so it’s possible the public is expecting a bigger turnaround this season than the roster dictates.

It’s worth mentioning that Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio became Denver’s head coach. But the Bears’ overall defensive talent should overcome that loss, at least in Week 1.

The bet: Chicago -3.5

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)

These two NFC teams disappointed last season after significant preseason hype. Injuries ravaged Atlanta’s defense, while Minnesota couldn’t stitch together an average offensive line.

The Falcons get back linebacker Deion Jones, among others.

It’s to be determined whether Minnesota has solved its trench issues. The Vikings signed veteran guard Josh Kline, but that won’t be enough to fix all their problems.

Minnesota is expected to draft a tackle early in the NFL draft, but how much help will a potential rookie provide in Week 1?

Atlanta’s offense flashed the ability to be explosive last season, especially when Matt Ryan targeted Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Ryan figuring it out with help from an improved defense is a better bet than the Vikings fixing their offensive line.

The bet: Atlanta +4.5

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins (+4.5)

Miami traded QB Ryan Tannehill, then signed Ryan Fitzpatrick in an under-the-radar deal.

But “Fitzmagic” could have big consequences Week 1 vs. Baltimore. He’s been at his best in September, with career highs in completion percentage (62 percent), quarterback rating (87.5) and yards per attempt (7.71). He also takes significantly fewer sacks in September (25) than he has in October (71), November (83) or December (62).

Then there’s the most recent example of his September dominance. Tampa Bay’s upset over New Orleans in Week 1 sparked the “Fitzmagic” movement. He threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, sparking a strong start to the season for the Bucs.

Baltimore figured out how to utilize rookie QB Lamar Jackson’s running ability last season, but the former Heisman Trophy winner still struggles with accuracy. The NFL also seemed to figure him out down the stretch. Jackson completed just 57 percent of his passes for 165 yards per game in his final four starts.

He averaged 4.7 yards per rush on 147 carries, which is impressive for a quarterback, but not enough to carry a team when he can’t be trusted to throw downfield.

Baltimore also saw a plethora of defensive veterans leave the team, including safety Eric Weddle.

The bet: Miami +4.5 or +180

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-2.5)

There’s lots of uncertainty surrounding Oakland ahead of the NFL draft. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock sent all the team’s scouts home, and most or all of them could be fired due to trust issues. The team does have a bounty of early-round picks, including three in the first round.

Oakland could make a big splash in the draft and also acquired WR Antonio Brown, possibly leading the public to overvalue the Raiders.

The Raiders can improve their future with a great draft, but the franchise should endure at least one more painful season before it can compete for a playoff spot.

As good as Brown is, he might not mesh well with Derek Carr. The quarterback tied for last in the NFL on average air yards per attempt (6.7), according to NFL.com’s next gen stats.

Even if Gruden drafts a quarterback or another impact player in the first round, learning Gruden’s system in a single offseason is a tough task. The Raiders seem to be focused on building a future in Las Vegas even as they play one final campaign in Oakland.

Denver president of football operations John Elway is under pressure from fans and local media to get better results. He fired Vance Joseph after just two seasons and replaced him with Vic Fangio. He also hired offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello from Kyle Shanahan’s coaching tree and offensive line coach Mike Munchak from the Steelers.

The Broncos, who have not lost a season opener since 2011, arguably upgraded at quarterback, acquiring Joe Flacco to replace Case Keenum. Denver boasts talented second-year skill players in RB Phillip Lindsay and WR Courtland Sutton. The Broncos also feature one of the best pass rushes in the NFL with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

The bet: Denver -2.5 or +115

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns (-5)

Cleveland is setting up to be one of the most popular teams in the NFL this season, but the Browns probably aren’t getting enough credit in Week 1. QB Baker Mayfield and RB Nick Chubb aren’t rookies any more. The addition of WR Odell Beckham Jr. and continuity with Freddie Kitchens’ system should give the Browns an explosive offense in 2019.

CB Denzel Ward had an excellent rookie season, and Myles Garrett collected 13.5 sacks. New defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was excellent in that role with Carolina in 2017.

Tennessee isn’t exciting. The Titans didn’t generate a single All-Pro player in 2018 and didn’t make any offseason acquisitions of note beyond trading for backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Starting QB Marcus Mariota is often injured and his best skill position players — Corey Davis and Derrick Henry — have been inconsistent throughout their young careers.

For the first time in years, the Browns have preseason expectations. Expect the crowd to be rowdy, and expect Mayfield to want to give them a show.

The bet: Browns -5

NFL Week 1 lines

Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers (+2.5)
Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-8)
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-3.5)
Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars (+5)
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers (-3)
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-6)
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (off board)

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